How to make the best Spanish tortilla in 10 easy steps

If you have been to Spain, the likelihood is that you will have eaten a tortilla española.  This ubiquitous potato omlette is beloved of Spaniards and guiris alike, and is found in a variety of habitats including on bartops, inside sandwiches and at the fanciest restaurants in town.  But not all tortillas are created equal.  The best are almost always home made, and Gusto Guides is going to show you how to make your very own Spanish omlette in 10 easy steps.  Except for the one where you have to flip it over.  That one is quite hard (but totally worth it).


  • 1 onion
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • Olive oil

Here is a quick run-down of the whole process before we go through the recipe step by step:

1. Fry the onion: slowly if you want a fuller flavour. Don’t let it burn (as happens to us when we get distracted/drink too much Rioja/get overinvolved watching the bullfight on telly). When it’s done, take it off the heat and put the onion into a separate bowl (where you are going to mix it with the egg and potato).

Friendo la cebolla

Fry the onion

2. Peel and dice the potatoes: this is a controversial topic in Spanish households (no, really: it can get nasty), but we like chopping our potatoes into little cubes because frying takes less time and the result is generally quite good.  Some people prefer using thin slices.

Patatas en cuadraditos

Diced potatoes

3. Beat the eggs:  in a separate container, make sure they are thoroughly mixed and season with a little salt.

Romper los huevos

Break the eggs

4.  Fry the potatoes:  you are aiming for soft cubes of potato with a golden-brown colour. We tend to cover the potato almost entirely with oil to get the best finish. They are just right when you can easily squash a piece using the back of a fork or spoon. When they’re done, use a slotted spoon or similar to remove them from the saucepan without taking too much olive oil along for the ride.  Then transfer them to the bowl you used for the onions.

Friendo con cuidado las patatas

Fry the potato

5. Mix the potato, onion and egg in a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to make sure everything is well mixed.

Mezclar bien

Mix well

6. Make sure the frying pan is as hot as a cup of tea in summer in Seville (that’s very hot) and pour away any oil that was left over from frying the potatoes. Pour in the mixture of egg, onion and potato and make sure it is more or less evenly spread.  While the mixture cooks though, use the wooden spoon to loosen the edges of the tortilla from the sides of the frying pan, and consider giving the pan a shuffle to make sure it doesn’t stick.  This is also the point where you need to decide how you want your final tortilla to taste.  We tend to like it a bit undercooked (read: gooey and delicious) in the middle, but many people prefer the omlet to be solid throughout.  It’s your call.

Sartén con fuego fuerte

Cooking the mixture through

7. Cover the frying pan with a good-sized plate and hold on tight


8. Flip the frying pan and plate over

Giro rápido de manos

An about turn

9. Slide the tortilla off the plate and back into the frying pan so that the other side can cook through.  It’s best to do this carefully so you don’t end up with a squashed tortilla.

De vuelta al fuego

Slide the tortilla back into the pan

10. Eat and enjoy. Maybe even with a nice glass of Spanish wine to congratulate yourself on getting the flipping it over part right.  Buen provecho!

Lista para comer

Ready to eat

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