How to Make Homemade Tortilla Chips

Sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. You know why there is no ice cream in my home? Because if it’s there, I’ll eat it all. Chips and crackers? Their days are numbered in hours, or maybe minutes. So my pathway to moderation is just to not buy the things that I shouldn’t be eating all the time. Or I will. Eat them all the time. (Here’s the point where I blame my parents, you know, the ones who never fed us enough growing up; of course when I mention this to them you can practically see the indignation steaming out of their ears.)

Back to danger. There are three staples that you can always find at my house—corn tortillas, oil, and salt. This is all you need to make the most wonderful, fresh, crunchy, perfectly golden, homemade tortilla chips. In fact, if you are cooking light, you don’t even need oil. So there’s no excuse not to make them, only every ounce of will power I possess.

There are three basic ways that we make homemade tortilla chips around here. The first is the classic way, fried in a little oil. The second is to bake them in the oven. The third is to bake them in the microwave. Fried in oil tastes the best (of course), but if we are in the mood for cutting back on calories, we’ll bake them.

How to Make Homemade Tortilla Chips

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 dozen tortillas yields 72 chips.

You'll need oil if you are frying the chips. If you are baking or microwaving, all you need are the tortillas and salt.

Ingredients

  • About 3/4 to 1 cup canola, grapeseed, or corn oil (a high smoke point oil), more or less depending on how many chips you are making
  • Corn tortillas (get the standard kind, not the super fancy kind), each tortilla will make 6 chips, 12 tortillas will yield 72 chips, a good snack for 2 to 3 people
  • Kosher salt

Method

Fried Tortilla Chips

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1 The tortilla chips will fry better if they are a bit dried out first. Either leave the whole tortillas out overnight, exposed to air so they are stale the next day, or dry them out a bit in the oven or microwave. To dry them in the oven, lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in a 350°F for 5 minutes or a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.  Or lay them out in a single layer (working in batches) on a paper towel in a microwave oven and microwave them for 20 to 60 seconds, depending on how strong your microwave is and how many tortillas you are drying. You don't want them crisp at this point, just as dry as they would be if you left them out overnight.

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2 Cut each tortilla into 6 triangle shaped wedges.

3 Pour oil into a medium skillet to a depth of 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch. (Make sure you are working with a completely dry pan or the oil will sputter as it heats.) Heat the oil on medium high heat until a small piece of tortilla placed in the oil sizzles, about 350°F. (This is where an infrared thermometer comes in handy!) Do not allow the oil to get so hot that it smokes. (If that happens, move the pan off the heat immediately.)

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3 Place a paper towel onto a large plate and have several other paper towels ready. Place a handful of tortilla triangles into the hot oil, in a single layer. Use metal tongs or a metal slotted spoon to distribute the tortilla triangles so that they aren't overlapping and so that all sides get coated with oil. Fry for approximately 2 minutes until the chips just begin to color and they are firm, no longer pliable.Use tongs or a slotted spoon remove the chips from the oil to the paper-towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Place another paper towel over the top of the chips to be ready for the next batch.

Note that as soon as you put the tortilla triangles into the hot oil, because you are working with such a small volume of oil, the oil temperature will lower. Usually I compensate for this by increasing the heat to high. And as soon as the chips begin to color, I reduce the heat to low, so the oil doesn't overheat in between batches of chips.

Continue to cook the chips, working in batches, placing the freshly fried chips over a new layer of paper towel each time, and sprinkling with salt.

When the chips are all fried, pat any excess oil from them with a fresh paper towel, and eat! These chips are best freshly made.

 

Baked Tortilla Chips

1 Pre heat oven to 350°F. Cut the tortillas into wedges.

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2 Spread the tortilla wedges out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake the tortilla wedges for about 6 minutes, then use tongs to turn the wedges over. Sprinkle with a little salt, and bake for another 6 to 9 minutes, until they are just beginning to color.  Remove from the oven and let cool. Sprinkle with more salt to serve.

 

Microwaved Tortilla Chips

1 Cut the tortillas into wedges.

2 Line your microwave oven with a paper towel. Working in batches if necessary, spread the tortilla wedges over the paper towel in a single layer, with an inch or so between the wedges.  Microwave until the tortilla chips are crispy, but not burnt. The time will vary depending on the strength of your microwave and how many tortillas you are cooking. In our microwave, it's about a little less than 1 minute per tortilla. But I would start at half of that and add time as needed.

Sprinkle with salt to serve.  Great with guacamole.

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How to Make Homemade Tortilla Chips from Simply Recipes

54 Comments

  1. Jessica

    Oh man, I love making tortilla chips at home! I really enjoy them sprinkled with a bit of smoked paprika ♥

    • Lyn

      delicous with garlic on them too. one time I made an apple salsa to dip them in soooo yummy

  2. Derf

    Hello, homemade chips are great! I like to use sour mix to season–pour into a spritzer bottle and spray while the chips are still warm, this adds a nice, lite tang to your chips!

  3. Rebecca

    My parents are the same way. There were eight kids in my family, and I remember having nothing in the cupboard but powdered milk and generic cheerios. But if I ever bring this up my Mom freaks out!

