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Nacho Chili “Cheese”Corn Chips

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raw / vegan / gluten-free

This is my take on Doritos.  I am not going to claim that they taste 100% like them or have that light, crispy snap, but these chips deliver a powerful crunch that unlocks bold and unique flavors. They are a hearty corn chip topped with a cheesy chili flavor. Downright scrumptious in my book!   I did a little research regarding Nacho Cheese Doritos, one of my all-time favorite chips growing up.

Remember how they would leave your fingers sticky with something that looked like radioactive bee pollen?   Just what is in that stuff that made a person keep going back for only one more chip? Thirty-nine (39!)  different ingredients are used in creating these chips.  After identifying a few different kinds of cheese used, the cast members come into play; dextrin, maltodextrin, dextrose, flour, corn syrup solids, corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, and sunflower oil.

A few of those are partially hydrogenated, meaning they give the chip a longer shelf life and inject you with a little shot of trans fat. The seasoning blend includes sugar, “artificial flavoring,” and monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is a flavor enhancer.

MSG is known to interfere with the production of an appetite-regulating hormone called leptin.   I think it is safe to say that my Doritos eating days will continue to linger in my past, distant memories. Raw corn chips have always been tricky for me to master. There always seems to be this inherent underlying bitter flavor to them, which I always believed to come from the corn.  So I set out on an experiment.

Today’s secret ingredient… dried corn!

I actually did many different steps while creating this recipe.  I haven’t experimented with other techniques, so I am not sure what the outcome would be if you skipped any of the steps below.  It’s all about experimenting!  But, I will say that I am thrilled with the outcome of this chip, and I will duplicate the steps again when I make future batches.

So, in this recipe, I soaked the corn overnight in salted water.  I was curious if this would help take away that bitter flavor.  I didn’t have anything scientific to back this up, like I said, experimenting.  After soaking, I dehydrated some of it.  See here.  My second wild and crazy thought was that maybe by adding in some dehydrated kernels, it would not only give a good texture but perhaps deepen that definite corn flavor.  Anytime you dehydrate fruits and veggies; the flavors tend to concentrate.  That was my theory, and I am sticking to it. Haha,  You can read through the ingredient list and the preparation instructions to see what else I did, but let me leave you with this…

These crackers turned out thick, crunchy but a hint of chew in them (from the dehydrated corn), I didn’t detect any lingering bitter corn flavor after eating them, and the chili “cheese” coating caused me to rejoice!  Just like when I was a kid, I sucked on the chip, savoring that “not-so-radioactive-bee-pollen” coating…. then enjoyed the remaining chip, finding myself gnawing the rest of the chili “cheese” coating off my fingertips.  It’s a winner!  I apologize for being so “long-winded” here; I am just excited to share this with you!

Update: I have made these chips many times over. I experimented with stirring in the extra dried corn nibbles into the batter (as I did the first time I created them.) And I have blended those dried corn pieces all together so I wouldn’t have any lumps in the chip. In the end, I love the chip with the dried corn lumps.  They had more pockets of flavor and crunch.


Yields 54 chips ( 1 1/2 Tbsp per chip)

Hand Mix:



  1. Prepare 2 cups of dried (dehydrated) corn ahead of time.  Read how here.
  2. Soak the 4 cups of fresh or frozen corn in enough water to cover them, adding 1 Tbsp sea salt.  Stir together, cover, and allow it to soak overnight in the fridge.
    • When ready to use, drain the water.  Don’t rinse.
  3. Soak the cashews for two or more hours to soften them for blending.
    • After soaking, be sure to drain and rinse.
  4. In a high-powered blender, add the following ingredients in this order:  water, lemon juice, fresh corn, cashews, nutritional yeast, chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic clove, and green onion.  Blend until creamy.
    • The purpose of adding them to the blender in this order is to make sure the wet ingredients are on the bottom, which will help the blades in the blender move more freely.
    • I have a Vitamix blender and use the tamper to help push the ingredients into the blades.
  5. Pour the mix into a large bowl and hand mix in the dried corn and flax meal. Mix well.
  6. Using a cookie scoop, level off the scoop with batter and stagger on the teflex sheet that fits the dehydrator tray.  After the tray is full, pick it up by the bottom two corners and lightly tap it down on the counter to flatten the chips.  Do this on all four sides.
  7. Dehydrate at 145 degrees (F) for 1 hour, then reduce to 115 degrees (F) for 5 hours, remove from the teflex sheet and place them directly on the mesh sheet.
    • Continue to dry for 20 hours or until dry.
    • Once they cool to room temperature, they will firm up a bit more.

