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Tortilla Española Recipe

Tortilla Española

Tortilla Espanola is a Spanish omelet layered with potatoes and onions. It is really so versatile. You can eat Tortilla hot, room temperature or it’s even delicious cold. You can set Tortilla Española out as an appetizer, make it your dinner or just have it as a snack.

If you have ever been to Spain, and had a Tortilla Española for yourself, you know it is like nothing else you have ever eaten. In Madrid, there is a little counter inside Mercado de la Paz called Casa Dani that is an absolute must try. They have a Tortilla that is so good, you will find yourself dreaming about it. Yes, you will be dreaming about eggs and potato, it is that good.

A Tortilla Española is unlike other Omelets out there. It is never folded, the way you would do for a French Omelet, and unlike an Italian frittata it is not finished in the oven. Tortilla Española is flipped onto a plate, gently pushed back in and finished off back on the stove. It can be tricky, but once you get the hang of it, there is nothing to it.  

What You Need for the Tortilla Española

To make this delicious dish, you need an 8 or 9-inch non-stick pan with a rim that is at least 2 1/2 inches tall and a plate that is larger than the pan and doesn’t have an elevated lip on the sides. These tips will make it easier when it comes time to flipping the tortilla. 

It is important that the potatoes be completely cooked before assembling the tortilla. They also must be fried, not negotiable. Traditionally they must be fried in olive oil, and we would recommend doing the same. The olive oil is subtle and helps bring all the flavors of this dish together. You can steam or boil potatoes for the recipe, but “then you can’t call it a tortilla.” 

The most important ingredient in tortilla Espanola is patience. You need low to medium heat, the onions can’t have too much color, you can’t flip too soon or too late. You want the eggs to be fluffy and moist. 

My grandmother, Alita Oliva, probably made thousands of tortillas in her lifetime. She brought her signature Spanish tortilla to every party or whipped it up when she didn’t know what to make for dinner. Her tortillas were perfectly pale yellow on the outside and “mojadita” or slightly runny on the inside. Every time she made tortilla she made two – one with potatoes and onion and one without the onion. Like all abuelas, she aimed to please. 


Let’s Cook!

Tortilla Española

Recipe by Abuelas Cuban CounterCourse: AppetizersCuisine: SpanishDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 6 extra-large eggs

  • 1 large russet potato, washed, peeled and sliced in thin rounds (about 1 ½ cups of potatoes once they are sliced)

  • 1 medium yellow onion, very thinly sliced

  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying

  • Salt


  • Place the sliced potatoes in water. Allow them to soak as you prep everything else. 
  • In a bowl, vigorously beat the eggs. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt.
  • Dry the potatoes with a dish towel to make sure they are completely dry. Add oil to the pan for frying. It should be about 2 inches of oil. Heat to medium high heat. Fry them for 10-12 minutes in several batches until they are cooked through and golden brown in color. Drain them on a plate as they are ready and sprinkle with salt while they are still warm.  
  • Remove most of the oil from the pan. You want to keep about ¼ to 1/3 cup of oil in the pan. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt and fry them on low heat until they have softened and they are cooked through.Leave the onions in the pan with the remaining oil. (It is a lot of oil but frying the tortilla in that same oil is what gives it that particular taste and ensures nothing sticks to the pan.)
  • Maintain the heat on low. Add the potatoes and beaten eggs to the pan. Be sure to spread out the potatoes and onions evenly.
  • Using a rubber spatula, gently push the egg closest to the sides of the pan toward the middle. Do this all over the pan several times allowing the egg to cook and set, but moving it every couple of minutes for about 5 minutes. This will ensure a very fluffy tortilla. 
  • Once the egg seems to be set on all the sides and there is less liquid in the middle, flip the tortilla onto a plate. Then gently push the tortilla back onto the hot pan maintaining the raw side down. 
  • Turn off the heat and let the tortilla set in the pan. The heat will continue cooking the eggs but maintain the moisture. 
  • Flip onto a plate and let set for a few minutes before slicing. Serve Warm.