Make-Ahead Recipes: The Authentic Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla Espanola or Tortilla de Patatas)

Simply Sophisticated Cooking | Authentic Spanish TortillaWe’re bringing you an authentic  Spanish Tortilla or the tortilla espanola or tortilla de patatas, for our first make-ahead recipe post since our cookbook, the House Sitter’s Cookbook, published.

I don’t know about you but we’re excited about sharing more food and recipes with you because…well…we love food.

So why are make-ahead dishes so important?

Because good make-ahead dishes are great for taking to work, picnicking, snacking, on the go or giving as gifts, such as welcome home dishes for our house/pet sit homeowners.

Not just any dish makes a good make-ahead dish. Make-ahead recipes have two important features:

  1. The completed dish tastes just as good or better than freshly made the next day.
  2. It holds its texture and form without becoming mushy.

The authentic Spanish Tortilla is a perfect make-ahead dish because it does both features well. And it’s great served at room temperature or cold which is how you normally find it served in Spain. It’s also good warm, so eat it however it makes you happy.

Simply Sophisticated Cooking | Authentic Spanish TortillaSimilar to a frittata, the Spanish Tortilla combines the simple goodness of eggs, potatoes and onions. Although the onions are up for debate depending on the cook you talk to in Spain. For a dish that wasn’t introduced into the Spanish society until the 1800’s, it really is amazing how you can find a version of it on just about any menu across Spain.

Actually, there are two debates surrounding the Spanish tortilla:

  1. Whether the authentic dish should have onions or not.
  2. And who created it.

Neither of these debates will ever be solved.

As far as the onions, it comes down to personal preference. I make mine with onions because that’s how I was taught by Ester, my Spanish house sit homeowner and friend. And I love the sweet goodness of the onions, potatoes and eggs together.

Simply Sophisticated Cooking | Authentic Spanish TortillaOn who created the dish: the history of the creation of the Spanish tortilla is quite murky. One version says the dish was created by Tomas de Zumalazarregui to feed his armies. Another mentions a Navarran housewife made it for Tomas de Zumalazarregui. While still another claims Teodor Bardaji Mas, an Aragonese cook, was the creator.

The only thing we know for sure is the Spanish Tortilla could not have been created until the Spaniards met the Incas in South America. Because that is where the potato comes from!

Personally, I think the Spanish Tortilla came from South American. History records show a similar potato and egg dish being served in South American a couple of hundred years before the Spanish “discovered” the potato.

Simply Sophisticated Cooking | Authentic Spanish TortillaRegardless of stories you choose to believe, the Spanish Tortilla is now an important part of Spanish cuisine. So, if you’re in Spain, I highly recommend trying one or several. Each one will be different as each cook has his or her own recipe including some with meat, vegetables and/or cheese.

I also highly recommend making this recipe at home or wherever you are in the world. It’s so easy, delicious and healthy. And it’s perfect for carrying to work, a picnic or anywhere on the go. And it’s just as good a day later as it is made fresh.

And if you don’t have your copy of the House Sitter’s Cookbook, which is full of awesome make-ahead recipes, you can get it here.

Print Recipe
Authentic Spanish Tortilla
The sweetness of potatoes, onions and eggs come together in a harmony of simplicity in the Spanish Tortilla.
Simply Sophisticated Cooking | Authentic Spanish Tortilla
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20-25 minutes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20-25 minutes
Simply Sophisticated Cooking | Authentic Spanish Tortilla
  1. Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium-low heat.
  2. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes before adding potatoes and more olive oil. Stir together and continue cooking until potatoes are soft.
  3. Whisk eggs together in a medium-sized bowl. Add the potatoes and onions to the eggs and mix together. Season with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil to the pan and pour the mixture in. Cover with a lid and cook until eggs are browning on the edge.
  4. Using a plate, flip the tortilla and slide back into the pan to finish cooking. Cook your desired doneness of the eggs.
  5. Flip the tortilla out onto a plate and set aside to cool for a couple of minutes before slicing into wedges.
  6. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.
Recipe Notes

Share this Recipe


  1. Amy September 11, 2017 at 1:43 am

    Gorgeous photography! I’m off to make this right now. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Name *
Email *