Coating the chips:

Ziplock style:

  1. In a Ziplock bag, add the nutritional yeast, chili powder, and salt.  Close the bag and shake to mix the spices.
  2. To coat the chips, do ten at a time.
    • Dip the chip in a glass of water, just a quick dunk, and place it on a towel.
    • After you have ten done, put them in the ziplock bag, close it, and gently shake the bag.  This will coat the chips.
  3. Take each chip out, and place it on the mesh screen that comes with the dehydrator.  Dry at 115 degrees (F) for 1 hour.
  4. Store in a glass container on the counter for up to two weeks.

Spray bottle style: (my favorite way)

  1. Mix the nutritional yeast, chili powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Spray each side of the chip with one spritz of water.
  3. Toss in bowl and coat both sides. Tap the excess powder back into the bowl.
  4. Place it on the mesh screen that comes with the dehydrator.  Dry at 115 degrees (F) for 1 hour.
  5. Store in a glass container on the counter for up to two weeks.

P.S. you will have leftover coating spices.  If you enjoy popcorn, this is amazing sprinkled over that.

Culinary Explanations:

  • Why do I start the dehydrator at 145 degrees (F)?  Click (here) to learn the reason behind this.
  • When working with fresh ingredients, it is important to taste test as you build a recipe.  Learn why (here).
  • Don’t own a dehydrator? Learn how to use your oven (here). I do, however honestly believe that it is a worthwhile investment. Click (here) to learn what I use.
creating the batter for making the homemade raw gluten free Nacho Chili "Cheese"Corn Chips

Mixing up the batter of goodness.

place cracker dough on the Excalibur dehydrator trays to make creating the batter for making the homemade raw gluten free Nacho Chili "Cheese"Corn Chips

After placing the scoops of batter on the dehydrator tray, pick up the bottom two corners of the tray and start tapping the whole tray on the countertop. Keep rotating the tray and tapping. This will slightly flatten them organically.

flattening the place cracker dough on the Excalibur dehydrator trays to make creating the batter for making the homemade raw gluten free Nacho Chili "Cheese"Corn Chips

Here they are ready for the dehydrator. I forgot to take a picture of what they look like afterward.

42 thoughts on “Nacho Chili “Cheese”Corn Chips

  1. Uhhh looks scrumptious! :)
    I remember my first attempt of raw corn chips…
    Damn was I disappointed when I tried one of the nicely cutted triangles… Bitter as hell…

    We don’t get corn here year round, not even in the freezer section I guess so, but I’ll have look and give it a try sometime.
    I even have one packet from “just corn” (freeze dried) left, which I brought with me from the US. ;)

    love to you Amie-Sue and have fun nibbling and licking those crackers!

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Jana….

      I understand how hard it can be to get some ingredients year round… this recipe will always be here for the day that you can find some. :) I like that “just corn” that you speak of. I have had a couple of times over time.

      I hope all is well, big hug! amie sue

  2. Beth says:

    Looks good. I can’t wait to try them. A few years back I tried making corn chips, and you’re right….they had a bitterness to them. I threw them all out. So I’m very excited to try making these. Thank you.

    • amie-sue says:

      Morning Beth… yes, it seems the bitterness is a common issue. I hope that these surprise you and that you enjoy them. Have a blessed day, amie sue

  3. Cherie says:

    Hi Amie Sue, have you heard anything or done any research on nutritional yeast containing MSG due to the way it is processed when made? I have read conflicting information, but recently read that many people have developed an addiction to it, which is the same thing that happens with MSG in its varied forms. I stopped using it a couple of years ago just to be safe, but let me know what you have learned about it.

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Cheri,

      I have contacted Red Star (the brand of nutritional yeast that I only use) and they stated that their nutritional yeast does NOT contain MSG. I too have read conflicting information and when that happens, I go straight to the source and contact the manufactures. I hope that you are having a wonderful day. Blessings, amie sue

  4. blanca says:

    muy ricos gracias por compartir el talento que Dios le dio podria hacer mas recetas como las de fish me encantaron nosotros somos vegan y usted nos ayuda mucho con sus recetas podria inventar mas de comida y un carrot cake

    • amie-sue says:

      Google translated…..

      very wealthy thanks for sharing the talent God gave him could do more recipes like fish loved we are vegan and you help us a lot with their recipes could invent more food and a carrot cake

      Hello Blanca… funny you should ask about a carrot cake, thought I didn’t do a cake recipe, last week I created a Carrot Raisin Bread and Cinnamon Orange Carrot Scones. I just need to write it up and get it ready for posting. I had an ample supply of carrot pulp left over from a soup that I made for a girlfriend. :) Have a wonderful weekend Blanca, amie sue

  5. Jesse Gabriel says:

    Hallo Amie Sue.
    Oh mein Gott, Amie Sue, dass sieht wieder sooo gut aus, sie haben sich wieder selber übertroffen und mich sprachlos gemacht.
    Die Erfahrung das Mais-Chips bitter werden konte ich auch schon gemacht. Auf gefallen ist es mir auch bei Verschiedene versuche mit grünen Erbsen-Chips oder Kräcker wo man die Bitterkeit rausschmecken konnte.

