Spanish Omelet (Tortilla Española)

Spanish Omelet (Tortilla Española)

The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Cooling time: 15 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
903 Calories
77g Fat
45g Carbs
12g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 903
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 77g 99%
Saturated Fat 12g 58%
Cholesterol 186mg 62%
Sodium 622mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 20mg 101%
Calcium 63mg 5%
Iron 4mg 19%
Potassium 1176mg 25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The tortilla española, or Spanish omelet, is the most commonly served dish in Spain. In a country filled with regional food, some might call it the national dish. In Spain, it's usually referred to as tortilla de patata or potato omelet. Bars and cafés throughout the country offer it as a tapa or appetizer, but in Spanish homes, it is often served as a light dinner.

Because it is easy to transport, Spaniards turn it into bocadillos, or sandwiches, by placing a slice of the omelet between two pieces of a baguette. Others enjoy a thick slice around noon for their mid-morning snack, served alongside a steaming cup of café con leche

It is important to use good quality olive oil as the potatoes will absorb quite a bit of it. This tortilla espanola makes 8 to 10 servings as an appetizer or 6 servings as a main course. Tortilla espanola is simply delicious served with sofrito, a fried tomato sauce that is made all over Spain consisting of tomatoes, onions, garlic, green peppers, and olive oil sautéed in a frying pan. The omelet is also great with roasted red peppers.


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  • 6 to 7 medium potatoes (peeled)

  • 1 yellow onion (diced into 1/4-inch pieces)

  • 1/2 tablespoon salt (or to taste)

  • About 2 cups Spanish olive oil, divided (for pan-frying)

  • 5 to 6 large eggs (the better the eggs, the better the tortilla)

  • Optional:

    French bread for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Cut the peeled potatoes in half lengthwise. With the flat side on the cutting surface, slice the potato into pieces approximately 1/8-inch thick. Don't worry if you slice them thicker—it will simply take a little longer for them to cook.

  3. Place the potatoes and onions in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and mix together.

    make a layer of potatoes
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  4. In a large, heavy, nonstick frying pan, heat 1 1/2 cups of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Carefully place the potato-onion mixture into the frying pan, spreading it evenly over the surface. The oil should almost cover the potatoes.

    You might need to turn down the heat slightly so the potatoes do not burn; you want them to slowly fry, not becoming crisp like french fries, but rather tender and creamy.

    cook the onions and potatoes
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  5. Leave the mixture in the pan until the potatoes are cooked. If you can poke a piece of potato with a spatula and it easily breaks in two, your potatoes are done. Remove the potato-onion mixture from the pan with a slotted spoon (or spatula that allows the oil to drain) and let cool. To cool the mixture more quickly, spread it out gently on a baking sheet to avoid breaking the potatoes.

    allow ingredients to cool
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  6. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat by hand with a whisk or fork. Pour in the cooled potato-onion mixture. Mix together with a large spoon. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

    add eggs
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  7. Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil into a small, non-stick frying pan (approximately 9 to 10 inches in diameter) and heat over medium heat. When hot, stir the egg mixture and pour it into the pan, spreading out evenly. Allow the egg to cook around the edges.

    Carefully lift up one side of the omelet to check if the egg has slightly browned. The inside of the mixture should not be completely cooked and the egg will still be runny.

    cook in a pan
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  8. When the mixture has browned on the bottom, you are ready to turn it over to cook the other side. Remove the pan from the stove and place a large dinner plate—about 12 inches in size—upside down over the frying pan. With one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and let the omelet fall onto the plate.

    brown the top of the food
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  9. Place the frying pan back on the stove and put just enough of the remaining oil to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the pan warm for 30 seconds or so.

    plate and prep quiche
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  10. Slide the omelet from the plate into the frying pan. Use the spatula to shape the sides of the omelet. Let the omelet cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the tortilla sit in the pan for 2 minutes.

    cut pieces of quiche
    The Spruce
  11. Slide the omelet onto a plate or cutting board and slice into pieces. If eating as a main course, cut the omelet into 6 to 8 pieces like a pie. Serve French bread on the side. If you are serving as an appetizer, slice a baguette into pieces about 1/2-inch thick. Cut the tortilla into 1 1/2 inch squares and place a piece on top of each slice of bread.


  • You don't want to slice the potatoes paper thin or else they will stick together; it is best not to use a food processor because most machines will slice the potatoes too thinly.
  • To determine when the oil is hot enough to fry the potatoes and onions, drop a single piece of potato or a bit of bread into the oil. It should sizzle when the oil is ready.
  • Remember to watch the heat while frying. If the oil is too hot, the potatoes will brown rapidly on the outside but will be raw on the inside.
  • After frying the potatoes, place the potato-onion mixture in a colander for a few minutes to allow more oil to drain. Place a plate underneath to catch the olive oil so you can use it again.

Recipe Variations

  • Add 1 chopped green or red bell pepper ​to the potatoes and onions and fry.
  • Slice a Spanish chorizo sausage and add to the potato and onion mixture after frying. Or, simply slice Spanish chorizo and combine with beaten eggs in the frying pan.
  • Add 1/4-inch-thick slices of finely chopped Serrano ham to the potato and onion mixture after frying. Canadian bacon or deli smoked ham work well for this variation. Be careful to adjust the salt accordingly, since ham can be salty.