Homemade is Best
Freshly made corn tortilla chips, called totopos in Spanish, are best for preparing chilaquiles or nachos, and also to dip in guacamole, queso con carne, a great salsa or use in any dish that calls for chips.
Homemade tortilla chips are lighter, crispier and have a fresher more authentic corn taste. You can make them easily in under 15 minutes and it’s well worth the effort. Let us show you how.
How to Make Tortilla Chips
Start with stale corn tortillas to get the best results. You might be wondering why stale tortillas. Well, stale tortillas make better tortilla chips. You will get much lighter crunchier chips this way.
The more moisture the tortillas have the denser the finished chips. If your tortillas are really fresh and still moist and pliable, spread them out on the counter for a few hours until they dry out.
Tortillas from the tortilleria produce better chips than the prepackaged corn tortillas you find on the grocery store shelves.
- 12 corn tortillas, preferably stale
- 1 to 1 ½ cups vegetable oil.
Cut each tortilla into eight pieces. Shake them to separate. Prep work is done. Easy.
Frying the Chips
Preheat ¼″ inch of cooking oil in a wide frying pan. You will need 1 ½ cups to 2 cups of oil depending on how wide your pan is.
You will prepare the chips in batches. Place 1 layer of tortilla pieces in the hot oil and cook until they are just turning golden brown.
Remove as soon as they turn golden otherwise they will burn which happens very quickly. Continue frying batches until you have cooked all of the tortilla pieces.
Draining the Chips
Place the tortilla chips in a deep bowl lined with paper towels to remove the excess oil.
In Mexico, corn tortilla chips are not salted but you can add salt if you prefer. Sprinkle them with salt and toss in the bowl to evenly distribute the salt.
Homemade Tortilla Chips (Totopos)
- 12 corn tortillas
- 1 ½ to 2 cups cooking oil
- salt optional
- Preheat ¼" inch of cooking oil in a wide frying pan. You will need 1 ½ cups to 2 cups of oil depending on how wide your pan is.
- You will prepare the chips in batches. Place a single layer of tortilla pieces in the hot oil and cook until they are just turning golden brown.
- Remove as soon as they turn golden otherwise they will burn which happens very quickly. Continue frying batches until you have cooked all of the tortilla pieces.
- Place the tortilla chips in a deep bowl lined with paper towels to remove the excess oil.
- Salt if desired.
- This recipe will make enough chips to prepare four servings of chilaquiles or serve 4 to 6 people for chips and dip.
- If your tortillas are really fresh and still moist and pliable, spread them out on the counter for a few hours until they dry out. Remember, stale tortillas make better chips.
Totopos is the Nahuatl word. Tortilla chip is the Spanish word. Please correct your article.
Gretchen D says
In Mexico City, totopos are served as bar snacks, and the people there call them totopos. Tortillas in my experience were called tortillas. Never heard the expression “tortilla chips”. I don’t believe “chip” is a Spanish word.
i agree with Gretchen. Chip is not a Spanish word, and also my Mexican friend told me that in Mexico chips are called Totopos, and are made by frying cut up tortillas, as the recipe above says. They come out thicker than the bagged tortilla chips that we buy.
melissa schmitt says
Thank you so much for this recipe, we’ve had Totopos in many different places in Mexico and a few local restaurants here in the states make them also, Delicious!!
The masa for your bagged tortilla chips is different than the mase for tortillas. but both are typically made from masa harina as very few tortillerias make their own masa from whole corn and lime. So the commercial chips are mostly machine made using air frying machines at great speed.
We avoid deep frying the strips and use a comal to toast the whole corn tortillas first before drying them out in a 300 degree oven. Since most tortillas are so much thicker than your tyical chip we brush both side of the store bought corn tortilla with vegetable oil using a 2 inch wide pastry brush. Our comal can toast four tortillas at a time and we use two comals to make it faster. Flip the tortillas after they blister and continue flipping evry 2 minute until they have puffed up. Pull them from the pan and separte each half to double the number of thin tortillas. Stack the cooked tortillas and cut them into ristras (strips) or triangles and then place them on a baking sheet and toast until crisp in a 300 Foven, maybe 15 minutes.
Way less oil and great taste. A dozen medium sized corn tortillas may use 1 tablespoon of oil to coat both sides
David, I was wondering the difference in how store bought tortilla chips and totopos are prepared. I am confused by your answer though. You said “The masa for your bagged tortilla chips is different than the masa for tortillas, but both are typically made from masa harina”. It makes perfect sense that the masa for each is different since tortilla chips are much lighter and thinner than totopos, but first you said the masa is different for each, and then you said that they are both made from masa harina. So which is it? I really want to learn about this.
Incredibly, this article really helped me in cook, and this article is very easy to follow and not complicated. Thank you, the reviews are very helpful, so you want this to be easy, it looks easy and fun. So can’t wait to try. I look forward to other recipes.😍😍😍
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on paco casal conmebol.
Suzanne Lanoue says
You don’t need that much oil. You can just put in enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Add more oil as needed if you’re cooking more chips.