Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla Española)

Here’s how to make a traditional Spanish tortilla! Tortilla española is a potato and egg omelette that is a classic dinner or tapas recipe. Here’s a traditional Spanish recipe that’s everywhere in country: Spanish tortilla! Tortilla española is a Spanish omelet made with eggs and sliced potatoes. You can find tortilla in almost every bar and restaurant. It’s a classic Spanish tapas recipe, sliced into wedges and often serve with a toothpick and a dab of aioli. It’s also often turned into a sandwich filling as a bocadillo de tortilla. When I lived in Spain years ago, I loved sampling each restaurant’s house version of tortilla. So we’re thrilled to bring you this recipe from the beautiful new cookbook Diala’s Kitchen by our pal Diala Canelo. Love Spanish recipes? Try our red sangria, classic paella, and patatas bravas. What is Spanish tortilla made of? The Spanish tortilla is an iconic dish known as Spanish omelete, tortilla española, or tortilla de papatas. It’s made by frying potatoes in olive oil, then cooking them into an egg omelette. Spaniards eat it for any meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and it’s one of the most popular Spanish tapas. In fact, it might be more […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make a traditional Spanish tortilla! Tortilla española is a potato and egg omelette that is a classic dinner or tapas recipe.

Spanish tortilla

Here’s a traditional Spanish recipe that’s everywhere in country: Spanish tortilla! Tortilla española is a Spanish omelet made with eggs and sliced potatoes. You can find tortilla in almost every bar and restaurant. It’s a classic Spanish tapas recipe, sliced into wedges and often serve with a toothpick and a dab of aioli. It’s also often turned into a sandwich filling as a bocadillo de tortilla. When I lived in Spain years ago, I loved sampling each restaurant’s house version of tortilla. So we’re thrilled to bring you this recipe from the beautiful new cookbook Diala’s Kitchen by our pal Diala Canelo.

Love Spanish recipes? Try our red sangria, classic paella, and patatas bravas.

What is Spanish tortilla made of?

The Spanish tortilla is an iconic dish known as Spanish omelete, tortilla española, or tortilla de papatas. It’s made by frying potatoes in olive oil, then cooking them into an egg omelette. Spaniards eat it for any meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and it’s one of the most popular Spanish tapas. In fact, it might be more prevalent than the national rice dish, paella! Make it correctly and you’ll have a perfectly salted, thick pieces of omelette layered with buttery fried potatoes.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make a Spanish tortilla:

  • Yukon gold potatoes: Use only Yukon Gold potatoes or another waxy potato like red potatoes. Do not use starchy potatoes like russet potatoes, as the texture is more mealy than buttery.
  • Olive oil and salt: This recipe calls for quite a bit of extra virgin olive oil and salt, but most are discarded as part of the frying process.
  • Eggs: The egg ties it all together! Use cage free organic eggs where possible.
  • Mayonnaise, for serving: If you’re not Spanish, this might seem odd. But a slather of mayo or more traditionally aioli, is the perfect sauce for the final flavor.
How to make Spanish tortilla

How to make Spanish tortilla, aka tortilla española

This is the traditional way to make Spanish tortilla, so it’s going to take a little time. Set aside 1 hour for this task! It’s not a quick and easy dinner recipe: view it as a fun project to experience Spanish culture. The nice thing is that you can easily make it ahead, and let it rest until mealtime or refrigerate leftovers for later (see below). Here are a few tips to know about how to make tortilla española:

  • Use a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or non-stick pan. This size of pan gets the nice thick tortilla with potato layers. You can also use a 12-inch skillet; it makes a thinner tortilla. Watch the cook time as it can vary.
  • Thinly slice potatoes and fry them, then add onion. Fry the potatoes for about 10 minutes, until tender and golden. Add the chopped onion in the last 5 minutes.
  • Add beaten eggs and cook until browned on the bottom but slightly runny on top. Watch the heat level! You don’t want it too high or the bottom will burn. Check occasionally with a spatula. Be careful if you have a large burner: keep it on medium low heat.
  • If you sense it’s going to burn, broil! Here’s a troubleshooting tip. If you sense the bottom is going to burn before the top is mostly set, remove it from the stove and broil the top until it’s slightly runny. This will make it easier to flip.
  • Flip and cook the other side. Place the cutting board on top and then flip the tortilla right onto it. Cook the other side until set (about 5 minutes). Then invert it onto a cutting board again, so the top side is up.
Tortilla española

