What are Corn Chips?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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Corn chips are a snack food made from corn. The corn is made into a dough and formed into shapes such as scoops or triangles, and then the corn chips are baked, deep fried, or simply dried. A closely related concept is the corn tortilla chip, a type of chip often served at Mexican restaurants. Although both snacks use corn, they are made in slightly different ways. Many markets sell corn chips, usually in the same area which holds other snack foods like potato chips and packaged cookies.

The corn in regular corn chips may be dried or used fresh, but it is not processed with lime to make masa. It usually takes the form of cornmeal, corn which has been dried and then ground into flour. The flavor of corn chips may be altered with additions such as chilies, herbs, vegetables, or juice of lemons and limes. Other ingredients such as wheat flour may be added to stretch the corn or achieve a particular desired flavor.

Often, corn chips come in the form of scoops or wedges which are designed to pick up sauces and dips which may be served with them. Corn chips may also be puffed, in which case they may be eaten alone or dipped in a sauce for a light coating of flavor. Many companies make baked or puffed corn chips because they tend to be healthier than deep fried versions. Like other snack foods, corn chips are often heavily salted.


In the case of corn tortilla chips, corn is made into masa and then formed into tortillas. The tortillas are cut into wedges or chunks and then baked or deep fried to make chips. These corn chips are a popular offering with Latin American cuisine, and they are often brought out with salsa or guacamole as an appetizer. Stale versions may be included in things like tortilla soup and Mexican-inspired casseroles. Tortilla corn chips are very easy to make at home, either from home made tortillas or store bought versions.

In either instance, corn chips are packaged tightly, as they will acquire an unpleasant taste and texture if they are allowed to stale. After opening, corn chips should be resealed tightly in their bag, or repacked in a fresh container which can be sealed. Some unusual variants on corn chips include chips made with blue corn, or chips dressed with lime and tequila for a particularly zesty eating experience.


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Post 5

@ladyjane - I thought I was the only woman who didn't like the smell of corn nuts. I'm glad to know there are others out there who feel the same way as I do.

My son likes to munch or should I say crunch on them while we're watching movies at home. When the shows over, I have to spray the entire area with air freshener just to tolerate being in the room.

Post 4

I like to make my own corn chips from the ready made corn tortillas that you find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

They're so easy to make and taste so much better than those packaged Tostitos corn chips you buy from the potato chip aisle. They'll do in a pinch but there's nothing like the homemade ones.

You just slice the tortillas crosswise into four separate triangles and dip them in hot vegetable oil into the frying pan. Fry the chips for about thirty seconds or so and then lay them out in a single layer to dry and add salt to taste. Delicious!

Post 3

I have to admit that I don't like the strong odor of Frito corn chips. I like the flavor, I just don't care for the smell. And what's worse than a bag of corn chips in my opinion, are those little bags of corn nuts.

Have you ever smelled them? My husband loves them and always insists on eating them whenever we're taking a road trip. It's impossible to escape the odor when your confined in an automobile.

Post 2

One of my favorite dishes in the Winter is made with Frito Lays corn chips and chili. I just simply spread the chips out in a single layer on a serving dish then smother them with leftover hot chili and cheeses.

Thick chili is better for this recipe otherwise the liquid will cause your Fritos corn chips to become soggy and hard to handle.

My friends and family always request my corn chip recipe at all our football gatherings. It's a big hit on game day and so quick and easy to make.

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