Spanish Tortilla

Waxy potatoes such as Yukon Golds or red-skinned new potatoes work well in this dish. Avoid using russets. This recipe is meant for a 9 inch diameter pan. If your pan is larger, add a couple eggs. If your pan is a full 12 inches, add 4 eggs, another potato and another green onion.

  • Yield: Serves 2-4


  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2-3 green onions (or 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion), chopped up to the light green parts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt


1 Slice the potatoes (peeled or unpeeled) into disks between 1/4 and 1/8 inch wide. (Helps to use a mandoline for this purpose.)

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2 Pour the olive oil into a cast-iron or hard anodized aluminum pan (a pan that will be able to take the heat of a broiler in the oven) and heat it over medium-high heat. When it is hot enough to sizzle the potatoes as soon as they hit the oil – test with an end piece – start frying them in one layer. Working in batches, fry until they are lightly browned, not crispy. When they are done, let the potatoes dry on a paper towel and salt them well. Keep frying until they are all cooked.

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3 When the potatoes are all done, pour off most of the oil and sauté the onions. When they are just starting to crisp, turn off the heat. Arrange the onions so they are evenly covering the bottom of the pan. Arrange the potatoes on the pan in a scalloped pattern.

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4 Turn the heat back on to medium, and pour in the eggs. Add a generous pinch of salt. Shake the pan to get the eggs to coat everything in the pan. Let this cook until you see the edges of the tortilla begin to set, then put the pan under the broiler.


5 Cook it under the broiler for 5 minutes, or until the top browns. (If you prefer to finish the tortilla on the stovetop instead of the broiler, slide the tortilla out of the pan onto a plate. Then invert the pan over the plate, and flip the whole thing, pan and plate so that the tortilla falls back into the pan, less-cooked side down.) Remove the pan and set it to cool for at least 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve. It’s also good at room temperature, and will keep a couple days in the fridge.

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  • Carina Lujambio

    I was raised in Uruguay SA until I was 11. One of my favorite dishes we ate regularly was tortilla. It was a great family favorite. It was prepared in a frying pan with eggs, potatos, salame and bell peppers.
    My question is about the pronouncation of the word. I was told it was torti-ja. Although it was spelled tortilla. My boyfriend is from spain and he says its tortilla. (like the mexican flat bread) I told him the correct way to say it is with the j sound. I know there is no J sound in spanish but that is how we have learned to call it.
    any advise?


    Hi Carina, I don’t know about Uruguay, but in Arjentina, they pronounce “yo” as “jo”, so perhaps it’s just the dialect where you are from. ~Elise

  • Edwardcj

    I studied in Valencia and lived with 3 buddies in an apartment with a landlady and cook/maid named Emerenciana. Tortilla to us was much like paella – there was a standard recipe, but optional ingredients sometimes. Emerin used whatever she had on hand, although the basic resipe was “sacred”. Once, when we were headed for the beach, she made a tortilla with potatoes, onion, chorizo and red bell peppers. She sliced open a large round loaf of crusty bread, hollowed it out, brushed the inside with olive oil (lots!! She put olive oil on everything), place the tortilla inside, wrapped it in a towel, placed it in a box with a weight on top. She added some jamon serrano (ham) to the box, and a chunk of cheese. The loaf compressed a bit, like a panini, but was that lunch speccial! We sliced into wedges and ate it with the ham and cheese and a local wine. It’s been years, and I have since married and lived in Italy (fritatta), but the family still loves this Spanish tortilla and frequently make into the loaf and serve in wedges. We’re doing it tomorrow for Superbowl Sunday!

  • Mol1 (Ammede Mol)

    This recipe brings back memories. My mom used to make these with red onions, green peppers and sliced potatoes. Best Sunday breakfast ever!!! Thanks for posting.

  • Anna Sánchez

    I’m from Spain, and as every spanish says “my mother does the best tortilla de patatas of the world”
    In my house we use to cook the tortilla with diced zucchini (calabacín)and onion. We only use one big onion, regardless of the number of guests.
    The onion is slug, so it’s more tender. the variety is called Figueres onion.

    fistable we fry the potatos (not too much oil),
    we take them off the pan
    we chop the onions and the zucchini and we poach it in the same oil.
    then we put all toghether (vegs and potatoes).
    the last thing is beat the eggs (one or one and a half per person)with a bit of salt, put them in the hot pan and stir a bit. Leave to set, flip with a plate and wait a few minutes (2-5 minutes).

    To tell you the truth I can’t give you an exacly formula, the only thing that you must consider is that the vegetables must be covered by the egg.
    As someone has comment you can use the vegetables or ingredients you prefer, but you must keep the egg and the potatoes!!

