The Actual Reason Chipotle's Chips Taste So Delicious

The United States has had a love affair with tortilla chips for years. For example, people have been enjoying Doritos since the 60s, and Taco Bell's chips were so popular they took them from restaurants to store shelves.

The founders of Chipotle must've caught on to America's obsession with tortilla chips. Per its website, the first restaurant opened in Denver in 1993. Fast forward to 2021 when the chain saw $7.5 billion in revenue and you have to think — they're doing something right. Customer-focused philosophy seems to be a big part of Chipotle's success.

In 2017, the company pledged to its customers to only use real ingredients in its food, including its preservative-free tortilla chips. While anything fried isn't always the healthiest choice, it's the occasional treat that makes life enjoyable. And, Chipotle aficionados do enjoy the crunchy corn chips, whether they're dipping them in Queso Blanco, scooping them in salsa, digging them into some guacamole, or eating them sans dip.

What makes those Chipotle chips served in a humble brown paper bag so special?

A classic combo makes Chipotles chips crave-able

According to TODAY, Chipotle uses ordinary ingredients that you may or may not have detected, and it's just one of the secrets to the deliciousness of its tortilla chips.

It all comes down to two simple ingredients — salt and lime. We all know that the flavors of salt and lime go together like tacos and Tuesdays. Think margaritas, guacamole, and Micheladas, which are all winning combinations that work. The same pairing helps make Chipotle chips taste great.

Chipotle's method uses not just one application of lime and salt; it uses two. The chips are fried and salted, and fresh lime juice is sprinkled on top. The process is repeated—more salt, more lime juice—with a second layer of ingredients to intensify the flavor.

There's another reason why Chipotle chips are so crave-able. While many restaurants use pre-made chips, Chipotle chips are made in-house, meaning that they are fresher than some of the competition's chips.

An innovative way to keep the chips coming

According to Food & Wine, at the request of employees needing help turning over all these chips, Chipotle is testing an automated way to make them. Chippy the robot is being tested out at Chipotle's innovation hub in Irvine, CA. If the company decides to move forward with the robot in all locations, don't worry; the flavor isn't expected to change. 

Chipotle understands that part of the appeal of its chips is the variety of flavors in each chip, so the robot's software is designed to replicate a human's touch. Whether Chippy can make customers continue to crave Chupotle's tortilla chips remains to be seen.

If reading about how Chipotle makes its tortilla chips taste so good has made you crave them, take a look at this viral tortilla chip-making TikTok video from Chipotle and try making some yourself using their method. If you're not feeling so ambitious, you can always head over to your local Chipotle.