Tortilla Española – Egg and Potato Omelette {Recipe}

by Melanie Edwards on February 7, 2011 · 18 comments

in guest-posts, Latino Culture, Recipes

Tortilla Española – Egg and Potato Omelette

I’m currently on maternity leave: The following is a guest post by Micaela Vega.

Eggs are a great way to get dinner on the table quickly. They’re fast to cook, inexpensive, and a good way to feed a hungry bunch.

Tortilla Española is the Spanish version of an egg and potato omelette. Despite its name, the only similarity to corn and flour tortillas is its circular shape. Tortilla Española can be eaten as a dinner, or smaller pieces can be served as “tapas” (snacks).

Francisca y Antonio, circa 1920s

Francisca y Antonio, circa 1920s

My grandmother Francisca from Spain cooked this dish often. My mother remembers:

My mom used a chunk of ‘unto’ with a fork stuck in to grease the pan . There were 7 to feed and not mucho dinero, but we always ate till we were full–no one ever went hungry. My mother must have been a good money manager.  I remember grandpa making $25 a week forever!

My mom, one of the hungry 7, learned how to cook this and passed the recipe down to me.  This recipe is relatively fast but you’ll need some cooking time for the potatoes.  Some modern tips to speed things up: chop the onions and potatoes the night before, and keep the potatoes submerged in cold water in the fridge, then drain before cooking.  You can also cook the entire tortilla ahead of time and it will heat up nicely in the microwave.

Tortilla Española is typically thick – I prefer to keep mine thin so I use a larger pan.  You can control the thickness by the size of the pan – the smaller the pan, the thicker it will be.

Francisca’s Tortilla Española Recipe (Spanish Egg and Potato Omelette)


  • 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly chopped
  • 3 potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced, and halved
  • 4 to 6 eggs
  • Sea salt to taste


  • Use a good pan that won’t stick
  • You’ll need a plate that is bigger than the pan to do the “flipping”
  • Heat  olive oil
  • Add 1 large onion chopped. Cook on medium/high until translucent.
  • Add sliced/halved potatoes
  • Cook potatoes until tender but not falling apart
  • Beat 4-6 eggs and add sea salt
  • Pour eggs over cooked potatoes
  • Cover and cook slowly for 5-10 minutes until set
  • Flip over with spatula OR use the better method —> Cover pan completely with a large plate. Turn pan upside down so eggs are on plate. Slide eggs back into pan. Try to not break the omelette
  • Brown other side

Spanish Egg and Potato Omelette - Tortilla Española

Does your family have any recipes that have been passed down from one generation to another?

Micaela Vega is a web professional and working mother of 2, writing about bringing healthier food options to her family at Striving Bean. Connect with Micaela on Twitter at @strivingbean.

All photos courtesy of Micaela Vega.

Be Sociable, Share!
1 Parentella February 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm

I love eggs and potatoes so I will try this recipe out for lunch and report back.

2 modernmami February 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Hope it went well!

3 Heather Solos February 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I used to work for a Spanish restaurant and the tortilla was one of our best selling tapas. I still make them from time to time and in a totally unSpanish twist top it with salsa or chili. Sacrilege. I know, but hey, it’s good.

4 modernmami February 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm

haha! I’m sure that is sacrilege, but sounds tasty!

5 Lolli February 7, 2011 at 9:41 pm

We learned this recipe from an Argentine family, and they call it Tortilla de papas. Actually, we were just talking about it with the dad last night, and he called it “french fry pie” as it’s English translation. We cracked up!

6 modernmami February 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm

That’s an awesome translation! LOL

7 Anonymous February 8, 2011 at 12:01 am


8 modernmami February 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm


9 Chantilly Patiño February 8, 2011 at 9:51 am

This sounds great! I’ve had tortilla espanola before, but this recipe sounds more like my style. I can’t wait to try this! Thanks for posting!

10 modernmami February 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Hope you enjoy making this recipe!

11 Striving Bean February 8, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Melanie – thanks for letting me contribute this guest post. I hope you all enjoy this simple Tortilla Española recipe that’s good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

12 modernmami February 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Thank YOU for such a great recipe and sharing it with us!

13 Ahorros Con Cupones February 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Me encanta!! In my country, Argentina, We love this kind of tortilla. It’s a very easy recipe and I haven’t done it in a long time. Thank you for the reminder 🙂

14 modernmami February 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Hope you’re making it more often now. 😉

15 Norma823 February 14, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Our version was that after onions and poatatoes are cooked they are pour immediately into the bowl where the eggs have been beaten, the mixed and poured back into the pan to cook…then using either method to turn it over.

16 modernmami February 14, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Thanks for sharing your method!

17 Adal Gutierrez March 25, 2011 at 10:53 pm

The perfect brunch recipe! Thanks for the recipe! Saludos

18 La Tortilla de méméQuiQui March 22, 2013 at 10:14 am

Norma, I agree : it’s better if you let cooked potatoes and onions in beatted eggs before pouring into the pan : egg enter into potatoes, making the smother…

Previous post:

Next post: