Totopos: Mexican tortilla chips

Totopos are delightful, crispy, and addictive Mexican corn chips super versatile and simple to make. You can serve them with a variety of sauces and dips or season them with spices.

These are easy to make and a perfect solution to untimely cravings.

Totopos served with guacamole and pico de gallo salsa.

What are totopos?

The word totopo comes from a combination of the Nahuatl words totopochtli and tlaxcaltotopochtli that translate into “to crunch/toast” and “toasted tortilla” which was an interpretation of a tortilla that makes noise when chewed.

In ancient times, those chips were made by leaving the tortillas toast on a comal until crunchy, then breaking them into pieces. In modern days, they are made using leftovers/dried tortillas cut into triangles and deep-frying or baking them.

In Mexico, you will notice they are served at many restaurants along with pico de gallo and guacamole salsa as a quick appetizer while you wait for your food to arrive at your table.

Crispy and golden tortilla chips (totopos).

What type of tortillas to use

Totopos are traditionally made with corn tortillas, it doesn’t matter if they are store-bought or homemade tortillas, or even blue corn tortillas. As far as they are made with corn, you will be good.

If you decide to go with store-bought tortillas, you can find many brands sold at Amazon or online Mexican stores. Also, some local markets in USA and the EU have them available in the international aisle.

IMPORTANT: Even though you can also use flour tortillas, these crispy bites won’t be as good since flour tortillas won’t get as crispy as the corn ones, and the taste is definetly different because flour tortillas are made with shortening, oil, or butter.

How to cut them

Although tortillas originally are circular, you have to cut them into smaller pieces to fry them easily. You can cut them into any shape you like: into triangles, strips, squares, small circles, and diamond shapes as well. Feel free to get creative.

To cut them in triangles just pile 3-4 tortillas then into 6 wedges (like a pie). For cutting round tortilla chips, use a 2-inch cookie-cutter.

Tortillas cut into various shapes on a cutting board.

How To Stale Tortillas

These crispy corn chips are supposed to be a recycling food, and you’ll notice that they will turn better if made with stale tortillas. So I’ll leave you two options to dry them out.

Option 1: Spread the tortilla triangles onto a single layer on a countertop or table. Allow them to dry for a few hours. You can also cover them with a clean kitchen towel and leave them there overnight.

Option 2: Place tortilla triangles on a baking sheet, try to separate them a bit so they won’t stick to each other and create moisture. Place the baking sheet on the fridge for at least one hour then proceed with the recipe.

Tortilla triangles arranged on a baking tray.

How To Fry Them

There are a few things you need to know about frying homemade totopos chips:

Use plenty of oil: If you want those tortilla chips to be crispy and evenly golden you gonna need enough oil. Just enough for the tortillas to be well covered.

Oil should be about 340°F (170°C), if you don’t have a cooking thermometer just make sure the oil won’t make smoke because that’s mean it is too hot.

The tortillas just added to oil.

Fry in small batches: Don’t overcrowd the pan, if it’s your first time making tortilla chips, you might want to use a small pan and work in small batches until you feel confident with the recipe.

Don’t forget to flip them: They need to cook on both sides, so flip them a couple of times to allow them to fry evenly on both sides.

Medium fried totopos on a pan.

Remove them at once: Use a spider strainer to remove all chips at once, Depending on the temperature and the thickness of the tortilla, it will take them from 40 seconds to 1 minute to be ready.

Removing fried totopos from the pan.

How to Make them healthy

Although the traditional way of making homemade totopos chips is by frying them, it is for sure not the healthiest option. So, if you want to enjoy those tortilla chips but cut down the calories, here are two options that use very little oil and therefore are far healthier:

  • Baking: Place the uncooked totopos on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 375ºF (190ºC). You can use a cooking spray or olive oil to lightly brush them. Then bake from 10 to 12 minutes or until golden and crispy.
  • Air frying: An air fryer is a miracle kitchen gadget. It uses hot air to fry food without excessive oil. You can easily make these in an air fryer in no more than 10 minutes.
A collage with two photos showing oven baked tortilla chips.

How to eat them

You can eat these just like you eat tortilla chips or nachos. Here are a few ideas of what to serve with these:

Tortilla chips a.k.a.totopos served with various salsas.

Variations

If you wanna enjoy these crispy bites as they are, you might want to add some flavor. Here is what we recommend:

  • Salt. The most common choice, just as they come out off the oil, sprinkle them with a pinch salt.
  • Spicy. Add a pinch of your favorite chili blend powder, for a smoky taste, we recommend chipotle or guajillo powder.
  • Garlic. You can either fry 3-4 garlic cloves with the skin on in the same oil where you are frying the chips, or you can add a pinch of garlic powder once they are done.
  • Herbs. Oregano, thyme, marjoram, or even basil.

How to store

Allow the chips to cool down, then place them in an air-tight container or a zip lock bag and store them at room temperature. These are the perfect snacks that stay on your kitchen counter or in the cabinets crispy and crunchy for up to 5 days.

FAQ

Can I make this recipe with flour tortillas?

Yes, you can. Even though is not recommended because the flavor and texture will be different.

Can I use leftovers tortillas?

Yes! This recipe is perfect to recicle your tortillas, and you don’t even have to store them perfectly since they yield better corn chips when stale.

Is this recipe vegan?

Yes it is. Use your favorite vegetable oil for frying. We recommend canola or sunflower oil.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

If you use corn tortillas, yes, the recipe is 100% gluten-free.

Can I flavor them?

Of course, use your favorite powdered spices and herbs to flavor these corn chips, make sure you do it when they are still hot so the heat will bring out the aroma too!

Totopos Recipe

Totopos

Homemade tortilla chips (totopos) with only 2 ingredients. Make those crispy corn chips to enjoy with your favorite salsas.
PREP 5 minutes
COOK 10 minutes
TOTAL 15 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 6
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

Instructions

  • Make batches of 4 tortillas piled and cut them into 6 wedges, like a pie. Line a baking tray with 3 or 3 layers of kitchen paper towels.
  • Heat a good amount of oil in a medium frying pan (about 340°F/170°C).
  • Carefully, add a batch of tortilla wedges into the oil making sure they’re all in a single layer and immersed into the oil.
  • Fry for about 1 minute, flipping once or two times to allow the chips to fry evenly.
  • Remove with a spider strainer and place onto the paper towels.
  • Repeat until all tortillas are used.

NOTES

  • Baking: Place the uncooked totopos on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 375ºF (190ºC). You can use a cooking spray or olive oil to lightly brush them. Then bake from 10 to 12 minutes or until golden and crispy.
  • Air frying: An air fryer is a miracle kitchen gadget. It uses hot air to fry food without excessive oil. You can easily make these in an air fryer in no more than 10 minutes.
Nutrition
Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 129mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg
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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I didn’t know corn chips have such an amazing background history and I didn’t know they were called totopos, thank you so much for the informative post and recipe.