How to Make Tortilla Chips (Baked or Fried!) at Home
There’s just something about the crispy-crunchy, salty perfection of tortilla chips. Even better? You don’t have to settle for the generic, store-bought chips — you can make a better companion for salsa and guacamole at home. By taking the time to attend to certain details, you can elevate your homemade chips from good to most excellent, every single time. Here’s how to make it happen.
The Humble Origin Story of Tortilla Chips
While it’s hard to point to who invented the concept of frying tortillas, the popularity of the modern tortilla chip is attributed to a woman named Rebecca Webb Carranza, owner of a delicatessen in Los Angeles.
She began frying pieces of the rejected, misshapen tortillas, and they were such a popular snack that she began selling them by the bag. In 1994, she was given the Golden Tortilla Award for her incredible contribution to the Mexican food industry.
The Basics of Making Homemade Tortilla Chips
What Type of Tortillas are Best for Making Tortilla Chips?
The two types of tortillas you’ll see most often are made with corn and flour, respectively. Corn is the more “traditional” option, but either can be used with successful results.
As you read on, you’ll find that corn and flour aren’t the only types of tortillas. In recent years, tortillas have been made from all sorts of creative ingredients. And just about any type of tortilla can be transformed into chips!
To make your tortilla chips extra-special, start by making your own tortillas! We have recipes for homemade corn tortillas and flour tortillas on the Craftsy blog.
Frying Versus Baking Tortilla Chips: Which is Better?
Does baking or frying result it better tortilla chips? There’s not a cut and dry answer. Really, it just depends on what you prefer.
In my opinion, fried tortilla chips are more saturated in flavor, but they are also higher in fat, which is a concern for some snackers. Baked tortilla chips are lighter and drier in texture, and tend to be lower in fat.
Choosing the Size for Your Tortilla Chips
Whether baking or frying, keeping your chips consistent in size is important. If the portions are uneven, some may cook more rapidly than others, resulting in uneven cooking. Particularly if frying, you want ample surface space on the tortilla pieces so that they can easily be flipped while frying.
Tortilla Chip Seasoning
If you’re a tortilla chip purist, you may prefer a touch of salt and not much else. If you’re a little more adventurous, you can jazz them up with spice mixes. It’s up to you.
Regardless of your seasoning choice, be sure to add the seasoning it at the right time. For baked tortilla chips, you want to oil and season the chips before baking (you can always add more spice after). For frying, it’s most effective to fry the chips and then toss with seasoning while they’re still warm.
Choosing the Fat for Your Recipe
Whether baked or fried, fat (usually oil) is typically incorporated into tortilla chip recipes.
As for the type of oil, some recipes suggest a specific type, but personally, I urge you to choose your own adventure. I’ve made tortilla chips with canola oil, olive oil and even coconut oil with delicious results and interesting finished flavors.