How to Make Tortilla Chips

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Tortilla chips are an excellent snack, a great side dish, and they're perfect for making nachos or for eating dips and spreads. And while it’s easy enough to go to the store and buy a bag of tortilla chips, you can also make your own from scratch in your very own kitchen. The key to making your own tortilla chips is to make your own tortillas first, and to then cut up the tortillas and cook the chips. You can fry the chips for a more traditional tortilla chip, or bake them for a healthier version.


[Edit]Making Easy Tortilla Chips

  • 2 cups (470 ml) oil
  • 20 6-inch (15-cm) tortillas
  • Salt, to taste

[Edit]Making Authentic Homemade Tortillas

  • 2 cups (228 g) masa harina
  • ½ teaspoon (3 g) salt
  • 1½ cups (353 ml) hot water
  • Oil, for frying or baking
  • Extra salt, for finishing

Makes 20 6-inch tortillas, or 120 chips


[Edit]Making Easy Tortilla Chips

  1. Preheat the oil. Add about 2 cups (470 ml) of oil to a large skillet or frying pan. Heat the oil over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, until it reaches 350 F (177 C).
    Make Tortilla Chips Step 1 Version 4.jpg
    • If you don’t have a thermometer, you can tell the oil is ready when it’s shimmering but not smoking.
    • Ideal oils for frying tortilla chips are vegetable and canola.[1]
  2. Stack and cut the tortillas. Arrange your tortillas into four neat piles. This will make the tortillas easier to cut into wedges for chips. Use a sharp knife to cut the tortillas in half, and then cut each half into three even wedges. Repeat until all the tortillas have been cut.[2]

    • For smaller chips, cut each tortilla half into four wedges.
    • You can either use store-bought or homemade tortillas to make these chips.
  3. Fry the chips in small batches. When the oil is ready and the chips have been cut, add 10 to 20 chips to the oil. Make sure the chips aren't crowding each other, or they won’t cook evenly. Cook the chips for about two minutes, until golden brown. Flip the chips and cook them for another two minutes.[3]

  4. Remove the chips from the fryer with a slotted metal spoon. When the chips are golden brown on both sides, carefully remove them from the hot oil.[4] Hold the slotted spoon over the skillet for a minute to allow excess oil to drain off.

    • Transfer the chips to a towel-lined baking sheet. Line a baking sheet with a layer of paper towel. Transfer the cooked chips to the baking sheet and set them aside to cool. As they cool, the paper towel will absorb more of the excess oil.[5]
    • Repeat until all the chips have been fried, removed from the oil, and transferred to the baking sheet.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and serve warm or cold. Once all the chips have been cooked and have had time to drain on the baking sheets, sprinkle them with your favorite salt, to taste. As soon as the chips are cool to the touch, they're ready to be enjoyed with your favorite dips, or as part of other dishes.

    • You can also season the chips with pepper, garlic powder, herbs, and other spices and seasonings.
  6. Store leftover chips. Transfer any leftover chips to an airtight container or sealable plastic bag with an airtight seal. They will keep at room temperature for about five days.[6]

[Edit]Making Authentic Homemade Tortillas

  1. Combine the masa harina, salt, and hot water in a large mixing bowl. Stir the mixture with a spoon to incorporate all the ingredients. Masa harina is a soft corn flour that’s been soaked in an alkaline solution, and that’s often used for making tortillas and other corn-based dishes.[7]

    • To make these tortillas with wheat flour instead, reduce the amount of water in the recipe to ¾ cup (176 ml).[8]
  2. Knead the dough. Turn the dough out onto a flat surface, like a countertop. Knead the dough for about two minutes, until it’s smooth, elastic, and not sticky. If the dough is too dry or too sticky, there are things you can do to fix this:

    • If the dough seems too dry and crumbly, work in a tablespoon (15 ml) of water.
    • If the dough feels gummy and sticky, work in a tablespoon (7 g) of masa harina.[9]
  3. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Return the dough to the original mixing bowl. Cover it with a damp towel and set it aside to rest at room temperature. As the dough rests, the flour will finish absorbing the water, making for soft and tasty tortillas.[10]

    • The resting period isn't vital if you don’t have time to wait, and you can roll the tortillas as soon as the dough is ready. The resting period will give the masa harina time to fully absorb all the water, and improve the texture of the tortillas.
  4. Roll out the dough for the tortillas. Turn the dough back out onto the counter. For each tortilla, break off about 3 tablespoons (30 g) of dough. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, and then use a rolling pin to roll each ball into a flat circle that’s one-eighth inch (3 mm) thick and 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter.[11]

    • You can also use a tortilla press to flatten the dough balls into tortillas.
  5. Preheat a griddle. When all the tortillas have been rolled out, heat a non-stick griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.[12] Allow the griddle to heat for a few minutes. To test if the griddle is hot enough, sprinkle a few drops of water onto the surface. If the water sizzles and evaporates, then the griddle is ready.

    • Brush the griddle with a thin layer of oil if you don’t have a non-stick pan.
  6. Cook the tortillas. When the griddle is hot, add your first tortilla to the pan. Cook the tortilla for one to two minutes, until the edges begin to curl and the surface is lightly browned.[13] Flip the tortilla and cook for an additional one to two minutes. Remove the tortilla from the griddle and transfer it to a wire rack to cool.

    • Repeat until all of the tortillas have been cooked.

[Edit]Making Healthy Baked Tortilla Chips

  1. Brush the tortillas with oil. Fill a small bowl with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of canola or vegetable oil. Use a pastry brush or silicone brush to coat both sides of each tortilla with a thin layer of oil. As you brush the tortillas, make sure you get the edges. This will help the chips to crisp up when they bake.[14]

  2. Stack, cut, and season the tortillas. Arrange the tortillas into four neat piles.[15] Cut the tortillas in half, and then cut each half into three even wedges. Arrange the chips in a single layer on baking sheets, making sure they don’t overlap.[16] Before baking, sprinkle the chips with salt or other favorite seasonings, such as:

    • Pepper
    • Rosemary
    • Garlic or onion powder
    • Curry powder
    • Lime flavoring
  3. Bake the tortillas until lightly browned. Preheat your oven to 350 F (177 C).[17] When the oven is hot, transfer the baking sheets to the top rack. Bake the chips for 8-12 minutes, until the chips are slightly browned and the edges have crisped up and lifted off the baking sheet a little.
    Make Tortilla Chips Step 15 Version 4.jpg
    • Watch the chips carefully as they bake, because they are thin and prone to charring.
  4. Serve the chips warm or cold. Remove the chips from the oven and set them aside to cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes. As the chips cool, the centers will become harder and crispier.[18] You can serve the chips warm as soon as they’re cool to the touch, or let them cool completely for another hour.
    Make Tortilla Chips Step 16 Version 4.jpg
    • Store leftover chips in an airtight container for up to five days.[19]


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