How to cook a tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelet)

Before arriving in New York City, I never had to explain what a tortilla de patatas was. In the U.S., people usually think that I am talking about the traditional Mexican tortilla, rather than la tortilla de patatas, also known as tortilla española. This is a staple of the cuisine in my home country, Spain. You will find it in every corner bar, in every home and, even deconstructed, in some upscale restaurants. You might think it is simple to make. What can go wrong with fried potatoes and eggs? Unfortunately, it turns out, a number of things. In your search for la tortilla perfecta (the perfect tortilla) you may create tortillas that have textures ranging from rubber, to a sponge to cardboard. The good news is that a great tortilla can be very easy to make at home, with a little patience to peal the potatoes and let them fry in olive oil. To see how it is done step-by-step, check out this video.


  • 3 to 4 Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 6 or 7 large eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Let’s go over the key instructions in Spanish with se + verb (in the present tense in third person singular or plural.) Notice that the English instructions are given as imperatives while the in Spanish the instructions use the impersonal/passive se construction.

1. Cut the potatoes thinly.
Se cortan las patatas muy finas.

2. Fry the potatoes.
Se fríen las patatas.
*This step can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.

3. Take them out.
Se sacan.

4. Drain them.
Se escurren.

5. Beat the eggs
Se baten los huevos.

6. Mix the potatoes and onions with the eggs
Se mezclan las patatas y la cebolla con el huevo.

7. Flip the tortilla
Se da la vuelta a la tortilla.
* This is the tricky part! Watch the video to see how to do this using two pans.

Let´s eat it! : ¡Se come!