How to Make Homemade Tortilla Chips

How ToMexican and Tex MexTortilla

Perfectly fresh and crunchy homemade tortilla chips, fried, baked, or microwaved. It's so easy to make your own!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.)

Homemade Tortilla Chips

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 willpower 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 extra virgin olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, or vegetable 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 (or other coarse salt)

Method

FRIED TORTILLA CHIPS

1 Dry the tortillas in the oven: 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.

2 Cut each tortilla into 6 triangle shaped wedges.

3 Heat the oil in the pan: 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!) If a small tester piece of tortilla browns too quickly, the oil is too hot. Remove the pan from heat to let the oil cool a bit before continuing.

4 Fry the tortilla chips: 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.

5 Move chips to a paper-towel-lined plate: 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.

2 Spread the tortilla wedges out on a baking sheet in a single layer.

3 Bake: 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.

3 Microwave the chips: 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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83 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. sarah

    This turned out perfect!

    I saw someone comment below asking, “why would you make these instead of just buying a bag of chips?”

    Besides the obviously fact that is a great way to use up leftover corn tortillas…it’s also great in a pinch! I’m pregnant and was craving some tortilla chips and salsa, I grabbed the salsa but when I went to grab chips, all that was left were crumbs! My husband had eaten almost the entire bag, ugh! Don’t you know not to mess with a pregnant women’s snacks!?!?!?

    It’s dark, late at night and freezing cold outside, there’s no way I’m going out to grab chips. Luckily I have a ton of corn tortillas…found this recipe and it took me about 15 minutes total to make a batch of chips. My craving has been satisfied and the chips turned out delicious.

    So glad I found this recipe!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Courtney

    Has anyone tried to do this with an air fryer?

  3. Papa Pat

    My kids LOVED it. I wish I had a griddle-surface, so I could do more at one time; I could only fir 7 in each cooking on my cast-iron skillet. Wonder if I could deep-fry these?

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Lori

    I didn’t know the tortillas had to be dried first, maybe that is why mine weren’t that crispy? Thanks for the tip, will try tonight.

  5. A.J.

    I was just using this Recipe as a school project information website.but after I looked at the reviews, I tried them and LOVED them!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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Homemade Tortilla ChipsHow to Make Homemade Tortilla Chips