Chapati vs. Tortilla

What's the Difference?

Chapati and tortilla are both types of flatbreads that are widely consumed in different parts of the world. While they share some similarities, they also have distinct characteristics. Chapati is a staple in Indian cuisine and is made from whole wheat flour, water, and sometimes oil. It is typically rolled out thin and cooked on a hot griddle, resulting in a soft and slightly chewy texture. On the other hand, tortilla is a traditional Mexican flatbread made from corn or wheat flour. It is usually thicker than chapati and cooked on a comal, giving it a slightly crispy exterior. Tortillas are versatile and can be used to wrap various fillings, while chapati is often served as a side dish or used to scoop up curries and other dishes.


Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash
OriginIndian subcontinentMesoamerica
TypeUnleavened flatbreadUnleavened flatbread
Main IngredientsWheat flour, water, saltCorn or wheat flour, water, salt
PreparationRolling and cooking on a griddlePressing and cooking on a griddle or comal
ShapeRoundRound or oval
TextureSoft and pliableSoft and pliable
SizeVaries, typically 6-8 inches in diameterVaries, typically 6-8 inches in diameter
Common UsesAccompaniment to curries, stews, or as a wrapWraps, tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas
Photo by micheile henderson on Unsplash

Further Detail


Chapati and tortilla are two popular types of flatbreads that are widely consumed in different parts of the world. While they may appear similar at first glance, there are several distinct attributes that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the differences and similarities between chapati and tortilla, including their ingredients, preparation methods, cultural significance, and taste.


Chapati, also known as roti, is a traditional Indian bread made from whole wheat flour, water, and sometimes a pinch of salt. The dough is typically kneaded until it becomes soft and pliable, and then rolled into thin, round discs before being cooked on a hot griddle or tawa.

Tortilla, on the other hand, is a staple in Mexican cuisine and is made using either corn or wheat flour. Corn tortillas are made from masa harina, a type of corn flour, mixed with water and sometimes a bit of salt. Wheat tortillas, on the other hand, are made from wheat flour, water, fat (such as lard or vegetable shortening), and salt. The dough is then divided into small balls, flattened, and cooked on a hot comal or griddle.

While both chapati and tortilla share the commonality of being flatbreads, their ingredients differ significantly, reflecting the culinary traditions and staple crops of their respective regions.

Preparation Methods

The preparation methods for chapati and tortilla also vary. To make chapati, the dough is first prepared by combining the ingredients and kneading until it reaches a smooth consistency. The dough is then divided into small portions, rolled into thin discs, and cooked on a hot griddle. The chapati is flipped several times during the cooking process to ensure even cooking and to achieve a light, fluffy texture.

Tortilla, on the other hand, involves a slightly different process. The dough is prepared by mixing the ingredients and kneading until it becomes elastic. The dough is then divided into small balls, which are flattened using a rolling pin or a tortilla press. The flattened dough is then cooked on a hot comal or griddle, with each side being cooked until it develops a slight char and becomes pliable.

Both chapati and tortilla require skill and practice to achieve the desired texture and consistency. The cooking techniques and tools used in their preparation contribute to the unique attributes of each flatbread.

Cultural Significance

Chapati holds immense cultural significance in Indian cuisine and is a staple in many households. It is often served alongside various curries, lentils, or vegetables, and is used as a utensil to scoop up the main dishes. Chapati is also an integral part of religious and festive celebrations in India, where it is considered a symbol of hospitality and is often offered to guests.

Tortilla, on the other hand, is deeply rooted in Mexican culture and is a versatile component of numerous traditional dishes. It serves as the foundation for tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and many other Mexican delicacies. Tortillas are not only a food staple but also hold cultural significance, representing the rich culinary heritage of Mexico and its indigenous roots.

Both chapati and tortilla have become global favorites due to their versatility and ability to complement a wide range of flavors and dishes. They have transcended cultural boundaries and are now enjoyed by people from various backgrounds around the world.

Taste and Texture

Chapati and tortilla differ in terms of taste and texture. Chapati has a soft and slightly chewy texture, with a subtle nutty flavor from the whole wheat flour. It is often described as light and airy, making it an ideal accompaniment to curries and other Indian dishes. The simplicity of its ingredients allows the flavors of the main dish to shine.

Tortilla, on the other hand, has a more substantial texture, especially when made with corn flour. Corn tortillas have a slightly grainy texture and a distinct corn flavor. Wheat tortillas, on the other hand, are softer and more pliable, with a milder taste. The choice between corn and wheat tortillas often depends on personal preference and the specific dish being prepared.

Both chapati and tortilla can be enjoyed fresh off the griddle or stored for later use. They can be reheated, toasted, or even fried to add a different dimension of flavor and texture.


Chapati and tortilla, while both being flatbreads, have distinct attributes that set them apart. From their ingredients and preparation methods to their cultural significance and taste, these two flatbreads showcase the diversity and richness of global culinary traditions. Whether you prefer the soft and nutty chapati or the versatile and flavorful tortilla, both are delicious options that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes. So, the next time you're exploring different cuisines, don't forget to savor the unique attributes of chapati and tortilla!

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