Savory Simplicity: Mastering the Authentic Spanish Tortilla de Patata

Tortilla de Patata ~ Potato Omelet Recipe Card
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There’s an undeniably humble charm about the Tortilla de Patata. A thick, hearty omelet, packed with thinly sliced potatoes, onions, and seasoned with just salt, it’s a Spanish classic that has won hearts across the globe. This straightforward yet satisfying dish reflects the Spanish ethos of using simple ingredients to create meals bursting with flavor. Let’s delve into the art of making the perfect Tortilla de Patata.

The Spanish Omelet – Not Your Typical Fare

Unlike its American counterpart, the Spanish Omelet, or Tortilla de Patata, is not a breakfast dish filled with vegetables and cheese. Instead, it’s a satisfying main meal or tapa, traditionally cooked with eggs, potatoes, onions, olive oil, and salt. Regional variations do exist, adding a Spanish flair with ingredients like chorizo sausage, zucchini, green bell peppers, or mushrooms.

Served in tapas bars, the Spanish Omelet is typically sliced or cut into small cubes or wedges, known as ‘pincho de tortilla.’ The best way to enjoy this dish? Allow it to cool down, and pair it with a glass of bold, Spanish red wine. But beware: a hot Tortilla de Patata crumbles easily, so patience is indeed a virtue here!

The Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide to Tortilla de Patata

Now, let’s delve into the recipe for the Tortilla de Patata. This easy and authentic guide uses basic ingredients to deliver a flavorful and satisfying Spanish Omelet.

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  • 8 eggs
  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying potatoes
  • 1 large onion (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Here’s a comprehensive step-by-step guide that will help you create this Spanish delicacy right at home:

Preparing the Potatoes and Onions

The process of creating a Spanish Omelet begins with the potatoes and onions. Peel and rinse the potatoes, slicing them into thin sections. Then pat them dry, sprinkle them with salt, and toss them in a large bowl. The next step involves cooking them in a healthy amount of extra virgin olive oil for about 20 minutes at a low heat. It’s okay if they break apart!

While the potatoes are cooking, beat the eggs in a separate large bowl and season them with salt. If you prefer your Tortilla de Patata with onions, now is the time to slice them thinly and fry them until they caramelize. Remember to stir often to prevent them from burning.

Combining the Ingredients

Once the potatoes are cooked and the onions are caramelized, it’s time to bring all the elements together. Drain off any excess oil from the onions before adding them to the beaten eggs. After allowing the potatoes to cool for a few minutes, add them to the egg and onion mixture. Let this concoction sit for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

Cooking the Tortilla de Patata

Now comes the exciting part – cooking the Tortilla de Patata! Using the same pan where you fried the potatoes, cook the egg mixture over medium-low heat for about 6-8 minutes per side. Make sure to keep the heat low enough to prevent the tortilla from becoming rubbery. Also, running a rubber spatula along the edges will ensure that the tortilla doesn’t stick to the pan.

The Big Flip

Flipping the tortilla is an art. It’s crucial to do this quickly and forcefully to maintain the shape. Don’t worry if it gets messy or if some egg slips out. Once you’ve flipped it, cook the tortilla for another 6-8 minutes before sliding it onto a serving plate. Let it cool a bit before digging in to maintain its firm, frittata-like texture.


Tortilla de Patata ~ Potato Omelet

This easy and authentic Spanish omelette recipe combines egg, potato, onion, olive oil, and salt in what is the best Spanish tortilla you will try.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 51 minutes
Resting Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 26 minutes
Calories 215kcal
Author Mike Gonzalez


  • 8 eggs
  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying potatoes
  • 1 large onion optional
  • Salt to taste


  • Peel the potatoes and rinse them under cold water.
  • Slice the potatoes into thin slices, about 1/2 centimeter.
  • Pat the potato slices dry and put them into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and mix well.
  • Heat a 1/2 inch of high quality extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan at medium low heat.
  • When the oil is hot, add the potatoes and add more oil if necessary until all are covered.
  • Cook the potatoes for 20 minutes at a low heat (they may break apart, that is okay).
  • While the potatoes are cooking, beat the eggs in a large bowl and season with some salt.
  • Slice the onion as thin as possible (julienne style) and fry over a low heat in a separate heavy pan (I like stainless steel) for about 10-20 minutes until they begin to caramelize (stir often).
  • When the onions are caramelized, drain off any excess oil and add to the egg mixture.
  • When the potatoes have been frying 20 minutes, remove them with a slotted spoon into a strainer and allow to cool off while any excess oil drips away.
  • After a few minutes, add the potatoes to the egg mixture and stir well.
  • Let the egg mixture sit for about 20 minutes.
  • In the same pan where you fried the potatoes, remove all the oil (you can reuse it!) and over a medium low heat add the egg mixture.
  • Over medium-low heat, cook the tortilla for about 6-8 minutes per side. Make sure the heat is low enough or the tortilla will cook too quickly and be rubbery. You can run a rubber spatula along the edges to make sure the tortilla isn’t sticking.
  • When you are sure that the bottom is cooked and you want to flip the tortilla, take a large plate and put it over the pan and flip quickly! Some egg will likely slip out– it’ll be messy– but that’s okay!
  • Finally, slide out of the pan onto a serving plate and let cool a little before diving in.


  • Use room temperature eggs. In Europe, many people don’t refrigerate their eggs at all. Recipes are meant to use room temperature eggs and it does make a big difference.
  • Let the egg, potato, and onion mixture sit for at least 15 minutes — minimum! This makes a HUGE difference to the final result. It is a must.
  • Don’t fear the flip! You have to go forcefully and quickly to make it happen. Don’t be afraid!
  • Use a small frying pan and make two tortillas when starting out. I love this tip because it makes the flip so much easier (the pan is lighter, any dinner plate will work, and if you mess up the first time you still have half the batter left!).


Calories: 215kcal

History of the Tortilla de Patata ~ Potato Omelet

Now that we’ve explored the process of creating a Tortilla de Patata let’s look at its origins. The story of this dish dates back to 1817, when it was purportedly introduced by General Tomás de Zumalacárregui to feed his hungry army amidst scarce food supplies. Using only thin slices of potato and eggs, the general created a thick omelet that resembled a frittata, a hearty and nourishing meal that has since become a staple of Spanish cuisine.

So there you have it – the classic Spanish Tortilla de Patata, a dish that proves that simplicity can deliver the richest of flavors. Whether you’re serving it as a main meal or a tapa, this Spanish Omelet will surely transport you to the sun-drenched tapas bars of Spain. ¡Buen provecho!

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