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20 Best Ways To Use Up Leftover Tortillas

Tortilla wraps on table
Tortilla wraps on table - Static Media / Shutterstock

We all must pay homage to the humble tortilla. These wraps can be made with a corn or flour base and stuffed with our favorite Taco Tuesday accompaniments. But what happens the day after when you're stuck with 20 taco shells and nothing to do with them?

It's a familiar predicament, considering that taco nights are a regular in our home. We've experienced both having several packages of taco shells left over or just one or two left in an open bag that we feel obligated to eat. But gone are the days of eating the wrap plain out of the bag. Instead, we've developed a guide to using these versatile wraps for both sweet and savory purposes. They're not for one meal a day, either — since they can be transformed into the breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks of our dreams. Here are our favorite ways to use up both corn and flour tortillas in the kitchen.

Read more: The 15 Healthiest Chip Brands, Ranked From Worst To Best

Add It To Your Homemade Soup

Tortilla soup in bowl
Tortilla soup in bowl - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

The perfect winter soup is stick-to-your-ribs, hearty, and most of all... tasty. You can use leftover tortillas to make your soup more substantial and add a unique texture. And you don't only have to use your leftover tortillas for Mexican-inspired recipes; add them to almost any type of soup to boost the starch content.

You also don't need to stick to baking or frying the tortillas and garnishing them on top of your soup. Start by toasting your corn or flour tortillas in a pan (or sticking with stale ones). You can cut the shell into strips or leave it whole before plopping it directly into the soup. As the pot simmers, the tortilla will disintegrate and release its starchy magic into the soup.

Make A Hearty Plate Of Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles on plate
Chilaquiles on plate - tastytravels/Shutterstock

Chilaquiles is a Mexican breakfast dish that makes good use of leftovers. The dish was created as a way to use up freshly made tortillas since these shells tend not to have a long shelf life. Plus, the utilization of leftovers expands far past the tortillas themselves; you can add your favorite leftover meat (chicken or beef), guacamole, veggies, eggs, or whatever else you still have around from last night's taco night.

The recipe is simple. The leftover tortillas are baked or fried before being simmered in a warm tomato salsa. Then, the toppings are piled high and the dish is enjoyed in great company. It's a savory start to your day that will cut down on the leftovers in your fridge.

DIY A Thin-Crust Pizza

Thin crust pizza
Thin crust pizza - Mtreasure/Getty Images

The only thing better than traditional pizza is making it on a base that's anything but pizza crust. Try leftover English muffins, mini-bagels, or tortillas. Tortillas can be used for sweet or savory ultra-thin-crust pizzas because the flavor is relatively neutral. You can bake a pizza without the dough by placing the tortilla onto a circular baking pan and spreading out the schmear almost to the edge. Then, to crisp up your tortilla, pop the baking pan in the oven at 350 F for 10 minutes.

This hack works for both large burrito wraps as well as small flour or corn tortillas. Want an easy version of this tortilla hack? Use pre-packaged ingredients. It's also a fun way to get kids involved in the cooking process.

Add It To Your Brown Sugar To Prevent It From Drying Out

Brown sugar as background
Brown sugar as background - Floortje/Getty Images

If you consider yourself an avid baker, you've probably opened a bag of brown sugar, only to discover it's lost all its moisture. The key to keeping moisture in your brown sugar is adding a tortilla. It's one of the best ways to keep brown sugar soft because it will maintain the moisture content of the molasses, which helps brown sugar stay fresh longer. However, the primary concern with this hack is cross-contamination for anyone allergic or intolerant to gluten, a common ingredient in flour tortillas.

You can also use a tortilla to keep your Christmas cookies fresh. These wraps will absorb the moisture to keep your gingerbread crisp throughout the holiday season.

Roll It Up Into Pizza Rolls

Pizza rolls with filling
Pizza rolls with filling - Rasulov/Shutterstock

This trick for using up leftover tortillas is super kid-friendly. A tortilla is the perfect vehicle for homemade pizza rolls because it requires less fridge space than a conventional pizza, and it's easy to customize to your favorite toppings.

To make these rolls, place pizza toppings in a greased pan with the cheese before placing your tortilla on top. Then, flip the wrap so the tortilla is on the bottom before adding pizza sauce and rolling it up into a fun pinwheel. Although the cooking process may seem intricate, it will ensure your cheese gets melty and your sauce spreads across the tortilla. For an even easier hack, pop your assembled tortilla into the microwave before pulling it out, rolling it, and slicing it into smaller pieces.

