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Irresistible Homemade Tortilla Chips

June 25, 2020 7 min read

Irresistible Homemade Tortilla Chips

If you're wondering how to make homemade tortilla chips from scratch, then you've started reading the right article. We love making delicious, crispy, tasty tortilla chips in our home kitchen. With a cast iron tortilla press, making tortilla chips is quick and easy too!

We decided to put together our top recipes and top tips to help you to make the best tortilla chips at home. Inspired by traditional Mexican cooking styles and tortilla pressing techniques, all you need to add are your favorite salsas.

Keep reading to find out how to make the perfect homemade tortilla chips! 

How to make tortilla chips

First up, you need your corn (or wheat flour!) tortillas, in order to make the tortilla chips. This is your essential ingredient! Now, there are two main ways to go about doing this. You can either purchase your prepared corn tortillas from the supermarket (you need thin tortillas if you are doing this), or you can use a tortilla press to make your own at home.

We prefer the second option because making the tortillas is all part of the fun. To do that, you can follow our more detailed guide on how to use a tortilla press, but we'll start our recipe with a quick rundown of the basics.

How to use a tortilla press to make tortillas

First of all, you need to prepare your corn dough or wheat flour dough. For the really authentic Mexican flavor, we highly recommend using corn dough (wheat flour is more of a Tex-Mex thing, in our opinion!).

You can purchase corn dough, or Masa, in the local supermarket. You should also be able to find wheat flour Masa. You could make your own Masa, but you need a lot of time and a lot of experience. The techniques used to grind corn into flour, and then turn the flour into Masa are rather ancient, and take a lot of experience to get right. It's not just a case of adding water to the flour and mixing it all up.

Once you have your Masa and tortilla press ready to go, it's easy to start churning out tortillas!

  1. Open your tortilla press and line both sides with a thin layer of parchment paper. The parchment paper protects the press and stops the tortillas from sticking.
  2. Place your ball of Masa in the center of the press and press down with your thumb to ensure there's an even thickness throughout the dough.
  3. Take another sheet of parchment and cover the Masa ball.
  4. Firmly close the top of the press and then use the lever to flatten it shut.
  5. After a moment, pull the lever back to its original position before lifting the top of the press and taking out your freshly pressed tortilla!

With a tortilla press and a big bag of Masa, you can have plenty of fresh tortillas in no time at all. The more tortillas you press, the more tortilla chips you're going to be able to cook!

How to cook tortillas

Okay, so now you've got your freshly pressed tortillas ready to go. You might still be wondering, though, how are tortilla chips made from the pressed dough?

We've still got a few steps to cover before our finished product is ready. The next stage needed is to cook your tortillas before turning them into tortilla chips.

This process is traditionally done using a Comal in Mexico. This is a flat, clay cooking surface (sort of like a clay frying pan). We don't expect you to have a Comal lying around, though, so you can also cook the freshly pressed tortillas using a cast iron griddle or a skillet. Anything with a flat cooking surface.

Again, the process is straightforward:

  1. Preheat your cooking surface to medium heat.
  2. Place your fresh tortillas on the hot pan.
  3. Cook for 30 seconds before flipping the tortilla over.
  4. When the tortilla starts to puff, it's ready (you don't want it crisping up).
  5. Remove the tortilla, place aside, and add your next fresh tortilla to the pan.
  6. Repeat until all your tortillas are cooked.

How to turn tortillas into tortilla chips

So by now, we've pressed our dough into tortillas before cooking them on a flat surface. At this point, if you've pre-bought your tortillas pre-cooked from the store, you're ready to join the recipe too!

Ingredients

To make great homemade tortilla chips, you only need three basic ingredients (not counting your tasty salsa and dressings!):

  1. Thinly pressed tortillas, lightly cooked.
  2. Vegetable oil.
  3. Salt.

That's it. Tortillas, oil, and salt. With those three ingredients at the ready, we can start preparing our tortilla chips. There are two ways to cook tortilla chips. You can either fry them in oil or bake them in the oven. We'll take a look at both methods now.

Instructions for frying tortillas

For this method, you need a large pot, a strainer, and plenty of vegetable oil.