  • Robert Donovan

    This is not an authentic Spanish tortilla… we never let the potatoes brown, and they should be sliced thinner, and use less eggs. A tortilla is not an omelette, tortilla comes from the word torta, or tart, so its like a potato tart not an omelette, the main ingrediente is potato not egg. Close but no cigar in my book. The flavor of potatoes and eggs together is always a winner in any case.

  • Scarlett

    Here in Singapore Broilers are not a common kitchen appliance. So most of us have mastered the skill of fliiping food with a chopstick or just about any utensil. We don’t slip the food onto a plate first! (:

  • pattie

    Never been to Spain, but would love to. Wow? Never did I know that all these years I was making a Spanish dish, at least three times a week. I love it with lots of onions. Maybe it’s in my blood. My grandfather was from Spain. Met him at age 5 and never seen him after that.

  • Cannelle Et Vanille

    Hi Elise! So good to see tortilla here. I’m from Bilbao (northern Spain) and this was one of our staple meals growing up. It still is in my family as I cook it at least once a week, trying different variations. Traditionally, like other commenters suggest, tortilla is made with diced potatoes and usually has onions and green peppers. the potatoes are slowly cooked in a lot of olive oil then drained, mixed with eggs in a bowl and cooked in the pan with the flipping method. It’s best to use a non-stick skillet for this. Anyhow, this looks wonderful and it’s amazing how a few simple ingredients can taste so wonderful. Thanks!

  • Sherihan

    Made this today for dinner. Delicious. I just did a few changes. I cut the potatoes to small cubes and cooked them in one tablespoon of olive oil then added the green onions plus I added diced mushrooms and turkey sausage. Yummy!

  • Chandani

    Wow for me tortillas were just the round thin flat corn bread. Good to know the difference. Even though I had lots of Spanish friends when living in England they never corrected me. Well one of my colleague just gave me a basket of organic eggs from his chicken. This is the perfect recipe for those eggs.

  • Kathleen

    I taught English in Madrid for two months one summer in college and your post just took me back. I ate those tortillas all the time. I was absolutely in love with them, though I remember laughing when my host mother served it for the first time and trying to explain what I thought a tortilla was. Like the other posters, the only big difference I can think of is using diced potatoes instead of slices. Either way though, I’m sure it tastes great!

  • Sade

    Another Spaniard here. My method for Tortilla Española is the flipping one. Broiling just doesn’t get the same taste, in my opinion.

    I also agree with more potatoes and less eggs (500 grams thinly sliced potatoes, 1 medium onion thinly chopped, 4 eggs for me – 4 servings). I always sort of mash the potatoes while cooking the first time with the onion. In order to use less oil (2-3 tbsp), I add a couple tablespoons of water and put a lid on (repeat as needed). Then add the potato-onion mix to the beaten & seasoned eggs and rest a couple minutes while the pan gets the right temperature. During the first minutes of cooking the actual tortilla I’ll stir around (sort of like scrambling eggs) so the center is cooked. Then let the bottom set, turn & finish cooking.

    Normally I’ll serve the tortilla with a salad (mix of lettuces, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot… whatever you fancy), and a dollop of mayonnaise.

  • Anne

    I made “personal pan” tortillas this morning, using my small 6″ cast iron pan. It took 2 eggs and 1 small potato and a smidgen of onion (yes, that’s a measurement in my house!). When diced into small pieces, it was just enough to cover the bottom of my small pan.

    Fried everything until potatoes were soft (which didn’t take long, since I diced everything small) and then added the potatoes/onion mixture to the eggs and gave it a stir before adding everything back to the frying pan.

    I hoped I could flip it with a spatula, like when I fry eggs, but the mixture was not stable enough so I used the “plate method” of flipping. Let it cook a couple minutes before plating. The perfect amount for one person. ;-) Kids loved it too though next time, I’ve got to watch the garlic – it started to scorch in the 2nd cooking.


  • Ruth

    I’m a Spaniard from the north coast of the country ( Asturias) and tortilla is a national dish cooked all over Spain. It can be eaten right out of the pan or cold, and makes a great bocadillo ( Bread plus something).
    Slicing or dicing the potatoes differs with with the cook. Both are acceptable, and in my own case I prefer them sliced as texture improves. But the slices must be very thin, almost see-through, no thick, and the dices must be quite small, about a real dice size max. The onions are thinly slices as well, the eggs very well beaten with a fork outside the pan, and then mixed with the rinsed semi-fried potatoes, and then the put back into the pan, that must be coated with a very thin oil layer this time. Salt is added to the eggs, and there are many variations, with vegetables, chorizo, tuna, jamón ibérico, garlic, being the classic one just olive oil, eggs and potatoes. It must be flipped over, task that is often reserved for the men (the cast iron pan plus the huge tortilla asks for a strong arm, or a very well trained one).
    A simply delicious dish that spread through the world with the Spaniards as so many other dishes ( dulce de leche, paella). ¡Que aproveche!

