Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Omelette)

Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Omelette)

When I need to make appetizers, I make this dish. When I have to go to a pot luck, I make this dish. When I am cooking Spanish food, I make this dish. This is my stand-by dish, and though I personally can only take so many potatoes a year, my friends never tire of it.

The ingredients couldn’t be simpler – egg, potato, and onion – but the flavors are so much more complex than one would think. I have had many requests to post this recipe, so please don’t be shy about trying this out at your next dinner; it is a sure-fire winner.

My personal secret is tons of freshly ground pepper. It is the only thing that I really do differently than the basic recipe, and I would be remiss not to attribute some of this dishes popularity on my table to that noble spice. It also helps to use a medium pan instead of a large (make two if you need to make a lot), because the tortilla can get to heavy and unwieldy to fill over in a large pan.

Prep time: 40 mins

Serves: 6 (as appetizer)

Ingredients (for one medium-sized pan)

  • 3 medium (~3 inch long) potatos
  • 2 mid-sized onions
  • 3 eggs
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper


  1. Peel the potatoes.
  2. Cut each potato in half twice lengthwise to form quarters. Very, very thinly slice each quarter the short way (into semi-rounds, not long strips).
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium, non-stick saucepan. You do not have to use a really heavy bottom pan, but make sure it isn’t thin or the bottom will burn too quickly.
  4. Peel and roughly chop both onions.
  5. Add the potatoes and onions to the pan and saute until the onions begin to turn translucent and the potatoes become golden.
  6. Break the eggs into a bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of freshly ground pepper.
  7. Once the potatoes and onions are ready, remove the pan from the heat, pour the egg mixture over it, and quickly spread the mixture to evenly coat the onion and potato. Do not mix/stir if you can help. Merely smooth the egg mixture around. It will fill in downward.
  8. Cook the tortilla over medium-low heat (not too low or it can become dry) for about ten minutes. You will be able to tell it is time to flip because the top of the tortilla has set. I usually jiggle the pan around after five or seven minutes to see if the top is still liquid or if it stays put.
  9. When the tortilla is ready to flip, get a plate that is as large as the pan (err on the side of larger, not smaller, if you don’t have something the right size).
  10. Line the plate up on top of the pan, pick up the pan with your left hand, and, with your right hand on the center of the plate, applying downward pressure, flip the pan.
  11. The tortilla should plop right onto the plate when flipped, but if not, you can bang on the top of the pan to loosen it.
  12. Quickly, using a spatula to keep potatoes from sticking to the plate, slide the flipped tortilla back into the pan.
  13. Cook for another 5-10 minutes on the other side.
  14. Flip onto a clean plate and serve whole or sliced like a pie.
  15. Enjoy!