The Best Oil Temperature For Frying Perfect Homemade Tortilla Chips

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Whether it's from a bag or courtesy of your favorite Mexican spot, everyone loves a bowl of tortilla chips, so why not make them from scratch? They're even tastier when made fresh, and the effect of eating a hot one covered in queso is unparalleled. All you have to do is cut corn tortillas into wedges, fry 'em up in a pot of hot oil, and sprinkle them with flaky salt and any seasonings you like upon cooling. 

However, the risk you take on when making tortilla chips is that you can scarcely look away during frying without getting a pot of burnt chips. It can be difficult to tell, particularly with a used or darker oil, when the color of your chips is just right, which can lead to overcooking or burning. 

Here is what not to do: add a few glugs of oil to a pot, set the burner as high as it can go, and assume they'll be good to go when you waltz back into the kitchen. Instead, closely monitor the temperature of your oil, toss them in when the oil is ready, flip them frequently, and pull them out when they're perfectly gold and crisp. 

Keep it at 350 degrees Fahrenheit

In order to ensure every batch comes out consistently crisp and delicious, it's essential to have an easy-read candy thermometer at least an instant-read thermometer to maintain your frying oil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. With the thermometer latched to the side of your pot, you'll know exactly how hot your frying oil is at any given time. 

This is key because whenever you add something cold or room temperature to the frying oil, it reduces the temperature slightly and needs extra time to bounce back. Because adding in tortilla wedges will bring the temperature of the oil down, it's best to wait until your oil has reached between 355 and 360 degrees Fahrenheit before adding them in — that way, the oil temp will drop and fry at 350 degrees for the short time they need to sizzle. 

This technique will yield a much more predictable batch of golden, crispy tortilla chips, and trust us when we say that amping up the temperature of the oil will not speed up the cook time, but instead leave you with chips that are at once soggy and raw.