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Tortilla Espanola Recipe (Spanish Tortilla/ Spanish Omelette)

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More than satisfy plenty of hungry souls with our delightful tortilla española recipe, and see for yourself why this simple and humble dish has been at the heart of Spanish cuisine for generations.

Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla/ Spanish Omelette) on a plate (up-close)

Tortilla Espanola Recipe

Great food doesn’t need to be complicated, and a Spanish omelette made with love is proof of this. Each mouthful is hearty, comforting, and just the perfect balance between soft and crispy.

Whether you’re planning a tapas night for the whole family, or just looking for a quick, filling lunch or dinner, this Spanish favorite can quickly become a beloved go-to in your culinary bag of tricks.

Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla/ Spanish Omelette) on a plate (up-close)

What is Traditional Tortilla Española?

A national dish that remains as popular as ever to this day, traditional Spanish omelette/Spanish tortilla is a wonderfully simple dish of sliced potato and optionally onion, fried in either vegetable oil or, traditionally, olive oil, then mixed with egg.

The mixture is then returned to the pan and cooked on both sides, where it becomes a hearty and earthy omelette that the whole family can dig into. The dish is widely known as a tapa.

Variations

Onion: While traditionally, a Spanish omelette consisted of potato, egg, and oil (in addition to salt for seasoning), the use of onion is accepted, and very common in different tortilla española recipes.

Tortilla Paisana: If you want to add additional vegetables and meats to your omelette, you will be making a tortilla paisana instead of a tortilla española. In addition to potato, egg, oil, and (optionally) onion, common ingredients include vegetables like peas and peppers, and meats like ham.

However, there is no one correct recipe for tortilla paisana, as the dish traditionally was made with whatever you had left over in the pantry.

Tortilla de Jueves Lardero: If you add chorizo to your Spanish omelette, you get a variation that is synonymous with the Cathletic tradition Jueves Lardero, or “Fat Thursday,” which marks the last Thursday before Lent. It is especially popular in the region of Castile and León.

Ingredients

To make our Spanish omelette recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Tortilla Espanola ingredients on a board
  • Onions – 2 medium (5.7oz or 160 grams)
  • Potatoes – 4 medium (1.5 lb or 680 grams)
  • Olive Oil – 4 tbsp (1/4 cup)
  • Eggs – 6 eggs
  • Salt – 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • Pepper – 1/2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • Fresh Parsley (optional), for garnishing

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk or a fork and add 1/2 tsp salt. Set the bowl aside for now.

Tortilla Espanola recipe step-by-step (beating the eggs).

Step 2 – Peel and slice the onions.

Tortilla Espanola recipe step-by-step (slicing the onions).

Step 3 – Peel and cut the potatoes. We used a food processor to slice them, but you can do it by hand with a knife if you don’t have a food processor, or you can use the slicing part of the box grater.

Tortilla Espanola recipe step-by-step (slicing the potatoes).

As you can see, the slicing disc on our our food processor gave us thin potato slices in no time at all.

Tortilla Espanola recipe step-by-step (slicing the potatoes).

Step 4 – In a pan, over medium-high heat, add 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) of olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, turn the heat down to medium, add the sliced onions and potatoes, and cover the pan with the lid.

Traditionally, you would submerge the potatoes and onions in olive oil. But that means you’d need 2-4 cups of oil. In Spain, people reuse this oil for 5-6 other fryings or uses.

We’ll try to make them without the use of so much oil.

Tortilla Espanola recipe step-by-step (adding the sliced potatoes and onions to the pan).

Step 5 – Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring every 60 seconds and making sure the onions and potatoes don’t burn. We like a bit of color/caramelization but you can decide how much color/caramelization you like on them.

Step 6 – Add 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and turn the heat to medium-low. Keep cooking for another 10 minutes until the potatoes and onions are fully cooked. Stir every minute or two to make sure the potatoes and onions don’t burn.

Tortilla Espanola recipe step-by-step (cooking the potatoes and onions).

Step 7 – Take a bit of the potatoes and onions and add them to the egg mixture, stirring. Repeat a bit at a time.

Tortilla Espanola recipe step-by-step (adding the potatoes and onions to the eggs).

Step 8 – Let the egg-potato-onion mixture rest for 2-3 minutes and then add it back to the pan over low heat and put a lid on.

Tortilla Espanola recipe step-by-step (adding the potatoes and onions to the eggs).
Tortilla Espanola recipe step-by-step (adding everything to the pan).
Tortilla Espanola recipe step-by-step (the spanish tortilla in the pan with the lid on).

