Homemade Tortilla Chips Recipe
This isn’t a pressure cooker recipe, but since I will be publishing several pressure cooker recipes that include tortilla chips, and I wanted to give you the option to make your own homemade chips (lighter, healthier, less salty tortilla chips), I’m including this recipe in the condiments section. Instead of frying your tortilla chips, you brush a very light amount of oil on both sides of each tortilla and bake them in the oven instead. The result is perfectly crisp tortilla strips and chips that aren’t heavy or greasy, that still taste like corn instead of frying oil, and that are lighter and have fewer calories, yet still have that satisfying salty crunchiness. They’re great as a snack on their own, dipped in guacamole, salsa or bean dip, made into nachos, or in my tortilla soup recipe.
Genetically Modified (GMO) versus Non-GMO Corn Tortillas. When it comes to nutrition and health, I always defer to my sister, who is rather obsessive on the subject and has the kind of library on the subject usually reserved for professionals, universities. . .or small countries. Plus I can’t dispute her advice when several doctors have expressed interest in how she is feeding her family given improvements in the medical test results of the men in the household (who can argue with actual results?). She is adamantly opposed to genetically modified foods, and particularly, avoiding genetically modified corn. When I ran searches for the worst GMO foods to avoid, corn topped every single list. Number one. On every single list. Aside from cutting expense, salt and fat, this just might be another very good reason for making your own tortilla chips. To avoid GMOs, buy organic corn tortillas. We purchase the brand my sister likes, MiRancho Organic Corn Tortillas (which are also gluten free), the link lists stores where you can purchase them, but if there isn’t one near you, you can also purchase another organic brand online: Sonoma Wraps Organic Corn Tortillas.
Make Your Own GMO Free and/or Gluten Free Tortillas. If you prefer, you can make homemade organic, gluten free corn tortillas for even less money, they taste great, and its not difficult. You’ll need a Tortilla Press (the hand operated models are inexpensive) and if you’re willing to buy a multi-pack, you can get a very good deal on the Organic and Gluten Free Masa Harina (masa harina is not the same thing as cornmeal, its been nixtimalized and its ground differently, they cannot be substituted for one another, though you can also make homemade tamales with masa harina). For those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, the Bob’s Red Mill product I linked to also undergoes ELISA Gluten Assay testing.
Don’t Forget the Genetically Modified Corn and Cooking Oil. I’ve cut down on my frying quite a bit, and when I do indulge, I actually try to use home rendered animal fats for the taste and crunchy texture they impart, and because my sister recommends them to me instead of vegetable based oils (GMOs). Again, if you are trying to avoid genetically modified products, you would want to particularly avoid canola oil, corn oil, and general vegetable oil (which will likely contain a large percentage of corn and/or canola oil). I tend to use home rendered fats for frying purposes, and my sister uses a mixture of coconut oil and butter for frying. For salad dressings and non-frying she recommends olive oil. After consulting Get Your Fats Straight, her guide to fats and cooking oils, she would recommend peanut oil as the least problematic of the commercial oils that are widely available.
PASTRY BRUSH TIP: I’ve tried all kinds and brands of standard pastry brushes, and inevitably, there will be shedding. A brush hair will come out, and it will end up in the food, its only a question of when. I also worry about how clean they are, even after I thoroughly hand wash them, and if in the process of cleaning them, either myself or the dishwasher are being too rough, and hastening the brush hairs coming out and getting into the food. I tried my mother’s Silicone Pastry Brush, and became an immediate convert for life. No more brush hairs coming loose, and even though the silicone strands are larger than brush hairs, the various silicone brushes I’ve used have done an excellent job basting butter or soy sauce on chicken, oil on tortillas, marinades, as well as the many baking related things one uses a pastry brush for. Cleanup is easier and quicker, no worrying that a child will swallow a brush hair, and seems like they’ll last a lot longer than traditional brushes.
6″ corn tortillas
Peanut oil (or other vegetable oil)
Coarse kosher salt
Silicone Pastry Brush
Small container for the oil
Large cookie sheet (optional)
- Pour a small amount of peanut or vegetable oil into a small container (I use a Pyrex custard cup, but you could also use a clean, empty baby food jar or a Better Than Bouillon jar). [Please accept my apologies in advance for a rather boring series of photographs. I couldn’t think of any way to make tortilla chip making more visually exciting, well, aside from a Mariachi band in the background, and that wasn’t in the budget.]
