Favorite Recipe Learned While Traveling – Tortilla española

One cannot doubt that traveling activates the senses.  Many of my memories and stories of traveling include smells of spices in a market in Marrakesh, witnessing the beauty of a coral reef in Cozumel, hearing a new rhythm and instruments as never before, and enjoying a delicious meal on a street corner or family run eatery.  For this story, I choose to talk about food. It is not only a necessity, but a way to understand a culture and a person fully.

I experienced my first tortilla española over ten years ago in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. A tortilla española or Spanish omelet is the most commonly served dish in Spain.  It is a peasant, comfort food that is simply potatoes, eggs, onions, olive oil, and salt.  It can be eaten as a mid-afternoon snack, light dinner, or even a sandwich, called a bocadillo.

Although you would think that an omelet would be something that you could just improvise, I actually knew that in order to prepare an authentic tortilla española, I would need some insider tips.  After eating numerous tortillas and reading recipes on how to do it, I took a long bus ride from Madrid to Murcia in Southern Spain to have one of my friend’s family members show me step by step how to make a tortilla española.  My friend’s grandmother’s technique has served me for over a decade. In fact, it was part of this week’s menu at Chez Ms Traveling Pants. See the recipe below, try it, and insert it into your culinary repertoire.

Prep Time: 10 minutes


  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 6 large eggs
  • olive oil for pan frying
  • salt to taste

How to in 25 minutes:

  • Heat frying pain to medium heat and add olive oil to liberally cover the pan
  • Peel and dice potatoes (make them all similar in size for equal cooking time)
  • Dice onion
  • Add all veggies and cook until soft
  • For best results, stir often, reduce the heat to below medium, and mash the ingredients a little bit to get a good binding capacity
  • Take the pan off of the stove and cool for 5-10 minutes
  • In a medium bowl, crack all eggs and stir
  • Add all veggies to the eggs
  • Reheat the pan and cover with a small amount of olive oil
  • Add the egg and veggie mixture
  • Scrape the sides of the frying pan and the underside of the omelet to prevent sticking
  • When the omelet turns yellow in color, it is time to flip (a challenge!)
  • Put a large plate over the open pan, remove pan from stove top, and flip (can be messy)
  • Slide that half cooked tortilla back into the pan until both sides are fully cooked
  • Always present the best looking side to your guests

Buen provecho!

p.s. There is an actual tortilla española pan to make the flip work, but I dare you to try the flip and master it. The challenge is part of the fun!


  1. Andi says:

    Wish I could cook, because I love this dish!!! That pic makes me hungry, haha. Yummy!

  2. This looks divine! I love getting people’s tried and true recipes – they are always the best. I’m going to try this one for sure because I as much as I love Spanish Tortilla, I have never thought of making one, till now. Thanks!

  3. Kjirsten says:

    I am in love with the tortilla… having traveled throughout spain, I have had more tortillas than I can remember, all of them delicious. My personal favorite is the bocadillo. I have made several tortillas at home, and love to bring one along to friend’s parties. Thanks for making me hungry!

  4. I don’t completely agree on the recipe, but regardless a very well written post – I’ll link back from my NJ Cooking Guide site in the comments, when I get time.

  5. Thank you so much, this was very interesting. I was actually born in Spain (I’m not telling when though!) but was moved around various parts of europe and lastly settled in the UK when I was 5. I dont remember an awful lot of the few years I was in spain, but the delicious smell of spanish food always seems to ring a bell in me or something. Funny, how I dont remember anything except the smells,isn’t it! I actually found a whole internet site dedicated to spanish recipes, which gave me great delight and thought I really should to share. Anyway, thank you again. I’ll get my husband to add your website to my rss app…

  6. […] process, please comment. Here’s another couple recipes, I’ve highlighted in the past: Tortilla Española and Pisco […]