  • Lisa P.

    Ah, the Spanish tortilla! One of my favorites! I spent some time in Spain when in college, devouring many a tortilla. We actually had some with white beans instead of potatoes at one point, in the Catalan region. Other commenters suggestions on preparation have been great! I can’t wait to reintroduce my taste buds.

  • Samara

    I too have been to Spain many times. I have family there and was privileged to have my Grandma make her recipe (she used to own a restaurant in Spain).
    Your recipe looks great, but I have never seen, heard of or eaten a Spanish tortilla with sliced potatoes. They are always peeled then diced.It just makes the tortilla so much more flavorful and moist. Other than that, recipe looks great.

  • Katie

    I’ve lived in Spain for school and later for work, and tortilla espanola has been one of my all time favorites from day one!

    When I make it I add capers (soooo good; the saltiness is great)! Also, I mix everything in a bowl first and let the potato mixture soak in the eggs for about 15 minutes before cooking everything together.

  • Brenda

    Love it! Like many of the people posting, I too was an exchange student in Spain in my high school days. What a fun memory you’ve brought back. I tried relentlessly when I returned home to make a perfect one over the stove with not much success. Thanks for sharing your tricks.

    Another great way to enjoy it was called the Tortilla Frances’ which was adding Tuna to it.

    Thanks so much – I’ll have to try it again soon!

  • juan antonio

    I’m from Puerto Rico and I make my Tortilla in many different ways, that’s a dish that you can let your imagination go wild. It’s very easy to make. I sometimes make it like a Lasagna style with cheese,ham, onions, sausage, what ever you want to use in it. I put it in a pan covered and do one side and then I turn it over, turning it over can be a little tricky I usually use a plate and oven mitts, I put the plate over the Pan and turn the tortilla unto the plate and then slide it into the pan and cook the other side.I also do one like Pizza style and cut it in slices. It can be served cold or warm. A very simple and great dish. Thanks Spain.

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Many people are afraid of Spanish tortillas because traditionally they call for lots of olive oil to cook the potatoes. Your recipe doesn’t drown the potatoes in oil — hooray! I also liked the baked tortilla Espanola for the same reason.

  • Chandrika

    Hey, This Spanish omelet is very similar to Indian thick omelet with vegetables. We generally pan fry the veggies (mostly potato and onion) instead of frying them. Here is the tortilla espanola, I made couple of weeks ago. I used that on sandwich and also made a delicious appetizer out of it. Check out the link.


  • Liane

    I thought I’d share my rather amusing story of cooking tortillas at 5:30 this morning in anticipation for a get-together this evening: It is really hard to flip this bad boy if you’re any of the following: not buff, afraid to dump the tortilla on the floor so don’t have complete resolve, have a pan handle that gets hot (what’s up with that!), etc. etc. etc. I made a few tortillas and after the first one made kind of a mess flipping and all sorts of interesting words popped out of my mouth, I had to have my husband do it for me. But, they turned out very nicely and are exactly like what I remember. Also a non-stick pan is really helpful to get the tortilla to slide right out AND it still browned nicely. But generally non-stick isn’t oven-safe, so then you have to deal with flipping problems as listed above.I need to up the ante on the bicep curls.

    Now you see why I like the oven! ;-) ~Elise

  • Gustavo J. Mata

    Tortilla is a diminutive form for torta, which is a generic name for a dough or batter cooked in a circular shape.

    In different countries the usage of tortilla has specialized: flat corn or flour cakes in Mexico, an omelette here in Venezuela, an egg and potato appetizer in Spain.

    Another diminutive form of torta is tortica, which we use for fritters: torticas de arroz, torticas de espinaca, torticas de pescado (rice, spinach and fish fritters).


  • Ophelia

    This looks great! Does anyone know if leftovers of this dish would be good? I don’t think my husband and I could eat the whole thing in one sitting, but I’m always a little cautious about refrigerating egg dishes, as sometimes they can be kind of gross.

    Also, how can I add some veggies to this dish? With the egg? Or with the potatoes??

    Hi Ophelia, the Spanish tortilla is great for leftovers. You might want to look at some of the other comments to see which vegetables others like to add to the dish. I would just layer them in with the potatoes, but I’m guessing you can add them any which way you like. ~Elise

  • Candice

    I made two individual size Spanish Tortillas last night for dinner along with some roasted asparagus and kielbasa, it was SO good!!! I was afraid the eggs were going to stick and create a big mess in my cast iron skillets, but they came out perfectly. Thanks for the recipe(s)!

  • Noemi

    First time making a comment here, although I’ve been reading your blog since ages.

