Three ingredients, a little know-how, and 15 minutes or less is all you need to make the perfect Homemade Tortilla Chips. They're golden brown, perfectly crunchy, and so much better than anything you could find at the store or even your favorite Mexican restaurant!
First, we'll cover the most traditional way to make homemade tortilla chips and what you need to know to foolproof this method. We're also giving you easy, step-by-step instructions, and a couple of healthier alternatives, so be sure to check out our oven and air fryer methods below.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE TORTILLA CHIPS
- Cut the tortillas into triangles.
- Heat the oil.
- Fry in batches, 2-3 minutes, turning often.
- Sprinkle with salt, and enjoy!
1. CUT THE TORTILLAS
To cut your corn tortillas for tortilla chips, stack them in groups of five and use a sharp knife to slice them into six equal-sized triangles. If you'd like larger chips, feel free to cut that number down to four triangles!
2. BRING THE OIL TO TEMPERATURE
After you've prepped your tortillas, you'll want to get the oil going over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. You can use any flavorless oil with a high smoke point. Vegetable oil, canola oil, or even peanut oil will work great for cooking Homemade Tortilla Chips. Avoid olive oil as it has a lower smoke point than all of the other oils mentioned above.
Because the success of your crispy, crunchy fried tortilla chips mostly depends on the temperature of your oil, it is best if you use a heavy cast iron pan.
BEST PAN TO USE FOR FRYING
Both cast iron skillets and enameled Dutch ovens are excellent conductors of heat. Their thick and sturdy makeup also means they are top-tier cooking vessels for retaining that heat at an even temperature.
USE A THERMOMETER FOR BEST RESULTS
Regardless of whether or not you are using a frying pan with cast iron makeup, a thermometer is your best friend when it comes to frying. I like to use an infrared, handheld thermometer, but an instant-read probe thermometer will also work just fine for shallow fry.
If using a probe thermometer, take care not to touch the bottom of the pan with the tip of the thermometer. The bottom of the pan will read at a hotter temperature than the oil itself, and give you an inaccurate reading.
So now that we know the best pan for frying your Homemade Tortilla Chips, and the tool that will help you get the job done right; let's talk oil temperature!
OIL TEMPERATURE REALLY MATTERS
If your oil isn't hot enough, your tortilla chips will likely end up very oily, and with a stale texture. If your oil is too hot, your tortilla chips might burn before you can get them out of the pan!
This is why temperature really matters when it comes to perfectly crunchy homemade tortilla chips. Your oil should sit at a temperature between 350 to 375°F. Note, that the temperature of your oil may vary slightly as room-temperature tortillas go in and out of the frying pan.
One last, but important, thing to keep in mind for achieving the proper oil temperature is that all stovetops do not function the exact same.
Medium-high on your stovetop could be more or less powerful than my own. As you take the temperature of your oil, feel at liberty to gradually move the dial up and down as needed to maintain the proper temperature range at the start of the cooking process.
3. FRY IN BATCHES
When your oil is ready, you'll add your tortilla triangles to the frying pan in a single layer. Be prepared to fry in batches, and try not to overcrowd the pan. Fry each batch of tortillas for about 2 to 3 minutes, using a skimmer or a slotted spoon to turn the chips over 2 to 3 times throughout the frying process.
Continue on with this process until all of your tortillas are transformed into gorgeous, crispy, golden-brown tortilla chips!
HOW TO KEEP 'EM CRISPY!
To prevent soggy bottom to homemade tortilla chips, you'll find it handy to have a large baking sheet, lined with paper towels, and topped with a cooling rack off to the side. The paper towels will catch the grease as it drips down from the cooling rack. And, the cooling rack allows air to circulate underneath the tortilla chips, preventing steam from building up underneath them.
4. ADD SALT AND ENJOY!
As soon as the tortilla chips have come out of the hot oil and you have them placed on your cooling rack, sprinkle with salt (you can use Kosher salt or sea salt), allow them to cool slightly, serve, and enjoy!
HOW TO MAKE AIR FRYER TORTILLA CHIPS
The beauty of making homemade tortilla chips in your air fryer is that you can skip all that oil preparation business. The downside? Be prepared to air fry many, many batches.
If that's not a deterrent for you, air fry away! Here's how to air fry tortilla chips:
- Lay your cut tortilla wedges down on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and spray both sides of the tortillas generously with nonstick cooking spray.
- Have your air fryer ready and preheated to 350°F. Add your tortilla triangles to the air fryer basket in a single layer and air fry for 6-8 minutes, or until your tortilla chips are golden and crunchy to your liking.
HOW TO MAKE BAKED TORTILLA CHIPS
If you are trying to avoid fried foods, and you'd prefer to bake your tortilla chips, here's how you do it:
- Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Note, you will either need two baking sheets for this recipe or be prepared to bake in batches.
- Then, place your cut tortilla triangles in a single layer on the baking sheet, taking care to allow a bit of space in between each one.
- Spray the top of the tortillas with cooking spray and bake in a preheated 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for about 12 to 15 minutes.
Baked tortilla chips will not have that same crispy crunch that you get from perfectly fried homemade tortilla chips, but they are still great for dipping and snacking!
6 RECIPES FOR USING TORTILLA CHIPS
- Chilaquiles Rojos
- Chilaquiles Verde
- Cream Cheese Dip With Salsa
- Fajita Nachos
- Mexican Corn Dip
Making your Tortilla Chips at home is the best way to take a chips and salsa snack to the next level and achieve that perfect crunch!
- 12 corn tortillas
- 1 ½ cup canola oil
- Kosher salt for sprinkling
Stack the tortillas in groups of 5, and use a sharp knife to cut them into 6 equal-sized triangles.
Add 1 ½ cup canola or vegetable oil to a frying pan over medium-high heat and allow to come to temperature.
Once the oil has come to temperature (350-375°F), add tortilla triangles in a single layer. You will need to fry in batches.
Fry each batch for about 2-3 minutes, using a skimmer or slotted spoon to turn the chips 2-3 times throughout the frying process. Continue until all of the chips are golden and crispy.
Use the skimmer to remove the chips from the grease and transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet or cooling rack. Sprinkle with Kosher salt immediately after coming out of the oil.
Allow to cool slightly, serve, and enjoy!