Homemade Fritos may be one of the easiest snack foods to make at home. All you need is Masa, Water, Corn Oil, and Salt.
I found a handful of recipes online for homemade Fritos that had varying ingredients. One of the more popular ones even has egg whites. Then I watched a video from inside the actual Frito factory and saw how simple the process is to make this snack food. The ingredient list on a bag of Fritos reads, “Corn, Corn Oil, and Salt. No Preservatives.” All said and done, buying a bag of Fritos is probably the way to go here. But, I went through the trouble to make them at home and they were easy and delicious so let’s keep this rolling.
The other point to note about all the recipes online was that they all called for fine corn meal instead of masa. I thought that was a little odd because corn tortillas should be made with masa. On the other hand, I had pretty good luck last week making homemade corn tortillas with fine cornmeal. I guess if that’s what you have on hand it should be alright. What you don’t want to use for tortillas is stone ground corn meal. I had some on hand so I did a little test. What I found was that corse cornmeal mixed with a little water just gives you wet sand. Masa and water give you something more similar to playdough.
I think what makes Fritos so good is that the corn isn’t ground quite as fine as tortillas. There’s still a little tooth to them. With that in mind I decided to use a little of both. So the recipe for Homemade Fritos is 1 cup of Masa, 1/2 cup coarse Cornmeal, 1 cup Water. Combine all this in a bowl adding the last few tablespoons of water at time. You might find you have about a tablespoon of water left over to get to the right consistency. A little wet isn’t a problem other than it makes it harder to work with on the parchment paper. Knead the dough in to a flat disc and wrap with plastic. Allow to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Prep about 4 feet of parchment paper, fold it in half length wise and open it back up. Place the unwrapped dough on the paper and start pressing down and forming it in to an even rectangle. Fold the other half of the parchment paper over top and use a rolling pin to roll the dough in to a 1/8″ sheet. You can peel the top sheet off and use a pizza cutter or kitchen knife to score the sheet of tortilla dough in to 1×4″ strips.
One of the two main benefits of making snacks like Fritos at home is that you can cut them to any shape or size you’d like. Knowing we’re going to uses this for stopping a heavy dip means we might want them a little thicker and a litter wider. Once they’re all fried up we can season them however we’d like too.
I used about a cup of corn oil in a wok at about 350°F to fry several batches of Fritos at a time. I tried a few different seasoning combinations but settled on plain old salt. Feel free to experiment here! I’ve bene eyeing up cheese powder for a snack like this one day.
Yeah, so don’t make this. They’re good and really easy to make but they don’t have the cool wavy shape of the factory made stuff. I guess if you have the masa and water on hand and want a little project this would be fun. I won’t be making them again.