Spanish Tortilla


Classic Spanish tortilla, or a Spanish potato omelette, with the emphasis on potato. Thinly sliced potatoes, fried in olive oil, layered in a pan, covered with beaten eggs, and cooked.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

To a native Californian like myself, a “tortilla” is round and flat, and comes in only two styles, flour and corn.

So the concept that a tortilla could also be a thick potato omelette, took some getting used to. But that is the difference between a Spanish tortilla and a Mexican tortilla.

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The Spanish version is made by frying thinly sliced potatoes in extra virgin olive oil, then layering those slices in a pan (preferably a cast iron frying pan), covering with beaten eggs, and cooking until set.

pour egg mixture over potatoes for spanish tortilla

It’s perfect for a weeknight meal, and only requires a few ingredients which you likely have in your pantry. It’s good warm, room temperature, or cold, and makes for great leftovers.

At this writing I’ve yet to visit Spain, but if you have, and you recall a favorite version of the Spanish tortilla, please let us know about it in the comments. For those of you for whom this concept is entirely new, I do encourage you to try this recipe, I think you’ll like it!

Spanish Tortilla Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2-4

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.


  • 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 extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt


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

2 Fry potato slices in batches: 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.

fry potatoes in oil for spanish tortilla dry fried potato slices on paper towel for spanish tortilla

3 Sauté onions, arrange fried potato slices on top: When the potatoes are all done, pour off all but a tablespoon of the oil and sauté the onions. When the onions 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 top of the onions in a scalloped pattern.

fry onions in cast iron pan for spanish tortilla layer sliced fried potatoes on top for spanish tortilla

4 Add beaten eggs: Return the heat to medium, and add the beaten 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.

pour egg mixture over potatoes for spanish tortilla cook spanish tortilla in cast iron pan until eggs set

5 Broil to brown the top: 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. (Be careful, the handle is hot! Drape with a potholder.)

remove spanish tortilla from broiler

6 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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Wikipedia on Spanish tortilla

Oven-baked tortilla espanola from Lydia of The Perfect Pantry

spanish tortilla

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

41 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Tak Templin

    Every Tapas bars I went in Barcelona displayed
    own signature potato tortillas on a counter.
    Most of them were simple potato and egg combination with some onions. I love all types of mushrooms, and I make mine layering varieties of sautéed mushrooms and onions between potatos. It is so very good.

  2. Ray Muniz

    My parents made these all the time and we in turn make them for our children and grandchildren. My father, who came here from Spain, added chorizos to his. I’ve often added German sausage, Italian sausage and virtually any left over meat in the fridge. You may also try your favorite cheese as a topper.

  3. Camille

    My French mother in law makes this same dish and it is superb! All this time I thought this was a Gaelic treat, now, I know the truth!

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  4. 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

  5. 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!

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