tortilla de patatas

print now | return to original post

Potato Tortilla [Tortilla de Patatas]
Inspired by the version in The New Spanish Table

Updated 8/13/13: This is a recipe that I still make frequently, but my recipe has veered off over the years — it’s gotten simpler. I didn’t want you to be left out (or to use one recipe, the one I keep on my computer, while telling you to use this one) so I’ve decided at last to update it here too. Major changes: I’ve reduced the olive oil from 1 1/4 cup, now cook the potatoes and onions simultaneously with no trouble, omitted the 2 tablespoons chicken broth (not necessary), added an adjustment for smaller eggs, a weight range for potatoes and — most importantly — simplified the directions, which always felt too intimidatingly long for something that deserves to be a weeknight staple.

Favorite uses: Warm, in wedges, with salad (and even jamón serrano) for dinner. Cold, in wedges, with salad for lunch. Cut into cubes and served with toothpicks for parties/cheese courses. As a sandwich filling, on a crusty baguette with aioli. Trust me.

You can add: Truly anything to this — a cup of slivered greens, slices of red pepper, a handful of peas — but I hope you do not. A perfect five-ingredient meal is a rare thing, and shouldn’t be meddled with.

Serves 4 as a generous main, 6 as a small dish, 8 as a side.

Time estimate: 1 to 1 1/4 hours, including peeling/prep

3 to 4 (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds) Yukon Gold potatoes
1 small onion
1 cup olive oil
6 extra-large or 7 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare potatoes and onions: Peel potatoes and onion and slice them very thin with a mandoline, the slicing blade of a food processor, or by hand. If either are on the large side, first cut them in a half lengthwise so the slices will be in half-moons.

Cook potatoes and onions: Heat oil in an 8- to 10-inch skillet, ideally nonstick, over medium-high until very hot, about 3 minutes. Add potatoes and onions in even layers and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes, flipping and nudging potatoes around to ensure they cook evenly. Potatoes are done when they are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. They should not get brown or fall apart in flipping (unless you like your tortillas with softer, more broken-up potatoes, as some do).

Drain potatoes and onions: Transfer potatoes and onion to a colander set over a bowl and drain them. Season potatoes and onion with salt and pepper and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. [Go make your salad now! Or start cracking those eggs…]

Make the tortilla batter: In the bottom of a large bowl, lightly beat eggs with a couple good pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in drained potatoes and onions. If you have 10 minutes, definitely let them soak together for that long; it makes a difference in how well the finally tortilla stays together. If you’re in a rush, it’s not going to ruin the dish if you skip it.

Cook the tortilla: Add 2 tablespoons of the drained cooking oil* (back to the skillet over medium-high heat. Pour potato mixture into skillet and flatten the potatoes with a spatula until they’re mostly even. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, moving and shimmying the skillet and nudging the egg around (so it runs underneath) for a minute before letting the tortilla cook undisturbed until the top is wet but not very runny, and it is golden underneath.

Loosen the tortilla with a spatula then slide it onto a large dinner plate. With your hands in potholders, invert the skillet over the plate, take a deep breath, and flip it back into the skillet. You can do it! Shake the skillet to straighten the tortilla and use a spatula to gently tuck the edges back under, if needed.

Return the skillet to the stove and cook tortilla to your desired doneness, another 2 to 3 minutes if you like an ever-so-slightly loose center (try it and see if you can go back), 3 to 4 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry, for full doneness.

Serve: Slice onto a plate and serve in wedges, hot, cold or at room temperature, plain, or with a dusting of smoked paprika and/or squiggle of aioli or mayo.

* Save the rest of the cooking in the fridge for future tortillas, or eggs, or potatoes, or anything you want with a faint onion infusion.

tortilla de patatas was originally published on

all content and photos © 2006 - 2016 Smitten Kitchen LLC