5 Creative Ways to Use Up Those Leftover Tortilla Chips

February  5, 2018

If your Super Bowl watching experience was anything like mine, there was an abnormal amount of shouting in the direction of a television, the occasional spilled drink, and lots and lots of tortilla chips. Salty, crunchy triangles for dipping and scooping, or stacked up as nachos layered with beans and jalapeños and melted cheese. Tucked amid a table full of dips and wings, however, some of the chips got lost and forgotten about, and today I find myself with bags of uneaten tortilla chips. What is one to do with all the excess?

After an evening of snacking, I seek something more substantial, more creative. Tortilla chips are great for dipping, but there are other avenues to make them even better. Think clever reimaginings: crunching and crushing or smothering and soaking, unfamiliar contexts for a familiar snack. Here are a few recipes to help you use up those tortilla chips before they go stale. Some of them are obvious; others, not so much.

Souper Chip

Tortilla soup is an obvious, but welcome, go-to. Torn into strips or crushed into crumbs, your leftover chips provide crunch and texture. For something a little less conventional, sub the loaf of bread called for in this Tuscan bread soup for tortilla chips. The saltiness of the chips lends itself to a tomato bath, and after a good soak, the chips turn the best type of soft.

Between Breads

There’s a very compelling argument to be made for layering chips into your sandwiches. Between stacks of meat, cheese, or veggies, chips provide a pleasing crunch. We’ve made the case before, and I’m here to make it again. Toss some tortilla chips into any sandwich your heart desires: tuna melts, muffulettas, even a grilled cheese. Here are two suggestions to get you started:

Salad Days

Salads are a prime opportunity to incorporate those chips. They add brightness and a layer of crisp that even the sturdiest of greens can’t provide. Crumble and sprinkle, tear and toss. Tortilla chips in a taco salad may be obvious, but feel free to use them in this torn-pita panzanella as well.

Saucy Saucy

Chilaquiles are one of my back-pocket breakfasts. Tortilla chips are transformed into a soggy, saucy mush (the good kind!) with the right kind of salsa. Red or green? You decide! Just don’t forget to top it all off with a fried egg.

Crunched and Crusted

Where I grew up, there was a Tex-Mex restaurant that crusted chicken in tortilla chips and served it with a healthy topping of queso smeared on top. The dish was delicious but so, so decadent. Nonetheless, the approach stuck with me. What else could you crust with blitzed or crushed tortilla chips? Here are some ideas:

How will you flip your chip? Tell us your best tortilla chip turnover in the comments.

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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.

1 Comment

HalfPint February 5, 2018
You forgot migas! So good :)