Recipes from The World on a Plate

Tortilla de Patatas (or Tortilla Espanola)

June 30, 2015
The best tortilla, in my opinion, is one with dark, almost caramelized potatoes and onion, with a gooey center of not-quite-cooked egg. This is just how they cook it at Juana La Loca (a restaurant named for a “crazy girl” called Juana) in Madrid’s La Latina. M y friend Javi taught me how to make the perfect tortilla. His technique is maverick, freestyle and involves a lot of expletives but, having made tortilla with him more times than I can remember, this recipe is a pretty good guide.


  • 2 cups sunflower oil
  • 2¼ lb waxy potatoes (red ones work well), peeled, halved then sliced thickly
  • 1 white onion, finely sliced
  • 6 medium eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • olive oil for frying

About this recipe

I’m yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like tortilla, particularly this one. The best I’ve ever eaten was in fact in Madrid, in a restaurant called Juana La Loca in La Latina, where they caramelise the onions to eye-watering perfection, but this comes a close second. About a year after moving back from Madrid, I met a Spanish guy called Javi, who gave me this recipe. He guided me in salting the egg generously and timings for the frying and, crucially, showed me how acrobatically to flip the pan. Seduction. Served with white crusty bread like a baguette and a fresh green salad – oh, and importantly, wine, always wine – I can’t think of a better summer supper.


Serves 4

1. Heat the sunflower oil in a deep-sided pan for 5–10 minutes over medium-high heat. Drop the potatoes and onion in the oil and cook until they start to brown (but not burn). You are essentially “boiling” the potatoes and onion in oil, which should be gently bubbling. Keep moving the mixture to prevent it sticking. This will take 30–40 minutes. Drain off the oil and retain for the next time you want to whip up a tortilla (you can use it two or three times).

2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and the salt. Then stir in the drained potatoes and onions, making sure they become coated in the egg. Mash the ingredients a little, but make sure it’s all still nice and lumpy.

3. Heat a large tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan until it starts to smoke. Raise the heat to high and pour in the mixture. After 30 seconds or so, reduce the heat to medium to low. Cook until the tortilla starts to come away from the sides of the pan slightly and is golden in color when you peek underneath—3–5 minutes. Now it is
time to turn.

4. Take a big plate and slide the tortilla onto it without tipping it—the cooked side of the tortilla should be against the plate. Now turn the plate back into the pan so that the uncooked side hits the heat. Cook for a minute or so. Then put back onto the plate and serve.


About this recipe

  • Tortilla de Espana recipe from the World on a Plate