Substitute It For Breadcrumbs

Fried chicken on plate
Fried chicken on plate - Easybuy4u/Getty Images

One of the noteworthy qualities of tortillas is that they crisp up easily. It's why you should substitute breadcrumbs for tortilla chips. You can use these crumbled chips to bread everything from chicken to pork chops — and you're bound to love the consistency.

For this hack, you'll need to first make your tortillas into chips. It works better with corn tortillas than flour ones because they have a snappier texture and unique flavor that will complement your meat. Once you have the chips, you can dredge your protein in an egg and flour wash before placing it into a pan of oil, on a baking sheet, or into the air fryer. You can also pre-season your tortilla chips for a more unique flavor.

Fry Up Homemade Tortilla Chips

Tortilla chips on plate
Tortilla chips on plate - Milanfoto/Getty Images

Making tortilla chips from scratch couldn't be any easier. All you'll need for these crisp chips, which pair perfectly with homemade salsa, guacamole, or queso, are corn tortillas, oil, and your desired seasoning. For most people, that seasoning is table salt, but you can also spice up homemade tortilla chips with seasoning already in your pantry. Chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin are some of our favorite savory spices, but you may want to go for a sweet rendition with cinnamon and granulated sugar.

Corn tortillas crisp up better than their flour peers, making us prefer them for chips. You can either bake or fry chips, but be sure to hit them with the seasoning when the chips are hot so that it sticks.

Make A Single-Serve Shakshuka

Shakshuka in cast iron pan
Shakshuka in cast iron pan - Anastasia Dobrusina/Getty Images

Have you ever had shakshuka? This one-pot breakfast dish is made with a medley of tomatoes, peppers, and fresh Mediterranean spices. Then, an egg is popped into the pan for extra protein before the dish simmers off. Although traditional shakshuka is typically made for sharing, you can use a tortilla for a perfectly crispy vehicle for single-serve shakshuka.

To make this variation, add your tortilla to the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish or skillet before topping it with a blend of par-cooked veggies, crushed tomatoes, and optional sausage or additional protein. Then, add a small well for the egg, crack one in, and bake the entire dish until the tortilla resembles a tostada and the egg is fully cooked.

Make Your Cubano Easier To Eat

Cubano sandwich on table
Cubano sandwich on table - Fudio/Getty Images

Everyone knows a Cubano: roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, and dill pickles sandwiched between two slices of toasted Cuban bread. But you're only a tortilla away from eating your Cubano on the go. While Cuban bread is rich and fluffy — thanks to the addition of lard — a tortilla is a more practical vehicle for making this sandwich for lunch in the office or a picnic with friends.

Assembling one only involves schmearing the inside of the tortilla with mustard before layering in your toppings and rolling. Avoid overfilling it because it will make it more prone to splitting and falling out all over you. We also recommend toasting your Cubano in a panini press to melt the cheese into the meat.

Transform It With A Muffin Tray

Muffin tray on white background
Muffin tray on white background - Sanapadh/Getty Images

Everyone knows that chips and tortillas are tailgate party staples. But what if you can improve these appetizers by placing your dips or fillings inside the tortillas?

The only things you'll need for this hack are large flour tortillas and a muffin tin, along with whatever toppings and fillings you plan on using. Use a 2-inch cutter to slice small rounds from the tortilla before placing them into a greased muffin tin. You can also make mini bites with a smaller cutter and a mini muffin tin. Once your cups are baked, you can fill them with dips. Alternatively, you can fill the cups before baking for a new take on tiny taco boats or homestyle chili.

Freeze Breakfast Burritos For Easy Eating

Egg breakfast burritos
Egg breakfast burritos - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Meal prepping is tough. But when you own a freezer, you can have breakfast ready ahead of time and pop it into the microwave when you're ready to eat it. This hack works best for burritos and taco shells that are fresh and pliable, but you can also revive stale tortillas by microwaving them in a damp paper towel for about 10 seconds.

Frozen breakfast burritos last about three months in the freezer and can be customized with favorite fillings. Skip ingredients with high water content, like spinach, salsa, and sour cream, because they will leach out water when the burrito is microwaved. You can also avoid overcooking your egg by putting your burrito in the refrigerator the night before you need it.

Use Them For A Mexican Lasagna

Mexican lasagna on plate
Mexican lasagna on plate - Vezzani Photography/Shutterstock

Lasagna doesn't only have to be made in the Italian style. Instead of pasta noodles, Mexican lasagna uses leftover tortillas. Either flour or corn tortillas can be used for this recipe, but we tend to choose corn tortillas because they don't get as soggy.

