Best Spanish Tortilla Recipe (Tortilla de Patatas) - Spanish Sabores

Best Spanish Tortilla Recipe (Tortilla de Patatas)

Looking for an authentic Spanish tortilla recipe? My tortilla de patatas is the classic Spanish omelette recipe made with potatoes, eggs, onion, and olive oil — that’s it! In Spain, we eat tortilla de patatas all day long — it’s the perfect breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner.

So grab the ingredients and try making your own Spanish omelette with this easy tortilla recipe!

Finished Spanish omelet, the tortilla de patatas on a white plate.
A glorious Spanish tortilla waiting to be devoured!

Is there anything more Spanish than la tortilla española? Also called tortilla de patatas, Spanish omelette, Spanish tortilla, potato omelet, and even Spanish frittata — this is quite arguably Spain’s national dish. 

When made right, a good Spanish omelette is the very definition of traditional Spanish cuisine: simple food made with the best ingredients. This is the formula for the greatest Spanish recipes.

I lived in Spain for three years before I was brave enough to make a Spanish tortilla of my own.

Slice of Spanish tortilla on a white plate in the foreground. Another slice and a bread basket in the background.
The only Spanish omelette recipe you’ll ever need!

Why so long? Well, to be perfectly honest, the Spanish omelette intimidated 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 delicious.

Was it perfect? Of course not!

The first time I finally got the nerve to try a Spanish tortilla recipe I spent an hour in the kitchen, which resulted in a tasty, though partially burnt, tortilla concoction. It wasn’t an all-out failure, but it was far from the Spanish omelette of my dreams!

But with time and patience, I learned the tortilla tricks and perfected my very own Spanish omelette recipe.

Full Spanish omelet ready to eat
My recipe will teach you the tricks to a great tortilla, every time!

This is my version of Spain’s tortilla de patatas, with onions (a controversial ingredient among Spaniards) and left a bit gooey 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 any time of day.

Key Ingredients

The beauty of the authentic Spanish tortilla recipe is its simplicity. It has only five ingredients (and onion-haters would argue only four!): eggs, onion, potato, olive oil, salt. 

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

  • Eggs: Use the best quality you have available to you. 
  • Onion: I use a large white onion, though you can experiment with other varieties.
  • Potatoes: Use waxy potatoes for your tortilla — Yukon Golds work well.

Spanish Tortilla Recipe: Step by Step

Making a Spanish omelette is very easy — most Spanish families I know make at least one per week! My mother-in-law makes a tortilla de patatas as a quick and easy dinner meal when she doesn’t have anything else planned.

But there are ways to make your tortilla extra delicious, and those are the tricks I’ll show you here.

Spanish omelet recipe steps 1-4 in a grid. Step one sliced potatoes frying in olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Step two sliced onions frying in a pan. Step 3 the sliced potatoes fully fried. Step 4 the sliced onions browning in the pan.

Step 1: Start by adding your sliced potatoes to hot olive oil in a heavy pan. They need to be fully covered in the oil — so you’ll need to use quite a bit! Don’t worry, you can reuse it a few times, so it won’t go to waste. Cook the potatoes over a medium heat, remember that you don’t want french fries!

Step 2: While the potatoes are cooking, add the sliced onions to a separate pan with a bit of olive oil. Sauté these over a medium heat until starting to caramelize (about 15-20 minutes). Add a splash of water if needed from time to time so that they don’t burn.

Step 3-4: When the potatoes are fully cooked some may start to break apart. That’s okay, but don’t let them become too broken down. Keep an eye on the onions so that they don’t burn.

Making Spanish tortilla steps 5-8 in a grid. Step 5 is added the caramelized onions to the beaten eggs. Step 6 is draining the cooked potatoes. Step 7 is added the egg, onion, and potato mixture to the pan. Step 8 is cooking the tortilla in the pan.

Steps 5-6: In a large bowl, beat your eggs (which should be at room temperature). Add the cooked onion and mix. Next, you need to drain the potatoes in a large colander (save the excess olive oil for another recipe!). Once the potatoes have cooled slightly (about five minutes or so) gently stir them into the onion and egg mixture. Be careful that the hot potatoes don’t start to scramble the egg. 

Top Tip: Season with salt (many people taste the raw tortilla batter to adjust for salt, but if you prefer not to just add a couple of teaspoons for now). Now let this mixture sit for 15 minutes (I know it’s tempting to just go ahead and make the tortilla — but trust me!).

Step 7: Gently pour the tortilla batter into a frying pan over medium-low heat. You don’t want the pan to be too hot. Gently cook the tortilla for about six to eight minutes on the first side. You can run a spatula along the sides to make sure it’s not sticking. 