Eat it cold, room temperature, or warm

Can you eat Spanish tortilla cold? One of the great things about tortilla española is that you can eat it cold, room temperature or warm. That makes it incredibly versatile. Eat it warm for dinner or brunch as a main dish. Serve it room temperature or cold sliced into wedges or squares as a Spanish tapas recipe. Really anything goes!

You can leave Spanish tortilla out on the counter at room temperature for up to 2 hours before serving, making it easy to make up in advance. In Spain, people leave it out even longer: they’re much more liberal with leaving things on the counter than we are here in America (and I never had any adverse effects!).

Spanish tortilla

How long will a Spanish tortilla keep?

How long does Spanish tortilla last? 3 days. You can serve tortilla española at a variety of temperatures, so it’s easy to serve as leftovers or make in advance. Here are some notes:

  • Keep it 2 to 3 hours at room temperature before serving. You can leave it for longer if desired (see notes above).
  • Refrigerate for up to 3 days. You can serve it cold, or let it stand and come to room temperature.
  • Reheat Spanish tortilla in a 300 degree oven for a few minutes if you’d like to serve it warm.

What to eat with Spanish tortilla

There are many ways to eat Spanish tortilla, depending on what meal of the day it is. Spainards traditionally eat tortilla española any time of the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner or tapas. Here are some ideas:

  • Brunch or dinner: Serve warm with an arugula salad and fresh bread.
  • Sandwich: Make a bocadillo de tortilla: serve it room temperature between two pieces of baguette slathered with mayonnaise.
  • Tapas: Cut it into wedges or squares and eat with toothpicks. Serve it in a spread with marinaded olives, marcona almonds, Manchego cheese, and jamón serrano (the Spanish version of prosciutto).
Diala's Kitchen

About the book: Diala’s Kitchen

This recipe comes to you straight from the new cookbook Diala’s Kitchen, written by the lovely Diala Canelo. Diala is an incredible recipe developer and food photographer (you must follow her on Instagram). She is Dominican and now lives in Toronto, and loves to travel. One of the things we love about her book is that her food style is so similar to ours: fresh, plant-forward meals with occasional beautiful seafood, too. We literally want to make every recipe in the book: Falafel Salad, Salmon Burgers, Green Goddess Soup, Baked Feta, Truffle Pasta, Shrimp Stew with Coconut-Tomato Sauce, Caramelized Banana and Cinnamon Loaf, Pumpkin Scones…the list goes on!

One special thing about this Spanish tortilla recipe is that Diala and I connected over a deep love for Barcelona. I studied abroad in Madrid and while I adore that city, my heart was stolen by beautiful Barca. Alex and I visited Barcelona in 2018 with our son Larson and I got to share all my favorite food memories with them. Diala recently visited Barcelona this year, and growing up Dominican, her culture was heavily influenced by Spanish cuisine. So we are absolutely thrilled to share her recipe for traditional tortilla española. Congratulations Diala, on an incredible book! We can’t wait to cook through it more.

Tapas recipe

This Spanish tortilla recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Spanish tortilla

Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla Española)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s how to make a traditional Spanish tortilla! Tortilla española is a potato and egg omelette that is a classic dinner or tapas recipe.


