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Making homemade flour tortillas is so easy with this tortilla recipe made with beef tallow. Because they’re fresh, the flavor of the soft tortillas is remarkable compared to store-bought tortillas.
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What are flour tortillas?
Tortillas are a type of flatbread made with a starch, water, fat and salt. They’re a staple in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, as well as in many other Latin American and Southwestern American dishes.
The starch in corn tortillas is masa harina, and the starch in flour tortillas is traditionally wheat flour. Nowadays, there are a variety of flour types available online and in your local grocery store.
As for the fat, this recipe uses beef tallow, which is rendered down beef fat. You can make your own tallow or buy beef tallow online. Instead of beef fat, you can also use lard, which comes from pork, or vegetable shortening.
Use flour tortillas to make various dishes such as burritos, tacos, quesadillas and fajitas. These fresh homemade tortillas can also be used to make wraps with lunch meat or filled with meat and deep-fried to make chimichangas or flautas.
- All-Purpose Flour: I use traditional all-purpose flour because I like the level of gluten in this variety. You’re welcome to play around with other flours, but you may need to adjust the proportions.
- Warm Water
- Beef Tallow: Beef tallow is rendered beef fat. It should be at room temperature, so it is soft.
- Kosher Salt
Substitutions: Instead of beef tallow, you can use lard or vegetable shortening.
See the full recipe card below for servings and a full list of ingredients.
How to make flour tortillas
- STEP ONE: Place the ingredients in a large bowl. Combine with a fork until moist.
PRO TIP: If you have a stand mixer, place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the dough hook. Mix on low to blend and then increase the speed to medium to knead for 3-5 minutes. Then, skip to step three.
- STEP TWO: Dump the dough onto the counter. Knead for 3-5 minutes to fully combine and develop gluten. To knead, fold the dough over itself multiple times and press it together.
PRO TIP: There is no need to add flour to the work surface. The consistency of the dough should be perfect, so it doesn't stick. Adding extra flour will make the dough more dense.
- STEP THREE: Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with a clean dish towel and rest for 15-30 minutes.
- STEP FOUR: Using a dough cutter, pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into pieces. Divide the dough into eight pieces for taco-size tortillas and 12 pieces for street taco-size tortillas.
- STEP FIVE: Roll the pieces into a ball of dough and flatten.
PRO TIP: I use a tortilla press from Masienda. After much research and trial and error, it's my favorite press. To keep the dough from sticking, I use two pieces of parchment paper sheets or a large plastic zip-top bag, cut open on three sides.
Using a rolling pin
If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can place the tortilla dough balls between two sheets of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to flatten.
They will be less symmetrical, but they’ll taste just as great.
- STEP SIX: Heat a skillet, comal or griddle to medium-high heat. Place the tortillas on the hot pan or hot griddle and cook for 30-60 seconds per side.
PRO TIP: The tortillas will form air bubbles that brown after a few seconds.
- STEP SEVEN: Remove from the griddle and keep warm and soft with a damp paper towel or a clean kitchen towel. Or, store them in a tortilla warmer.
How to use flour tortillas
Use this flour tortilla recipe to make fresh tortillas for soft tacos, burritos or wraps with lunch meat.
It’s best to use the tortillas right away. Store leftovers in an airtight container like a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for up 3-5 days.
Warm tortillas in a microwave or on a skillet. To keep them moist, wrap them in a damp paper towel.
You can also freeze tortillas. Thaw on the counter or in the refrigerator and then heat.
GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips
- Make sure your tallow is at room temperature and your water is warm
- Let the dough rest to relax the glutens
- Invest in a tortilla press for even circles
Frequently Asked Questions
If you store these delicious tortillas in an airtight container in the refrigerator, they’ll stay fresh for 3-5 days. You can also vacuum seal them and freeze them for up to six months.
Some tortilla recipes call for baking powder because it acts as a leavening agent and helps the tortillas rise.
This easy recipe doesn’t call for it. I find if you let the dough rest after kneading it, the glutens will create their own air pockets and bubbles.
It’s not hard to make tortillas from scratch. The flour, fat and water proportions in this recipe create a perfectly soft dough. The hardest part is flattening the balls of dough.
If you have a tortilla press, it’s a breeze. If you don’t, just use a rolling pin, or flatten the dough between two heavy books.
Then, just cook tortillas on a hot pan or griddle.
Recipes that use tortillas
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Homemade Flour Tortillas with Beef Tallow
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 3 tbsp beef tallow
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Mix: Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with a fork or your hands to combine.
- Knead: Pour the dough onto the counter and knead for 3-5 minutes, until the dough is moist.
- Rest: Cover the dough with a towel and let it rest for 15-30 minutes.
- Roll: Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into golf ball-size balls.
- Flatten: Flatten with a tortilla press, rolling pin or two heavy books lined with plastic wrap.
- Cook: Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle to medium-high heat. Place the tortillas on the heat and cook for 30-60 seconds per side.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.