Best Spanish Omelet Recipe Ever – Authentic Tortilla de Patatas

Spanish omelet recipe
The only Spanish omelet recipe you’ll ever need

Is there anything more Spanish than la tortilla española?

I’m really sure not sure that there is. When made right, a Spanish omelet is the definition of traditional Spanish cuisine: simple to make, clean flavors, and the best ingredients. This is the formula for the greatest Spanish recipes.

I waited three years to make a tortilla of my own.

Why so long? Well, to be perfectly honest, the Spanish omelet intimidates me. It can be so incredibly good– and also terribly, horribly bad. I’ve had my fair share of both ends of the spectrum, and wanted my first tortilla to be a well thought out event.

Was it? Of course not! The first time I finally got the nerve to make a tortilla española of my own it was a split second decision, followed by an hour in the kitchen and a resulting tasty, though partially burnt, tortilla concoction. It wasn’t an all out failure, but it was far from the Spanish omelet of my dreams!

But with time and patience, I learned the tricks and perfected the ever so intimidating Spanish omelet recipe. This is my version, with onions (a controversial ingredient among Spaniards) and left quite runny in the middle (you are free to cook it longer). It is delicious, easy to make (at least once you get the hang of it!) and makes the ideal Spanish tapa for a dinner or cocktail party. It is also incredible when placed into a warm baguette and eaten as a tortilla sandwich— it is actually the sandwich of choice among Spanish school children and a popular afternoon snack.

So without further chit chat, here is the best recipe for an authentic Spanish omelet– I hope you enjoy it!

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Best Spanish Omelet Recipe Ever
 
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The best Spanish omelet recipe will have you creating creamy and delicious tortilla española in no time!
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Spanish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 kilogram (about 2 pounds) of potatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 large eggs (free range if possible)
  • 1 onion
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. Peel the potatoes and rinse them under cold water.
  2. Slice the potatoes into thin slices, I prefer about ½ centimeter (some prefer thicker)
  3. Pat the potato slices dry and put them into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and mix well.
  4. Heat a ½ inch of high quality extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan at medium low heat.
  5. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes and add more oil if necessary until all are covered.
  6. Cook the potatoes for 20 minutes at a low heat (they may break apart, that is okay).
  7. While the potatoes are cooking, beat the eggs in a large bowl and season with some salt and pepper.
  8. Slice the onion as thin as possible (julianne style) and fry in a separate frying pan for about 10 minutes until they begin to caramelize (stir often).
  9. When the onions are caramelized, drain off any excess oil and add to the egg mixture.
  10. When the potatoes have been frying 20 minutes, remove them with a slotted spoon into a strainer and allow to cool off while any excess oil drips away.
  11. After a few minutes, add the potatoes to the egg mixture and stir well.
  12. Let the egg mixture sit for about 20 minutes.
  13. In the same pan where you fried the potatoes, remove all the oil (you can reuse it!) and over a medium low heat add the egg mixture.
  14. Over a low heat, cook the eggs for about 6-8 minutes per side.
  15. When you are sure that the bottom is cooked and you want to flip the tortilla, take a large plate and put it over the pan and flip quickly! Some egg will likely slip out-- it'll be messy-- but that's okay!
  16. Finally, slide out of the pan onto a serving plate and let cool a little before diving in.

So that is it! My tips are to cook the Spanish omelet at a low heat (that way it won’t burn) and experiment the first few times with different cook times until you get it right. Also, I prefer to slice the potatoes thin so that they do break apart, and I prefer to caramelize the onions quite a bit… yum! Lastly *super tip*– it is easier to make mini tortillas in the tiny single egg frying pans they sell. Mine come out perfect every time!

Let me know if you try making this authentic Spanish tortilla— I’m curious to see how it goes for others!

What do you think– are the best Spanish omelets are made with onions or not? Caramelized? Runny in the middle or cooked through?

Comments

  1. Poca hecha all the way! So much better than a dry one. I just ate one today, actually!

    And I always add onions and green Spanish pepper. Our recipes are pretty similar.