Ingredients

For the Spanish tortilla

  • 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 pounds)*
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided**
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 10 eggs

To serve

  • Italian parsley
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sweet paprika

Instructions

  1. Peel and slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch slices (a mandoline is handy if you have it, but not required).
  2. Place the potatoes in a large colander set over a large bowl or in the sink. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the salt and toss to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels. While the potatoes sit, dice the onion.
  3. In a 10-inch non-stick or cast iron skillet***, heat 1 1/2 cups of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Place the potatoes in the hot oil and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and tender, 10 to 14 minutes.
  4. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes and onion to a large bowl. In another large bowl, beat the eggs. Then transfer the potatoes and onion into the eggs. Drain the oil from the pan and wipe it clean.
  6. In the same pan, brush it with olive oil if it is a cast-iron skillet. Then heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium low heat. Pour the potato and onion mixture into the pan and using a spatula, spread it out evenly and smooth the top. Cook on medium low heat until the tortilla is golden on the bottom and almost set, about 10 to 12 minutes. It should still be slightly runny on top. (If it’s getting dark on the bottom and the top is still very runny, transfer it to a broiler and broil until the top is mostly set but still slightly runny.)
  7. Invert the tortilla onto a large plate. Slide the tortilla back into the frying pan, browned side up. Cook until golden on the bottom, about 4 minutes.
  8. Invert the tortilla again onto a cutting board. It’s best after sitting for 15 minutes to allow it to set, or you can let it sit up to 2 hours at room temperature before serving. Serve topped with chopped parsley and cut into wedges. For best flavor, top the wedges with dab of mayonnaise and a sprinkle of paprika.
  9. Make ahead and storage: Leftovers save very well and can be served cold, room temperature or warm. Refrigerate up to 3 days. If desired, reheat in a 300 degree oven until warm, but it’s great at room temp. You can also make it into a tortilla sandwich (bocadillo de tortilla): eat it room temperature between two slices of baguette slathered with mayo.

Notes

Recipe reprinted with permission from Diala’s Kitchen: Plant Forward and Pescatarian Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel by Diala Canelo.

*Use Yukon Gold or another waxy potato like red skinned. Do not use russet potatoes.

** Only 1/4 cup of olive oil is used in the recipe; the rest is discarded as part of frying. Most of the salt is also absorbed by the frying oil and discarded.

***You can also use a larger pan like a 12-inch skillet: the tortilla will be thinner and the cook time will vary a little.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Keywords: Spanish tortilla, Tortilla Española, Spanish tapas recipes, tapas recipes

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Summer Calls for Pisto Manchego—With a Fried Egg on Top

Let me just say this: There’s no wrong way to eat a summer tomato. Some of my preferred methods include blended into a velvety salmorejo or sliced as thick as a porterhouse, slathered with mayo and sandwiched between two hunks of bread.

But when I wan…

Let me just say this: There’s no wrong way to eat a summer tomato. Some of my preferred methods include blended into a velvety salmorejo or sliced as thick as a porterhouse, slathered with mayo and sandwiched between two hunks of bread.

But when I want tomatoes to be more sociable and mingle with other vegetables, I turn to a dish I discovered while living in Madrid: pisto manchego. I first came across it at the elementary school where I taught English, where they served it for lunch. Filing into the cafeteria, some of the students would complain, “Que no me gusta el pisto!” (“I don’t like pisto!”), but I always looked forward to pisto day. Eventually, I learned to make the dish myself, incorporating touches and tweaks to make it my own.

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Spanish Paella Recipe

Here’s how to make a paella recipe…the Spanish way! This stunning one pan dinner features shrimp, vegetables and all the authentic flavors of this traditional dish. Here’s a stunning one pan dinner that’s made for celebrations: paella! This traditional Spanish rice dish has thousands of variations. but it’s always rice with an explosion of colorful toppings. This one is our best classic paella recipe, based on our travels through Spain! We’ve perfected the skills so you can try it at home. It stars saffron-scented rice, mixed colorful vegetables and shrimp, and it’s full of traditional flavor. Here’s everything you need to know to make paella at home! What paella types are there? Paella is a traditional Spanish dish with saffron-flavored rice topped with seafood, meat and/or vegetables and served in a shallow paella pan. There are varying sizes of paella pans: small pans for two people, and massive paella pans for a crowd. (Fun fact: the world’s largest paella was made in a pan big enough for 30,000 people!) What types of paella are there? Spaniards themselves differ on what is the most classic, authentic paella recipe. Alex and I have eaten paella in Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid, and all […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make a paella recipe…the Spanish way! This stunning one pan dinner features shrimp, vegetables and all the authentic flavors of this traditional dish.

