Spanish Recipes

Spanish Tortilla Recipe

What is a Spanish Tortilla

Tortilla is a Spanish omelette and one of the signature dishes in the Spanish cuisine. It is made with eggs and potatoes, onions are often included, you will also so tortilla being cooked with chorizo or spinach in some tapas bars, but even the addition of onions is a bit controversial in some regions.

Tortilla can be served hot, at room temperature, or cold, the most popular way for the Spanish themselves to serve it is at room temperature as a tapa with fresh crusty bread.

Tortilla's name comes from its shape, in Spanish it means "small cake" 

The simple yet satisfying potato omelette is the staple of practically every Spanish menu.

The best way to serve a Tortilla (Spanish omelette) is to slice it like a cake.

It's great on its own, but makes a fabulous light lunch served with fresh bread and a salad. The best thing about this wonderful traditional Spanish recipe is that it's so VERSATILE!

Spanish Tortilla Recipe


1/2 pint of olive oil

5 medium (40 oz each) baking potatoes, peeled, sliced and lightly sprinkled with salt

1/2 white onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

5 eggs


Spanish Tortilla Recipe


Heat the olive oil in a 9-inch pan and add the potato slices carefully, because the salt will make the oil splatter.

Try to keep the potato slices separated so they will not stick together. Cook, turning occasionally, over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add the onions and garlic and cook until the potatoes are tender. Drain into a colander, leaving about 3 tablespoons of oil in the pan.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt. Add the potatoes, and stir to coat with the egg. Add the egg-coated potatoes to the very hot oil in the pan, spreading them evenly to completely cover the base. Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook, shaking the pan frequently, until mixture is half set.

TIP - Use a plate to cover the pan and invert the omelette away from the hand holding the plate (so as not to burn your hand with any escaping oil). Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and slide the omelette back on its uncooked side. Cook until completely set.

Allow the omelette to cool, and then cut it into wedges. Season it with salt and sprinkle with lemon juice to taste (optional).

Serve warm or at room temperature.

The History of Spanish Tortilla

According to legend, during the siege of Bilbao, Carlist general Tomás de Zumalacárregui invented the "tortilla de patatas" as an easy, fast and nutritious dish to satisfy the Carlist army. Although it remains unknown whether this is true, it appears the tortilla started to spread during the early Carlist Wars.

Another tale is that the recipe was learnt by Spanish prisoners captured after the Battle of Montes Claros during the Portuguese Restoration War in 1665. After the Portuguese victory, more than 6,000 Spanish soldiers were kept in captivity for 3 years until the 1668 Treaty of Lisbon was signed. Upon their release, these prisoners brought part of the culture of Alentejo to Spain, including many recipes, which featured a potato egg pie that evolved into the modern version of "tortilla"

Find information on other popular Tapas dishes here.


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