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Cilantro and serrano pepper flour tortillas

June 23, 2014


When I started thinking about making these tortillas,  I didn’t quite imagine how much flavor the cilantro would add to them. I thought the cilantro taste would dissipate and not serve much purpose. These came out as a very pleasant surprise.  I’m not sure if it’s because  the cilantro is just lightly cooked, or that it’s juxtaposed with just one or two other ingredients,  but its green herbal flavor comes out in a way that I’ve never tasted before.  It’s fully present in this tortilla. I use Serrano pepper for a little added heat.  This recipe will also give you soft flexible tortillas.

One of the tricky parts in making flour tortillas is adding the correct amount of water.  Start with 3/8 cup lukewarm water and add by teaspoon until it is the right consistency.  If you squeeze  a small portion between your thumb and fingers, it should give easily, but not be too wet. If it’s too dry, it will feel harder and perhaps show little cracks. You just have to try it yourself.  In my opinion,  making consistently good tortillas is just as difficult as being comfortable with making a complex loaf of bread. I’m still working on both!



For 10 medium size tortillas

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 scant teaspoon of table salt

2 ounces vegetable shortening

3/4 loosely packed cup chopped cilantro (I include some stem)

1 large Serrano  pepper diced

3/8 cup lukewarm water plus several teaspoons as needed


Put the flour,  baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and mix well.   Add the vegetable shortening and using your fingertips, disperse it evenly into the mix.  Add the Serrano pepper and cilantro and incorporate.  Now add the 3/8 cup of water and begin to form the dough.  Add more little by little as needed to make a somewhat moist dough. As a tip,  I add a little less water than I think will be necessary because kneading seems to draw out moisture from the pepper and or cilantro.  Knead for about 5 minutes, adding water as is required until the dough becomes smooth.  I don’t take it to the elastic stage. I also want to point out that if you are sensitive to hot peppers,  kneading the dough may bring you in too much contact with them.

Using a pastry cutter or knife, divide into 9 or 10 portions.  Form them into balls much like you would if you were shaping bread rolls.  Cover them with plastic and let them rest for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Heat your heavy skillet, cast iron pan,  or comal to medium.  Begin rolling out the balls of dough into rounds.  You may need to very lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin.  Roll them out thin. As you roll them one by one,  put them on the pan,  and let cook for about 30 to 45 seconds.  Turn them over and cook an equal amount of time.  Flip it over once more and cook just a little longer.  You should see a few golden brown spots.  Remove when done.  Keep them warm in your tortilla holder, or put them in a kitchen cloth and store them in a plastic bag.


Vegan tacos made of olive oil roasted potato, teardrop cherry tomatoes, habanero pepper, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice made a filling meal.



I think I’ll contribute this to  Angie’s (aka”The Novice Gardener”)  weekly Fiesta Friday,  where many chefs and storytellers share their fabulous creations.  You might want to see what’s going on over there.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2014 6:05 am

    Hi Gerard, nice to meet you 🙂 I love these tortillas, thank you so much for bringing them to this weeks Fiesta Friday, this one is bookmarked!!!

    • June 23, 2014 9:57 am

      Hi Elaine, nice to meet you too! Thank you for hosting Fiesta Friday this week. I’ve never tried using oil in flour tortillas but have been curious about it. Many recipes I’ve seen use it. I couldn’t tell you how much to substitute, though I imagine it might be the same in weight. Please let me know how it goes if you try it! These tortillas might also work well substituting with some whole wheat flour though the amount of water will very likely have to increase slightly. Thank you for the nice comments!

  2. June 23, 2014 6:06 am

    PS can I use oil instead of shortening??

  3. Marcella Rousseau permalink
    June 23, 2014 5:19 pm

    These look VERY good! I am tempted to try them. Yours are beautiful! I was watching a cooking show yesterday and an Asian cook (she’s really a newscaster) made something like an irregularly shaped pancake with green onions. She fried them so they were crispy. What is a comal? I’ve never heard of it before.

