Gluten Free Flour Tortillas from GFOAS Bakes Bread

[pinit] I’ve been on something of a Mexican at home kick lately. Lots of tacos and enchiladas being served for dinner in my house. My favorite enchilada sauce made by … more »

Gluten Free Flour Tortillas from GFOAS Bakes Bread [pinit] I’ve been on something of a Mexican at home kick lately. Lots of tacos and enchiladas being served for dinner in my house. My favorite enchilada sauce made by the double batch, and used a few days a week. You get the idea, right? And even though I love corn tortillas (especially when I D.I.Y. ‘em), sometimes you just need a gluten free flour tortilla. And these are, hands down, the best flour tortillas I have ever had–gluten free or not. This is the recipe from page 203 of Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread. It uses Expandex modified tapioca starch (sources here), which makes the tortilla dough incredibly easy to handle, and the tortillas themselves stretchy and pliable like never before. But if you don’t have Expandex and want to make them tonight **and this will be the only time you ever hear me say this** just replace the Expandex (gram for gram) with more all purpose gluten free flour. The texture won’t be the same (raw or cooked), but the recipe will still work.

Gluten Free Flour Tortillas from GFOAS Bakes Bread

Longtime blog readers will remember that I’ve tried Rudi’s gluten free flour tortillas. I just found them to be … sad. And crazy expensive. Sorry, Rudi. I’m all for a robust gluten free marketplace, but it’s got to be better than that if I’m going to pay that kind of cash for a tortilla ($1.23/ounce!). I have a recipe for Whole Grain Gluten Free Flour Tortillas here on the blog, but my recipe for plain flour tortillas has never before been on the blog. Well, today is the day.

Gluten Free Flour Tortillas from GFOAS Bakes Bread

And if you’re wondering how I get those clean, perfect circles on my tortillas, the secret is a cake cutter. One of those big old metal collars that look like really, really large cookie cutters? Those. I used to think it was mostly for showing off, but it really does make for a more evenly-cooked tortilla. And the bragging rights don’t stink, you know? Oh, and one more thing: They freeze perfectly. Just stack the cooked tortillas, wrap them tightly in freezer-safe wrap, and freeze until ready to use. You can either defrost them in the refrigerator overnight, and then refresh them by softening them in a hot skillet (a few seconds on each side), or pop them in the microwave covered in a wet paper towel. (The skillet method is 1000x better.) You’ll be minutes away from a great meal.

Prep time: 10 minutes       Cook time: 5 minutes       Yield: 10 to 20 tortillas, depending upon size

1 3/4 cups (245 g) all-purpose gluten-free flour, plus more for sprinkling (I used Better Batter)

35 grams (about 1/4 cup) Expandex modified tapioca starch*

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon (6 g) kosher salt

4 1/2 tablespoons (54 g) vegetable shortening

3/4 cup (6 ounces) warm water (about 85°F)

*For information on where to find Expandex, please see the Resources page. For information on how to replace Expandex with Ultratex 3, readily available in most countries outside the United States, in the gluten free bread recipes in GFOAS Bakes Bread, scroll to #6 in Resources. I have not yet tested Ultratex 3 in this recipe, but I would recommend trying a mix of 268 grams all purpose gluten free flour + 12 grams Ultratex 3 in place of the blend above. Ultratex 3 is at least 3 times as strong as Expandex.

  • In a large bowl, place the all-purpose flour, Expandex, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine. Add the vegetable shortening and toss it in the dry ingredients. With the tines of a large fork, break up the shortening into small pieces about the size of small peas. Create a well in the center of the mixture, and add the water. Mix to combine. The dough will come together and be thick. Press together into a ball, cover with a moist tea towel, and allow to sit for about 20 minutes. The dough will stiffen a bit as it absorbs more of the water.

  • Heat a 10- or 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Divide the dough into five pieces. Begin with one piece of dough, and cover the rest with a moist tea towel to prevent them from drying out. On a lightly floured surface, with a rolling pin, roll out the first piece of dough until it is 1/8 inch thick. Cut out as many rounds as you can (should be three or four) with a 6- or 8-inch metal cake cutter. Stack the raw tortillas on top of one another, dusting lightly with flour between them, if necessary, to prevent them from sticking. Gather the scraps and set them aside. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, including gathering and rerolling all of the scraps together.

