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Healthy How-To: Tortilla Chips

Tortilla chips are a mainstay in Mexican restaurants and home kitchens alike! They're the perfect vehicle for all kinds of dips - salsa, guacamole, French onion, spinach artichoke, the list goes on and on. Problem is, tortilla chips are usually fried and salted, making them high in fat, sodium, and calories.

Cut down on sodium, fat, and calories plus boost the fiber by making your own dip-able chips at home. Plus, see our cost comparison below!

Nutrition Facts Face-Off!

1 ounce bagged chips vs. 1 ounce homemade chips
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What you need:
  • Ingredients: 6" corn tortillas
  • Equipment: Oven preheated to 375 degrees F and microwave; microwave-safe plate, mini muffin pan or baking sheet

Step 1:
Heat 3 tortillas on a microwave-safe plate for about 15-20 seconds or until warm and pliable.

Step 2:
Using a round cookie cutter, a glass, or a mason jar, cut out two 3"-diameter rounds from each tortilla.

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Step 3:

For "scoops," press each round into mini muffin tins. Repeat steps 1-3 until all tins are filled. For regular chips, lay rounds on a baking sheet. Spray the tops of tortilla rounds with nonstick spray.

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Step 4:

Bake at 375 degrees F for about 10 minutes, or until slightly golden and crisped. Remove from oven and let cool.

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Cost Comparison

When the tortillas are baked, they lose moisture and therefore weigh less. For every ounce of unbaked tortilla we get 0.55 ounce of baked tortilla. With that in mind, a 27.5-ounce package of tortillas will yield about 15 ounces. When we buy a bag of chips, they are already cooked.

Based on weight alone, here's how they compare:

  • $3.98 for 14.5 ounces of bagged chips: 27 cents per ounce
  • $1.99 for 15 ounces of baked tortillas: 13 cents per ounce

Now we'll only get 6.5 ounces of chips from our bag of tortillas. Remember, we only get 2 chips per tortilla and we're left with scraps after cutting out the rounds. Taking that into account, we technically paid $1.99 for 6.5 ounces of chips, or 31 cents per ounce.

It seems we're not saving any money by making them at home, but we can easily make use of the extra tortilla pieces! Put them to use in Chicken Tortilla Casserole (recipe here!), or tear up into smaller pieces and bake for homemade salad/soup toppers.

Ultimately we ARE saving money, and we're being healthier, too!

Today's post was written by Leia Kedem. Leia Kedem, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator covering Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermilion Counties. She appears weekly on WCIA-3/WCIX-49 and is a biweekly contributor to the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette. She also maintains Facebook and Twitter accounts where she regularly posts health tips and answers nutrition questions for free.