    • June 23, 2014 7:36 pm

      Hi Marcella, this is one way to use cilantro if you have an abundance from your garden. I have to say I weighed all the portions so that they look the same size. This dough made it easy to roll out in nice symmetrical circles, it’s not so much from my skill that they look uniform. A comal is the Mexican equivalent of a small portable griddle. I don’t think they are all cast iron.
      I missed all the cooking shows this weekend. Thanks for your comments!

      • Marcella Rousseau permalink
        June 25, 2014 4:20 pm

        Is it the tool that flattens the dough or is that something else?

    • June 25, 2014 7:54 pm

      The dough flattener is called a “tortilla press”. (“prensa de tortilla”) Some are made of wood and some are of metal. I’ve been planning to make corn tortillas and show a couple of photos of presses, especially since I don’t have any posts about homemade corn tortillas.
      In the first photo of my post “Flour-corn tortillas”, you can see a small round comal. It’s much like a cast iron stove top pan or griddle. It’s a good way to cook tortillas. RIght now I’ve been using a Lodge cast iron griddle-grill. It saves me time since it’s big enough to accommodate at least 2 tortillas at the same time.

      • Marcella Rousseau permalink
        June 26, 2014 3:15 pm

        OK, I see what you’re talking about. When I made tortillas I used my Lodge cast iron pan. I flattened them with the pan and then I cooked them in the pan. That was a lot of work to do it that way. Great for the arm muscles! lol!

  4. June 23, 2014 7:02 pm

    What an appetising picture of the tacos! I can almost taste them… Thanks for sharing!

  5. June 23, 2014 10:08 pm

    You vanish for long periods and come back with a bombastic entry ;). Have missed you in action my friend. I am saving this recipe to make soon. Cilantro and peppers are my 2 favorite ingredients in flat breads and use a lot in Indian flat breads also called rotis or chapatis, very similar to tortillas.
    This is an awesome awesome awesome share!
    Saving it now!

    • June 24, 2014 10:11 am

      Thank you very much for the kind words Sonal! Yes, I have seen that the flatbreads of India are varied and are quite inspiring. These tortillas you probably know are non-traditional. Cilantro and peppers are two of the most common items I find in what I make and eat! I hope the recipe works for you.
      I am still looking for black mustard seeds for your vermicelli dish but still have a couple of places to check.
      Sometimes a weekend is not enough time to work on a post so I have skip a couple or so weeks.
      Thanks again Friend!

  6. June 23, 2014 10:45 pm

    These are the prettiest tortillas I’ve ever seen, Gerard!

    • June 24, 2014 10:12 am

      Thank you Patty! I really am enjoying them. They keep pretty well in the refrigerator so I have enough for a few days!

  7. June 24, 2014 6:47 am

    good looking tortillas..thanks for sharing

  8. June 26, 2014 8:41 pm

    Hi Gerard! These look amazing, and so pretty all stacked up like that. I imagine the cilantro and peppers give these tortillas an excellent flavor.

    • June 26, 2014 11:06 pm

      Hi Ngan, Thank you! Yes they do have a very good flavor. the cilantro comes through nicely and the pepper gives just a mild heat. These are some I’ll be making more often.

  9. June 27, 2014 1:38 pm

    Now that my cilantro is finally filling out this will be a great way to use them. I presume they freeze well.

    • June 27, 2014 7:29 pm

      Hi Hilda, I don’t think I’ve ever tried freezing tortillas. I can’t see why they wouldn’t hold up. I know pita bread freezes well.

  10. elle permalink
    June 29, 2014 3:12 am

    Oh my gosh that’s such a good idea about the cilantro! Thanks so much — I can’t wait to try this out next time!

  11. August 5, 2015 12:39 pm

    Reblogged this on zmercedesz.


  1. Fiesta Friday #21 | The Novice Gardener
  2. Tortillas “De la India” | Bread and Tortillas

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