Lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of making my own tortilla chips, a process that has proved to be deeply satisfying.
The end result is absolutely superior to the commercial brands in both taste and texture. I bake my chips with just the thinnest coating of oil, so the resulting chip bakes up satisfyingly crisp with a very slight chew. They’re not at all greasy. The corn comes through strong and clear, not like the salt-lick flavor of most commercial chips.
I find my approach to eating these chips is different, too. Instead of mindlessly shoveling them into my mouth, I’m more apt to eat them slowly. Their slight chewiness means I pay more attention while eating. And because I’m preparing them from scratch, they’re less of an impulse snack and more of a special treat.
With these chips, it’s all about the quality of the tortillas. I’m fortunate to live in an area with a large Latin American population, so my chances of scoring amazing, grandma-made tortillas are very high. When I do, I always buy extra, storing them in the freezer in packs of six. That way I can remove what I need and leave them to quickly thaw on my counter.
Trader Joe’s makes a decent “truly handmade” corn tortilla if that’s more convenient for you. Homemade chips are also an excellent way to use up slightly stale tortillas.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to making these lighter, healthier chips at home. The recipe takes about 15-20 minutes to assemble and bake.
PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Pour a few tablespoons of oil into a bowl and brush a thin coating onto several baking sheets. Set aside.
PLACE one tortilla on the cutting board and brush the top with a light layer of oil. You don’t need a lot, but do pay attention to the outer edges of the tortilla, an area that’s easy to miss. Place another tortilla on top of the oiled one and brush the top with oil. Continue until all tortillas are oiled and stacked.
USING a large, sharp knife, cut your tortilla stack in half using one firm chop, if possible. Cut one of the halves in half and cut each of those halves in half again, forming wedges. Repeat with other side. This will give you eight stacks of tortilla wedges.
ARRANGE the wedges in a single layer on the oiled trays. Place the wedges with the un-oiled sides facing down so they have contact with the oil on the tray. A little overlapping is fine, but don’t overlap too much or they won’t crisp. Sprinkle a pinch or two of flaked sea salt over the tops, being sure that all of the wedges get a touch of salt.
PLACE trays in the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes. Check your chips at 8 minutes and rotate your pans. The chips are done when the edges are crisp and dry and slightly lifted from the tray. They should be a few shades darker, though not completely browned. (Chips made from handmade tortillas will often have a few brown spots, so don’t worry if you see a few.) The chips will still be slightly flexible in the middle, but will crisp more as they cool.
REMOVE trays from the oven and cool slightly. As they cool, the chips will continue to crisp. Test one, and if it isn’t as crisp as you would like, return the trays to the oven for 2 or 3 minutes.
REMOVE cooled chips from the tray and serve or store in an airtight plastic bag or container. Homemade chips are susceptible to getting stale, so bag them as soon as possible.
Dana Velden is a writer for TheKitchn.com, a food and home-cooking blog.