    Ich muss das Rezept unbedingt nachmachen, und dann kommt einen ganz großen Stapel von ihren super leckeren Balsamico Zwiebel drauf. Oh was für eine tolle Vorstellung, ich kann es fast schmecken, wie gut es zusammenpasst.

    Ganz viele Grüße,

    • amie-sue says:

      Google translated…

      Hi Amie Sue. Oh my God, Amie Sue, that looks soooo good again, they have once again surpassed themselves, and left me speechless. The experience of the corn chips are bitter konte I already made. It’s fallen on me even when trying different with green peas chips or crackers where you could taste the bitterness out. I need to copy the recipe absolutely, and then there’s a really big stack on it from their super delicious balsamic onion. Oh what. A great idea, I can almost taste it, how well it fits together Very best regards, Jesse

      Good evening Jesse :) So many recipes, so little time ! hehe I hope that you are doing well, do keep in touch. Have a blessed weekend. amie sue

  6. John says:

    I saw a Russell James video where he used frozen organic corn because fresh corn can be bitter. I haven’t tried this yet but planto sonner than later

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi John, yes I usually use organic frozen corn for my raw dishes. Bob use to still complain of the bitterness in the corn chips. I wonder too if it can be brand specific, the quality of the corn, etc. Good luck! Have a wonderful evening, amie sue

      • Tammy says:

        I MADE THEM! They are so yummy! My Dorito Weakness is CONQUERED!!!! Me and my arteries are forever grateful to you Amie Sue!

  7. Kathleen says:

    I was sooo excited to see the recipe for your Nacho Chili “Cheese” Corn Chips, and couldn’t wait to try them. They are delicious! And my husband loves them, too. I have tried several corn chip recipes, but none of them have quite measured up in taste and texture. I would have never thought about dehydrating the corn or soaking the frozen corn–none of the recipes I looked through suggested it. It made all the difference–from “yuck” to “yummy.” A little on the time intensive side with all the steps, but definitely worth it. And the chili powder/yeast coating is the piece de resistance–perfect flavor combination. . . just like Doritos.

    • amie-sue says:

      Oh Kathleen… thank you soo much for sharing!! So happy that you both enjoyed them, music to my ears. :) Thank you for trusting me and going through the steps to try it. Your amazing. Have a wonderful weekend! amie sue

  8. Rhonda says:

    I went to make my shopping list, and thankfully only needed corn and onion. I can’t wait to try these! I so wish I had an amie sue in my house lol. quick question, how long will raw nuts stay good in mason jars in the fridge? found some I’d forgotten about, and didn’t want to ruin a recipe. thank u for all ur work, patience and kindness. I see Jesus in u. God bless u have a great day!

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Rhonda…

      I hope you are having a wonderful day so far. :) Nuts in the fridge… first of all taste them…. if they taste good, use them. For the future as a guideline,

      Up to 1 month – on the shelf
      Up to 3 months – in the fridge
      Up to 6 months – in the freezer

      *Always freeze macadamia, brazil and walnuts (in my opinion) they are the highest in fats and it is the fats that can go rancid.*

      These are suggestions, but never just dump a nut or seed into a recipe without taste testing for freshness. :) I hope this helps! hugs, amie sue

  9. Bernadette says:

    Hi! These were fabulous! My family enjoyed them also. My question is really about the corn-lime tortilla shells recipe in your bread and wraps section. It uses corn also but doesn’t suggest soaking it overnight. I don’t want to make it if it’s going to get bitter like you mention here. Is there something different about that recipe? Thank you.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening…. go ahead and do the soaking process. My technique with the Nacho Chili Cheese Corn Chips is a new thing… those wraps are ones that I made years ago. I should go and add that step now. Thanks, amie sue

  10. Rachelle says:

    Hi Amie-Sue,
    Help! I have a small dehydrator and this recipe made way too much for one batch. I put the mixture in the fridge to try and make later but I’m guessing the dried corn will rehydrate and it won’t be the same. What do you think? Any suggestions? Thanks,

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Rachelle,

      Continue forward… not much choice at this point. :) But in all honesty, I think it will still be good. Once the first batch is done, get the remainder in there. Keep me posted. amie sue

  11. rhonda says:

    OMG Amy sue, I have these little darlings in the dehydrator now and they have been there for about 3 hours now. My whole house smells divine!!! I just had to open the door and look at them :). I then ate one, oh boy they taste so good and are not done yet!!!!!!