Paella Recipe

Here’s a stunning one pan dinner that’s made for celebrations: paella! This traditional Spanish rice dish has thousands of variations. but it’s always rice with an explosion of colorful toppings. This one is our best classic paella recipe, based on our travels through Spain! We’ve perfected the skills so you can try it at home. It stars saffron-scented rice, mixed colorful vegetables and shrimp, and it’s full of traditional flavor. Here’s everything you need to know to make paella at home!

What paella types are there?

Paella is a traditional Spanish dish with saffron-flavored rice topped with seafood, meat and/or vegetables and served in a shallow paella pan. There are varying sizes of paella pans: small pans for two people, and massive paella pans for a crowd. (Fun fact: the world’s largest paella was made in a pan big enough for 30,000 people!)

What types of paella are there? Spaniards themselves differ on what is the most classic, authentic paella recipe. Alex and I have eaten paella in Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid, and all of them have been vastly different. There are four main types of paella:

  • Paella de mariscos: Seafood paella with shrimp, prawns, scallops or mussels
  • Paella mixta: A mixed paella with seafood, meat and vegetables
  • Valenican-style paella (paella Valenciana): Chicken, rabbit, garrofó (a variety of lima bean), saffron, and rosemary
  • Paella de verduras: vegetarian paella with vegetables only
Spanish paella recipe

Ingredients in this paella recipe

For our best paella recipe, we used the common elements in the paella recipes we’ve had in different regions in Spain. Here’s what’s featured in this paella:

  • Traditional paella pan: you can also use a skillet (see below)
  • Bomba rice: you can also use arborio
  • Tomato, onion and garlic to make a quick “sofrito”
  • Saffron and pimentón aka smoked paprika
  • Mixed vegetables like artichokes, red pepper and peas
  • Seafood: you can also make vegetarian paella (see below)
  • Lemon wedges: garnishing with lemon is the perfect bright finish
Best paella recipe

What is the best paella pan? Do you need to use one?

A paella pan is a large round, shallow pan with handles used for cooking paella. The shallow shape lets rice cook consistently and lets it dry out more than it can in a skillet. If you have a paella pan or want one, now’s the time to use it! This recipe is for a 15-inch paella pan that serves 4 people. If you’re looking for one, here’s a link to purchase a 4-person paella pan.

Don’t have a paella pan? Don’t worry! Make this paella in your largest skillet. The larger the better! You may need to adjust the cook time slightly if you are using a skillet.

Paella pan care instructions: Paella pans are made of carbon steel and can rust. Make sure to dry the pan completely after cleaning it, and rub it with a bit of vegetable oil to prevent rusting.

Paella rice

What’s the best rice to use in paella?

The most authentic paella rice type is called bomba rice. Bomba rice is a white short grain rice. You can also use Arborio rice, which is easier to find but can result in a gummier texture than bomba. Either work! For this recipe we tried bomba and felt like it had more consistent results. You can find bomba rice online. Order it: Bomba rice

The secret spices: saffron and pimentón

This is an authentic style paella recipe, so it uses two special spices to get that traditional flavor. Here’s what to know:

  • Saffron brings an earthy flavor and a beautiful color to the dish. It’s an expensive spice, but it’s worth the splurge. What can you substitute for saffron? If you can’t find it or don’t want to splurge, use 1/2 teaspoon turmeric.
  • Smoked paprika: Called pimentón or Spanish smoked paprika, this bright red spice gives the dish more color and a smoky undertone. It’s easy to find and you’ll find it in many of our recipes here. (Here are our 20 best smoked paprika recipes.)
Easy paella recipe

Do not stir this paella recipe!