    I’m spanish, and, as a lot of people said above, usually we use diced potatoes instead of sliced ones, and much more potatoes than eggs. Also, if you let potatoes and eggs rest a while (a couple of minutes) in a bowl together, you’ll find that your tortilla is much more tastier.

    You people would like to try adding some chopped chorizo or cheese to the potaoes/eggs mix, I promise it’s delicious with cheese inside.

    Other variant, that is usually served at restaurants or bars, is slicing the tortilla in 2 horizontal halves, and put some boiled ham, cheese, lettuce and tomato with a bit of mayonaise between both halves. Try it and then tell me ^^

    Thanks for the suggestions Noemi! ~Elise

  • Rose

    This brings back memories. Several years ago when our middle child was planning her wedding, we decided to serve tapas for her bridal shower. A Spanish Tortilla was one of the items on the menu. It was sublime. Can’t wait to try this version.

  • Dee

    My mother was raised in Zamora, Spain. We ate tortillas a couple times a week as children. She always sliced the potatoes in thick, french-fry like pieces. This may have been done to save time to get dinner on the table for three children. There were far more potatoes than eggs. Eggs were more of a binder than anything. And she used lots of sliced spanish onions and garlic. And always served with a fresh green salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing. That is how I make mine now, too. Delicious!

  • Deirdre

    Just a lll quirk I added I bought my potatoes like hash browns bagged it saved me the time to chop them and they’re all uniform in shape, just a time saver :)

  • Albert

    I love your site Elise and I use it literally all the time to make food! I had a question on how you personally take care of your cast iron. I ‘ve scoured the internet and come across quite a few different opinions. some saying to use water only no soap some saying no water at all (alton brown says to just scrub with kosher salt).

    What do you do to clean/take care of your cast iron after you use it? Thanks, I can’t wait to try this recipe tomorrow for dinner!

    Hi Albert, if something is stuck, I soak it with water. I wipe it clean with a sponge. Sometimes I add soap when I forget that I’m dealing with cast iron. You really should only use water. I then wipe it completely dry, otherwise any wet will cause rusting. Then I take a teaspoon of olive oil and use a paper towel to rub the inside all over with olive oil. ~Elise

  • Maria

    I am a Spanaird who lives in the states. My family and I have made many tortillas. It was definately a budget meal growing up and a regular on Friday meatless days. We make it with french fry style potatoes – and I find that baking potatoes work for me. We also use a lot more potatoes than eggs. We cook the potatoes in olive oil, with sliced Spanish onions (of course). The potatoes take on the onion flavor. (You can add anything you want or have on hand to the tortilla – my dad loves it wth green peppers. Spinach, chorizo, diced ham – whatever you like. Just remember that this is mainly potatoes and you don’t want to overdue it with to many other ingredients.) Once the potatoes are done (golden), I put a plate over the frying pan and drain the oil out – alternately you can scoop the potatoes and mixture out of the pan. Remove the oil from the pan – but don’t wipe it clean. Put the potato mix into a bowl of beaten eggs and mix so the potatoes are coated. pour the mix back into the pan and continue to cook on the stove top. When the middle has set – pick up the pan and shake it gently to tell – put the plate over the pan, flip onto the plate and then slide the uncooked top back onto the frying pan to finish. I know you can have it room temp – but the BEST is right off the stovetop. Just Yummy! I think I know what’s for dinner tomorrow night!

  • Jill

    I spent three years in Madrid, and my roommates were from nearby provinces. We always made our tortillas with lots of sliced potatoes, fried in plentiful oil, drained, and mixed with the eggs, then cooked on the stove top in enough oil to be able to flip them with a plate. It is a tricky operation to keep from burning yourself with the oil. I guess that’s the moment you test your skill and tempt fate. Perhaps that’s the Spanish way — as in bullfighting.

    However, after I returned to California, I married a Persian and learned to make kukus, Persian omelets, which are very similar. Kukuye seeb zamini (potato omelet) uses a few cups of grated potatoes and maybe half a grated onion, mixed into the eggs along with salt, pepper, and a little turmeric. We would cook and flip them in a fairly generous amount of oil, just as with the Tortilla Española, but since we mixed the raw potato and onion in without frying, it’s a lower fat alternative. Now I make it this way and leave out the turmeric when I want a Spanish taste.

    We would eat the Spanish ones on crusty baguette-like bread in Madrid. We would eat the Persian ones in pita bread with some mayo and dill pickle slices. It was part of our standard camping fare. We also made Salad Olivier (Ensalada Rusa, in Spanish) and eat it in pita bread as well. Ah, those were great days.

    By the way, I’ve been enjoying your blog for quite some time now, Elise, in New York (where I moved years ago from Davis), and I’ve tried recipes but I’ve never commented. Keep up the great and appetizing work.