  • Once all the tortillas have been rolled out and cut, place them one at a time in the center of the hot skillet and cook on one side until bubbles begin to appear on the top surface and the tortilla darkens in color a bit on the underside (about 45 seconds). Flip the tortilla over with a wide spatula, and cook on the other side until more bubbles form and the tortilla darkens on the underside (about another 45 seconds). Remove the tortilla from the pan, place on a moist tea towel, and cover gently. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

  • If you don’t plan to use the tortillas right away, place them, still wrapped in the towel, in a plastic bag to seal in the moisture. Use within a few hours.

  • From the book Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread: Biscuits, Bagels, Buns, and More by Nicole Hunn. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright © 2013.



P.S. Got your copy of Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread? If not, won’t you grab one today? There’s another Live Facebook Q&A coming up next week (Thursday night 3/13 8:30 to 9:15 pm Eastern), so start getting those GF baking questions ready!

60 Responses to “Gluten Free Flour Tortillas from GFOAS Bakes Bread”

  1. Nancy says:

    What do I do about the expandex if my flour already has it as an ingredient?

  2. Knit Yeah! says:

    Thank you, thank, you thank YOU for the Ultratex 3 sub right here along with the recipe!!! I have aan expensive jar of it sitting on my shelf BEGGING to be used in working recipes!!! I will be making these this weekend!!!!

  3. LIndsay says:

    Any ideas on how to make these Paleo?

    • You cannot make these Paleo, Lindsay! That would require a completely and totally different recipe.

      • Tamara W says:

        I read thease recipes using all purpose gf flour and i have to know, is domata a good alternative. I use it for everything and love, but these combinations confuse. Is it a flour i can use as all purpose by tthese standars. Please help me understand, thank you

    • Donia Robinson says:

      I make “tortillas” using a recipe from the Stupid Easy Paleo blog. If you go there and look for “Simple Paleo Tortillas”, you’ll find it. They are more like crepes, but they really hold up.

  4. Donia Robinson says:

    I see two hands in that photo up there. Who took the picture??

  5. Michelle says:

    I made these from the book a while back, and they are SO good! Excellent flavor and texture!

  6. Stephanie M says:

    I agree these are the best tortillas I’ve ever had (gf or not) I always make 2 batches making sure to weight out the water and they never make it to the freezer before my husband practically eats them all!

  7. April says:

    Can you use real butter in place of the vegetable shortening? I have trouble with most shortenings as I can not eat corn or soy.

  8. April says:

    Also, would the King Arthur GF all-purpose blend work for these? It is the most readily available in my area.

    • Jennifer S. says:

      if you can look at the bread book, it says what goes into the flour blend she prefers – or go to better batter’s site and see the ingredient list and compare to King Arthur’s – you’ll notice there is a TON of difference and will affect the recipe. I’d use at your own risk. FYI: Better batter is sold online and you can get some really super awesome prices AND free shipping!!!

    • The King Arthur flour blend is very, very starchy, April. It is white-labeled in Trader Joe’s as their all purpose gluten free flour (You can read more about my opinion on the Trader Joe’s (King Arthur) GF flour in my review of it here). King Arthur’s blend does not use a superfine rice flour (which makes it rather gritty), and does not brown well at all–plus tends to require more liquid because of all the starch. It tends to be the most readily available flour in brick and mortar stores everywhere, but it is not particularly good, I’m afraid. I always mail order gluten free flour. Most people do.

  9. Jennifer S. says:

    I have not made these yet but I really need to. I’ve watched the expert so I should be good to go AND I now have all the tools (aka cake cutters!!!) so excited.

    Quick question as a little side note. I’m trying to replicate those “lunchables” for my kids and want to make small circle pizza crusts – would you use this recipe or your thin or thick pizza crust rolled out and then cut with a cookie cutter? I’d love your expert opinion!! (No please advise this time… lol!)

    • I don’t know what lunchables look like, but if they have an edge to them, I’d make little pizza crusts. If not, go with these. Either would work, though. Cute idea!

  10. Jean says:

    Do you have a “trick” for re-rolling the scraps so they don’t taste too floury? Maybe I used a little too much flour for the first roll out?

    • I think you’ve solved your own problem, Jean! Go light on the flouring. You can even try just flouring the rolling pin, instead of the dough itself.

