COOKING 101: TORTILLAS made with Lard, Manteca or Tallow

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 to 65 minutes
  • Total Time: 85 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings
  • Skill Level: Beginner / Easy
  • Kitchen Appliance: Mixer or by hand and Stove

These tortillas are the Ultimate. No Vegetable shortening.

“Did you know” Lard, Manteca or Tallow is actually healthy for you. That’s right.

Up until 1990 when the vegan movement took place those tasty McD’s french fries were fried in tallow. Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, primarily made up of triglycerides. It is solid at room temperature. Lard / Manteca is rendered from pork.

Lard / Tallow has always been an important cooking and baking staple in cultures where pork / beef is an important dietary item, with pig / cow fat often being as valuable a product as the meat.
Lard is a semi-solid white fat product obtained by rendering the fatty tissue of the pig. It is distinguished from tallow, a similar product derived from fat of cattle or sheep.

Tallow and Lard can be rendered by steaming, boiling, or dry heat. The culinary qualities of lard vary somewhat depending on the origin and processing method; if properly rendered, it may be nearly odorless and tasteless. It has a high saturated fatty acid content and no trans fat. At retail, refined lard is usually sold as paper-wrapped blocks.

Many cuisines use lard as a cooking fat or shortening, or as a spread in the same ways as butter. It is an ingredient in various savory dishes such as sausages, pâtés, and fillings. As a replacement for butter, it provides flakiness to pastry. In western cuisine, it has ceded its popularity to vegetable oils, but many cooks and bakers still favor it over other fats for certain uses.


Lard / Manteca
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 3,765.6 kJ (900.0 kcal)
Carbohydrates 0 g
Fat 100 g
Saturated 39 g
Monounsaturated 45 g
Polyunsaturated 11 g
Protein 0 g
Vitamins Quantity %DV†
Vitamin E 4% 0.6 mg
Cholesterol 95 mg
Zinc 0.1 mg
Selenium 0.2 m
Fat percentage can vary

Beef Tallow
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 3,774 kJ (902 kcal)
Carbohydrates 0 g
Fat 100 g
Saturated 42 g
Monounsaturated 50 g
Polyunsaturated 4 g
Protein 0 g
Cholesterol 109 mg
Selenium 0.2 mg

Tallow / Manteca Tortillas

  • 2/3 cup Lard, Manteca or Tallow, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 c water, warm added sparsely

Working with a mixer or by hand with a whisk and spoon, whip the tallow until very creamy. Start adding dry ingredients and mix at low speed until the dough takes on a sandy appearance. Slowly add the warm water with the mixer running, and continue to mix until the dough comes together into a smooth ball. If using spoon make sure to mix well

Wrap the bowl tightly in plastic, and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Heat a heavy cast iron or non-stick skillet over low heat. Divide the dough into 10 portions, rolling each into a smooth ball. Working on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, press each portion to an approximately 4″ circle. Cook on each side for approximately 4 to 5 minutes, or until toasted to a medium golden tone.

You can keep them warm in a tortilla warmer or a clean kitchen towel.

If a less flaky tortilla is desired, add more water to the dough, approximately one or two tablespoons, or enough to make the dough just barely stick to a clean finger. The remainder of the recipe would be worked the same.