Every Friday, a DIY expert spares us a trip to the grocery store and shows us how to make small batches of great foods at home.
Today: Ashley from Edible Perspective shares step-by-step directions for homemade corn tortillas and oven-baked tortilla chips that require just four ingredients and a little bit of practice. Now pass that margarita.
I always thought you needed a deep fryer to make perfectly crunchy tortilla chips at home. But with just water, masa harina, a little bit of oil, and a little bit of salt, you can whip up the perfect batch of chips in your own kitchen.
For this year's Cinco de Mayo party -- or for any party, really -- impress your friends with these oven-baked tortilla chips. They're perfect for nacho night, or dipping in homemade guacamole or salsa. You won't believe how simple the process really is, and with just a little practice, you'll be a pro in no time!
More: Excited for nacho night? Make your cheese sauce from scratch, too.
The flavor combinations are endless, but my favorite versions are lime-salted (remember Hint of Lime chips?) and cinnamon sugar. Usually I make a half batch of each and they disappear instantly.
To make the chips, you’ll first need to make the tortillas. The process isn't that difficult, but you don’t want to try this for the first time if you’re in a hurry. It may take a batch or two before you get a feel for how the tortilla dough should feel. Once you master tortilla making, though, the chips are incredibly simple and quick. Just be sure to reward yourself with a margarita for all that hard work.
A few helpful tips for making homemade corn tortillas:
- The amount of hot water you’ll need will vary each time you make the tortillas. Start with 1 1/4 cups and work up from there.
- The best description I’ve read is that the dough should feel like Play-Doh. It has a cool, clammy feel to it. This is nothing like bread or pizza dough.
- If your dough feels slightly crumbly or cracks, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time and knead until smooth. If you add too much water, add a small amount of flour to soak it up.
- The rest period for the dough is important for the flour to hydrate.
- When you’re cooking the tortillas, if the dough starts to slightly puff up once you flip it the second time, you’ve done well! If the dough doesn’t puff, it may be too dry. This will result in slightly tough and rubbery (but totally edible!) tortillas.
- If the dough cracks horribly as you roll it out, it is definitely too dry.
- If you are working without a tortilla press, grab a roll of parchment paper. This will keep your dough from sticking to the counter, your hands, and the other dough as you start to pile them up.
- Once fully cooked, tortillas can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for about 5 to 7 days. Or, store in them in a sealed container in the freezer and reheat in a dry skillet.
To make lime-salted chips:
- Salt the lightly oiled chips before baking. After 8 to 11 minutes in the oven, spritz the hot chips with fresh lime juice using your fingertips. You want a light sprinkle over each chip so they stay crispy. Let cool completely.
- These are delicious with guacamole!
To make cinnamon sugar chips:
- Combine about 1/4 cup of pure cane sugar with 1 to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
- Sprinkle desired amount over your lightly oiled chips before baking instead of salting.
- Bake for the same amount of time and let cool until fully crisp.
- These are awesome with fruit salsa!
You can make the chips from store-bought corn tortillas, but I assure you that the homemade version is well worth the extra effort. Enjoy!
Makes 16 tortillas
2 cups masa harina
1 1/4 to 2 cups hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Slowly pour the water over the masa, stirring with a large spoon as you pour.
Continue to mix the dough with your hands and knead it in the bowl for about 2 minutes until you can form a smooth ball that is not sticky or crumbly. If the dough is dry or gritty and not holding together, add more water and knead until smooth.
When the dough is just right, it will have a texture similar to Play-Doh. It will feel slightly cool, smooth, and clammy to the touch and should not feel wet or sticky. If the dough is wet, incorporate more flour into the mixture.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes to 2 hours on the counter to allow it to hydrate.
Section in half, and then in half again, until you have 16 similarly sized pieces.
Roll each piece into a ball. Tear off two 10x10-inch pieces of parchment paper, plus sixteen 7x7-inch squares. Also take out a flat plate or dish that's larger than 6 inches wide.
Place one ball between the 2 larger sheets of parchment and, holding the plate, use your body weight to flatten the dough.
You want the dough about 6 inches in diameter and less than 1/8 inch thick. If you can't flatten it enough with the plate, finish rolling out with a rolling pin.
Carefully peel dough off the parchment and place on one of your smaller sheets of parchment. Continue this process and keep stacking the tortillas with the small sheets of parchment so they don't stick together. If you want perfectly round edges, trim with a bowl or other circular object about 6 inches in diameter.
Once you've finished rolling them out, heat a dry cast iron skillet (or frying pan) over medium heat.
Place tortillas on the hot pan one at a time and cook for about 1 minute per side, then flip, and cook about 1 more minute. The tortilla should slightly char and puff up as it cooks on the second side.
Adjust the cooking time and temperature as needed. If serving warm, keep your tortillas covered with a towel. Once they have cooled, the edges will be slightly crispy but the tortillas should easily roll.
Makes 64 chips
16 corn tortillas
2 tablespoons safflower, sunflower, or grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or more, to taste
2 limes, juiced
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and take out two large rimmed baking sheets.
Cut each cooked tortilla into 4 segments and brush each side very lightly with oil. A pastry brush works great for this.
Place oiled chips on the baking sheets in a single layer and sprinkle salt over top. Bake for 8 to 11 minutes until golden brown and crispy. They will crisp up even more as they cool.
For a lime-salted version, as soon as the chips come out of the oven lightly spritz (with your fingers) all of the chips with fresh lime juice. Let fully cool.
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin