Instead Of Tossing Old Tortillas In The Garbage, Fire Up The Oven

Tortillas on cookware
Tortillas on cookware - 4kodiak/Getty Images

From cheesy quesadillas to chorizo-stuffed tacos, tortillas wrap around bold flavors and ingredients like a culinary blanket, offering foodies a mouthful of comforting satisfaction. Delicious and versatile as they are, however, sometimes a recipe only calls for a few tortillas and we wind up with dozens of leftover wraps. Instead of letting them grow fuzz and tossing them out, fire up the oven and use leftover tortillas to make chips.

Baking tortillas in the oven yields a perfectly crunchy, low-effort snack for dipping, snacking, and sharing with friends. Although it's a pretty genius way to reduce food waste by putting leftover ingredients to good use, it doesn't require Michelin-star skills to turn tortillas into chips. All you need to do is use a pizza cutter (or even just your hands) to form the tortilla into chip-like shapes and bake them in the oven until they're crispy and crunchy. Tortillas have an inherently neutral taste, which means you can use your favorite seasonings and herbs to zhuzh them up for an added dimension of flavor. Once you've got your snack fix, you can store your homemade chips in a resealable bag and enjoy them for up to four days. Easy, tasty, and still fresh days later, what's not to love?

Read more: 8 Baking Sheet Mistakes You Want To Avoid

Corn Versus Flour Tortillas

Tortilla chips on baking sheet
Tortilla chips on baking sheet - Diana Sklarova/Shutterstock

This low-maintenance leftovers hack doesn't require much elbow grease or skill, but there is one important detail to consider before you begin -- the type of tortillas to use. Although you can use both flour and corn tortillas to make chips, there are some differences to keep in mind.

Corn tortillas are the traditional option for making chips, and it's what you're most likely to be served at a restaurant. Corn tortillas will give you a familiar flavor, shape, and crunch. And thanks to their slightly gritty texture, they hold up well to heaping scoops of herbaceous salsa, fresh guacamole, and silky smooth queso. Unlike flour tortillas, corn tortillas are also gluten-free, making them the perfect option for foodies with food sensitivities. If you only have leftover flour tortillas, don't fret, they'll still turn out great. Bear in mind, however, that the texture will be a bit different compared to corn tortillas and they may not get as crunchy.

Jazzing Up Homemade Tortilla Chips

People sharing chips and dips
People sharing chips and dips - Kajakiki/Getty Images

Tortillas aren't a flavor powerhouse on their own, and their neutral taste is great when you're stuffing or stacking them with adventurous flavors and ingredients. In this case, however, the tortillas are the main attraction, so jazzing them up with your favorite spices and herbs can give them a little extra oomph.

For something simple and timeless, a sprinkle of salt can liven up the tortilla chips with subtlety while enhancing the flavors of your chip dips or nacho toppings. If you want to spice things up, consider using a chili-lime seasoning blend such as Tajín to give the chips a peppy, spicy kick that will pair well with classic Mexican fare. For a taco-night-inspired chip, dust your tortillas with cumin for a savory and satisfying taste that evokes the essence of ground taco meat. To breathe a zesty life into the neutral-flavored chips, give them a drizzle of fresh lime juice for a refreshingly acidic taste. Don't forget the herbs! Bake in cilantro to give the chips an herbaceous, garden-fresh twist. Pro tip: a drizzle of oil on top of the tortillas can help the spices adhere to the chip while facilitating a golden-brown crunchy texture.

Whether pairing them with a roasted garden salsa or smothering them in creamy nacho cheese, giving old tortillas a new life by transforming them into chips is a waste-free way to put a pantry staple to proper use. Eco-friendly eating is happy eating!

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