If you ended up with way too many tortilla chips after your last Taco Tuesday, then lucky you. If you're wondering what the heck to do with leftover tortilla chips, you're in the right place! Let's taco about it!

a large bowl of tortilla chips, from Shelf Cooking

In our opinion, tortilla chips deserve their own dang food group. If we were stranded on a desert island and could only take one food, we'd probably take tortilla chips. For real.

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Whatever you do, don't let your tortilla chips go to waste. Even if they're stale, there's still hope! We've got a few tricks up our sleeves, so keep reading for our favorite leftover tortilla chips hacks.


If you find yourself with a serious surplus of tortilla chips that you know you can't use right away, try these quick tips to keep them fresh a little longer:

  • Use an Airtight Container – Take any leftover chips out of their bag and store them in a glass or plastic container with a lid. If you don't have an airtight container that will work, use a Ziplock bag instead.
  • Keep Them Cool and Dry – Be sure to store your container in a cool, dark place, like a pantry or cabinet.
  • Use a Chip Clip – If you can't take the chips out of their bag for some reason, clip the bag shut with a chip clip. Make sure to let all the air out before you seal that bag. Air is the enemy of crispy chips!

If you forget to follow these tips, don't panic! We have a few more hacks to share. First up: how to refresh stale tortilla chips.


Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need to throw away stale tortilla chips. Au contraire, friends! It is 100% possible to refresh those stale chips. Here's how:

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  • While the oven preheats, spread your tortilla chips on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for around 5 minutes, or until crispy again.

Yup. That's it. It's THAT easy! This little hack is perfect if you're planning to use those chips for dipping, but if you're looking for other ideas, keep on reading! We've pulled together some recipes that are begging for tortilla chips.


fried pickles breaded with tortilla chips, from Shelf Cooking

Want to make some killer breading? Just toss some chips in the blender or food processor until you have crumbs. Use those crumbs as a breading for:

  • Pickle Chips (break out the air fryer!)
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Flounder
  • Tilapia
  • Pork Chops

You've got tons of options! Don't buy breadcrumbs again. Tortilla chips. For. The. Win. Now, what else can you do with those chips? Well, keep on reading!


Don't be fooled. Tortilla chips are good for SO much more than salsa, guac, or queso. Here are three ways to use leftover tortilla chips during your next breakfast:

  • Huevos Rancheros – It sounds so fancy, but really, it's easy peasy! Pop those chips in the microwave for a few seconds, or toast them in the oven. Top with beans, eggs, cheese, and guacamole. SO good!!!
  • Tex-Mex Egg Scramble – Here's a way to use what you've got! Beans? Veggies? Chorizo? Go ahead and throw it in a bowl with some scrambled eggs and cheese. Crush a few chips and toss them on top
  • Frittata – Give your normal frittata a little crunch with some crushed tortillas on top and in the bake.

Give breakfast a little pizzaz and keep those chips from going to waste! It's a win-win.


tortilla chips and queso dip, from Shelf Cooking

When we have tons of tortilla chips hanging around, we take that as our sign that it's time to make some dip! Here are a few of our faves:

  • Crockpot Cheese Dip – You'd be crazy not to try this crockpot cheese dip! It cooks itself, and it is a crowd-pleaser. We love to serve it at parties or on any day ending in “y.”
  • Bean Dip – Add a little cream cheese to some refried beans, and you've got a bean dip that's perfect for dipping.
  • Pimiento Cheese – Have you guys tried this one yet? We love pimiento cheese!
  • Guacamole – Grab a few avocados from the freezer. (Yup, you can freeze them!) Add a little lime juice, cilantro, and some diced onions. Serve and enjoy.
  • Black Bean & Corn Salsa – We can't get enough of this EASY black bean and corn salsa from our sister site, Fun Cheap or Free. Try it. You will LOVE it!

If you can't decide which one to make first, we vote for all five! Make it a chips and dips for dinner kinda night. Looking for more ideas? We've got ya covered!


chicken tortilla soup with tortilla chips, from Shelf Cooking

Okay, if you're looking for a few more recipes that call for tortilla chips, you've still got options! Try one of these:

  • Toss in Sugar & Cinnamon – Have a sweet tooth? Melt a little butter, then add in some brown sugar and cinnamon. Toss your tortilla chips in the mixture and dip in diced strawberries, caramel, or melted chocolate sauce. YUM!
  • Chili Cheese Nachos – Make a big batch of crockpot chili, toss some tortilla chips in a bowl, then top with chili, cheese, and sour cream. So simple, but delish!
  • Serve on Soup or Salad – Here's an easy win! Just crush up your leftover chips and serve them as a garnish for your favorite soup or salad.
  • Put Them in Cookies – Have you seen potato chip cookies on social media? Why not try adding crushed tortilla chips to your next batch of cookies? Sweet + salty is always a nice combo, and the extra crunch is a nice touch in soft-baked cookies. Measure with your heart!
  • Make a Casserole – Toss shredded chicken with your favorite salsa and some crushed tortilla chips. Top with shredded cheese and bake at 350°F for around 30 minutes. Top with beans, guacamole, or sour cream. Garnish with tortilla chips for extra crunch!

See? You can incorporate tortilla chips in just about any type of recipe. Try adding some to your favorite casserole or sweet dish and see what happens.


Well. It's official! You'll never have a reason to toss tortilla chips again. Now that you know how to store them, revive them, and reuse them, we bet you'll buy them in bulk the next time they're on sale. Just be sure to invite us over if you make nachos!

What's your favorite way to serve tortilla chips? We'd love to know! Drop a comment below or stop by the Shelf Cooking Facebook group.

learn a few easy tricks for using leftover tortilla chips, from Shelf Cooking

Looking for more ways to use up leftovers?

Chip, chip, hooray!