Homemade Tortilla Chips (Printer-friendly version)

Ingredients:

  • White corn tortillas (desired amount cut into wedges)
  • at least 2 1/2 cups Neutral oil for frying (like Canola, Corn or Vegetable oil)
  • Optional for topping; salt, sugar, spices.

Place oil in a good-sized, heavy-bottomed, completely dry pan over medium to medium-high heat (For 2 1/2 cups oil you should use a high-sided pan that has a capacity of at least 2 1/2 quarts).  You should not fill the pan above 1/3 full for safety’s sake. Watch the oil.  When it starts getting little lines in it it is becoming hot.  Test the readiness of the oil by inserting the corner of one of the tortillas into the oil.  If many bubbles form quickly around the tortilla and rise to and break the surface then your oil is ready to go.  Your oil should never smoke when preparing these chips, but steam should come from the surface of the oil.  Your nose will tell you the difference.

Carefully slide the tortilla wedges into the oil. Do not throw them into the oil.  You stand a much higher chance of splattering oil on yourself or your stove if you toss in the tortillas.  Add several tortilla wedges to the pan at a time, taking care not to overload the pan.  If you overload it you both lower the temperature of the oil, which makes your food take longer to cook/absorb more oil, and raise the level of the oil which increases the risk of boiling oil spilling over the sides of your pan.  THAT would be a bad thing!

If you desire chips that are not super crispy, remove to a paper towel or newspaper lined dish after about 1 minute.  If you desire crispier chips keep frying them for another minute or so.  Keep in mind that the color of the chips and degree of crispness will increase as they cool on the paper towels.  Your feel for the perfect time to remove your chips from the oil will improve as you continue.  If you botch the first batch or so just let them cool and toss them to the dogs.  They won’t care if the chips are overdone and they’ll be grateful for the treat. 

As soon as the chips are on paper towels you should season them according to your tastes.  This is a job best done when hot.  Once the chips are cool they’ll lose the power to hold on to all those tasty things you’re shaking all over them.

Serve while still warm for the ultimate homemade chip experience or store leftovers in a tightly closed container lined with a paper towel at room temperature.  If they soften a bit after storage, you can refresh their crispness by tossing them on a pan and into a 350°F oven for just a few minutes…