  11. Susan Dorsey says:

    I have a question. I have your bread book and I love it. I made a huge batch of your AP Flour and use it often. Is the Expandex different from regular tapioca starch? I would love to make these tortillas and have tapioca starch on hand, but not the other two you mentioned. Thank you for your help.

  12. Kim Thomas says:

    I just made these so my daughter and I could have fish tacos for lunch. They were AWESOME!!!!! You’re right–better than any flour tortilla I’ve had, gluten free or not! I could eat them plain right from the skillet! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  13. Diane Decker says:

    I am groaning right now. Must call to order the expandex tomorrow. On a related note, would you like to figure out a way to make Indian Fry Bread gluten free? I have a recipe.

    • brandon says:

      OH goodness yes. could you email it please.

      • Diane Decker says:

        Brandon, all I have is the old fashioned way to make fry bread, not anything gluten free. If you want it, email me at and I will send it to you. I’m too inexperienced at gluten free to try to adapt it myself.

        • Janel says:

          you might want to try following your recipe but just use Cup4Cup brand gf flour… i’ve had pretty good luck so far substituting it into a lot of my family recipes.

    • I actually have been working on an updated recipe for Indian Fry Bread with the new ingredients and methods from Bakes Bread, Diane. Stay tuned! :)

  14. Cindy says:

    Can’t wait to try these! I love to use Jules Gluten Free All Purpose flour and the first ingredient is Expandex! Can’t wait to try this recipe using only Jules flour and see how it turns out . Thank you!!

    • As I explain below, Cindy, in response to Nancy’s questions, I do not recommend using Jules flour in this recipe at all. It has way too much Expandex.

  15. Londerella, that is tapioca starch. Not Expandex modified tapioca starch.

  16. Mary Ann Henry Cook says:

    I made these last night without the Expandex. My rolling pin turned up awol. I don’t have a tortilla press, so I used my hands. They ended up a little thick…but all that being said…my whole family gobbled these up!! Once I get the Expandex, find my rolling pin or get a tortilla press, these will be regulars at my house. They may be regulars even before the other stuff happens! Thank you, thank you, thank you. My daughter cried when she bit into her first one. She hasn’t had flour tortillas in several months (since her diagnosis) and these are fantastic!! (Can you tell we like these?)

    • Aw, Mary Ann, look how happy you made your daughter!! So glad you enjoyed them, and I hope you get Expandex soon because it makes a really big difference. :)

  17. Janel says:

    if i use Cup4Cup flour (because that’s what i have) would i just skip the Expandex? also, do you know if they would turn out okay using butter instead of vegetable shortening? (because Crisco or the like is not really something i want to buy or put in my body.)

    • Janel, no you would not just skip the Expandex. I do not recommend Cup4Cup flour for this recipe, but feel free to experiment. I do not use Crisco. I use Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. As always, if you would like to experiment, feel free!

      • Janel says:

        i didn’t even know there was such a thing as non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening. i’ll have to check that out. i have a big bad of C4C that i got for Christmas tho, and i can’t afford to buy a different flour and other special ingredients that i pretty much would have to order online (which means i can’t use food stamps). so i might just try to make this or a different recipe with what i’ve got. thanks!

  18. Gina Seaholtz says:

    Can I use Bob’s Red mills flour for this recipe…I cannot use flours with rice in them because I am allergic to gluten and my husband is allergic to rice

  19. Karen Tobin Cole says:

    Do you use any oil or butter in the skillet when you cook these? I assume you do, but I’ve never made tortillas before so I’m not sure.

  20. Okee dokee. I have modified my comment, then, Terri, to indicate only that I find King Arthur Flour gluten free flour to be indistinguishable from Trader Joe’s gluten free flour.

  21. Claire Claes says:

    Oh dear I just had a big fail with this recipe :( I can’t get vegetable shortening here (Belgium) so I used coconut oil. Also can’t get the Expandex so I bought tapioca starch used for thickening sauces. When I opened the packet it was little beads of tapioca so I ground them up and used it like that. Not sure which one was the culprit but I cooked one and had to chuck the rest of the dough. Very hard to handle and when cooked hard enough to snap. I used Schar self raising flour. It’s such a same we can’t get the same ingredients over here because they look soooo good! x

This recipe was brought to you by Nicole Hunn of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring:
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