Fried Tortilla Side Dish/Tortilla Frita Con Queso

Juliann Esquivel


Back when my great grandmother was raising her family times were very hard and often there was nothing more then some day old corn tortillas a little salsa perhaps an onion and a small piece of cheese. She had to make a miracle to feed her hungry children. This recipe is one of her little miracles that she passed down to her daughters. It has stood the test of time to this day I make and it is simple and delicious. It has at times helped me out in a pinch. I make it as a side dish often. Enjoy! Buen Appetito


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6 to 8
10 Min
20 Min
Stove Top


  • 15/ 20 medium
    size corn tortillas cut in triangle pieces small
  • 1 large
    sweet vidalia onion diced
  • 4 clove
    fresh garlic smashed
  • 1 large
    handfull of diced cilantro
  • 1/2 c
    canola oil
  • 3/4 c
    good homemade salsa (see my post for red table salsa)
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp
    cumin powder
  • 2 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp
    black ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 c
    shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese
  • 1 sprig(s)
    diced cilantro for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp
    garlic powder

How to Make Fried Tortilla Side Dish/Tortilla Frita Con Queso


  1. Cut all of your corn tortillas in triangles or small pieces. Set aside
    You cannot use flour tortillas in this recipe.
  2. Next heat canola oil in deep pot until shimmering add diced onions, smashed diced garlic, and cup of diced cilantro sauté until onion is translucent.
  3. Next remove onion, garlic and cilantro mixture and add the tortillas to the hot oil. Fry the tortillas in the oil until they start to breakdown a little. About 3 minutes add the onion and cilantro mixture back to the tortillas and continue to mix and fry.
  4. Next add the salsa, and spices oregano, cumin, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, and continue to mix and cook over medium flame. Tortillas will somewhat stick to the pan no matter add just a little water like a 1/4 cup and stir well to blend everything. When all is mixed well try not to break up the tortillas to much it will look like mush if you mix too hard. Last add the grated cheddar or pepperjack cheese and mix well.

    Remove from flame just as cheese starts to melt garnish with a little diced cilantro serve alongside your favorite meat dish. Serve with a spoonful of salsa on top.
  5. Sometimes my grandmother would fry eggs sunnyside up and serve the eggs on top of this fried tortilla side dish for lunch. We were in heaven. Just delicious. Enjoy.

Printable Recipe Card

About Fried Tortilla Side Dish/Tortilla Frita Con Queso

Course/Dish: Other Side Dishes
Main Ingredient: Rice/Grains
Regional Style: Mexican
Dietary Needs: Vegetarian
Other Tag: Heirloom

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