    1. Mmm, peppers sound good too. Sometimes I add anything and everything to a tortilla, but with those ones I usually cook it a little more. But runny with caramelized onions is my all time favorite!

  2. That sounds fantastic, I especially like the sound of having potatoes as part of the omelet, though I’ll definitely have to cut that recipe down, probably to 1/4 of what it is since I’d only be preparing it for myself.

    Thanks, Lauren, nicely done.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  3. Ah, Spanish tortilla. A life saver – vegetarian and gluten free. Definitely needs the onions as far as I’m concerned. A woman in Madrid taught me how to make it years ago, and her method of turning it was to ease it, cooked side down, onto a large plate. Then cover that with another large plate and quickly turn them upside down. Remove the top plate and gently slide the tortilla, cooked side up, back into the pan (make sure there’s a little oil left at the bottom of the pan). I find this easier than trying to flip the pan itself.

  4. I agree that, as ubiquitous as this dish is, it sure is daunting to make! I prefer mine with caramelllly onions and poca hecha in the middle–probably a lot like that photo you’e got up top! Although, I did have a really awesome tortilla once in Cantabria which was also included chorizo, yummmm.

  5. yum! with onions and cooked through please 🙂 I like the extra plate idea too, will have to do that next tortilla that I make.

    1. p.s. you might want to look at step 13? a word I’m guessing you didn’t intend to have there…..feel free to delete this comment too.

  6. This is the Holy Grail of Spanish cuisine! I wondered when you were going to get to it, Lauren. In 17 years here mine are either beautiful but insipid or ugly and tasty. I keep trying – though the caramelized onion idea is new to me. And of course personal taste comes into it – I like the tortilla cold since I think the flavours come through better. But hubby and child like it hot (Some Like It Hot!). I have one on now, off to see if it´s burning. I´m so nervous!

  7. After my first trip to spain twenty years ago, I came home determined to reproduce one of these. It took at least five years of weekly-or-more tortillas before I was really happy. But the great thing about tortillas is even when they come out wrong, because they’re so basic they’re still excellent!

    The caramelized onions are fairly non-traditional. But who cares! If they taste good, it’s right. It might be fair to warn people that it’s going to take a bit more than 10 minutes to brown an onion, though. Closer to an hour. And over very low heat unless you’re going for burnt onions instead.

  8. I’m getting some good compliments in the kitchen department from Kike, so I’m attempting this tonight. I knew I couldn’t try any other recipe but yours, guapa!! Will let you know…and maybe I’ll actually bring food to the next gathering, and not plastic plates!!

  9. Just attempted my 3rd tortilla- 1st following your recipe. I’m going to need more flipping practice. Half of it comes out and the other stays semi-stuck in the pan. Any tips?
    No matter how it looks, I know it’s going to taste good : )
    But you may have given me a new challenge!

    1. It´s really important that your pan is nonstick (did i write that correctly?), that´s the only way you can do a tortilla de patatas correctly. In Spain we usually use one pan only to do tortillas, so it doesn´t get damaged.

      Also you should do the flipping quickly so it doesn´t fall throught the gap between the plate and the pan.

  10. Thanks to Spanish roots in Puerto Rico, one always finds the tortilla at parties and it always features potatoes and onions. It often features Chorizo as well. Surely it has to do with the area the Spanish immigrants came from. Even in Bologna, Italy I prepare the Spanish tortilla…I agree that the quality of the olive oil is important…only excellent and flavorful oil should be used.

    Its time I make it again…

  11. Está muy bien esta receta, aunque yo no hago las cebollas en otra sartén, me gusta más que se frían junto con las papas para que éstas queden más sabrosas. Y también se le puede añadir pimiento picado, ya sea rojo o verde y, al huevo batido, se le puede poner perejil también picado.
    Por último, prueben a dejar las papas 5 minutos dentro del huevo batido antes de hacer la tortilla, así quedará mucho más jugosa.
    I’m sorry because I don’t writing in English, I’m studying to improve the language so… here you are a little Spanish lesson 🙂

  12. Hey how many does this feed? I’m looking to cook for 3 girls and 1 guy? Will this feed four? Sounds so delicious!!

    1. Hi Kelsey,

      It depends, this is usually a snack or appetizer here. It will cut 6-8 slices (like a pizza) and if used as a main dish, would probably feed 3-4 people.

