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.)
Ingredients for Homemade Tortilla Chips
Back to danger. There are three staples that you can always find at our house: corn tortillas, oil, and salt. This is all you need to make the most wonderful, fresh, crunchy, perfectly golden, homemade tortilla chips.
How to Make Tortilla Chips: Cooking Methods
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 we possess.
There are three basic ways that we make homemade tortilla chips around here.
- The classic way, fried in a little oil.
- Bake them in the oven.
- 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.
Best Types of Oil for Frying
Would you rather fry your chips? Great! Choose from these oil options: peanut oil, corn oil, canola oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, or vegetable oil. If you want a slightly healthier option, a regular olive oil is also a good option. Coconut or walnut oils are not recommended for frying because they have a lower smoking point. You can use extra virgin olive oil, but why waste that good flavor and cost for frying?
Also, check out our best tips on which oils to cook with for the best results!
Make It Lighter
Want a lighter chip? Eliminate the oil and choose the oven or microwave baking method. No oil required!
For quick chips in an air fryer, toss the cut tortillas in a bowl with a little oil and salt and air fry at 350°F for 5 to 8 minutes. Do only a single layer at a time.
Best Type of Tortillas to Use
Keep it simple! No need to buy fancy tortillas at the supermarket. Corn tortillas are best because of their flavor. Buy a standard corn tortilla for the best results. You can use homemade corn tortillas, but keep a close eye on the cooking times, which may be longer or shorter depending on their thickness.
Flour tortillas tend to be sweeter, so they don't make as tasty a chip. The thinner the tortillas, the lighter and crisper the chip.
Essential Equipment for Frying
A thermometer will go a long way in helping you make the best homemade tortilla chips. It will help you maintain a frying temp of 350°F so you won’t end up burning your chips, especially if cooking multiple batches in the same pan. Because no one wants burnt chips!
Because everyone knows that tortilla chips go better with a dip! Here are some dip and salsa recipes for your chips.
How to Make Homemade Tortilla Chips
- About 3/4 to 1 cup regular olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil (more or less depending on how many chips you are making)
- Corn tortillas (each tortilla will make 6 chips)
- Kosher salt (or other coarse salt), to taste
Fried Tortilla Chips
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 bake at 350°F for 5 minutes or 200°F 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.
Cut each tortilla into 6 triangle shaped wedges
Heat the oil in the pan
Pour oil into a medium skillet to a depth of 1/8 to 1/4 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.
Fry the tortilla chips
Place a paper towel on 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, a metal slotted spoon, or long wooden chopsticks to distribute the tortilla triangles. Be sure they aren't overlapping and that all sides get coated with oil.
Fry for about 2 minutes until the chips just begin to lightly brown and get firm, and are no longer pliable.
Move chips to a paper-towel-lined plate
Use the tongs, slotted spoon or wooden chopsticks, 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. You can compensate for this by increasing the heat to high. As soon as the chips begin to color, reduce the heat to low, so the oil doesn't overheat in between batches.)
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 eaten when warm and freshly made.
Baked Tortilla Chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the tortillas into wedges
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
Cut the tortillas into wedges
Line your microwave oven with a paper towel
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 start at half of that and add time as needed.
Sprinkle with salt to serve. Great with guacamole.