International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Tortilla Española de Patata

Tortilla Española de Patata (Spanish open-faced potato omelet)

(Spanish open-faced potato omelet)

Image by Adrian Scottow

Average: 4.5 (11 votes)

Tortilla española, or tortilla de patata, is similar to an Italian frittata and is a favorite with Spaniards who serve it either as a tapa or for a simple Sunday meal.

Don't be afraid of the amount of oil in the recipe. It is drained away after cooking the potatoes and can be strained and used again in other dishes. Using a non-stick skillet will eliminate any problems with sticking.

4 to 6 servings


  • Large baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced -- 4 or 5
  • Onion, chopped -- 1
  • Olive oil -- 2 to 3 cups
  • Eggs, beaten -- 5 or 6
  • Salt and pepper -- to season


  1. Heat 2 cups of the oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. When the oil is hot, add a layer of potato slices to the skillet, one at a time so they don't stick. Sprinkle with a layer of onions and a pinch of salt, then repeat to use up the potatoes and onions sprinkling each layer with a pinch of salt. Add more oil as necessary to come about 3/4 the way up the potatoes. Cook, carefully lifting and turning the potatoes occasionally, until the potatoes are tender but not browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Remove the potatoes from the heat. Place a colander in a large bowl and turn the potatoes into the colander. Drain as much oil from the potatoes as possible. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the oil. (The remaining oil has a fine flavor. Strain it through a fine-mesh sieve or coffee filter and store in the refrigerator for use in other dishes.)
  3. Wipe the skillet clean. Beat the eggs with a little salt and pepper in a large bowl. Carefully stir the potatoes and onions into the eggs and set aside to rest for about 10 minutes.
  4. Heat half of the reserved oil in the skillet over medium-high flame. Add the potato-egg mixture to the skillet and spread it out evenly. Reduce heat to medium and cook, gently shaking the skillet to keep the egg from sticking, for about 5 or 6 minutes, or until the bottom of the eggs begin to brown.
  5. Remove the skillet from the heat. Cover the top with a large dinner plate and turn the skillet over to let the tortilla drop onto the plate. Return the skillet to the flame and add the remaining reserved oil. Slide the inverted tortilla back into the skillet to cook the other side for another 3 or 4 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and let the tortilla rest for about 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tortilla Española Variations

  • Bocadillo tortilla: Serve leftovers as a sandwich by putting a wedge in a sliced baguette or sandwich roll spread with mayonnaise.
  • To serve as a tapa or appetizer, let the tortilla cool completely and cut into small wedges or squares.
  • Instead of flipping the tortilla, you can finish cooking the top side under a broiler flame if you like. Just take care not to overcook and burn it.


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