Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla Español)

Let this dish be the centerpiece of your next tapas night!

Photo by Allison of Culinary Cupcake

Tortilla Española or Tortilla de patatas are both names for the Spanish Tortilla. Tortilla de patatas were first mentioned in the late 1500s in a notebook belonging to the head chef of King Philip III and King Philip IV of Spain. The dish shares the same name as a common flatbread from Latin America, but tortilla española is actually an type of omelet. A Spanish tortilla consists of potatoes and onions fried in oil then beaten eggs are mixed in and cooked until it makes a thick omelet similar to an Italian frittata. In Spain, tortilla española is eaten as a tapa also known as the main course for dinner.

At university, I had a roommate that made this dish every week. She always made the kitchen smell heavenly with the aroma of caramelized onions and crisp potatoes. We did not have a lot of money for groceries thus a Spanish Tortilla was an economical choice. I was always fascinated about how such simple ingredients could make such a delicious supper. My first time making this dish by myself was a disaster. I did not use a nonstick pan and half the eggs and potatoes all stuck to the pan while the rest of eggs flopped onto the plate in a partially cooked mess. I have since experimented and learned from my mistakes. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla Español) Recipe

Yields: 4 main course servings and 8 appetizer servings


Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 35-45 minutes

Specialty Tools: 10 inch Nonstick frying pan with a lid

Wine Pairing Suggestion: Sauvignon Blanc

Beer Pairing Suggestion: Lager


3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced

12 ounces potatoes, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 eggs, beaten

To Serve: Toasted bread, salt, and pepper


Add 1 tablespoons olive oil to nonstick pan. Heat pan to medium heat. Throw in onions and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Turn the heat to low. Add the potatoes and cover pan. Cook potatoes for 10-15 minutes, stir occasionally to make sure they fry evenly.

Open the lid and add the butter. Throw in garlic then stir in the beaten eggs.

Put the lid back on the pan and let the eggs cook. After 15 to 20 minutes the edges and the base should be golden but the middle will be loose.

Cover the pan with a large plate, at least 12 inches. Carefully turn out the omelet onto the plate.

Gently slide the omelet back into the pan and cook for 4 more minutes on low heat.

Slide omelet onto a clean plate or serving platter. Cut into slices.

Serve warm or at room temperature with toasted bread. Individuals should salt and pepper to taste.

Feel free to throw in vegetables or cooked meat you like in this dish; peppers, sausage, or mushrooms. This dish is a perfect vehicle to use up any leftovers!


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