How to Make Cassava Flour Tortillas
The Mexican restaurant; a.k.a. the place where “lectin free” eating goes to die. Corn tortillas, refried beans, tamales, tomato salsa with extra jalapeño seeds, death by spice chili peppers, and loads of gooey cheddar cheese. There’s often not a single compliant item on the menu.
I can’t replace many of these things for you–I won’t be opening a Mexican (American) restaurant anytime soon. But I can help you make a tortilla that’s pretty darn close to a traditional flour tortilla.
How can I make this sound more appealing?
I’m about to show you how to make warm, soft tortillas, cooked to perfection on a hot skillet. Then you’ll fill them with juicy, seasoned ground beef, crispy coleslaw, and fresh guacamole, and then you’ll “smother” them in sour cream and goat cheddar cheese and add a sprinkling of lime juice and cilantro. If you’d rather make cute little taco salad cups with this recipe, see my post here.
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Cassava flour is the answer to our flour-like tortilla prayers. It’s an award-winning flour (it still counts if it’s my own award). It’s high in starch, but has about 20% resistant starch content, so it’s not a total carb bomb.
My favorite brand and the one I consistently recommend is available on Amazon Prime. This flour has the best consistency I’ve found, because they make their flour from young, tender cassava root, which has fewer fiber “crystals.” I’ve used this flour to make cinnamon pancakes that are heavenly.
For an intro to baking with cassava and other grain free flours, see my Grain-free Flour Series: Part 1 and Part 2.
French or Italian Butter
I recommend French or Italian butter because it’s made from cows with the A-2 beta-casein protein. However, since butter is almost entirely fat, it’s not critical that you use French or Italian. You can use domestic butter, but if you use unsalted, make sure to add a little salt to the tortilla dough.
My Favorite Press
In case you don’t have a tortilla press, the demonstration below involves rolling tortillas with a pin between parchment. But if you want to cut your time in half (and then some), I recommend this tortilla press from Amazon. It’s an inexpensive, heavy duty, cast-iron press that gets the job done in a fraction of the time.
Here are the three ingredients you’ll need:
- 1/4 cup salted French or Italian butter, melted
- 1 cup warm water
- 1.5 cups cassava flour
Start by whisking the melted butter and warm water together. Then, add the flour, and work the dough with your hands. The dough is perfect when it no longer sticks to your hands, but is not crumbly. It should form a firm dough ball and sit in the bowl without sticking to the sides. Add more water or more flour, as necessary.
Next, divide the dough into 2 ounce portions and roll into balls. I actually weigh these out on a food scale, because I like them all to be the same size, but you can guesstimate if you don’t have a food scale or if you’re a more “carefree” baker than I am.
Place one 2-ounce ball of dough at a time between two pieces of parchment paper, and roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it reaches a “tortilla thinness.” Now would be a good time to start preheating a nonstick skillet to medium-high heat. DO NOT OIL OR GREASE THE SKILLET.
Now comes one of two hard parts: ever so slowly and carefully, peel back the parchment paper from the rolled out dough. Be careful not to rip the dough apart–if a little dough starts to come up, gently press it back in. Then, flip the tortilla over onto the parchment paper you just peeled off, and peel back the other piece the same way. The tortilla should now be lightly resting on a piece of parchment paper.
Make sure your skillet is hot and has preheated for at least 3 minutes. Now comes the second hard part. Bring your tortilla on your piece of parchment paper over to the heated skillet, and “flip” it onto the skillet, then gently lift the parchment paper (the tortilla should come off easily, because you’ve already peeled it off, right?). This takes practice: usher your kids out of the room for your first few tortillas in case expletives are uttered. Alternatively, if you have a spatula the full size of a tortilla, that would be the ideal tool for doing this. I don’t, so I’ve mastered the art of the “parchment paper flip.”
Let the tortilla cook until air bubbles start to form, about 1.5 minutes. Then flip the tortilla over and cook the other side for 30 seconds to 1 minute more. Both sides should have slightly browned air bubbles.
In the 1-2 minutes the tortilla is cooking, you can get started on rolling out the next one. As you can imagine, this recipe is most efficient with two people: a roller and a flipper.
The Most Important Part
(Don’t Skip It)
Your tortillas will come off the skillet very dry. You will be thinking “This recipe sucks–how am I going to fold this into a soft taco?”
The answer is in this warming method:
- Turn your oven on the “keep warm” setting and place a plate on the middle rack.
- Get a clean dish towel and run just enough water over it so that it’s damp, but not dripping water–ring it out.
- As soon as each tortilla is finished cooking, stack it onto the plate in the oven and re-cover the plate with the damp towel.
With this method, you’re creating a nice, cozy sauna for your tortillas, and all of that lovely moisture from the warm towel will work it’s way through the hot tortillas until they are soft, pliable, and you’re ready to roll them into a tasty soft taco.
When you’ve finished cooking all the tortillas, serve them hot with whatever fillings you want–the sky is the limit! I’ve done all sorts of tacos, breakfast burritos, and I’ve even drizzled on some butter and honey and rolled it up for a dessert! I often include them in my Weeknight Meal Planner.
How to Store Tortillas
- When you’re done with the last tortilla, place it on the top of the stack from the warming plate, and transfer the stack to a storage bag.
- Seal the bag immediately to keep all of the moisture from the still-warm tortillas inside.
- Store at room temperature for up to a week.
- To reheat, microwave for 30 seconds between 2 damp paper towels.
Cassava Flour Tortillas
Make cassava flour tortillas with only three ingredients. Paleo, AIP, and Plant Paradox friendly.
- 1/4 cup French or Italian butter (melted)
- 1 cup warm water
- 1.5 cups cassava flour
WHISK together the butter and water. Add the flour, and work the dough with your hands, kneading until the dough is no longer sticking to the bowl, but not crumbly. Add tiny amounts of flour or water, if necessary.
DIVIDE the dough into 2 ounce portions and roll into balls.
HEAT a nonstick griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.
ROLL one dough ball at a time between two pieces of parchment paper with a rolling pin, or use a tortilla press.
SLOWLY peel back the parchment paper from both sides of the tortilla. Gently place the tortilla back on a piece of parchment paper.
CARRY the parchment paper with the tortilla on it over to the heated skillet and “flip” the tortilla onto the skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes on one side, until air bubbles form, then flip and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minutes more.
STACK each finished tortilla on a plate in the oven on the “keep warm” setting. Keep the plate covered with a damp towel. Repeat the above steps until all the tortillas are done.
September 14, 2017 at 4:40 pm
Could we use ghee instead?
September 16, 2017 at 3:29 pm
Yes, that would work well!
October 2, 2017 at 5:59 am
Hi Autumn, your recipes look great. I just came across your Facebook page, and I’m really interested to try the cassava flour tortillas – I love Mexican food. 🙂 One thing I wanted to mention — I’m not sure honey is part of The Plant Paradox “yes” list? I don’t see it listed. I only mention it because if your gut has been flaring up lately and you’ve also been sampling a bit more honey than you usually do, maybe honey (it acts like sugar in the gut I believe?) is the culprit? Best, Jeri
October 2, 2017 at 2:22 pm
Ah, yes, honey is definitely all sugar! I have one or two teaspoons a week, so I don’t think that’s it. You never know, though.
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