Back when I was a kid (into the far reaches of ancient history...the 50's and 60's), our family would vacation at Huntington Beach in Southern California, and on the beach there was a snack bar where they served tortilla strips (does any else remember these?). They made them right there and served them in one of those paper tray things with a red sauce that we all just loved. I’m sure it was pretty awful stuff, but the tortilla strips were so great. They were different from store-bought tortilla chips in that they really were just fried up tortillas. They tasted like corn and they were warm and crisp, and well, we loved them.
Fast forward to my adult life where I still absolutely love tortilla chips (maybe too much), but avoid them and the fat and salt inherent in those addicting little things. So several years ago, I started making my own tortilla chips and was so happy to find that they tasted just like I remembered those tortilla strips I loved back in my youth on the beach in SoCal (minus the grease).
I know that lots of people make their own tortilla chips by frying them, but we love the real corn flavors that come through when they are baked. The big bonus is that they are really super duper low in calories so you can eat them with impunity. Or salsa. Or guacamole.
Although this is a really simple procedure, there are several tricks to getting your chips perfect. The dryer the tortilla, the crisper they’ll come out. If you have a convection oven, use it! The convection really crisps them up. I’ve tried lots of different tortillas for these, but to get the real authentic flavor, use the yellow corn tortillas. The white will work fine, but we don’t think they have as much flavor. Just experiment until you find the right combination of tortillas, temperature and cooking times for your oven.
Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips
For a printable recipe, click here
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cut your tortillas into 4 or 6 wedges, depending on how large your tortillas are. I usually cut regular-sized tortillas into 4ths, and when I find the extra large ones, I cut them into 6ths.
Spray your sheet pan(s) with nonstick cooking spray. Lay the tortillas out on the sheets and then spray with more cooking spray. Give ‘em a good sprinkling of salt (however salty you like your chips) and pop ‘em in the oven. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, swapping out the pans halfway through for even heating. The chips should just be starting to brown.
The chips get crispier as they cool, but I love ‘em warm too.
Sometimes I turn the oven off after ten minutes, open the oven door a little and let them sit for 3 or 4 minutes which makes a nice crispy chip.
Here are some great recipes to use with your chips!