Tortilla Española (Spanish Potato Omelette)

Tortilla Española (Spanish Potato Omelette)

Tortilla española (also called tortilla de patatas) is a classic Spanish dish, but don’t get confused by the name- this tortilla is nothing like its Mexican and Central American cousins. The word “tortilla” actually means “little cake” in Spanish, but in this case the “cake” is really more like a flat omelette made with potatoes and eggs.

It is important to slice the onions and potatoes very thinly for this recipe, as the thin slices layer better in the tortilla. To prevent the egg from sticking, make sure your skillet is very hot, so the eggs start to set up as soon as they hit the hot pan, and have less time to stick. If you are concerned about the eggs sticking, I recommend using a deep non-stick skillet, which will make the tortilla release from the pan more easily.

This recipe makes one large tortilla (about 12 wedges- these individual wedges are called “pincho de tortilla”). You can serve this dish hot or at room temperature, and any leftovers will keep well overnight in the refrigerator.


  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion (about 8 ounces), cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 1 pound red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to season to taste)
  • Ground black pepper


Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook onions until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-high if the oil gets too hot and smoky. Cook until the onions are soft and golden, reducing the heat as they cook, about 20 minutes. Remove to a large bowl.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in the same skillet over high heat, then add the potatoes, sprinkling  with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Cook until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-high if the oil gets too hot and smoky. Toss the potatoes often with a metal spatula, separating any slices that stick together (some potatoes will stick together no matter what you do, but that’s okay). Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Set aside the pan with the oil in it.

Mix together the eggs, with a bit of salt and pepper. Add the potatoes and onions to the egg mixture and toss to coat well with the egg.

Return the skillet to high heat to heat the remaining oil in the pan. When hot, add the egg mixture and immediately reduce the heat to low. Let the omelet cook for 3 to 4 minutes, undisturbed, until the bottom is golden and the egg is two-thirds to three-quarters set. Shake the pan from time to time to make sure the omelet does not stick. If it does stick, slide a metal spatula under the egg to free it from the pan and continue cooking.

Place a lightly oiled large heatproof plate upside down over the omelet and flip the skillet to turn the omelet over. Slide the omelet back into the pan to cook the second side. Cook until golden and set, 2 to 3 minutes more. Shake the omelet loose from the pan and slide onto a clean plate. Cut into 12 thin wedges and serve hot or at room temperature.