Cook an overloaded Spanish tortilla at home

IMAGE Scott Suchman

Chef Haidar Karoum of Estadio in Washington D.C. shares an abuela-approved Tortilla Española recipe. The secret lies in the perfect tortilla and we're here to teach you the basics. 

Serves 4


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb Yukon-gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch moons (about 3 cups)
  • 10 oz yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper
  • 5 large eggs

You also need a 10-inch non-stick skillet (opt for something light so you can easily flip the tortilla) and a plate that's slightly wider.


  • Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the potatoes and onions. Stir every so often and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the potatoes are cooked through and the onions are soft, 8 to 10 minutes. (Make sure the oil never gets so hot that it fries the potatoes or imparts any color; rather the potatoes should gently “stew.”) Turn o?n the heat and let the vegetables cool for 10 minutes. This way they are still warm but not piping hot, so they won’t start cooking the eggs in the next step.
  • Crack the eggs into a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, and whisk until thor-oughly mixed. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the potato-and-onion mixture into the eggs, making sure to keep the oil in the skillet, and stir to com-bine. Reserve the cooking oil.
  • Cover egg mixture and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to eight.
  • When you’re ready to cook the tortilla, heat the same skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp of the reserved oil. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook undisturbed over very low heat until the sides of the eggs have set and the middle is beginning to set, about 10 minutes. Place a large plate on top of the pan and invert. Gently slide the tortilla into the pan with the cooked side—which shouldn’t be brown and overly fried but rather a soft egg pillow the color of butter—up. Cook for another 3 minutes and remove from the heat. Let rest in the pan for a few minutes.
  • To serve, invert the tortilla onto a cutting board and cut into quarters.


How to flip a tortilla

  • To flip the tortilla, hold the handle of the skillet in one hand, and place a plate wider than the pan on top of it.
  • In one smooth rotating motion, invert the skillet over the plate.
  • Next, gently slide the tortilla back into the skillet, cooked-side up.

This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Esquire Philippines. Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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