The famous “Tortilla Española” is a much loved and common dish available pretty much all over Spain, bars offer it as a free “pincho” when you order drinks or you can buy a “ración”or “tapa” to snack while you drink a glass of wine or beer. 

In Spain, it’s not referred to as a Spanish Omelette but “Tortilla de Patatas” or “Tortilla”

Image by Luis MGB from Pixabay

The recipe of this dish is very simple and it is perfect if you are on a budget. Potatoes and eggs! Yep, that’s it.What’s not to to love ?

You can also add white onion but not everyone likes tortilla with onion so whether tortilla should have onion or not, it is a common debate many people in Spain agree to disagree. 

And just like many traditional recipes around the world, the origin of the tortilla is not known but it definitely wasn’t created until the Spanish came across the potatoes thanks to the Incas about 500 years ago.

The Incas ate potatoes boiled, baked and mashed just as we do now. They also dried them to make “papas secas” or the popular Chuño, made by spreading potatoes out to freeze on cold nights, then thawing them in the sun. 

Nowadays, the potato is a much loved vegetable and the fifth most important crop worldwide, after wheat, corn, rice and sugar cane. Thanks again dear Incas!

However, when potatoes arrived in Europe from the Americas, they were mainly used for animal feeding. At the time, it was thought that food coming from the ground was not suitable for human consumption.Thankfully, all those ideas changed with time!

The Spanish Tortilla was born out of necessity at some point between the late 18th and early 19th century. 

Because of its simplicity, it became a very popular dish amongst both the rich and the poor. 

Soon, it was served everywhere, from local modest “tavernas” to the exclusive tables of Royal Banquets. 

In fact, in 1867 it was part of the menu for a Spanish restaurant at the Universal Exhibition in Paris and King Alfonso XII offered it to the Prince of Wales during a visit he made to Spain. 

Without further ado here are the ingredients and recipe for the Spanish Tortilla. 

Ingredients Tortilla de Patatas

1/2 kilo of potatoes for frying

4/5 Large eggs

A pinch of salt

Extra Virgen Olive Oil 


Remember that to make a tortilla you need a bit more than 15 mins as opposed to other egg dishes, this is because you need to allow enough time for the potatoes to cook. 

  • Peel and wash the potatoes. Slice them in thin sheets or small cubes
  • If you wish to add a little bit of onion, cut them in julienne strips
  • In a frying pan, pour plenty of olive oil, add the onion and once they get a bit of colour, add the potatoes
  • Add salt to taste
  • Fry at medium to low heat until the potatoes are cooked. The thinner you cut them, the quicker they will cook. Once they’re soft , remove from the fire and strain. Remember to use good olive oil as the potatoes will absorb a lot of it. 
  • In a bowl whisk the eggs until they are well blended. Use room temperature eggs. In Spain as in many other European countries, many people don’t refrigerate their eggs.
  • Add the potatoes and onions to the bowl. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes . 
  • Put 1 tbs of olive oil in a nonstick frying pan and pour the mix. 
  • Spread the oil all over the bottom of the pan to stop the tortilla from sticking. You can also run a spatula along the edges to make sure the tortilla isn’t sticking.
  • When the bottom is cooked, it is time to flip the tortilla. Put a large plate or similar on top of the pan as a lid and flip quickly
  • Now let the tortilla slide into the pan, the cooked side up
  • Let it cook for 1 to 2 minutes before Finally sliding out of the pan onto a serving plate

It is delicious with a large green salad and of course, nice bread. Enjoy and remember that tortilla can be served hot or cold