  4. Shannon

    Have to ask which taste better fried or baked?

    • Elise

      Uh, let me think about that one for a minute…. FRIED. You’re better off eating the baked ones dipped into guacamole. But that’s just my personal opinion.

      • Tina

        Ha! Guacamole is always the answer for me. I also love breaking up microwaved-baked chips with scrambled eggs, enchilada or hot sauce, and maybe even sauteed greens for a super-fast meal. Fried or baked, homemade chips always taste better than bagged. Thanks, Elise.

      • Mark

        LOL! Tell me about it! Whats not better fried!

    • Julie

      Definitely Fried!!

  5. Vincci

    Doesn’t 12 tortillas yield 72 chips?

    • Elise

      Yep! You know you are getting older when your former calculus loving, linear algebra solving brain no longer performs basic arithmetic with reliable accuracy. Thank you. Corrected.

  6. Rossella

    Bad Bad Bad Elise!! why share such a delight at a time when one is “au regime” for her wedding? and these are my favorite crisps ever…will try them during the weekend and then work out as mad! Bad Elise, Bad!! ;)

  7. Eric

    I absolutely love homemade tortilla chips, especially when they are hot out of the oil sprinkled with a little salt. Nom nom nom!

  8. Binks

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but this isn’t homemade food is it. Buying pre-made tortillas and cooking them differently does not make them homemade. Try making the tortillas in the first place and stop being lazy. I bought bread the other day and toasted it, OMG I’m such a skillful cook, homemade toast!!! Yum!!!

    • Elise

      Hello “Binks”. Tortilla chips are what you might make with leftover, stale tortillas. Sort of like making bread crumbs from stale bread. For the same reason that I wouldn’t bake homemade bread just to let it go stale and make bread crumbs, I personally wouldn’t make tortillas from scratch just to turn them into chips. I often make homemade tortillas (see our instructions, How to Make Corn Tortillas). They’re so good, they all get eaten up fresh.

      As for toast, I have a great recipe for cinnamon toast, which doesn’t require you to make your own bread, but if that’s how you roll, go for it!

      • Tina

        Elise, I love the story that goes along with your cinnamon toast recipe. And there is something deeply comforting about simple homemade toast. There is a touching chapter in “101 Dalmatians” called Hot Buttered Toast, and Julia Child charmed a journalist by making her “plain hot, buttered toast, lovingly and simply prepared.” (story from Molly Katzen’s “Sunlight Cafe” pg 67)

      • Daphne

        “phew!” Could not agree with you more. THANK you, ELISE!!

      • SHO

        Elise, don’t forget about the part where physically preparing something is a great replacement for eating. Sure, it’s a mere 10 minutes in this case, but it sure is a lot easier than grabbing a bag out of the pantry and munching all day long.

    • Patrick

      Do you buy your own masa harina or is that too “lazy” and you have to grow/process the corn yourself?

    • DEZ

      It makes the “chips” homemade as in “chips made at home”…. as opposed to buying “chips” pre-made as in “made at a factory”.

      I see no claims on this recipe about “homemade tortillas” which is an entirely different recipe all together.

      How negative sarcasm(the lowest form of wit BTW) makes it way onto a food recipe site just blows my mind…

      Anyway, I just “made my homemade chips” and they were awesome!!

    • Saitaina

      Except this IS ‘homemade’. As in, made in home. She did not go our and buy tortilla chips.

      “Homemade’ and “Made from Scratch” are not synonyms and they really need to be separated in the cooking world. It’s not about being ‘lazy’, not everyone can, physically, make tortillas, they’re a bit labor intensive. This is a handy recipe for those people, as well as those of us who have left over tortillas.

      It’s also a nice entry point for someone just learning to cook, this has the basics of frying, baking and microwaving. With success in this, someone might grow more adventurous and start new thing, such as frying up a chicken to shred and go on their nachos, learning how to properly make a dip or sauce (something many cooks still fail at), etc.

      There is no need to be rude for a short, quick recipe that fills many niches in the world.

    • Bella

      One must seriously hate himself/herself to intentionally *attempt* to bring others down. In the end, they only make themselves look bad. Try smiling, saying hi or laughing…just for a moment! The results are amazing!

  9. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    I’ve been DYING to make my own for a while now. Yum!!

  10. Judith

    Hi Elise, For the best of both worlds, could you spritz the tortilla chips with a little oil before baking them? That way you would have a little fat to carry the flavors.
    Judith

    • Marita

      Exactly what I was thinking! That’s how I make pita chips – spray or lightly brush with oil and sprinkle with salt before baking. Now I have to try it with corn tortillas. Sounds delicious!

    • Elise

      I was just thinking about that today actually. Great idea. I haven’t tried it with corn tortilla chips, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out!

      • Susan

        I do it that way all the time, except I use a silicon barbecue brush. Brush lightly with oil on one side of tortilla, salt lightly, stack another tortilla on top, brush with oil, salt, repeat. When you have enough, cut the stack into wedges. Bake as you direct, except no need to turn them. Just take them out when they start getting brown around the edges.