Step 9 – Cook the bottom for about 5-6 minutes. Losen up the sides, pulling so the egg goes on the bottom and cooks better.

Tortilla Espanola recipe step-by-step (the spanish tortilla in the pan).
Tortilla Espanola recipe step-by-step (the spanish tortilla in the pan).

Step 10 – Put a large plate on the pan and flip the omelette onto the plate.

Tortilla Espanola recipe step-by-step (flipping the Spanish tortilla).
Tortilla Espanola recipe step-by-step (flipping the Spanish tortilla).
Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla or Spanish Omelette) on a plate.

Step 11 – Slide the omelette back into the pan and cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes until the bottom is cooked.

Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla or Spanish Omelette) in the pan.

From there, you can plate it up and serve it cut it into slices, tapas style!

Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla or Spanish Omelette) on a plate.

Serving Suggestions

The possibilities are endless when it comes to pairings for Spanish omelette. Naturally, if you want to keep things simple, you can serve it on its own.

Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla or Spanish Omelette) on a plate.

Parsley – If you want to get creative, try it with some chopped parsley, as we did.

Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla or Spanish Omelette) with fresh parsley on a plate.

If you’re looking for some pairings and sides, consider the following:

Tapas – Tortilla espanola is a classic tapa, so get inspired for a Spanish-themed tapas night, and serve it with some other classic tapa dishes, such as Padron peppers.

Salad – Spanish omelette makes for a great hearty pairing for plenty of salads, including bean, chickpea, and tomato-based salads. For inspiration, check out our salad recipes from around the world.

In all honestly, you can let your imagination run wild here. Yes, plenty of pairings would not be considered traditional, but the beauty of Spanish omelette is that it is a true hallmark of resourceful cooking. See what’s in your pantry, get creative, and have fun with it!

Tortilla Espanola Recipe Card

Tortilla Española (Spanish Tortilla / Spanish Omelette)

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Author: Nomad Paradise
Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: Spanish
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 medium brown or white onions 5.7oz or 160 grams
  • 4 medium potatoes 1.5 lb or 680 grams
  • 4 tbsp olive oil 1/4 cup
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp kosher salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper or to taste
  • fresh parsley optional, for garnishing

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk or a fork and add 1/2 tsp salt. Set it aside.
  • Peel and slice the onions.
  • Peel and cut the potatoes. We used a food processor to slice them but you can do it by hand with a knife if you don’t have a food processor or use the slicing part of the box grater.
  • In a pan, over medium-high heat, add 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) of olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, turn the heat down to medium and add the sliced onions and potatoes and cover with the lid. Traditionally, you would submerge them in olive oil and fry them in olive oil. But that means you’d need 2-4 cups of oil. In Spain, people reuse this oil for 5-6 other fryings or uses. We’ll try to make them without the use of so much oil.
  • Cook the potatoes and onions for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring every 60 seconds and making sure the onions and potatoes don’t burn. We like a bit of color/caramelization but you can decide how much color/caramelization you like on them.
  • Add 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and turn the heat to medium-low and cook the mixture until the potatoes and onions are fully cooked (about 10 minutes). Stir every minute or two to make sure the potatoes and onions don't burn.
  • Take a bit of the potatoes and onions and add them to the egg mixture, stirring. Repeat a bit at a time until you've added all the potatoes and onions to the eggs.
  • Let the egg-potato-onion mixture rest for 2-3 minutes and then add it back to the pan over low heat and put a lid on.
  • Cook the bottom for about 5-6 minutes. Losen up the sides, pulling so the egg goes on the bottom and cooks better.
  • Put a large plate on the pan and flip the omelette onto the plate.
  • Slide the omelet back into the pan and cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes until the bottom is cooked. Plate it up and cut it into slices, tapas-style!
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nomadparadisefood or tag #nomadparadisefood!

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Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla or Spanish Omelette) on a plate.

Authors

  • Doina Johnson is a recipe developer and writer. Doina has been cooking for most of her life, and her style draws from many different influences. She cooked with her mother and grandma growing up in Eastern Europe, before adding modern, western influences to her style when living in the United States for about a decade. Then, she traveled full-time for several years, trying food in Europe, Asia, and South America, and bringing those influences into her own cooking. She strives to introduce passionate homecooks to world cuisine, generally by trying the food herself abroad and then recreating it at home and, at times, enlisting the help of local foodies and chefs.

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  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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