    Thank you for saying hello Jill, and thank you for sharing your experience with Madrid tortillas as well as Persian kukus. ~Elise

  • Rebecca

    My señora in Spain used to make this all the time. It is great hot, but it is BEST the day afterwards for lunch. Put a slice of tortilla between a baguette and dress it with a roasted green bell pepper. Best lunch ever.

  • sylviane santi

    Aluminum pans are mostly used in restaurants and they do no harm to the food. It’s not advisable to leave cooked food inside, just for cooking the ‘new’ aluminum pans are great..
    Love the tortilla and I make almost the same but I mix the fried potatoes to the egg mix, then in the hot non-stick pan (not teflon).

    In any part of the world there is a tortilla, here in Italy we called ‘frittata’ and we make with just about everything. We pick-up some herbs in the spring and love them in the frittata.
    Keep up your good work. Thank you.

  • Susan

    Elise, I see why you did this tortilla the way you did; This is a beast to just slide out of a pan and turn and slide it back in. I just tried it and it looks more like scrambled eggs with potatoes as all the browning stuck to the pan! And btw..Now that I read the comments, most say “the way my Spanish host did it was to…” and wonder how many with all this advice have really tried this the authentic way. Gah! I’m doing it your way from now on! It’s still good, though!

    I think if you use even more olive oil, it makes it easier to slide out. But I still find handling the pan to do the flipping difficult (I have small hands and the pan I use is heavy) so that’s why I like the oven finishing method. So glad you tried it! ~Elise

  • Kathy

    I’ve never been to Spain, but I’ve been to Oklahoma. (They mostly have the other kind of tortillas there, though)

  • Anna

    I lived with a family in Leon Spain for an “exchange” summer when I was 18, in 1980. I was often served Spanish Tortilla for breakfast (leftover wedges were placed between two slices of crusty bread and wrapped up to place in my backpack to eat later in the day – and no, an ice pack wasn’t needed).

    My host family cubed the potatoes, cooked them with some chopped onions, and used what seemed like an insane amount of olive oil when cooking with the egg mixture (I came from a family that adopted the low-fat nonsense quite early so it was really shocking to me to see a small family go through nearly a liter of olive oil every day or two). The tortilla literally would swim in the hot oil while it cooked, sliding right out of the pan when done; the oil remaining in the pan was either poured on top of the tortilla to soak in or left to cook another item.

    I don’t eat a lot of potatoes anymore but I do make a lot of frittatas (at least weekly) that are similar to Spanish tortillas (with sliced turnips, leftover veggies, wilted greens from our CSA box, leeks, etc.).

    My favorite pans for this sort of dish are De Buyer brand carbon steel sauté/fry pans from France. I bought mine at Sur La Table, but I think SLT no longer stocks them (I bought two more pans in larger sizes on Clearance recently). Carbon steel fry pans are every bit as heavy as cast iron, but thinner and smoother. If well-seasoned and with proper care, these pans can be used with induction heat sources, are less likely to scratch/damage ceramic cooktops, and they are as non-stick as Silverstone/Teflon coated pans and will release gently fried eggs like a charm. They have enameled metal handles that are also oven-safe (I use a pot holder “sleeve” that I can leave on the handle after removing from the oven, to protect against hand burns).

  • Kathryn

    I lived in Spain for a bit. The best tortilla I had was plain, but accompanied by a very forest green pepperc, a little pointier than a bell pepper, and certainly not hot. It was fried up with tons of olive oil. I wish I knew what kind of pepper it was, because I would love to find one and cook it!!

  • christel

    Yumm-I haven’t had one of these in a long time!! I lived in Spain for a year many moons ago and loved this dish. It’s a homey stand-by but I don’t think I’ve made it since I got married. It will be fun to share. I echo the comments about diced/chopped potatoes rather than sliced, but I’m sure the taste is similar. Thanks for reminding me of this!

  • Brittany

    I, too, have been a follower of this site for a while. What a great recipe! It just got added to my meal plan for the week! Quick question to all the people who have experienced this treat first hand: Are Spanish tortillas traditionally served solo? Or are side dishes and vegetables commonly served with it? If so, which ones?


  • Erika

    It wasn’t until I was older and learned about the Spanish Tortilla that I realized it was my mom’s ultimate budget meal when I was growing up. She usually made it with potatoes, onions and canned tuna.

  • cesan

    Well, I am from Uruguay and also lived in Argentina and Chile. We eat THIS kind of tortilla in all those countries. Actually, I had never seen a Mexican tortilla until I moved to California! I believe that now they sell it in some places in South America. But we use the French bread for the same purpose they use the Mexican tortilla during meals. And we love bread so much, we can’t live without it! We need to buy it fresh two times a DAY!

