Tortilla Chips Vs Potato Chips: What’s The Difference?

tortilla chips vs potato chips

Snacks are becoming more popular these days, which come in many different types with vibrant colors and delicious flavors. Tortilla and potato chips make up an enormous section of the snack food market. However, many consumers are unsure of how they differ.

This article will give an essential understanding of the differences between these two. Let’s see what makes them unique.

Quick Facts

Tortilla chips

  • Origin: Mexico
  • Shape: Triangle
  • Ingredients: Tortilla, corn, salt, oil, seasoning.
  • Cooking methods: Bake and fry.
  • Serving: dip with salsa, chile con queso, or guacamole.

Potato chips

  • Origin: The United States
  • Shape: Circle
  • Ingredients: Potato, salt, oil, seasoning.
  • Cooking methods: Fry.
  • Serving: as a snack, side dish, or appetizer.

Related: 30+ Mexican foods, so good you can’t ignore them!


To begin with, these two are all the final products from the deep-fat-frying process in the manufacturer with a crunchy, crispy, salty taste. In addition, they are both high-calorie snacks. So, if you want to lose weight, limit your intake of these types of snacks.



Mexicans used the name tortilla to describe their flat maize and wheat cakes (from torta, “cake”), which was first brought to Mexico by Spaniards. They cut these flat cakes into wedges and deep-fried them to make tortilla chips. 

Tortilla chip was initially brought to the United States by Latin Americans residing in the southwestern states quickly became popular. Despite the fierce competition in the snack business, the ones from Mexico have become an American staple and a significant competitor to potato chips.

Meanwhile, the potato variant was invented in 1853 by George Crum, a Native American/African American cook in New York, USA. To please sure finicky clients, Crum made the fries too thin to eat with a fork. 


The shape of both these types is one evident distinction. The most common shape of the tortilla one is a triangle with various colors such as yellow, black, red, etc. On the other hand, that of the potato’s is a circle and yellowy-brown.



  • Tortillas (made from corn, vegetable, oil, salt, water): People usually use tortillas to make homemade chips easily.
  • Corn (yellow corn, white corn), flour, whole wheat, or blue cornmeal) with frying oil, salt, and various seasonings.
  • Other ingredients: preservatives, emulsifiers, gums, and acidulants to obtain long shelf life and to keep specific properties of the product if needed.


  • Potato
  • Corn oil (other choices: cottonseed oil, a blend of vegetable oils)
  • Salt and other seasonings: powdered sour cream, onion, cheese, barbecue flavor

Cooking methods

Tortilla chips

Main stages: Preparing the masa (dough), grinding, forming chips, baking and cooling, frying and seasoning, cooling and packing

Potato chips

Main stages: Potato washing, destoning and peeling, slicing, color treatment, frying and salting, cooling and sorting, packaging

The key difference between the methods of making these two is that their texture change leads to chip formation before deep frying. Furthermore, the tortilla ones are baked to improve the alkaline flavor and remove moisture rather than pre-fried potato ones.


Despite being all served as appetizers, potato chips are often served as a snack or side dish without a dip. In contrast, tortilla ones act as a dip, such as salsa, chile con queso, or guacamole, usually eaten together. Customers can even get salsa in the bag of tortilla chips from certain brands.

What Was The Original Name Of Potato Chips?

As you all know, George Crum created these and served them at the hotel in New York. After that, they used “Saratoga chips” as the original name.

Is It Safe To Eat Potato Chips With Brown Spots?

Some people believe that a brown or black spot on the chips is a sign of spoilage. But actually, it is still safe for consumption despite bearing such minor imperfections. As experts explained that they are either bruises or the result of excess potato sugars darkening during frying.

How Can We Save/Store Them?

Yes, a cold, dry environment is ideal for preserving their freshness. Keeping it in an airtight resealable bag is the best option.

What Is The Best-selling Potato Chips Brand?

Lay’s has been the leading potato chip brand for several years. However, there are other top-selling brands: Ruffles, Pringles, Utz, Kettle Brand, Herr’s & Wise.

Tamara Pierce

Tamara Pierce is a food writer at Elapasony, passionate about exploring diverse cuisines and sharing recipes and food experiences. From trendy restaurants to local hotspots, she's always on the lookout for new and exciting flavors.

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