Spanish Tortilla is a big potato and egg omelette that’s served in slices. It’s traditionally served as bar food in Spain, but I love making it for a simple and delicious brunch!
If you need to switch things up a little bit from your usual Omelette, give this Spanish version a try.
I ate Spanish Tortilla a few times a week during my five months living abroad in Spain, and it’s truly one of the most delicious recipes that I discovered during my time there.
This classic Spanish recipe is often served as a tapa, meaning if you go out and order a drink, they bring you this “Tortilla Espanola,” or “Tortilla de Patatas” as a snack.
I happen to love it for breakfast, as being mostly egg and potato, it feels very “morning food” to me. It’s kind of a different version of the classic Eggs, Bacon, and Hash Browns, but in sliceable form with a few other flavorings.
But you can certainly enjoy it any time of day!
It’s traditional to use yellow or white onion for a truly authentic Spanish omelette recipe, and though I do use regular onion sometimes, I like adding leeks even more.
Potatoes + leeks is one of those holy grail combinations (hello, potato leek soup) that works really well here too.
Typically there’s no cheese in this recipe, but there have been times when I’ve added Spanish manchego sheep’s milk cheese and the flavor is wonderful.
In other words, feel free to play with the ingredients a bit. I’ve used parmigiano reggiano cheese in a pinch and it’s great too (but that does take it in the Italian direction). Use what you like, just stick with good quality ingredients!
Step by Step Overview:
To get started, cook the onion. I use only the white and light green parts of the leek, since the dark green parts are too fibrous.
Saute the leeks in extra virgin olive oil for about 10 minutes over medium heat, until softened:
I use extra virgin olive oil for the entire recipe instead of refined olive oil. The temperatures don’t get too high while cooking this, and the extra virgin has the best flavor and nutrition. Do not use vegetable oil here, as it has zero flavor.
To prepare the potatoes, peel and shred 2 pounds of russet potatoes (I make this easy by using the shredding disk on my food processor).
Then soak in a large bowl of cold water for 2 minutes:
It’s important to soak and rinse the potatoes, otherwise they’ll give the spanish tortilla a gummy texture.
Rinse the potatoes really well, and squeeze dry with your hands.
Remove the leeks to a large mixing bowl. Then return the skillet to the heat and add more olive oil, the grated potatoes, salt, and pepper:
Cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender but not quite browned.
Add the cooked potatoes to the leeks, and toss to combine in a medium bowl.
Then, add 6 beaten eggs:
Stir to combine, then it’s time to cook.
Heat olive oil in an 8″ nonstick skillet (affiliate link), which I’ll point out is a fairly small frying pan. This small size keeps the Spanish potato omelette easy to flip.
Add the egg potato mixture to the pan, smoothing out the top with a rubber spatula into an even layer:
At first glance, it may seem like the egg mixture won’t fit, but it should come *just* under the top of the pan. This is how you get that dome shape that you can cut into slices later on. Anything larger will be hard to manage.
And, like anything involving eggs, the nonstick pan is incredibly important too for easy release later.
Cook the tortilla española for about 5 minutes, until you see the sides start to set:
Wearing oven mitts (I like these silicone mitts to really protect the hands), or protecting your hands with a dish towel, put a large plate on top of the skillet, and flip the whole thing over so the tortilla rests on top of the plate.
It should be nicely golden brown:
Then, slide the tortilla back into the same skillet, so you can finish cooking the bottom through:
After another 3-5 minutes, the spanish tortilla should be fully cooked and set, with a nice rounded shape. Move it onto a clean plate to cool down for a few minutes before serving.
After your Spanish potato omelette has cooled slightly, cut into thin slices and serve at room temperature. If desired, grate some manchego cheese over the top of the tortilla.
It is very common to serve it cold as well, but I prefer it warmed up, and reheat leftovers in the microwave.
Enjoy a slice as the main course with a simple salad or roasted vegetables on the side, or serve it as a light dinner. Enjoy!
- 2 lbs russet potatoes*
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)
- 6 large eggs
- black pepper
- Peel and shred the potatoes (I used a food processor to shred) and place into a big bowl of cold water. Let sit for 2 minutes, then rinse well and drain. Squeeze dry with hands.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and season with ¼ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes until the leeks have softened. Remove the leeks to a bowl, and set aside.
- Add another ¼ cup olive oil and the grated potatoes to the pan, season with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper, and cook for 10 minutes until they are tender. You can toss them during cooking every few minutes in order to cook evenly, but do not mash the potatoes down (it will make them gummy). After 10 minutes, they will be tender but shouldn’t really be browned. Add to the leek bowl and toss to combine.
- Whisk the eggs with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper until the yolks and whites are blended. Add the eggs to the leeks and potatoes, and also add the cheese if you’re using it (see notes below). Stir everything to combine.
- Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet** over medium heat, then add 1 tbsp olive oil and swirl it around. Pour in the leek potato mixture, and let it cook for 5 minutes until the sides have set and you can see a browned bottom when you peek underneath with a spatula. Using oven mitts, place a plate on top of the skillet and flip everything over. Then slide the tortilla off the plate and back into the skillet.
- Cook for another 3-5 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. If you want to check the inside with a thermometer, egg sets at about 150F. Remove from the pan. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in February 2020. Originally published July 2011.