  • Ray Portillo


    I have been using your recipes for a few years now with great success. My family can’t wait for the next “new thing”. Today when I clicked on the Never Been to Spain link things came full circle. As a big 3DN fan I have to try this recipe just for the trip done memory lane!!!!

    Oh good. I was hoping someone would click on that link! Only those of us from a certain generation are going to get it. ;-) ~Elise

  • Terri R

    My son just returned from a 4 month study abroad program in Spain and sent pictures from Madrid when he learned how to make these. Traditionally, at least in Madrid, he was taught to layer the potatoes with sliced onion and cook some, then remove them from the pan and soak them for a bit in the beaten eggs. Back into the pan, with generous amts of olive oil, cook and flip. I found a pan specially made for this from a Spanish foodie catalog but it looked funky so I got an interlocking 2 pan set from Calphalon (expensive!!) but it worked great as you dont need to pull the semi-set mixture out & flip, you can just flip the pans! This is called tortilla Espanol and it was amazing!

  • Tom Jones

    Hi, my abula, spanish, used to make them with french fried style potatoes, pepers,onions, and green peas. She would flip them and slide back in the pan. Till I was older I always thought it was fun to have an omelette for dinner. It would be our evening meal at times.

  • Sherry

    Cool! I didn’t know that this was a Spanish dish. I grew up in southern Louisiana, and although I’m not Spanish, my mom made this for my family often while I was growing up. She usually used diced potatoes — that I usually diced myself — but sometimes we had it with string potatoes. We normally had this for dinner, but it’s definitely an anytime-of-day dish. Thanks for sharing!

  • Suzy

    I’ve made a similar recipe in the past, but it used regular onion and included diced cooked bacon. Don’t know how authentic that is, but it was yummy! I bet diced cooked chorizo would be good too!

  • Amanda

    I spent a summer in Spain in college. The lady who I stayed with made Spanish tortillas fairly often. It was soooooo delicious. I have often seen recipes and thought maybe I’d try my hand at it, but it just seems difficult. Maybe I’ll try your recipe and relive the days of old. Thanks!

  • ATLgirl

    I lived in Sevilla for a year, and my landlady made amazing tortillas. First she would saute sliced onions and diced potatoes in olive oil until tender and golden. Then she’d add beaten eggs on med-low heat, and cook until the eggs were set around the edges and in the middle, she’d put a large plate over the pan, flip it over, and slide the tortilla back into the pan to cook the other side. Use a medium sized pan that is deep, so you get a thick tortilla. And I agree with Kaitana: sliced thickly and eaten as a sandwich on a crusty loaf — heaven!

  • Liane

    I was introduced to tortillas in Argentina–my host mom was always bringing home “tortillitas” for me to try from the shop down the street. Love those memories.

    Question: What if you don’t have a cast iron pan or hard anodized aluminum? (Still building my collection!) Can I just finish it covered on the stove top for those 5 minutes? It’s ok for me if the top doesn’t get brown.

    Slide it out on to a plate, then invert the pan over it, and flip it back into the pan, so the more uncooked side gets a chance to cook and brown. That’s actually the more traditional method for making a tortilla. ~Elise

  • Andrea


    I’m not from Spain but I have been there and my father is a self-proclaimed culinary expert of the region and here are the differences in the way my family does the potato omelet, or “tortilla española.”

    First, we really up the onions. I use a whole onion, very thinly sliced.

    Second, we do not fry the potatoes in individual layers, rather, we use more oil and layer the poatoes and the onions in alternating layers, adding minced garlic between the layers as well (probably 6-8 cloves of garlic minced, total. The potatoes do not end up crispy after this step. We stir the mixture and flip it freguently so that everythig cooks evenly.

    Third, after frying everything and draining the oil (we reserve it for later use), we put the potatoes, onions and garlic in a large bowl and pour the beaten eggs (with salt and pepper) over them and mix them. We then let is sit, covered, for about 15 minutes so the eggs can thicken some.

    Next, we heat the pan again and add some of the leftover oil, pour the egg and potato mixture into the pan, form it into a torte, and let it cook for about 5 minutes, agitating the pan by giving it a quick rotation (it’s all in the wrist) so that it doesn’t stick. After the bottom solidifies some, we invert it onto a plate and quickly slide it back into the pan so that the other side can cook. That part can be a little tricky – it takes practice.

    I’m sorry for the long comment, but I thought I’d share. It’s delicious, if perhaps a little greasy.

  • T

    Looks like I’ve found a use for those last few eggs and yukon golds in the kitchen. Is it just me, or is that begging for a little cheese thrown in?

    I would stick with the recipe as is, no cheese, at least the first time making it. ~Elise

  • Conchi


    Thank you for the wonderful recipes you post and thank you for remembering the spanish tortilla. I am spanish and have grown up with it, it´s so nice.