Step 8: To flip the tortilla grab a large plate — it must be larger than the frying pan! See my note below about the two tortilla trick to make this easier. Put the plate on top of the pan and flip quickly and confidently. It will be runny, but don’t worry — you’ll put everything back into the pan to cook the other side!

Young woman flipping a Spanish tortilla from a frying pan onto a white plate.

Step 9: Slide the tortilla back into the frying pan and let the other side cook for another six to eight minutes (let it cook longer if you like your tortilla fully cooked through). Then flip back out onto a clean plate. Allow it to cool for at least ten minutes before slicing and enjoying. 

Full Spanish omelet on a white plate.

Tips & Tricks for the Perfect Spanish Tortilla

  • Take your time. The best tortillas aren’t quick, 15 minute affairs. But they’re worth the extra effort. 
  • Lower the heat. The first time I cooked tortilla I had the heat too high, similar to when making other egg dishes. This resulted in a rubbery tortilla. 
  • Cook the eggs and onions separately. Many recipes cook them together, but to get each to its prime Spanish omelette point, I think it’s worth washing one more pan.
  • Use room temperature eggs. In Europe, many people don’t refrigerate their eggs at all. Recipes are meant to use room temperature eggs and it does make a big difference.
  • Let the egg, potato, and onion mixture sit for at least 15 minutes — minimum! This makes a HUGE difference to the final result. It is a must.
  • Don’t fear the flip! You have to go forcefully and quickly to make it happen. Don’t be afraid!
  • Use a small frying pan and make two tortillas when starting out. I love this tip because it makes the flip so much easier (the pan is lighter, any dinner plate will work, and if you mess up the first time you still have half the batter left!).  
  • Use great quality olive oil. Considering the potatoes are slowly cooked in olive oil, they absorb a lot of it. If you use good quality olive oil everything will be tastier and much healthier too. 

Spanish Tortilla FAQs

Is there a difference between Mexican and Spanish tortillas?

Mexican and Spanish tortillas are completely different foods. They both originate from the meaning “circular food”. In Mexico, tortillas are made with either a flour or corn dough, and cooked over fire to make a flat bread that is usually filled with or accompanied by meat or beans. In Spain, a tortilla refers to an omelette made with beaten egg, to which you can add other ingredients such as potato, onion or spinach. It’s cooked in a frying pan, which gives it its round shape.

What goes with Spanish tortilla?

Spanish tortilla is an extremely versatile food, and something that is eaten in Spain for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack. A variety of Spanish tapas go well with tortilla, as does pan con tomate, or a mixed salad.

What is the difference between Spanish tortilla and Italian frittata?

Spanish tortilla and Italian frittata are both omelette like egg dishes. The difference is the way that they are cooked. A Spanish tortilla is cooked in a frying pan on the stovetop and is flipped over halfway through to ensure both sides cook evenly. Sometimes it is served a bit runny or raw. A frittata is usually started on the stovetop, but finished in the oven. It is fully cooked through.

Can you eat Spanish tortilla cold?

Most people in Spain eat Spanish tortilla at room temperature. It can be eaten warm, room temperature or cold.

How do you store Spanish tortilla?

To store a Spanish omelette you must first wait for it to cool fully. Then cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

How long can you keep Spanish tortilla in the fridge?

Tortilla will last up to three days in the fridge.

How do you reheat Spanish tortilla?

To reheat Spanish tortilla you can microwave a slice for a very short period (try 15 seconds to start). Alternatively, you can pan fry on the stove with a bit of olive oil. Note that Spanish tortilla does not need to be reheated, many people enjoy it cold or room temperature and don’t want to risk the eggs getting rubbery by reheating.

Can you add other ingredients to Spanish tortilla?

Of course! Spanish tortillas come in all sorts of varieties. The most famous is the tortilla de patatas (potato omelet) but there are plenty of other delicious combinations. Try cheese and ham, fresh asparagus and mushroom, or goat cheese and caramelized onions. I have great recipes for a tortilla with ham and peas and another Spanish omelette with zucchini and leeks.

Serving Suggestions

Since tortilla is so versatile, it really depends when you’re eating it!

  • Breakfast: I love starting my day with a slice of Spanish omelette and a piece of toast. I drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on the bread and then place the tortilla on top. 
  • Snack: 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.
  • Lunch/Dinner: When I eat tortilla as my main meal I either pair it with a variety of tapas (see suggestions below) or with a healthy salad, like the ensalada mixta.

Any of the following dishes would go perfectly with Spanish tortilla. Make a handful for a tapas themed meal!

