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« Table for 8 | Main | Let's talk failure »

Home-fried Tortilla Chips

Someone explained to me once what to do with tortillas in order to turn them into The. Best. Chips. You. Ever. Ate.

And then I had another margarita and promptly forgot.

Well, a stack of tortillas and a fun Sunday brunch with friends brought it all back. So I gave it a shot.

Step 1: Find a brown bag, either lunch bag or standard grocery bag (something that’s clean—I used the outer bag in a double bagged scenario). Grab your widest, deepest skillet (if you’re making a lot of chips) or just your average 8” skillet (if you don’t mind making a few batches. Pour vegetable, corn/canola, safflower, or any preferred frying oil into the skillet so it’s at least 1” deep. Turn up the heat!

Step 2: While you wait for the oil to come to temperature. Cut a stack of corn tortillas into wedges, make them bigger or smaller based on your preferences. You can even fry a whole tortilla and make a tostada.

chop, chop!Step 3: Test to see if your oil is ready by flicking some water from a safe distance above the pan; if the water sizzles, your oil is ready. A safer option, as described by a reader comment below, is to dip the handle of your wooden spoon in the oil and if bubbles form around it, your oil is ready. Drop as many tortilla pieces in the hot oil as will fit without overlapping each other in the pan. The tortillas should be able to completely submerge, but will be hanging around the surface from the force of hot oil bubbles.

Step 4: Eyeball the chips. You’ll see them harden and brown slightly. I flipped them over with a pair of tongs at least once, to ensure even frying.These tortillas, in this pan, with this oil (all factors that will differ) cooked for a total of about 4 minutes.

Step 5: Using your tongs, remove the chips from the oil and drop them in your brown bag. Give them a shake to remove excess oil and then add a dash of salt right into the bag. Shake again.

Step 6: Taste test before you drop your next batch of tortilla wedges in the oil. See if you want them to be more or less crisp. Adjust frying time accordingly. Repeat process for as many chips as you’d like to make!

Questions for the master fryers out there: Do you reuse your oil? If so how many times? Store it in the fridge between uses?

Reader Comments (6)

Great blog post! I wanted to munch on those chips! Yes, you can reuse the oil and yes, it should be in the fridge. Filter the impurities out of it by putting it through a coffee filter and this will make it last longer. You can use it 3-4 times depending on taste and how well it is filtered. When it starts to stink or turn brown, get rid of it. To reuse, put it in your pan before you turn the heat on and melt it slowly, turning the heat up to fry temp when oil is all the same consistency.

March 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

Mama to the rescue! Thanks for solving all my future-use questions! xo

March 10, 2010 | Registered CommenterKate

You can test the heat of the oil by putting the handle of the wooden spoon into it...if there are lots of bubbles coming off the wood...its hot. Lots less scary than mixing water and hot oil.

March 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter@cburg

Yum! I always save my fat-- whether it's in the fridge or on my person...

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

Fantastic advice @cburg! I like that idea much more than advising people to conduct a mini-explosion.

Julia, teehee!

March 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterKate

Those look really good!

As a side note, if you've never made your own tortillas, they're surprisingly simple to prepare. I make mine using the following recipe, substituting whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour. I'd definitely recommend trying it.

August 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

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