  11. michelle

    Is it safe to assume you can do the same thing using flour tortillas? I am not a huge corn tortilla fan so I’m hoping I can try with flour tortillas.

    Thanks ;-)
    Michelle

    • SHO

      The first time I made these, I used flour tortillas. They weren’t bad at all, but they didn’t fully crisp up like a chip (the ones that did ended up burnt). Personally I think corn tortillas work better for chips, but flour tortillas won’t ruin your snack.

      • Helen Price

        Sho we had 3 flour tortillas left and like u when I fried them the first batch was pretty but not crunchy, the second batch I cooked a little longer but they tasted burnt, so the third little batch I cooked like the first, then I put them in the oven sprinkled them with a little cheese and they tasted fine, even the slightly burnt ones. Thanks Elise!

  12. DigitalSignalX

    Simple and yummy! Now if there was only a quick and easy way to make corn tortilla’s! With an addiction to wraps and burritos of all varieties, they last about as a long as the ice cream.

    • Elise

      Making homemade tortillas is easy enough, you just need the masa harina. A tortilla press works best, though you can also use a rolling pin. See How to Make Corn Tortillas.

      • DigitalSignalX

        Thank you, I should have trusted your great site to have a recipe, amazed it was from 2006! A reminder to fans to explore backwards in time here as well as wait for each new post.

  13. Anitbit

    Those chips look great! I am wondering how the Flat-out flatbread would turn out.

  14. Hand Me Downs and Flip Flops

    These look like they could stand up to some serious toppings without breaking. Great for Cinco De Mayo

  15. Jeff @ Cheeseburger

    The fried tortilla chips are much much more delicious.

  16. Jamie

    SO EASY!!! DELICIOUS!! I only neede to fry for 45 secs.

  17. Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen

    I’ve never made my own, but that is about to change with this post. Thanks. I’ll be trying the baking method.

    I just figured out how to follow you on bloglovin’ and feedly. So much easier for me than email, so you’ll know what happened there.
    Sam

  18. Dave @ Fit Chef Chicago

    Love this post and I love homemade tortilla chips! They are so simple and much better than anything in the store, so I’m glad you are letting everyone know how to make them!

  19. Emilie

    This is perfect! I’m moving out of my apartment in a few days and am trying to eat my way through my cupboards. I’ve got a bag of corn tortillas in the fridge that I’ll never be able to finish by then. Now I know what to do with them. They’ll be much easier to share with friends in chip form!

  20. Kelly

    Mine all burned on the edges and the middles were still chewy. ): I even dried the tortillas out beforehand, so I’m not sure what I did wrong.

  21. RPeterF

    I thought I was the only one who did this. I like to use a perforated pizza pan and bake 6:30 mins at 450. I sometimes sprinkle with seasoning or spray with lime juice. I buy the really cheap tortilla – $0.35 and cut each into 8 pieces. That’s less than a dollar for 200 chips.

  22. Katie

    So I just tried the baked version but with flour tortillas and I ALMOST SET MY HOUSE ON FIRE. I have no idea what I did wrong or if it was because I used flour and not corn but they were BURNT to a crisp after about 5 minutes. My house will be airing out all night and I ruined two perfectly good cookie sheets. Awesome.

    • Elise

      Corn tortillas and flour tortillas are completely different and should not used interchangeably in recipes. You can make baked flour tortillas, but think of it like making very very thin toast. Take them out of the oven as soon as the edges start to brown.

  23. Lisa

    My family loved these! We just recently started eating vegan, specifically low fat vegan. We didn’t use any oil, or even any salt, but we don’t tend to use much salt anyway. I must say our cooking time seemed to vary – but I’m pretty certain that was our oven’s fault! A few months ago we would have called these pretty bland this way, but I suppose our tastes have adapted to a healthier eating style! We ate these with homemade refried beans and salsa. The fam devoured nearly 20 corn tortillas worth!

  24. Felicia M.

    Hi Elise!

    How long will these chips last before they go stale? I’ll be making some for Thanksgiving & oven space will be at a premium then. The microwave method didn’t yield such a lovely result as the oven baked ones. Thanks!

    • Elise

      Hi Felicia, I don’t know. These disappear as soon as I make them, so they’ve never lasted long enough to get stale.

  25. Ashley

    Could I use my homemade tortillas for this?

    • Elise

      My homemade corn tortillas are a bit thicker than store-bought. I don’t think they would work as well as store-bought. But if you try it, please let us know how it turns out for you!

  26. Amy

    Spraying the tortillas with a little cooking spray before putting them in the oven make them a little tastier too.

  27. Jean

    I have a question. I would like to make nachos with these. Do I fry them as in your above directions, then make the nachos and bake them? Or would I make the nachos on “raw” chips and bake them? Not really raw, but I couldn’t think of another way to ask.

  28. Saitaina

    This is exactly what I was looking for to use up some tortillas and not have to use oil (I’m not awake enough for frying, but craving chips and salsa).

    Thank you soo much!

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