Learn how to make soft and pliable cassava flour tortillas with just four simple ingredients. A delicious gluten-free, grain-free, and paleo alternative.
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Wrapping your favorite fillings in a warm tortilla is a special treat. This recipe uses cassava flour, but it chews like my homemade flour tortillas. The bonus is that this ingredient provides a gluten-free alternative without sacrificing taste. Make a batch for taco night, stuff fajitas, wrap for enchiladas, or meal prep.
These cassava tortillas use simple pantry staples. All you need is fat, salt for seasoning, and water. Ground cassava absorbs a lot of water, so I’ve made adjustments for additional moisture to achieve a soft and flexible texture.
Cassava flour is a grain-free and paleo alternative to traditional flour and corn tortillas. The product is made from finely grounding cassava root, so it doesn’t have a gritty texture. The appearance has an off-white color and has a very neutral, slightly nutty taste. I add a little sea salt or kosher salt to season the flour.
One thing to notice is that it’s denser than all-purpose wheat flour, which causes it to absorb more moisture, requiring extra water to ensure it’s easy to roll and flatten. The dough should not crumble apart when forming the tortillas.
Add in fat
Without fat in the recipe, the tortillas will be dry, rigid, and not flexible. But don’t worry. You have plenty of options. I use olive oil for a subtle fruity flavor. However, melted coconut oil (use unrefined if making paleo) or avocado oil works well.
Making the dough
The key is to coat the cassava flour with the oil before adding water. This process reduces the amount of bonding from the starches by covering the fiber to make the tortillas more tender. It’s important to add warm water to slightly heat the fat to better disperse into the flour.
When you initially add the water, it will feel very tacky. But with kneading and time, the cassava starches will soak it all up. You can always add more water or flour to adjust the consistency. The goal is to have a pliable dough that can be shaped and flattened into discs. The edges will be a little jagged when pressed, and that’s okay. However, it should not crumble apart. That’s a sign that it needs more hydration.
Rolling the tortillas
You can shape the tortillas right away—no need to wait. I like to roll the dough into a log and then use a bench scraper or knife to cut it into eight even-sized pieces. When rolled into balls, they should be about 1 ½-inches wide. Keep the dough balls covered, or the surface will get dry. It’s up to you if you want to flatten them all at one time or in between cooking.
I like to use a metal tortilla press with pieces of parchment paper to prevent sticking. Once flattened, keep the uncooked dough on the parchment paper! It makes it so much easy to transfer into the pan. Alternatively, you can use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. Target between a 5 ½ to 6-inch wide round. These will give thick wraps.
A cast iron skillet is the best for cooking cassava tortillas. The thick walls retain the heat well between batches, and you don’t need to grease the pan. A nonstick pan will also work well. Heat the pan over medium-high, then use the parchment paper to flip the dough into the skillet.
It takes about 30 to 45 seconds per side. I like to get the surface lightly browned for flavor. You’ll see a few moisture bubbles puff up, which will keep the tortillas lighter in texture. Do not cook them for too long, or they will get charred and dried out.
Stack and wrap
You’ll notice the tortillas will be slightly rigid coming straight out from the pan. The key is to transfer it to a plate and cover it with a kitchen towel, foil, or plastic wrap. This technique traps the steam released from the dough, which softens the surface. I like to stack them on top of each other, which keeps them warm and pliable right before serving.
Serve this with
- Scrambled eggs for breakfast tacos
- Seasoned ground beef
- Slow cooker chicken tacos
- Salmon tacos
- Slow cooker pulled pork tacos
- Use for gluten-free chicken enchiladas
Cassava flour is grain-free, gluten-free, and paleo. A great dietary option for those with sensitivities or following a certain diet. It also contains calcium and fiber. The recipe includes healthy olive oil with monounsaturated fat, water, and a small amount of salt for seasoning.
No, they are not low carb. Cassava flour contains about 27 grams of carbohydrates per ¼ cup, which is slightly more than what’s in each tortilla. Those on a low carbohydrate diet should avoid consuming this ingredient.
Garlic powder and onion powder add an earthy, allium flavor. Use about ½ to ½ teaspoon. For a red tint, add paprika, about ¼ teaspoon. Dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, or basil provide an herbaceous note. Add ½ to 1 teaspoon.
Using solid fat in the tortillas
Solid fats yield a puffier texture. Try palm oil, unsalted butter, or vegetable shortening and break them into small pieces in the flour like making biscuits. Due to their higher melting point, they hold their shape when heated, creating more air pockets inside the dough for a lighter texture. Chill the dough for 30 minutes before rolling to firm it further up. Palm oil is paleo-friendly, but butter and vegetable shortening are not.
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Cassava Flour Tortillas
- 1 cup water
- 1 ½ cups cassava flour
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt, or kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Warm the Water – Add water to a small saucepan, set over medium heat until warm, between 110 to 120ºF (43 to 49ºC). Alternatively, microwave in 30-second intervals until warm.
- Make the Dough – In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Add the oil and mix until it looks like coarse cornmeal. Add the warm water and mix to combine. It will look wet and shaggy.
- Knead – Briefly knead the dough until it forms a cohesive ball. Add 1 teaspoon flour if the dough feels sticky, or water – 1 tablespoon at a time if it feels dry. It should feel like clay and hold together when pressed down. It should not crumble apart.
- Portion – Divide the dough into 8 even-sized pieces (about 55 grams). Roll into balls, about 1 ½-inches wide. Transfer to a plate and tightly cover with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.
- Flatten – Cut out 9 pieces of parchment or wax paper to fit a tortilla press. Working with one piece of dough at a time, place it in between two pieces of paper. Press into a 5 ½ to 6-inch circle. The edges will be slightly jagged. Keep the tortilla on the bottom piece of paper. This makes it easier to transfer to the pan. Transfer to a plate and cover with a towel or plastic wrap to prevent drying out. Continue flattening the other balls, making a stack, and covering in between. Alternatively, use a rolling pin.
- Cook the Tortillas – Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat as needed as the pan may get hotter over time. Using the parchment paper, quickly flip the tortilla over into the pan. Cook until a few brown spots appear on the surface, about 30 to 45 seconds per side. Transfer to a plate and tightly cover with a towel, plastic wrap, or foil to trap the steam, keeping them warm and pliable. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Serve – Keep the tortillas covered until ready to serve so that they stay warm. Serve immediately for the best taste and texture.
- Oil Substitutes: Avocado oil or unrefined melted coconut oil.
- Storing: Store in an airtight container, or wrapped in plastic and placed in a resealable bag for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 1 month.
- Reheating: Warm in a frying pan over medium heat until pliable. Defrost if frozen.
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