  • Chorizo al Vino Tinto: This simple chorizo tapa is perfect with tortilla and a hunk of hearty bread too. 
  • Patatas Bravas: One of Spain’s most popular tapas and for good reason! These delicious fried potatoes with spicy bravas sauce are a must-make.
  • Pimientos de Padrón: Padrón peppers are flash-fried and sprinkled with sea salt. Warning – they’re addictive!
  • Classic Spanish Sangria: It’s the perfect refreshing drink to accompany your tapas. 
  • Gazpacho or Salmorejo: Spain’s most famous cold tomato soups go perfectly with a slice of homemade Spanish tortilla!

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Finished Spanish omelet, the tortilla de patatas on a white plate.

Spanish Tortilla Recipe (Tortilla de Patatas)

This easy and authentic Spanish omelette recipe combines egg, potato, onion, olive oil, and salt in what is the best Spanish tortilla you'll try.
5 from 12 votes
Print (images optional) Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack, Tapas
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 215.41kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs potatoes Yukon Golds work well (1kg)
  • Salt to taste
  • 8 large eggs free range if possible
  • 1 large onion
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil enough to fry the potatoes and cook the tortilla. You can substitute a neutral oil for frying if you wish (but good quality olive oil really makes a difference!).

Instructions

  • Peel the potatoes and rinse them under cold water.
  • Slice the potatoes into thin slices, I prefer about 1/2 centimeter (some prefer thicker). I use a mandolin to do this quickly and easily.
    Sliced potatoes in a bowl
  • Pat the potato slices dry and put them into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and mix well.
  • Heat a 1/2 inch of high quality extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan at medium low heat.
  • When the oil is hot, add the potatoes and add more oil if necessary until all are covered.
    Sliced potatoes in a frying pan covered with olive oil
  • Cook the potatoes for 20 minutes at a low heat (they may break apart, that is okay).
    Sliced potatoes frying in olive oil to make Spanish tortilla
  • While the potatoes are cooking, beat the eggs in a large bowl and season with some salt.
  • Slice the onion as thin as possible (julienne style) and fry over a low heat in a separate heavy pan (I like stainless steel) for about 10-20 minutes until they begin to caramelize (stir often).
    Sliced onions caramelizing in a frying pan for tortilla de patatas
  • When the onions are caramelized, drain off any excess oil and add to the egg mixture.
    Caramelized onions and beaten eggs
  • 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.
    Straining fried potatoes in a metal strainer to add to the Spanish tortilla
  • After a few minutes, add the potatoes to the egg mixture and stir well.
  • Let the egg mixture sit for about 20 minutes.
  • 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.
    Tortilla mixture in a frying pan
  • Over medium-low heat, cook the tortilla for about 6-8 minutes per side. Make sure the heat is low enough or the tortilla will cook too quickly and be rubbery. You can run a rubber spatula along the edges to make sure the tortilla isn't sticking.
    Cooking a Spanish omelet in a frying pan.
  • 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!
    After flipping the Spanish tortilla it cooks on the other side.
  • Finally, slide out of the pan onto a serving plate and let cool a little before diving in.
    Finished Spanish omelet, the tortilla de patatas on a white plate.

Notes

  • Use the best quality ingredients — this recipe is all about the flavor of the eggs, potatoes, and olive oil. 
  • Take your time. There are quicker recipes out there — this one is better and worth the extra time.
  • Lower the heat. Make sure to cook over medium-low. Cooking over a heat that’s too high will result in a rubbery tortilla. 
  • Cook the eggs and potatoes separately. Many recipes cook them together, but it’s worth cooking each to their perfect point in separate pans.
  • Use room temperature eggs. In Europe, many people don’t refrigerate their eggs at all. Recipes are meant to use room temperature eggs and it does make a big difference.
  • Let the egg, potato, and onion mixture sit for at least 15 minutes — minimum! This makes a HUGE difference to the final result. It is a must.
  • Don’t fear the flip! You have to go forcefully and quickly to make it happen. Don’t be afraid!
  • Use a small frying pan and make two tortillas when starting out. I love this tip because it makes the flip so much easier (the pan is lighter, any dinner plate will work, and if you mess up the first time you still have half the batter left!). 

Nutrition

Calories: 215.41kcal | Carbohydrates: 21.41g | Protein: 7.97g | Fat: 11.05g | Saturated Fat: 2.34g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 163.68mg | Sodium: 106.31mg | Potassium: 558.28mg | Fiber: 2.73g | Sugar: 1.63g | Vitamin A: 240.14IU | Vitamin C: 23.36mg | Calcium: 41.5mg | Iron: 1.72mg
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So that is it! Remember my top tips are to cook the Spanish omelette 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!

Let me know if you try making this authentic Spanish tortilla– I’m curious to see how it goes! To learn more about the history of Spanish omelette, you can read more here.

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

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