Tortilla de Patatas – Potato Omelette

This was a two egg omelette made in a small, deep frying pan

I can´t believe that I haven´t posted my version of this Spanish classic.  Probably one of the most famous tapas dishes in Spain, simple, economical and delicious. Can be served hot or cold. There is always a great debate about how to cut the potatoes.  Ask 5 people and you´ll get five different answers – the choice is yours.

Ingredients per person

  • One large potato peeled, halved and cut into thin (but not wafer thin) slices or chunks
  • Half a medium onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • ½ teaspoon of cornflour (optional)
  • Salt
  • Olive oil for frying

Put the potatoes (and onion if using) into a deep frying pan with straight sides if possible. This helps with turning the tortilla.  Choose the size of pan according to how many people you are cooking for – you want the tortilla to be deep, so a smaller diameter and a larger depth works well.  Cover with plenty of olive oil (this can be drained and reused) and use a low heat to braise the potatoes until they are tender, turning them over gently a few times during cooking.

Drain the potatoes and save the oil. In a large bowl beat the eggs and milk together and if you want a thicker, spongy texture to your tortilla, add the cornflour to a little of the milk then mix in with the eggs.  Season with salt then add the potatoes to the eggs and mix gently. The secret to a successful tortilla, I´ve found, is to have a high quantity of “filling” in relation to egg.  The egg binds the potatoes (or whatever vegetable you choose to use) together.

Pour a little oil into your frying pan and when it is hot, turn the heat down low, add the eggs and potatoes and cover with a lid.  This now needs to cook very, very slowly until it sets in the middle and the bottom starts to brown.

Turn the tortilla using a large plate and then slide the uncooked side into the pan. Timings will depend on how large your tortilla is.  If you are unsure about flipping the tortilla, pop the frying pan under a hot grill for a few moments to completely set the top, then flip it.  Once it is browned nicely on both sides, turn out onto a plate and enjoy it hot or cold.

For a less authentic but less calorific version of this dish, use potatoes cooked in their skins. Peel and slice or cut into chunks and then warm them through in a very little oil before adding to your egg.  I use this method more often than the “oil braising” method to help in the waistline war, and no one has noticed the difference!

For another version, take a look at my Potato and Brocolli Tortilla here.


89 thoughts on “Tortilla de Patatas – Potato Omelette

  1. I like the second less calorific version 🙂 Being frugal I think this would make a great recipe for using up left over cooked potatoes. What about herbs? I am experimenting at the moment…

    1. The sky´s the limit with what you put in. I posted the first version because this is the “traditional” way the tortilla de patatas is made, but I mostly tend to make it with whatever I have to hand or if I have leftover cooked veggies!

      1. It still looks delicious which ever way it is cooked. I think I am going to cook this for supper and raid the fridge. It’s far more hearty than a standard omlette and so versatile 🙂 I keep meaning to try paella.

  2. I need to stop reading your posts in the morning while I eat my oatmeal. This makes my oatmeal seem even more bland than it already is. Looks great!

    1. Oh yes, a nice little tortilla in the morning goes down well. Some people here even have a big thick slice of it in a roll! Have a great day, oatmeal is delicious and very good for you. But you have to call it porridge now you´re in the UK 😉

  3. Mmm, this does look very good and it’s one of my favourites! Lo Jardinier is the tortilla expert in our house so I’ll make sure he sees this post – he has a wooden tortilla turner that we bought in Navarra to help with the turning, a very useful implement. Our daughter introduced us to a very naughty version she’d eaten in Sevilla, with melted blue cheese over it….not for every day!

    1. I think you posted a photo once of your lovely tortilla turner – mine is just plastic 😦 Now as for that naughty blue cheese version…that sounds so good!

  4. As you say an absolute classic, and thanks for posting it and taking me through the steps. I think I’ll do your way so I don’t have yet another waistline war on my hands!

  5. Yummy! D-Man just made a new one last night, but we were missing potatoes, so he caramelized half an onion and used that instead. The combination of sweet and salty was so good! Tortilla de patata grows on me more each time.

  6. I love tortilla and cooked one with garlic, onions, potatoes and 8 eggs last Friday. I had half for supper with salsa brava and then used the other half in sandwiches for the next two days. Yours looks like a classic 😉

    1. Now that sounds like a proper family sized tortilla. And it´s very typical to have it in rolls or sandwiches too – are you sure you´re not half Spanish?!

