Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

by Ann Marie Michaels on October 4, 2010

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Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

Corn tortilla chips are my comfort food. Yes, I grew up in Texas where we eat corn tortilla chips with everything. Lots of salsa, plus loads of sour cream and guacamole. Oh, and extra jalapenos.

Unfortunately, today most corn tortillas chips are fried in rancid modern vegetable oils, so store-bought tortilla chips are bad for your health. I prefer to make them at home with healthy oils like coconut oil and the most traditional Mexican cooking fat, lard.

Why Lard?

Lard is a very healthy fat that got demonized by the soybean oil and cottonseed companies. Don’t listen to their propaganda! Lard has been consumed by people around the world for thousands of years (for example, Mexico and other Latin American countries, as well as China and Spain).

Were they obese? No, they were not. Did they have diabetes and heart disease? Nope! These are modern diseases — tied to a modern diet full of trans fats.

Lard from pastured pigs is full of vitamin D, something most of us are lacking. It’s also a great saturated fat which helps you absorb calcium, helps your brain, not to mention your skin — they say that it helps prevent wrinkles. Eating tortilla chips for a beautiful complexion — I’m in!

Note: Don’t buy hydrogenated lard — the stuff you see at the store. Find a farmer who sells pig fat and learn how to render lard at home. It’s easy!

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is also really good for you. Not only is it a healthy saturated fat, it’s loaded with lauric acid — which nourishes your thyroid gland, speeds up your metabolism and actually helps you lose weight — coconut oil is also good for the brain, the nervous system, and… oh gosh, there are too many benefits to list here.

I recommend the refined, expeller-pressed coconut oil. I don’t like my chips to have a coconutty flavor. Don’t worry, the refined stuff is just as good for you. I buy it by the 5-gallon bucket.

Healthy Tortilla Chips

Who knew your nacho chips could be so healthy?

Your family’s gonna love you for this recipe. Give it a try. We make these chips every week and my family can’t get enough.

You can turn them into nachos or eat them as is. And don’t skimp on the guacamole, sour cream, or lacto-fermented salsa.

Note: Be sure to buy organic corn tortillas so you can avoid GMOs.

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips Cooling

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips Recipe


Coconut oil, refined, expeller-pressed or lard (how to render lard) — where to buy coconut oil
Corn tortillas, homemade or store-bought, organic and/or sprouted (1 package)
Sea salt — where to buy sea salt


Dutch oven
Candy thermometer

Frying Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips


1. Add the coconut oil or lard to a Dutch oven. The oil should be about 1-inch deep.
2. Over medium-high heat, bring the temperature of the oil to 350-360 degrees (up to 375 if using lard).
3. Quarter the corn tortillas with a chef’s knife.
4. When the oil is hot enough, add the corn tortillas to the hot oil and fry for a couple minutes on each side (it varies depending on the temperature), or until lightly brown and firm (not bendable).
5. Set each fried tortilla on a paper towel lined plate or cookie sheet.
6. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt, let cool slightly, and serve with guacamole or salsa.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan Jenelle October 4, 2010 at 6:46 PM

I am so glad you posted this recipe!! I love Mexican food! My husband and I joke about how I am really a senorita at heart! I am looking forward to trying out this recipe!! Thanks so much again! Have a blessed evening!
Megan Jenelle
.-= Megan Jenelle´s last blog ..Life on the Homestead =-.


cheeseslave October 4, 2010 at 7:36 PM

Megan –

I’m with you!!! I grew up in Texas and I just love Mexican food — it truly is my comfort food.


Amy October 4, 2010 at 11:04 PM

what about nixtamalization of the corn?


Jen October 5, 2010 at 3:02 AM

I wish I had a source for acceptable lard so I could make these-they look addictive!
I love it when people share their favourite foods as it makes me try food I probably wouldn’t think of making.I also love a different cultural perspective on food.
I am Australian and my experience of Mexican/American food was virtually zero before I started reading your blog,and it has been a revelation!No wonder it is so popular!I haven’t had the opportunity to try good Mexican food in a restaurant,so your recipes have been a real learning opportunity for me-thanks for sharing!


Susan October 5, 2010 at 3:29 AM

Do you have any good recipes, or know anyone who does, for soaked or sprouted corn tortillas? Just wondering. Your chips sound fabulous, by the way! :O)


Gwen October 5, 2010 at 6:52 AM

Hey — real quick… couldn’t you melt the coconut oil (perhaps using quite a bit less — or use olive oil, etc.) & then toss with the corn tortilla chips (and/or spices, salt, etc.) & then BAKE till crispy, too?

