What Is a Spanish Tortilla?

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  • Written By: Amber Eberle
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2019
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A Spanish tortilla is a dish traditionally made with eggs, potatoes, and onions. The potatoes and onions are fried in oil, and then added to beaten eggs. The ingredients are then cooked in a skillet until the eggs begin to set, and then the tortilla is flipped to allow the other side to cook. Some recipes may call for the addition of other ingredients, such as chorizo, bacon, peppers, scallions, or cheese. Tortillas are very popular in Spain, and are commonly served as the main entree of any meal, or may be eaten as a snack.

When making a Spanish tortilla the potatoes and onions are prepared first. The potatoes are sliced very thinly, and cooked in oil until tender, but not browned. Olive oil is usually used, but butter or other types of oils may be substituted. The onions can be cooked in the same pan as the potatoes, and are usually added to the skillet when the potatoes are halfway done cooking. After they're sauteed, the potatoes and onions are drained of excess oil and added to a bowl of eggs that have been beaten. The ingredients are mixed together until well combined.


The egg mixture is then typically cooked in a deep skillet over medium to high heat. When the bottom of the Spanish tortilla is set, slightly brown, and crispy, it is flipped over in order to cook the other side. In some regions of Spain, a tortilla is only flipped once, while in other parts of the country it may be flipped several times until cooked through. A non-stick skillet with sloping sides is usually used to make it easier to flip the tortilla. If flipping is too difficult for a novice cook, the tortilla may be placed in an oven to finish cooking.

While a traditional Spanish tortilla consists of only eggs, potatoes, and onions, there are many variations of the classic recipe. Common additions include chorizo sausage, bacon, peppers, and scallions. Some people choose to melt cheese on top of their tortilla. The recipe is very versatile, and it is easy to modify a Spanish tortilla according to the taste of the person preparing it.

Spanish tortillas are very popular and may be served at breakfast, lunch, or dinner in that country. They are also commonly eaten as an appetizer or snack throughout the day. A tortilla can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature.


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