    In my family instead of layering the potatoes on the pan we mix them directly with the eggs somewhere else (a big bowl for example) so the potatoes get really covered by the egg and then we put the whole mixture into the pan. We also add a bit of milk to the bowl as the previous comment but our potatoes are not diced ;)

    Another tip. When you cook tortilla if you put your nose close to it (carefully of course) you can know when to flip it because the smell changes, it´s subtle but you can train yourself to identify it. And of course if you have one of these two-sides pans fliping the tortilla goes smoothly.

    Also, you can add whatever you like, chorizo, cebolla… if you add fried peppers to the bowl it will be sublime, if you want to fool your friends (or children as my mother did) add coliflower instead of potatoes. Lot´s of options to enjoy!

  • Oregon George

    Hi Elise,

    I am a big fan of your recipes, they are great! However you need to do research on cooking with aluminum pots and pans as some recipes suggest.

    FYI: Aluminum simply put is poison for the human body.

    Hi George, thank you for your kind words. Exposed plain aluminum we never use because it leaches into the food when cooking with acidic ingredients such as tomatoes. Hard anodized aluminum is made with a process that binds the outer layer of the pot in a way that makes it completely impermeable, and safe. It’s makes for excellent cookware because it’s light, it doesn’t leach aluminum, the coating doesn’t come off, it’s relatively stick-free, and it can take very high temperatures. Here’s a useful article on hard anodized cookware. ~Elise

  • Carrie

    Hi Elise, My oven has two settings for the broiler; low and high. Which setting do you think would be best to use?

    High. ~Elise

  • Megan

    I just returned from studying abroad in Spain and this recipe brings back some great memories. One of my favorite variations was made with spinach, which was not only delicious but gave the whole tortilla a really cool green color. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Diego


    I believe your recipe is more a frittata than a tortilla. For the tortilla you would generally use diced potatoes, but the main difference is that it is not baked, it is cooked in a frying pan on the stove. Once you have the cooked potatoes you would mix them with the eggs in a bowl, add olive oil to the pan and cook the mixture in medium heat so that it browns while cooking, do not stir. When it is almost cooked you place a large flat plate over the pan, and flip the tortilla onto the pan, so that the other side is browned as well. You know it is done when you insert a knife and it comes out clean. If you want you can also add chorizo to the potatoes. Delicious !!!!

    I find flipping with that heavy cast iron pan a little difficult, so although most of the cooking is done in the frying pan, the finishing browning is done in the broiler. You could do it either way. I finish my frittatas the same way, in the oven. ~Elise

  • Natalia


    I love your page and all the recipies.
    I would say, Spanish omelette as such only has egg, potato and onion (optional) when it has other vegetables it is called (as far as I know) “tortilla paisana” guess it translates to something like “countryside omelette.
    The way we do it (almost everyone I know) is to deep fry potatoes and thinnely choped onions together, first with slow heat, and sort of mushing the potatoes a bit and then higher heat to brown them a little.
    Then we put the mixture (draining the oit as much as possible) in a bowl with the beaten eggs and mixing them all really well so the egg kind of blends in with the potatoes.
    Then we make the omlette, first on one side then we turn it into a plate and slide it back into the pan so the other side gets made.
    like this

    There are even special dishes for turning the omelette.

  • Becka

    I was about to save this recipe in my bookmark folder when I realized just how many of your recipes I have in that folder.

    I also realized I had never commented on your blog before and want to make that right.

    Your recipes are often a true gift to my family. We are living in Ecuador and myself and my son also have celiacs. Many of your recipes are easy to adapt (or are naturally GF), and almost always, they use ingredients that I can find here.

    Thank you for the hard work you put into this site.

    You are very welcome, and thank you for you kind words! ~Elise

  • David

    I studied abroad in Spain two years ago and I learned two things about making Tortilla de Patata from my host mom. First, like Kaitana said, they usually dice the potatoes and serve with bread.

    Second, my host mom would beat the eggs with a fork while they were in the pan until they started to solidify. This was to get the center as cooked as the edges. Then, she would use a plate to flip the tortilla and slide it back on the pan to cook the other side. This way the tortilla has a very even-looking top side. Anyways, thanks for the recipe!

  • Peg

    Hey Elise,
    I have a friend that worked in restaurants in Spain. When she makes a tortilla she thinly slices the potatoes, deep fries them and then puts them in a pan and pours the eggs over. It’s heaven.