I do this when making my own pita chips… just a thought, though don’t know if they’ll crisp up quite the same?! Probably won’t taste as good either, but might be “healthier?!” LOL




The Coconut Mama October 5, 2010 at 7:13 AM

Susan, this is her recipe. Its fantastic! – http://www.cheeseslave.com/2008/08/03/homemade-corn-tortillas-part-one/

AnnMarie – These look delicious! I have been making your homemade tortillas for the past month and I really love them! I was using the sprouted tortillas from the store and they gave me a tummy ache. Found out that they’re NOT gluten free =(. They’re soaked in barley malt.
.-= The Coconut Mama´s last blog ..Sweet &amp Spicy Kielbasa =-.


imblst July 11, 2011 at 8:06 AM

i have all the ingredients for this and have been wanting to try it … i haven’t found the time. hope my corn doesn’t go bad… i’ve had it for quite a while.


Sally October 5, 2010 at 7:29 AM

These look great! We are getting our first gallon of unrefined coconut oil today. I didn’t really know the difference but I’m sure we will use it up in our smoothies! Will definitely give this a shot.

I have two questions:

1. Is organic corn definitely not GMO? Is there a standard for that in the regulating guidelines? I’m suspicious by nature.

2. What is nixtamalization?

.-= Sally´s last blog ..Unschooling- Our Results =-.


Krissy October 5, 2010 at 7:54 AM

Can you reuse your oil again or do you throw it out after the one use?


imblst July 11, 2011 at 8:07 AM

i reuse mine… a lot..


Mary Jo October 5, 2010 at 10:06 AM

I brush mine with lard and sprinkle with salt and bake in the oven- I’m too lazy to fry, however I just was reading in a James Beard cookbook about frying donuts in lard. I’m gonna give that a whirl- my kids would love any kind of donut.


imblst July 11, 2011 at 8:08 AM

i’ve also done homemade corn chips in the dehydrator. you can do more at a time. i’ve also done them in the oven on baking stones… once again, more at a time.. and very tasty


imblst July 11, 2011 at 8:13 AM

okay, i would love that donut recipe


City Share October 5, 2010 at 10:44 AM

Yummy! I grew up in AZ so Mexican food is my comfort food too. These look wonderful. I have yet to get any lard at the farmers’ market. That will have to be my next step in my real food journey.
.-= City Share´s last blog ..Cottage Pie and a Plan =-.


Jenny October 5, 2010 at 10:45 AM

I keep my coconut oil in a big pot and reuse over, and over, and over…skimming out the “crunchies” that fall to the bottom from time to time.


Robin October 5, 2010 at 11:16 AM

I LOVE homemade tortilla chips and do it all the time. I just can’t even bring myself to buy the store-bought ones anymore, just because these taste so much better! Same goes for taco shells-just use the whole tortilla and fry one side while holding the other side with tongs, then turn over, shaping into a shell. It takes a little practice to get good at it (I’m still working on my method!), but they truly make THE best tacos, especially with homemade salsa as well.

I’ve actually tried baking chips (brushing with oil first, then baking until crisp), but I didn’t care for the finished product…for me, they just get way too crispy and too hard/crunchy. I much prefer frying them, even with the extra mess. Although I don’t have a good source for lard yet, I’ve been using the expeller pressed coconut oil and also palm oil and have had great success with both.

Also-I definitely have it on my agenda to attempt cheeseslave’s homemade tortillas, but until then, I’ve been on the search for good store-bought corn tortillas. I know there’s been some controversy on Whole Foods lately, but I personally LOVE going there, especially since the stores here (Colorado) actually have a great bakery, and they make tortillas (flour and corn) in-house…they’re delicious, and the ingredients are minimal-just corn flour and water for the corn tortillas (even the Mexican grocery store out here I tried has additives, etc. in their tortillas), so I was VERY excited to find these!


imblst July 11, 2011 at 8:10 AM

County Life has a GREAT organic corn chip… w/GREAT ingredients. That’s one reason i haven’t gone ahead with the homemade recipe yet. http://www.clnf.org


Victoria October 5, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Tortilla chips are my most favorite thing in the whole world! We also make them at home with coconut oil. We use the Food for Life sprouted corn tortillas. It is such work to avoid chips that are made with vegetable oil. We have an awesome little mexican place across the street from the store and they make yummy chips, but I avoid them because they are fried in vegetable oil. I really need to remind myself that they make me fat and are are terrible for me. I like the ones we make at home much more, anyway!
This was a good reminder for me to get some more good lard. We LOVE making our re-fried beans in it and now I can’t wait to try some chips in it.


Rachael October 5, 2010 at 1:43 PM

I am wondering about your comment on refined coconut oil. I have been trying to figure out if it is as good as raw and haven’t been ale to find the answer. Where did you find the answer? Does it have the same amount of lauric acid for sure? The refined stuff is half the price of the raw from wilderness family naturals and on sale till the end of this month!


