There’s something magical about homemade tortilla chips. They elevate any salsa or dip you pair them with and make it that much better.
Homemade tortilla chips also impress the heck out of people. Even though most major chip brands only list corn tortillas, salt and oil as the ingredients, it never seems to occur to people that they could fry their own chips.
We always have corn tortillas, oil, and salt in the house, so these are also my necessity chips. It’s what I make when I really need a snack and we don’t have any chips in the house. I can make a batch of these tortilla chips faster than I can get to a store, and they’ll taste SO MUCH better than 99% of the chips on store shelves.
20-30 corn tortillas
Vegetable or Canola oil
Slice the tortillas into 6 wedges.
Fill a pot or high-sided pan with 3-4 inches of oil.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes before testing to see if it’s ready. The easiest way to test it is to drop in a small piece of tortilla. If it floats on the top and the oil bubbles around it, the oil is the correct temperature. If it sinks to the bottom, the oil isn’t hot enough. Remove the piece of tortilla and wait another minute before testing again.
Once the oil is to temperature, carefully put 8-10 pieces of tortilla into the hot oil. Let it fry for 30 seconds before flipping the pieces over with tongs or a metal spider. Let them fry another 30 seconds before removing the chips to the wire rack. Continue working in batches until all of the tortilla pieces are cooked.
When you are done frying, sprinkle the warm chips with salt.
Remove your pot of oil from the heat, place it on a cool burner, and leave it alone until it’s completely cooled.
Tips on Homemade Tortilla Chips
- White or yellow corn tortillas work great here. I used white corn tortillas in the batch I photographed for this post.
- Have everything ready before you start frying. Tortillas cut, pan prepped, family out of the kitchen. The frying part goes quickly and you want zero distractions or you’ll burn the chips!
- Make these sweet chips by swapping the salt for a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
- These store well in a zip top bag for up to a week in the pantry.
Safety When Working With Hot Oil
If you’re new to frying and working with hot oil, there are some things you should know for keeping your kitchen as safe as possible.
Banish everyone else from the kitchen. Oil splatters and the last thing you want is even one drop landing on a kid or pet. No one else should be near you when you’re frying.
Keep the pot lid close by. You won’t need the lid to your pot for frying, but it’s the fastest and safest way to stop hot oil from getting out of control. Keep the lid nearby just in case you accidentally get your oil too hot and need to stop it from smoking or flaming.
Oil does NOT boil. You will only know how hot it is by using a thermometer or adding in a piece of food to test the temperature. Get it too hot and that piece of food you drop in could burn or flame immediately. If that happens, or you see any smoke coming off your oil, immediately turn off the burner, put the lid on your pan, and move the pan to a cool part of the stove. Wait until the oil has cooled significantly before removing the lid.
Water will cause hot oil to splatter everywhere. Keep any water - really, all liquids - away from the oil while you’re frying. You can hydrate - or sip that margarita - after you’re done cooking. 😉
Disposing of Used Cooking Oil
Do not, do not, DO NOT pour oil down the drain. Oil will ruin your plumbing. Don’t pour it down your kitchen sink. Don’t pour it down the bathtub. Don’t flush it down the toilet.
If you have a lot of oil left in your pot, you can save it OR dispose of it properly. I usually save mine. Either way, let the oil cool completely. If you want to save it, pour it through a fine mesh sieve to remove any food bits and then pour it into a container. Save it in your pantry for use in future frying (only). If you want to toss it, pour it into a container you don’t mind parting with, put a lid on it, and put it in the garbage can.
Happy Hour Snack and Cocktail Pairings
Enjoy your homemade tortilla chips with...