Tortilla Making in Nicaragua

Matagalpa, Nicaragua

making tortillas in nicaragua

You can’t escape tortillas when traveling in Nicaragua. The Nicas eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Nicaraguan tortillas are made from corn flour and are quite thick. For breakfast, I’ll use it to scoop up my gallo pinto (beans and rice) and scrambled egg, I’d place a little (ok, maybe more than a little) slice of cuajada (salty cheese), and add a dash of chili sauce and fold it in half quesadilla style.

One common roadside snack in Nicaragua is quesillo: a string of mozzarella-type cheese with pickled onion, doused with watery sour cream all wrapped in a thick tortilla. It’s a little bit of an acquired taste.

Tortilla making in Nicaragua

I stopped for breakfast one morning at this tiny market in Matagalpa and I saw these 2 women chatting while making tortillas. Their hands were a blur as they took a pinch of dough and smack it flat with their palm. “Smack-smack” – flip, “Smack-smack” – flip.

Another woman was grilling them on top of a wood fired stove.

I ask how many tortillas they make every day.

“Mil” – 1000. And this is just a tiny stall in a tiny market.

They sure love their tortillas here in Nicaragua.

Valuable Resources

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders, for those who love anything weird and offbeat.
  • Resource Toolbox: How I find cheap flights, accommodations, and other travel hacks.

This site contains affiliate links that give me a tiny commission at no cost to you (say, if you buy items from the shop, for example). Thanks, guys!

24 Replies to “Tortilla Making in Nicaragua”

  1. Wow 1000 Tortillas a day! Now they're good, in fact no, they're very good, but as far as eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner I don't think i'm that hardcore yet. Great post by the way.

  2. An amazingly versatile food! I've been living in Mexico for the past few years and reading about Spain – trying to figure out which things came from which culture. Cuisine is definitely the place where indigenous American culture lives on. Vive la tortilla!

  3. 1000 tortillas a day? Wow if every vendor makes a 1000 a day, that is some serious Tortilla consumption. I love watching street vendors prepare food. They are so skilled and fast. Here in Cambodia you can get some friend noodles within two minutes for example.

  4. One thousand tortillas a day is one heck of a lot of tortillas. I love them when they're super fresh and would love a lesson on how to be able to make them quickly and well.
    Your breakfast sounds good – lunch not so much.

  5. That's amazing! Handmade tortillas taste infinitely better than any store bought-I'm sure the ones in Nicaragua are amazing. Gosh I cannot imagine making 1000 each day though!! I struggle to turn out 8 🙂

  6. Mil tortillas a day? Oh wow! Nicaraguans do love their tortillas indeed! Anyhow, which one do you prefer? The usual tortilla you have back at home or the one in Nicaragua?

    1. Tough questions. We're currently in San Francisco and there's a huge hispanic community here – so we have access to really good tortillas too 🙂 We've been spoiled.

  7. I love handmade tortillas and those thick ones look really good! Almost like a huarache, if you've had that Mexican tortilla variant?

  8. I think it's great to learn a thing or two about the cuisine of every country you visit, particularly how to make a dish or two, since it's a great way to bring a little of the magic back home.

  9. That is something I would love to try to do when travelling in those area. I am a big fan of tortilla and making my own one would be amazing. I bet it would be much tastier than the one I used to get from the restaurant 🙂

  10. What I wouldn't do for some homemade tortillas right about now! Latin American food is hard to come by in Shanghai, and the prepackaged tortillas imported from the States cost a fortune!

  11. There are certain foods that I find it impossible to believe that people actually make them from scratch, and tortillas are definitely on the list. I bet freshly grilled tortillas are so much better than the prepackaged ones we get back in the States!

  12. 1000 a day?! Holy cow! I would be so interested to taste to mozzarella and pickled onion on – love all the elements in their own right, but not sure how it would be put together?! Now I'm off to find breakfast as my stomach is rumbling from reading this…

  13. It's like this throughout so much of Latin America. I love it so much that I recently built a cast iron dome that rests over a fire pit in my back yard. The dome is a perfect tortilla cooker, reminiscent of the hundreds I've seen in markets down there. Thanks for the memory. I can smell them cooking now! 😀

  14. A good tortilla is worth it's weight in gold!
    No joke. It is possible to find bad ones so get 'em when you can.

    Love that first photo – tortillas grillin up, Mmmmm.

  15. Ah yes, you just reminded me of my 3-week trip to Guatemala and Honduras last year. I've gotten used to hearing those clapping sounds they make when one makes tortillas, and yes, it features on every meal. So after coming back from that trip, whenever I hear clapping sounds, I'd immediately scan my surroundings and look for tortillas!

Comments are closed.