      1. Not as far as I can tell, though my mother was adopted…
        I did move to Spain quite soon after trying my first tortilla and gazpacho 😉

  7. You really are not helping in my quest to lose weight!
    This looks fabulous – and a very easy meal (losing all of it’s calories by the inclusion of a salad…..)

  8. I love this dish and haven’t had it since we moved away for Florida where I used to order it often when eating out. Thanks for reminding me of a favorite.

  9. Such a classic… I used to always order this from a lovely lady who had a little cafe on the side of her house. She lived up a tiny wiggly road, right up in the mountains. x

  10. Such a simple dish. Tanya, and I bet a great way to start the day. I’m sure that you could have any number of variations but, for me, sometimes simple is best. Next time i spy a potato in the bin looking lonely, guess what dish I’ll be making?

  11. This looks delicious. One of the many reasons I love your blog so much! I can travel Spain and experience the food and culture through your posts. Thank you!

  12. This dish was exactly what i made maybe once or twice a week when it was just the kids and I but i added peas for the green. We called it the spanish omelette, and it was such a good economical meal! I have forgotton all about it!! love it. i must make it again soon. Thank you tanya.. c

  13. Hola Tanya!
    Inadvertidamente me las había arreglado para bloquear los post de todos los blogs que sigo. Cuando esta tarde he visto que seguía sin recibir ninguna novedad me di cuenta de que algo no funcionaba bien. Ya lo he solucionado pero me temo que tendré que ir blog por blog para ver lo que habéis hecho hoy.
    ¿El primero que he visitado? El tuyo. Me encanta la tortilla de patata y me sorprende ni tu ni yo hubiésemos subido la receta todavía…
    Un saludo,

    1. ¡Ay qué pena! Menos mal que lo has solucionado, pero tarda mucho a veces arreglar problemas como esto. También me sorprendió que ningunos de vosotros hubiese subido la receta de la tortilla. Y esto seguro que hay muchísimas maneras individuales de hacerla…

  14. Love those as tapas and, as somebody noted above, leftovers make great sandwiches if they stick around that long! Actually have been thinking about you all week as we’ve been on sort of a Spanish cooking kick. And, indeed, the contents of the olive oil can are dwindling, so may have to switch nationalities soon!

  15. Hola,
    I came to your blog by nia. I was delighted to see the recipe for potato omelette perfectly explained in English. Greetings! and I follow you from now.

  16. My lady and I learned to love this from our visits to Spain, so I tried to make one a while ago. It tasted pretty good although I put a little Garlic in it. Is this authentic, the Garlic I mean?

    1. Typically garlic isn´t used in this tortilla (although sometimes finely chopped and softened onion is) but I promise not to tell the Spanish Tortilla Police – you should do what you enjoy!

  17. I have to admit that I have never made a proper Tortilla, can you believe it? I think it’s because I’ve had too many dodgy microwaved out of a plastic pack versions in tapas bars when it’s the only vegetarian option apart from Ensalada Rusa with the tuna picked out!! Your homemade version has really got my mouth watering at the thought, it is coming up to lunchtime as well!! Oh and so jealous of your veggie planting, do you know my tulips have flowered before the stalks have grown up, do you think that’s because of the mild weather?

    1. I expect you eat so much of it when you´re out for lack of options, I can understand why you don´t make it at home. If you do though, the touch of cornflour and the lid on the pan whilst cooking really slowly help to give it a great texture.

      My daffs did the same one year (it was the first year we had them in) and I think it was lack of moisture. Let them die back and dry as much as possible (they don´t look pretty at this stage) then cut the dry stalks back and hopefully next year they´ll do better!

  18. There is a very similar recipe that my mum makes but she pan fries the potatoes (no onions) and them adds the eggs, breaks the yolks and covers the pan for a couple of minutes for the eggs to cook through

  19. It’s well into the evening here, and I would still love to have this cooking in a pan on my stove, never mind the morning! I think I would try the low-cal version.. my son would like the original… with lots of oil:)

    1. Spain is tough for vegetarians. A shame because there are so many incredible ingredients which lend themselves to amazing vegetarian dishes…Italy does seem to cater better with all its lovely grilled veggie antipasti and non meat pastas. Having said that, I am not a vegetarian, but we do often eat meat free meals so watch this space!

    1. Ooh – enjoy, do hope it works well for you. Recommend being quite liberal with the olive oil in the pan, you can always drain it off, saves on getting the tortilla stuck to the bottom!

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