Rachel October 5, 2010 at 3:53 PM

I make my chips using Safflower Oil – I believe that’s something gleaned at some point from one of Sally Fallon’s books. I’ve used that with coconut oil as a blend. Thanks for the tip on the tortillas from the Whole Foods bakery. I will have to search those out next time I’m there!


cheeseslave October 5, 2010 at 3:58 PM

@ Rachel

Safflower oil is not recommended since it’s super high in omega-6s.

Safflower, Corn, Sunflower, Soybean and Cottonseed Oils all contain over 50% omega-6 and, except for soybean oil, only minimal amounts of omega-3. Safflower oil contains almost 80% omega-6. Researchers are just beginning to discover the dangers of excess omega-6 oils in the diet, whether rancid or not. Use of these oils should be strictly limited. They should never be consumed after they have been heated, as in cooking, frying or baking. High oleic safflower and sunflower oils, produced from hybrid plants, have a composition similar to olive oil, namely, high amounts of oleic acid and only small amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids and, thus, are more stable than traditional varieties. However, it is difficult to find truly cold-pressed versions of these oils.



cheeseslave October 5, 2010 at 4:20 PM

@ Gwen

Actually, I think baked chips are a lot less healthy.

Good fats like coconut oil and lard are rich in fat-soluble activators and other nutrients our bodies really need.

Grains like corn really are not as good for you as saturated fats.

For me, the grains are just an excuse to eat fat.

Here’s a good article that explains why we want to eat MORE fat, not less:



Debbie October 5, 2010 at 5:28 PM

YUMMMMY! Got to get me some lard asap!
xoxo deb
.-= Debbie´s last blog ..Little Big C =-.


Michelle @ Find Your Balance October 6, 2010 at 3:12 PM

Ah, last time I saw a post somewhere about homemade corn chips, it required starting with actual corn. That was a bit beyond me. This I can do! Thanks for always reinforcing the good stuff, like lard. :-)


AdventureGirl October 8, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Is it ok to use organic corn tortillas that are not sprouted? I thought cornmeal had to be either sprouted or soaked in lime-are unsprouted organic corn tortillas properly treated? How would I tell from the package label?



K October 8, 2010 at 5:26 PM

These chips look amazing! Plus I like the idea of frying them in expeller-pressed coconut oil.

I have been taking virgin coconut oil three times a day before meals for weight loss per Sally Fallon’s and Mary Enig’s book Eat Fat, Lose Fat. It will be a welcome change to use something that does NOT taste like coconut for a change!
.-= K´s last blog ..Why I Eat Liver- and Dinner- Liver Stir-Fry- Broccoli- Sauerkraut- Fruit- Milk =-.


cheeseslave October 8, 2010 at 6:08 PM

K – How is it going with Operation Lose Baby Weight?


cheeseslave October 8, 2010 at 6:12 PM

@ Adventuregirl

I think pretty much all corn tortillas are treated with lime. This is because when people ate unfermented corn in the early 1900s in the American South, there was an epidemic of pellagra:


You can see on the label it will say corn, lime, salt.

However, the storebought corn tortillas and corn meal are not soaked very long. They might only be soaked for 30 minutes.

This is why I prefer making my own corn tortillas. But I am too busy lately to do it. Ideally, make them from scratch and soak in the lime water for 1-2 weeks.


ilse October 8, 2010 at 6:47 PM

so nice to see real lard be given its credit!! :)


Peggy Sutton October 9, 2010 at 11:32 AM

To Your Health now offers organic sprouted corn flour for GREAT corn tortillas that make wonderful tortilla chips! Check us out at http://www.organicsproutedflour.net.


Stephanie B. Cornais October 23, 2010 at 9:53 AM

OMG! You have no idea how happy this makes me! Not eating chips is one of the last frontiers for me in my real food journey. I can’t wait to try this recipe!!


Rozlynn February 17, 2012 at 7:18 AM

I just read your homemade sprouted tortilla recipe. What do you do to make your homemade tortillas into homemade tortilla chips? (I am wondering if it is as simple as cutting up the just preparted tortilla into quarters, or if there is another step involved).


cheeseslave February 17, 2012 at 7:49 AM

Yes you can make these chips with sprouted flour tortillas as well.


Rozlynn February 17, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Thank you. I think I got a bit mixed up. I ment to reference the corn tortillas you gave a tutorial for where you soak the corn in lime for several days up to 2 weeks.


Salina October 15, 2012 at 7:26 PM

What about using grapeseed oil to fry the tortillas in?


Earlene June 8, 2013 at 10:41 AM

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