Recipe – Spanish Tortilla

Recipe - Spanish Tortilla

The Spanish tortilla, often called a Spanish omelet, is a popular and iconic dish in Spanish cuisine. It is a simple yet delicious dish made primarily from eggs, potatoes, and onions. The history of the Spanish tortilla is quite fascinating, as it has evolved over time to become a beloved staple in Spanish gastronomy.

  1. Origin: The exact origin of the Spanish tortilla is a subject of debate among food historians, but it is widely believed to have originated in Spain during the 19th century. Some say it was created by Spanish soldiers during the Peninsular War (1808-1814) when they had limited ingredients to work with. Others attribute its creation to the Navarrese general Tomás de Zumalacárregui, who needed a nutritious and portable meal for his troops.
  2. Early Variations: The earliest versions of the Spanish tortilla likely consisted of just eggs and potatoes, as these were readily available ingredients in Spain. Onions were added later, enhancing the flavor of the dish. In some regions of Spain, other ingredients such as chorizo, peppers, or even seafood like shrimp or cod may be added to create regional variations.
  3. Name Confusion: It’s important to note that the term “tortilla” can be confusing for non-Spanish speakers. In many Spanish-speaking countries, a “tortilla” refers to a flatbread or a type of omelet. However, in Spain, when people say “tortilla,” they are almost always referring to the Spanish tortilla, the potato and egg dish.
  4. Popularity and Tradition: The Spanish tortilla quickly gained popularity throughout Spain due to its simplicity, versatility, and delicious taste. It became a common dish in Spanish households and is often served as a tapa (appetizer) in bars and restaurants. It’s also a favorite choice for picnics and gatherings.
  5. Cultural Significance: The Spanish tortilla has cultural significance in Spain. It’s considered comfort food and is often associated with home-cooked meals and family gatherings. It’s also an integral part of Spanish culinary traditions and is celebrated in various regional festivals and competitions.
  6. Modern Variations: Today, you can find numerous variations of the Spanish tortilla, with different ingredients and flavors. Some people like to experiment with ingredients like cheese, mushrooms, or ham, creating their own unique versions of this classic dish.

The Spanish tortilla, or Spanish omelet, is a beloved dish in Spain with a history that dates back to the 19th century. Its simple yet flavorful combination of eggs, potatoes, and onions has made it a staple in Spanish cuisine, and it continues to be enjoyed by people both in Spain and around the world.


  • 300 g (11 oz) Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 small onion (1/2 cup thin sliced)
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 5 large or jumbo eggs

Preparation Directions

  • Peel the potatoes, then slice thin.
  • Peel the onion, then slice thin.
  • Add two tablespoons of cooking oil to an oven-safe non-stick frying pan on medium-high, then add the sliced onion and potatoes.
  • Stir the onion and potato until coated with oil and the oil begins to sizzle.
  • Then reduce the cooking temperature to medium-low and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or till the onions are translucent and light golden brown and the potatoes are fully cooked.
  • Drain off the excess oil and set aside to allow the onions and potatoes cool enough to be mixed with the eggs.
  • Break the eggs into a mixing bowl, then whisk together.
  • Add cooled onions and potatoes to whisked eggs and gently fold together.
  • Add 2 tablespoons cooking oil and reheat the frying pan to medium-low heat, then pour the mix into the frying pan.
  • Shake occasionally, to ensure the mixture does not stick to the frying pan.
  • Preheat the oven broiler on high.
  • Cook for around 12 to 15 minutes, or until the eggs are nearly fully cooked.
  • Move the frying pan to the oven and broil about 2 minutes or until the top of the tortilla is just cooked.
  • Remove from the oven and ensure the sides are free by passing the spatula around the age.
  • Using protective mittens or potholders, cover the frying pan with a plate and carefully, turn the frying pan, shaking gently to free the tortilla.
  • Let cool to just warm or to room temperature.
  • Then, cut serving, garnish (if desired) and serve.