      Thanks for commenting! Lauren

  13. Esta es una muy buena receta. Esto se ve muy delicioso, creo que la próxima vez me voy a casa voy a hacer yo mismo. Aunque no me gusta la cebolla creo que se daría una oportunidad. Este Blog Español tiene un montón de recetas buenas que me gustaría compartir con mi familia y amigos.

  14. This is an absolute staple in our house – I make it 3 or 4 times a week. I rarely use onion… I prefer garlic in mine (although obviously not in the same quantities). But I’ll give your caramelised onion version a go as that method would give more flavour.

    I also never flip mine. I wait until the underside is cooked… then I pop it under a very hot grill.

    Alan won’t eat it… so there’s double for me! The neighbours have dropped some eggs from their chickens round today so I shall be making another tomorrow.

    Yum!

    Elle x

    1. Just stumbled across this again while checking comment subscriptions.

      After I replied last time, I gave it a go with caramelised onions and now I do it that way every time. I also always flip now. Thank you for the tip – it makes all the difference.

      I can be smug now because everyone loves my tortillas: potatoes, onions, garlic – and they get snapped up! I make sure there is always one whipped up in case guests arrive… and I probably eat more than I should. But hey, I’m still slim so it’s okay… for now xxxx

  15. My Aunt taught me how to make Tortilla when my wife and I stayed with her in Javea about 20 years ago – it’s been a staple of ours for lunch, dinner, and, especially, picnics, as it’s possibly better cold than when just cooked. Yesterday I got a text message from one of my sons asking me to send him my recipe, which I did, bearing in mind it’s done more by eye than weight. He sent me a photo of it later…I taught him well.

  16. Oh you have to put onions in tortillas. I allso like to beat about half a teaspoon of garlic powder into the eggs. And best of all I love to sprinkle a Good strong blue cheese on top and put under the grill until it browns. Cheers from New Zealand

    1. Surely cheese on top makes it more of a frittata than a tortilla? My aunt, who taught me how to make tortilla in Spain, just uses eggs, onions and potatoes, but when her daughter made one for me she put garlic in it – cloves, still in the skin. I enjoyed it, but I like whole garlic cloves cooked anyway.

      1. Sounds great! True tradition is just potatoes and eggs, but really anything can go in. Some people even make a double layered stuffed tortilla, and others do top their tortilla with cheese/toppings. But most would agree that potato and egg (and in my opinion, onion!) are the best!

  17. I have been making Tortillas for a few years now. But when the bottom is cooked I allways put mine under the grill to cook the top. Theirs know messing around having to flip the pan that way. Cheers

      1. I’ve been making tortilla for many years since learning in Spain…My son in Madrid uses shredded raw potato fried in oil quickly…I learned to pre boil the potatos until almost done…then hot fry and add to the beaten eggs…the trick is to let the potatos soak with the eggs for fifteen minutes…the mixture should be warm when poured into the hot pan…I use a fork to lift the edges and tilt the pan to slide the mixture. What I was taught was to pour into a hot pan, and then lower the heat to simmer and be patient. The first flip is messy…the second flip is less so…then a few more flips…to have a wet center, the heat must be low. I add the chopped onions to the potatos to the hot fry. When I lived in Barcelona all the workers seemed to bring a tortilla sandwich for the lunch break. The volume of potato should be greater than the volume of egg/

  18. Hola Lauren,

    For authenticity, I would suggest two things: yellow potatoes (e.g. Yukon Gold or regular yellow potatoes) and Spanish onions (or other sweet onion). This will make a huge difference in the outcome with respect to texture and flavor, as not all potatoes are idea for this dish and some onions do better than others.

    I’ll be trying your recipe in coming weeks.

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