The Crunch Factor: History of the Tortilla Chip

Published on May 2, 2022

You know us for our fully customizable nachos, but do you know where the foundation of this tasty dish came from? We’re diving into the rather complex history of the one and only tortilla chip!

What are the origins of the tortilla chip?

The most widely known theory is that the tortilla chip was popularized by Rebecca Webb Carranza. Not one for food, she discovered that cutting into triangles and frying tortillas that were manufactured in her and her husband’s Mexican delicatessen and tortilla factory in Los Angeles was a popular snack among her patrons. She even won an award for her contribution to Mexican cuisine.

Sounds like a pioneering method to use rejected tortillas, right? 

Well, the plot thickens! In recent years, the owner of the Tamalina Milling Company came forward to claim its company made the now famous chip long before that, utilizing excess masa to create them. According to CNN, the Martinez family even submitted materials to trademark the Tamalina tortilla chip.

Needless to say the history of the tortilla chip is a bit of a mystery, but a tasty one!

Nuts about nachos

You can’t go wrong with the classic pairing of tortilla chips and salsa, but where did nachos come from?

In 1943, this popular dish was created in Mexico by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, a head waiter of a restaurant.  Feeling the pressure to please a group of American women who arrived outside of business hours, he put together the original recipe with just 3 elements – tortilla chips, cheese and pickled jalapeños warmed in the oven. The rest, as they say, is history.

Nowadays, nachos are made in a variety of different ways. Be sure to stop in to your nearest Quesada to craft your perfect nachos!