  • Lisa

    I love Spanish Tortilla! In my version I use chopped and slightly sautéed CHORIZO!! Yummy. I will usually make it on Christmas eve to serve on Christmas morning with warm biscuits and coffee. I agree with Kaitana with the milk suggestion and my potatoes are usually diced as well. Thanks for posting! :-)

  • Dara

    As often as we make frittatas in our house, it is surprising that we haven’t taken the extra step to the Spanish tortilla. There is nothing better than browned potatoes and eggs together. A little chorizo and Spanish paprika would be good in here, too.

  • jess

    We visited friends in Spain and they kept saying they we’re going to make us homemade tortilla and how good it is… We kept thinking of a mexican tortilla and wondering how amazing can a tortilla be?? :) The night they made it was honestly our favorite dinner while we were there. It was delicious. When we toured around we continued to order tortilla & bocadilla de tortilla here and there. Homecooked was the best, hands down! The recipe I got from them is pretty much identical but with regular onion.

  • Sarah

    My roommate taught me the basic recipe for this and we modify based on what’s in the fridge – one of my favourites was made with sweet potatoes layered with dandelion greens, well salted of course. The sweet / salty / bitter combo was great!

  • Evelyn

    I lived with a Spanish family for a semester in college (in Santiago de Compostela), and my host mother was the most fantastic cook. Before I left, I had her show me how to make Spanish Tortilla because it was so delicious. She diced the potato, like the previous poster mentions, and used a regular onion. She also flipped the tortilla instead of broiling – when the one side is done, put a plate on top of the pan, and using potholders, flip it all over so the tortilla lands on the plate. Then you slide it back into the pan, uncooked side down.

    Thanks for posting this!

  • Anna

    I live in Spain also and this is one of my favorite dinner dishes. For me, there is a clear difference between a spanish tortilla and an omelette with eggs. I think that, what does the trick (apart from the diced potatoes as Kaitana suggested which is also true), is to never add the eggs in the fried potatoes directly into the pan, always the other way around (add potatoes in the beaten eggs, stir lightly so that eggs almost start to cook around the potatoes before adding them to the pan, and then add mixture into pan with almost no oil to do the final cooking). This way everything makes a more “solid” mass of eggs and potatoes.

    Anyway, your tortilla looks delicious!! And is almost lunch time here so I wouldn’t say no to a piece of it!! ;)


  • nicole

    Just in time :-)
    I had eggs and potatoes that needed to be used, so we’re having tortilla for lunch.
    I don’t own an oven proof skillet/pan so I flip my tortillas. I slide them out of the pan onto a dish, then put a second dish on top, flip and slide back into the pan.
    Make sure your pan is smaller than your dishes though ;-)

  • Rachel

    I’m an American, but I’ve lived in Spain 2 times, adding up to about a year and a half in total. And being a vegetarian in a country where the concept is pretty strange, I’ve eaten tons of tortillas. I agree with Kaitana. Tortilla is typically made with diced not sliced potatoes. I also would recommend more potatoes. With a 2-6 (or more!) ratio of potatoes to eggs, you’re getting more of an omelette with potatoes than a Spanish tortilla. You’ll see it both ways, but all of the homemade ones I’ve had have been more potato based – and much tastier! The recipe I was given by my housemom says 500 g of potatoes (1 lb) and 8 eggs. A couple other pointers – I wouldn’t layer the onions and potatoes like that. Mix them up! And finally, I’ve heard from some peole that after beating the eggs, you should mix the potatoes and onions in the eggs in a separate bowl before returning it to the frying pan. My housemom didn’t say that, but I’ve tried it both ways and find mixing it outside the pan works better for me.

    And do try the Bocata de Tortilla. It really is great! Rub some tomato on the top slice of bread for a Catalán version, or add roasted red peppers (I think you can buy those in the States) for another common variant on the sandwich.

  • Sasa

    I was fortunate to have a close friend of mine make this for my brother and I to take on the bus as a snack when we left her house and she used the sliced onions instead of green but this one looks like a good version, look forward to trying it.

    Instead of using the broiler though, she flipped the whole thing onto a plate and tipped it back in the other way to finish – she said this is where the traditional shape comes from (it’s sort of evenly wedge shaped like two plates inverted upon one another rather than flat on bottom and pan shaped if that makes sense).

  • kaitana

    I live in Spain, and Tortilla is probably our favourite dish… it’s, in fact, our national treasure! I think you exposed the recipe very well, I only have one comment: here in Spain we usually use diced potatoes, instead of sliced. However, that depends on the cook. My mother usually makes them with diced potatoes, onion and green pepper. Also, she takes it away from fire just a minute before it is completely cooked, so it doesn’t get so dry.
    Oh! Another trick is to beat the eggs with a little milk before mixing them to the potatoes, that makes it spongy.
    Try cutting some slices of tortilla and putting them between two loaves of bread (chapatta, for example). That is our traditional Bocata de Tortilla

    Thank you for your suggestions Kaitana! ~Elise