Spanish Omelet: How to Make Spanish Tortilla

There’s something truly magical about the Spanish cuisine: its rich flavors, vibrant colors, and heartwarming dishes have won the hearts of food enthusiasts around the world. Among the culinary treasures of Spain, the Spanish tortilla, also known as tortilla de patatas or Spanish potato omelette, stands out as a beloved and iconic dish.

In this journey through the world of the Spanish tortilla, we’ll explore its origins, its ingredients, and most importantly, how to create this dish with an authentic Spanish omelette recipe.

Spanish Omelet: How to Make Spanish Tortilla


Before we roll up our sleeves and start cooking, let’s answer the fundamental question: What is a Spanish omelette? Essentially, it’s a delectable combination of eggs, potatoes, onions, and sometimes other ingredients like peppers. It’s cooked to perfection, resulting in a savory, custardy, and slightly crispy delight that can be enjoyed hot or cold, as a tapa or a meal.

The Spanish omelette is a versatile dish that can be found throughout Spain, from the bustling streets of Madrid to the charming villages of Andalusia.

The Spanish omelette is a true staple of Spanish cuisine, loved by both locals and visitors alike

Whether you’re sharing it with friends over a leisurely brunch or savoring it as a late-night snack, this delight never fails to please.

Spanish Omelet: How to Make Spanish Tortilla
Spanish Omelet: How to Make Spanish Tortilla


The history of the Spanish tortilla is as rich and diverse as the flavors it brings to the table. While it’s now firmly associated with Spanish culture, its origins may surprise you. The word “tortilla” itself comes from the Spanish word “torta”, which means a round cake or flatbread. However, the dish we know today as Spanish tortilla evolved over time.

The concept of combining eggs and potatoes can be traced back to the Americas, where indigenous cultures like the Incas and Aztecs were already using these ingredients in various forms. After the Spanish explorers brought potatoes and eggs back to Europe in the 16th century, these ingredients gradually found their way into Spanish kitchens.

The first written record of the Spanish tortilla dates back to the early 19th century, making it a relatively recent addition to Spanish cuisine. Originally, it was a dish primarily enjoyed by the working class, as it was an affordable and filling option. Over the years, it gained popularity and became a cherished part of Spanish gastronomy.

Spanish Omelet: How to Make Spanish Tortilla


Now that we know a bit about the history, let’s delve into the ingredients that make up a classic Spanish omelette:

  • Potatoes: You may want to use new potatoes as they hold their shape better during cooking.

  • Onions: Yellow or white onions work best. They add a sweet and savory dimension to the omelette.

  • Eggs: Fresh eggs are crucial for achieving that creamy texture. The number of eggs you use will depend on the size of your omelet.

  • Olive Oil: Choose a good-quality extra virgin olive oil for a rich, authentic flavor.

  • Salt: A pinch of salt gives a better overall taste.

If you like, you may add some optional ingredients:

  • Peppers: Some recipes include peppers, which add a colorful twist and a hint of sweetness to the dish.

  • Chorizo: For a meaty variation, you can add chorizo, a spicy Spanish sausage.

  • Cheese: Grated cheese, such as Manchego or cheddar, can be sprinkled over the top for extra flavor.

Spanish Omelet: How to Make Spanish Tortilla
Spanish Omelet: How to Make Spanish Tortilla


Now, let’s get to the fun part: make your very own Spanish tortilla. Follow our Spanish tortilla recipe to create a delicious omelet that will transport your taste buds to the heart of Spain.


  • 4-5 medium potatoes (about 1 pound or 450 g).

  • 1 medium onion.

  • 4-6 large eggs.

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) extra virgin olive oil.

  • Salt to taste.

  • Optional: 1 red or green bell pepper, thinly sliced.


  • Step 1: Prepare the Potatoes

    Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly, about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick. If using pepper, thinly slice it as well. Thin slices ensure good cooking.

  • Step 2: Sauté the Potatoes and Onions

    In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the potatoes and onions (and pepper if using). Season generously with salt. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook for about 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are tender but not browned. Then let them cool slightly.

  • Step 3: Beat the Eggs

    In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and season them with a pinch of salt.

  • Step 4: Combine and Cook

    Pour the beaten eggs over the cooked potatoes and onions. Mix gently to ensure a good distribution. Return the pan to low heat and cook for about 5 minutes, allowing the edges to set.

  • Step 5: Flip the Omelette

    Here comes the tricky part. Place a flat plate or a lid that’s slightly larger than the pan over the top of the omelet. With confidence, carefully flip the pan upside down so that the omelette transfers onto the plate. Then, slide the omelet back into the pan, uncooked side down. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the omelette is fully set but still slightly runny in the center.

  • Step 6: Serve

    Once your Spanish tortilla is cooked to perfection, slide it onto a serving plate. You can serve it hot, at room temperature, or even cold, depending on your preference.

    Slice it into wedges like a pie and enjoy!

  • Step 7: Customize

    Feel free to get creative by adding cheese, chorizo, or your favorite ingredients before flipping the omelette.

Spanish Omelet: How to Make Spanish Tortilla


Making a Spanish tortilla is an art, and like any art form, it requires practice. Here are some additional tips to help you master this beloved dish:

  • Use the Right Pan: A non-stick skillet with sloping sides is ideal for flipping the tortilla.

  • Don’t Rush: Cooking the potatoes and onions over low heat ensures they become tender without getting crispy or browned too quickly.

  • Perfect the Flip: When flipping the omelette, place a plate or lid over the pan with one hand while holding the pan’s handle with the other. Flip confidently but carefully to avoid spills.

  • Balance the Fillings: If you’re adding extra ingredients like peppers or chorizo, make sure they’re evenly distributed throughout the omelette.

  • Let It Rest: After cooking, allow the Spanish tortilla to rest for a few minutes before slicing. This helps the flavors meld and makes it easier to cut neat wedges.

Spanish Omelet: How to Make Spanish Tortilla


The Spanish tortilla, with its humble yet exquisite combination of potatoes, onions, and eggs, transcends mere food. It embodies the warmth and generosity of Spanish culture, inviting us to connect with tradition and share in the simple joys of life.

So, why not embark on your own culinary journey? Armed with this authentic Spanish tortilla recipe, you can craft a taste of Spain that transcends borders and warms the hearts of all who gather around your table.

May your kitchen be filled with the aroma of olive oil and the laughter of loved ones as you create your own treasured memories with this timeless dish. ¡Buen provecho!

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