    • amie-sue says:

      haha I know just what you mean Rhonda… they smell and taste amazing! I hope you love the end product. Keep me posted. amie sue :)

  12. Dee says:

    Oh yeah, these are good! And you’re right, no bitter aftertaste. I had bags of Trader Joe’s frozen organic corn sitting in my freezer from earlier this year when I tried to make raw vegan corn chips from a current recipe I found online….epic fail, as they were bitter and tasteless. Same corn, just Amie Sue’s recipe this time. These are good and hearty! You get 5 stars! :-)

    • amie-sue says:

      Awe shoot! ***** (<---- 5 stars) Yay! Thank you for trusting my method and for trying it. Ever so thankful that you got great results. I do to when when I use this technique. :) Thank you for sharing, it is always great to hear how things go for those who try my recipes. Sleep well, amie sue :)

  13. Michelle says:

    Would it be ok to use just dehydrated corn by hydrating equivalent amounts for what is called to use for the fresh or frozen coern amounts?

  14. Kiki says:

    These look mouth watering delicious, and I can tell just by looking, that it will be worth every effort put forth. I hope I execute every step properly, because I am yearning to taste the image before me. Thanks for sharing.

    • amie-sue says:

      Ohhh they are so worth it! These have been the best raw corn chips that I have ever tasted. :) If you make them, please keep me posted how it goes for you. amie sue

  15. Rhondy says:

    Hello Amie Sue,

    I am planning my weekly menu and would like to make this cracker for my family who enjoy snacking on healthy raw crackers.

    Do you think this chip is best served as a dip chip or paired with one of your lovely cheeses? (I have the pepper jack on my to-make-next cheese to-do list.)

    As you may recall, I prefer not to use cashews and would like to substitute macadamias. Do you think this will work or might some other nut be a better substitute?

    Thank you for your patience and caring as you teach and inspire while sharing your excellent raw food creations.

  16. Rhondy says:

    Amie please excuse me. One question I did not ask. You have said in the instructions to use a cookie scoop to measure out the chip. Will the batter consistency be more like a cookie dough or pancake batter that will level out when gently shaking the tray?

    Thank you again.

    • amie-sue says:

      No problem Rhondy :) I tend to use the different sizes cookie scoops just to get even measurement/sized chips. You can use a Tbsp or whatever size that you want your chip to be. You can even use a normal eating spoon if you don’t mind an irregular shape or size. The batter is a little thick and yes it can be tapped out into a flatter shape when shaking or tapping the tray on the counter top. Off to bed I go! I will probably dream of corn chips now. hehe Blessings, amie sue

  17. Sheila Hasley says:

    Amie-Sue, my daughter is allergic to cashews. Could another nut be used?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Sheila, you can try almonds (I would personally remove the skins for the ease of digestion) or perhaps try macadamia nuts. I haven’t attempted either one. You basically want to use a neutral tasting nut. Good luck! amie sue

  18. Alicia Davis says:

    This looks great! I cant wait to try it!

  19. Dino says:

    Excellent blog you have here but I was curious about if
    you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article?
    I’d really love to be a part of community where I
    can get advice from other experienced individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

    Appreciate it!

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Dino,

      I know that Rawtarian has a forum but not sure of any others. :) We are in the works on developing one for Nouveau Raw… I hope to have it up this summer. Blessings, amie sue

  20. Gaby says:

    Hi Amie Sue,

    Thank you so much for all your beautiful and inspiring recipes! It’s exceptionally generous of you to share them all.
    This corn chip recipe is incredible! We are completely and utterly addicted to these…to the point that I can’t even wait till they are out of the dehydrator..keep opening the door to have a piece..ha
    Even the batter is addictive…we treat it partly as a dip whenever we make a batch,,which is frequently!

    Thanks again for your lovely site and your kindness.

    • amie-sue says:

      So happy to hear that you and your family love these chips. They are a favorite of ours too. I love the idea of using the batter as a dip. That is another thing I love about raw foods, it’s so versatile! Blessings and thank you so much for sharing. amie sue

  21. Mary says:

    Hi There! I was wondering if I can use this exact recipe to make a taco shell instead? I know you have a different recipe for taco shells but these chips sound AMAZING and I’d like to use them as a shell for raw tacos. Just wanted to ask before I do all the work to make them…Thanks :)

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