Once all the ingredients are added to the pan in paella, here’s what to do…or really, what not to do. Don’t stir it! Please repeat: no stirring allowed. The broth and spices boil through the rice, leaving everything perfectly flavored and cooked.

Traditionally, it’s good to get a brown crust on the bottom of the rice (perfectly brown, without burning it). The Spanish call this socarrat. It’s difficult to achieve the perfect socarrat because so much depends on the exact timing. It’s also a little harder to get it if you’re using a skillet. But never fear! Each time you cook this recipe, you’ll learn new things about perfecting your paella technique.

Paella variations

Variation: vegan and vegetarian paella

Don’t want to make a shrimp paella recipe? No problem. We love making vegan and vegetarian paella as well. (Or go to this Simple Vegetarian Paella.) Here’s what to do to customize this recipe:

  • Omit the shrimp! Obviously.
  • Add 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (1 1/2 cups cooked). Drain and rinse them, then add them when you add the vegetable broth.
  • Increase the salt by 1/4 teaspoon. You’ll need it to flavor the chickpeas.

This paella recipe is…

Gluten-free, pescatarian, and dairy-free. For vegetarian, plant-based, and dairy-free, see the section above.

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Paella Recipe

Spanish Paella Recipe


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Here’s how to make a paella recipe…the Spanish way! This stunning one pan dinner features shrimp, vegetables and all the authentic flavors of this traditional dish.


Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 to 3 roma or plum tomatoes (1 1/2 cups finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peel and deveined*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3 cups seafood stock or vegetable stock 
  • 1 1/2 cups short grain Bomba rice or arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed under water
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, quartered
  • Lemon wedges from 1/2 lemon
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prep the vegetables: Mince the onion. Mince the garlic. Finely chop the tomatoes, removing the cores but keeping the seeds with their juices.
  2. Measure out the ingredients: Measure out all the remaining ingredients before you start. The cooking process goes fast!
  3. Cook the shrimp: Dry the shrimp and add it to a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. In your largest skillet or a 4-serving paella pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp and saute until it is just barely opaque, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp and set it aside.
  4. Cook the paella: In the same pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until just translucent, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped tomatoes, the remaining 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and red pepper flakes, and cook until the tomatoes have broken down and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock, saffron and 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Sprinkle the rice evenly across the broth and tap the pan with a spoon to evenly spread the rice. Bring to a medium simmer and cook without stirring until liquid is absorbed, about 18 to 22 minutes (adjust the cook time as necessary if using a skillet).
  5. Adjust the heat as necessary: If your pan is large enough to span multiple burners on your stovetop, adjust the heat on each burner so you achieve a steady medium simmer. Rotate the pan every few minutes for an even cook.
  6. Add the artichokes and peas: When the top of the rice is beginning to show through the liquid (about 10 minutes into the cook time), press the artichokes and peas lightly into the rice.
  7. Assess whether the paella is done: In last few minutes, carefully watch the paella and rotate pan more frequently. As the paella finishes, you’ll see the steam start to slow down as the water cooks out. If desired, peek at the bottom of a pan by using a knife to scrape back the rice — you shouldn’t see any standing water. The sound will start to change from a simmer to a crackle. This indicates the crust is forming. Let the crackling continue for about 2 minutes before removing from the heat. If you smell any burning, remove immediately.
  8. Add the shrimp and serve: When the paella is done, add the shrimp to top of paella and squeeze the lemon wedges onto the top of the pan. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of kosher salt and add the parsley, if using. Serve with additional lemon wedges.

Notes

*Vegetarian and vegan variation: Remove the shrimp. Add 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked) when you add the veggie broth. Increase the salt by 1/4 teaspoon.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Keywords: Paella Recipe, Paella

More paella recipes

Love paella? Here are a few more options to try:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes