Grilled Tortilla Chips with Grilled Tomatillo Guacamole

It was a happy accident that I ended up making tortilla chips on the panini maker. I was actually grilling tostadas when I noticed how crisp the tortillas got from just a little oil on both sides and 90 seconds on the grill. I essentially had one big circular chip. So I cut a tortilla down into triangles and played around with some seasonings until – voilà – I had some truly snackable, tasty homemade tortilla chips (with pretty grill marks, too!) in a matter of minutes.

Of course, then I needed a dip.

Presenting the best guacamole I’ve made to date: Grilled Tomatillo Guacamole. I finally figured out the not-so-secret ingredient that makes my favorite restaurant guac, from El Nopalito in Encinitas, especially fresh-tasting. It’s the tart, green tomatillos. I defy you to spot the tomatillos in these photos. They’re completely camouflaged amongst the avocados. But you can taste their presence in that je ne sais quois kind of way. To dial down the tartness a little and coax out the sweetness I grilled the tomatillos for just a few minutes on the panini maker before mixing them into the guacamole.
The next time you’ve got people coming over, bring out your homemade, grill marked tortilla chips and this mouthwatering tomatillo guacamole for a truly special treat.

Grilled Tortilla Chips and Grilled Tomatillo Guacamole


Grilled Tortilla Chips and Grilled Tomatillo Guacamole

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 6 minutes | Total time: 26 minutes

Yield: 8 servings


Grilled Tortilla Chips:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 soft taco-sized corn or flour tortillas

Grilled Tomatillo Guacamole:

  • 2 tomatillos
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 ripe medium avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


For the Grilled Tortilla Chips:

  1. Preheat the panini grill to high heat.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, chile powder, garlic powder and salt.
  3. With a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, divide each tortilla into 8 equal triangles. Brush each triangle with the seasoned oil on both sides – be sure all those good seasonings make it onto the chip.
  4. Grill the triangles, with the lid closed completely, until they’re browned and crisped, about 90 seconds for flour tortillas or 2 minutes for corn tortillas. Serve them warm or at room temperature.

For the Grilled Tomatillo Guacamole:

  1. Preheat the panini grill to high heat.
  2. Slice the tomatillos in half and drizzle olive oil on the cut sides. Place the tomatillos on the grill, cut side down, and close the lid so that it’s resting on the tomatillos without pressing them. Grill the tomatillos until they’re softened with grill marks, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer the tomatillos to a cutting board, chop them and add them to a large bowl.
  4. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mash it all together with a fork until it’s combined to a uniform, but still chunky, consistency.
  5. Serve the guacamole with tortilla chips.



KathyPanini Happy, online since 2008, is more than just a sandwich blog. Here, you'll find hundreds of my original panini recipes, my guide to choosing a panini press and a whole lot of other creative uses for the panini press.
~ Kathy Strahs
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  1. Colleen wrote:

    Yum! Looks perfect for Superbowl snackin’!

    Posted 1.24.12 Reply
  2. Michael Strahs wrote:

    I love the lines on the chips – makes the chips look crunchier. Great post!

    Posted 1.24.12 Reply
  3. Great chips! I wish tomatillos were easier to find at the markets here in the northeast. I do love the tart flavor they give to salsa and guac.

    Posted 1.24.12 Reply
  4. I am LOVD wrote:

    I am a lover of avocado and can’t wait to try both these recipes side-by-side!!! Thanks so much for utilizing a Panini Maker like nobody’s business!!!

    Posted 1.24.12 Reply
  5. Carolyn wrote:

    That is so cool, making these on your panini press!

    Posted 1.24.12 Reply
  6. Kalyn wrote:

    Love this idea because I could use whole wheat flour tortillas and make it diet-friendly for me!

    Posted 1.24.12 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      You absolutely could, Kalyn!

      Posted 1.24.12 Reply
  7. Jeanette wrote:

    Another brilliant panini idea Kathy! Love the spice mix for the chips and that Tomatillo Guacamole sounds perfect for superbowl!

    Posted 1.25.12 Reply
  8. I absolutely love the flavor of tomatillos, especially grilled or even charred slightly under the broiler. Adding them to guacamole is so smart!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Posted 1.25.12 Reply
  9. That is some nice looking guacamole!

    Posted 1.29.12 Reply
  10. Jenny wrote:

    This looks really great!

    Posted 1.29.12 Reply
  11. Those chips are so pretty!! Now I definitely need a panini press…

    Posted 1.30.12 Reply
  12. Eliana wrote:

    I would have never thought of making tortillas in my panini maker but will certainly be giving this a try! And the guacamole looks incredible!

    Posted 1.30.12 Reply
  13. Mindy wrote:

    I have tried making tortilla chips in the oven in the past with varied success…I need to break out the panini maker, apparently!

    Posted 2.2.12 Reply