  1. Prepare your tortillas by cutting them into tortilla chip shapes (you know, the classic triangular chips!).
  2. Prepare a saucepan by preheating oil in the bottom. You need enough oil to cover all your tortillas.
  3. When the oil is heated to 350°F, start dropping your tortilla chips into the pan.
  4. Allow the tortilla chips to fry for no more than 30 seconds, then flip them over and cook for a further 30 seconds.
  5. You'll need a strainer to best collect the tortillas from the oil. We recommend placing them on a baking tray that's lined with kitchen roll to allow them to cool.
  6. Add salt to the tortilla chips as soon as you start to cool them.
  7. You can repeat this process until all of your tortilla chips have been fried in the oil!
  8. When they have cooled, serve up with your favorite salsa!

Instructions for baking tortillas

For this method, you need a large baking tray and a preheated oven. For large batches, you may need more than one baking tray. 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut your tortillas into chips and lightly oil them on both sides.
  3. Place your tortilla chips across your baking tray and place in the oven.
  4. Cook for 7 min.
  5. Flip your tortilla chips and cook for a further 7 min.
  6. Remove tortilla chips and sprinkle them with salt, before allowing them to cool.
  7. Serve your tortilla chips with some tasty salsa!

Homemade tortilla chips FAQ

There we are! It's that easy to make homemade tortilla chips in your kitchen, by either frying them in oil or baking them in the oven. Once they are cooked, you can serve them with salsa, or you can get creative and use them with other Mexican-style recipes (we love tortilla soup!).

You might have a few more questions, though, in which case, we hope you find the answers in our tortilla chip FAQ below. Keep reading to find out more!

Do I really need a tortilla press?

A tortilla press is the best way to make really authentic tortillas. This is how they do it in Mexico, of course! If you don't have a dedicated tortilla press, you could also turn your Masa into tortillas by hand. It takes a lot of slapping and patting, though!

Handmade tortillas are the most traditional method, but it's so much easier using a tortilla press. Of course, if you don't have a press, and you don't have the time to hand press your dough into tortillas, store-bought tortillas are the final option. They aren't as fresh or as tasty, but they get the job done!

Are tortilla chips healthy?

Tortilla chips aren't the healthiest, but it all depends on how you cook them. The more oil and salt you add, the less healthy they are going to be.

Frying tortilla chips in oil is the tastiest way to cook them, but if you're trying to be more health-conscious, we'd recommend baking them in the oven instead. Baked tortilla strips will use much less oil.

Of course, how healthy your tortilla chips are will depend on what salsas you're eating with them too. Tortilla chips served with a light side of guacamole or tomato salsa are going to be much, much healthier than nachos smothered in processed cheese and chili sauce!

Corn or wheat flour: which is better?

The two most common types of tortilla chips are either corn or wheat flour. Neither is necessarily better than the other; it's more of a personal choice in terms of taste that you need to consider.

We always try to make corn tortilla chips, because corn tortillas are much more authentic. In most restaurants in Mexico, you'll be served corn tortilla chips. Corn has been a staple of Mexican diets for thousands of years, so corn tortilla chips are the best way to go if you're looking for the best Mexican flavors.

But there's nothing wrong with wheat flour tortillas. Many people prefer the taste too, especially if they aren't used to the stronger flavor of a corn tortilla. Wheat flour tortillas are much lighter but much less authentic. Wheat flour was introduced to Mexico by Europeans, and it's only really grown in the north of the country. It's more of a Tex-Mex ingredient than anything authentically Mexican.

Are tortilla chips vegan?

If you're vegan, then tortilla chips make for a great snack or a great addition to your meal. Tortilla chips are totally vegan, as long as you're using vegetable oils to cook them in, of course.

There are plenty of vegan salsas to add to the tortilla chips once they re cooked too. Mashup some homemade guacamole or prepare a light tomato salsa with some chilis. You could even use vegan cheese to make vegan nachos.

What salsa is the best?

That's not a question we can answer! All salsas are great, and everyone has their own personal favorite. Like we already mentioned, guacamole and tomato salsa are classic tortilla chip toppings

You could try spicy salsas, or mix up an authentic Salsa Roja, or Salsa Verde to accompany the tortilla chips. Cheese sauce or cheese toppings will never go amiss either!

That's all you need to know in order to start cooking crispy, delicious Mexican-style tortilla chips in your own home. Now you know everything about making homemade chips from tortillas. Why not bookmark this recipe and cooking guide for later use?



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