Learn how to make homemade tortilla chips with this step-by-step recipe! They're super crispy and flavorful. Enjoy them with your favorite dip!
If you have a bag of stale tortillas hanging out on your counter, don’t toss them. Instead, make homemade tortilla chips!
These homemade tortilla chips are crispy, flavorful, and light as air. Made with just 3 ingredients—corn tortillas, salt, and oil—they’re super simple to make, and they taste 10 times better than any store-bought tortilla chips I’ve tried. I can easily devour a handful plain, but the crunchy chips stand up nicely to dips like salsa and guacamole too. They’re the perfect snack for game day, Cinco de Mayo, or a taco night. Keep reading to learn how to make them!
How to Make Tortilla Chips
My favorite method for how to make tortilla chips is to fry them. I’m not generally one for frying at home, typically choosing to bake or air fry instead, but when it comes to homemade tortilla chips, actually frying is totally worth it. They come out so light and crispy!
And a plus of frying tortilla chips? It doesn’t require all that much oil. You’ll just need 1/4 to 1/2 inch in the bottom of your Dutch oven or skillet. A note on oil choice: Make sure to use a neutral oil with a high smoke point for this recipe. Avocado oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, and peanut oil would all work well!
Ok, let’s cook!
The first step in this recipe is cutting the tortillas. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to slice each one into six wedges.
Next, heat the oil. Place a heavy, high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. The oil is ready when its temperature reads 350°F on an instant-read thermometer. No thermometer? If you add a small piece of tortilla to the oil, it should sizzle.
Then, add a single layer of tortilla triangles to the hot oil. They should fit in the skillet without overlapping. Use tongs to flip the chips continuously until they are pale golden brown, about 2 minutes. If they are browning too quickly, reduce the heat.
When the chips are golden brown, let them drain. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate or baking sheet and repeat with the remaining tortillas. Add more oil to the pan as needed.
Sprinkle with salt and serve!
Homemade Tortilla Chips Tips
- Use dry corn tortillas. I think it goes without saying, but flour tortillas will not work in this recipe. They’re too moist to crisp up nicely in the oil. Plus, corn tortillas give the chips rich depth of flavor. Stale tortillas are ideal, but I’ve also successfully made this recipe with dry corn tortillas straight from the grocery store.
- An instant-read thermometer helps. With one, you’ll be able to monitor the oil’s temp so that it stays at 350°F as you cook. This recipe is workable without one, but you’ll have to test the oil before adding the tortilla wedges (does a small piece of tortilla sizzle?) and adjust the heat up or down as needed if the chips stop sizzling or start to brown too quickly.
- Work in batches. If you add too many tortillas to the oil at once, they’ll reduce the oil’s temperature considerably, so they won’t start to crisp up right away. Plus, this method for how to make tortilla chips requires flipping them as they cook. If you have too many chips in the oil at once, you won’t be able to flip them as often as needed.
- Sprinkle them with salt. For the flavor of these homemade tortilla chips to really pop, you should sprinkle them with salt after cooking. I like to use fine sea salt, but your favorite kosher salt or flaky salt would work too!
What about baked or air fryer tortilla chips?
My hot take? Don’t do it. I have tried making baked tortilla chips and air fryer tortilla chips so many times, and every time, I’m disappointed by the results. They don’t puff up in the way that fried chips do. Instead of becoming light and crisp, they’re thick, stiff, and stick-in-your-teeth crunchy.
Homemade tortilla chips are a fun treat. Like I said above, it’s SO worth frying them!
Favorite Dip Recipes
Need a tasty dip to pair with this salty snack? You can’t go wrong with any of these:
- Homemade Salsa
- Tomatillo Salsa Verde
- Best Guacamole
- Vegan Queso
- Easy Mango Salsa
- Avocado Salsa
- Pineapple Salsa
- Best Bean Dip
Homemade Tortilla Chips
- High-heat cooking oil, such as avocado, canola, or vegetable oil
- 12 stale corn tortillas, cut into 6 wedges each
- Sea salt
- Line a plate with paper towels.
- Fill a heavy skillet or Dutch oven with ¼ to ½ inch oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until its temperature reads 350°F on an instant-read thermometer, or until a small piece of tortilla sizzles when added to the oil.
- Add enough tortilla wedges to the pan to fit in a single layer without overlapping. Use tongs to flip the chips continuously until they are crisp and pale golden brown, about 2 minutes. If the chips are browning too quickly, reduce the heat. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer the chips to the paper towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining tortillas, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
- Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately. Store leftover chips at room temperature for up to 3 days.