- Brush a small amount of oil (as little as possible) on each side of the first tortilla.
- For each successive tortilla, place the new tortilla on top of the “oiled” tortilla, pressing slightly to make direct contact with the tortilla underneath (this will remove some of the oil from the top of the finished tortilla and oil the bottom side of the new tortilla). Brush a little oil on the top of the new tortilla, and repeat this step until you’ve stacked the last tortilla.
- With the last tortilla, place it on top of the stack, press lightly to transfer some of the peanut oil to the bottom side. Remove the last tortilla, flip the entire stack, then place the dry (clean) side of the last tortilla on top, pressing lightly. This will oil the remaining side of the last tortilla and remove some of the excess oil from the bottom side of the first tortilla.
- Leave the tortillas in their stack, and begin cutting them into either strips or chips. For strips, I cut the tortillas in half and then cut them into ¾” to 1″ wide strips (see above). If you want larger chips, either for dipping or for nachos, I would cut the tortillas into thirds in one direction, rotate your cutting board 90 degrees (without moving the tortillas), then cut the stack into thirds again.
- If you have any broken or damaged tortillas, be sure and oil and cut them up too. They may be too damaged for tacos or enchiladas, but they can still be used to make great tortilla chips.
- Cover your cookie sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side up, and place the cut tortilla strips / chips on top. Its okay to crowd them together, with very little space in between, but keep them in a single layer (don’t overlap), even if you have to make several batches. Bake in a 350° F oven (175° C) – or 300° F (150° C) for convection ovens – for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Halfway through the cooking time, check the tortilla chips / strips for doneness. If any of the chips are already brown enough, remove them to a plate and dust them with a little bit of coarse kosher salt. Turn the cookie sheet around 90 degrees so the chips that were in the back of the oven will now be in the front, and return the chips to the oven.
- When the tortilla chips have browned enough, remove them from the oven. While they are still hot, sprinkle a small amount of coarse kosher salt on top of them, and allow them to cool. (The higher you hold your hand over the baking sheet, the more evenly the salt will fall on the chips.)
SALTING TIPS: I like to use coarse kosher salt for a couple of reasons. It doesn’t contain some of the anti-caking and other ingredients that are added to regular table salt, the larger pieces help me add less salt to food, and I like the taste better. You should add the salt when the chips are still hot, it will help it adhere and melt into the baked tortilla chips. To salt your tortilla chips and strips more evenly, raise your hand up higher when salting, and the falling salt will be better distributed across the chips.
- 6" corn tortillas
- Peanut oil (or other vegetable oil)
- Coarse kosher salt
- Pour a little peanut (or vegetable oil) into a small container.
- Brush a little oil onto both sides of the first tortilla.
- For each additional tortilla, place the new tortilla on top of the stack, pressing down slightly to transfer some of the oil from the top of the previous tortilla onto the bottom of the new tortilla (this will reduce the amount of oil on each tortilla even further). Brush oil on top of the new tortilla, and repeat this step until you reach the last tortilla.
- For the last tortilla, place it on top of the stack, pressing lightly around the tortilla, then remove it. Flip the rest of the stack over, exposing the bottom of the first tortilla. Press the clean side of the last tortilla lightly into the stack to oil it, and to remove excess oil from the bottom of the first tortilla.
- Keeping the stack of tortillas intact, cut them up. For chips, cut the tortilla stack in thirds in one direction, rotate your cutting board 90 degrees, and then cut the tortillas in thirds in the parallel direction. For tortilla strips, I cut the tortilla stack in half in one direction, then cut the tortillas into ¾" – 1" wide strips in the other direction.
- Be sure to oil and cut up any broken tortillas to turn them into chips.
- Line your cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place the tortilla chips on top, in a single layer, but you can crowd them closely together, if need be. Bake at 350° F / 175° C if you have a conventional oven (300° F / 150° C if you have a convection model) for 15 - 20 minutes.
- When half of the cooking time has elapsed, check the tortilla chips. If any have browned sufficiently, remove and salt them. Place the cookie sheet in the oven so that the chips that were in the front are now in the back, and vice versa.
- When tortilla chips have browned enough, remove from the oven, sprinkle with salt, and allow to cool before removing them from the cookie sheet.