Like making any sort of lasagna, you should always pre-cook your fillings for the best texture, including seasoned ground beef or chicken. You can also layer on your leftovers from taco night, including refried beans, shredded cheese, sofritas, and the like. You can modify this recipe to be entirely vegan or vegetarian with plant-based cheese, seasoned tofu, and beans. Once the dish has been layered and baked, serve it with your favorite fresh toppings like sour cream and guacamole.

Wrap Up Your Favorite Roasted Veggies

Roasted veggies on sheet pan
Roasted veggies on sheet pan - Rudisill/Getty Images

There's nothing wrong with roasted veggies, but you can make them a bit more hearty by adding tortillas. One of our favorite summery renditions is asparagus cigars wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. You'll want to use evenly sized pieces of asparagus for this recipe, and you might also consider cutting the tortilla into strips to roll around the outside of the asparagus stalk. After the stalk is wrapped, place it seam-side-down on a baking sheet and cook until the tortilla starts to brown.

Asparagus isn't the only veggie that works well for this. Try thin carrots, especially the colorful finger-length varieties. We recommend serving your veggies with a dipping sauce; they also make great appetizers for your next party.

Fold Them Into Enchiladas

Enchiladas on plate with toppings
Enchiladas on plate with toppings - Grandriver/Getty Images

Enchiladas are a go-to way to use your leftover tortillas and make a family-friendly meal from whatever you have in your refrigerator. You can stuff your enchiladas with beef, chicken, turkey, or a plant-based alternative — as long as you smother it in a delicious enchilada sauce. For creamier enchiladas, consider smothering your wraps in sour cream and salsa both in the pan as well as when the dish comes out of the oven.

This Tex-Mex comfort food is traditionally served with rice and beans, but you can also substitute a fresh green salad to balance out the heaviness of the dish. We also love enchiladas because you can make them for the week and refrigerate them for up to four days.

Soak Them In Custard For A Twist On French Toast

French toast custard in bowl
French toast custard in bowl - irina2511/Shutterstock

Now, this is a bit unconventional. Instead of using a regular ol' piece of bread for your French toast, swap it with a fresh flour tortilla. When these wraps are pan-fried, they take on a quality that is halfway between bread and a crepe. You'll want to soak your tortillas in the custard briefly on both sides; because they are thinner and less porous than bread, they tend not to soak up the custard as well.

Once your French toast tortillas are cooked on the stove, you can add your preferred spreads and fruit. We love making them with chocolate hazelnut spread and sliced strawberries, but you could also go with the peanut butter route.

Pop It In The Waffle Iron For Easy Quesadillas

Waffle iron on white background
Waffle iron on white background - New Africa/Shutterstock

Quesadillas and enchiladas are the two go-tos for leftover tortillas. If you want to step up your quesadilla game, try cooking it in a waffle iron instead of a skillet. The iron is the perfect cooking surface because it crunchifies all the corners and nooks and crannies, which lends to a better contrast between the tortilla and the gooey cheese. Start by placing your tortilla on the hot, greased waffle iron and layer with your favorite shredded cheese and toppings like par-cooked chicken or peppers. If your iron is a little too small for your quesadillas, try slicing the tortillas with a pizza wheel.

Once your quesadilla is out of the iron, serve it with sour cream and salsa for dipping. It's a fun snack for eaters of all ages.

Fill It For Lunch Pinwheels

Tortilla pinwheels on counter
Tortilla pinwheels on counter - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Kids get fatigued by the same old lunch day after day. To make your kiddo's lunch box exciting, swap a regular sandwich for tortilla pinwheels. You can fill these tortillas with almost anything, including lunch meat, cheese, lettuce, and spreads. The trick to getting pinwheels to stick together is to use cream cheese on the bottom of the tortilla before adding your toppings. If you used too much filling or the rolls aren't sticking, add a decorative toothpick.

Besides kid's lunch boxes, this hack is also perfect for your next party appetizer. Add a slather of hummus to the rolls instead of cream cheese, and top with thinly sliced veggies. Or go for a breakfast schmear with chive cream cheese, lox, capers, and bagel seasoning.

Toss It Into Your Salad For Extra Crunch

Tortilla pieces in salad
Tortilla pieces in salad - Krblokhin/Getty Images

Croutons are out, and tortilla strips are in. They're the secret ingredient to a crunchy salad topping, and you'll only need a bit of time and a sauté pan. Put the sliced tortilla pieces into the pan to crisp them up before sprinkling them on your favorite tossed salad. If you're planning to make your salad ahead of time for lunch, we recommend leaving the tortilla strips out until you're ready to top it. That way, you won't have to worry about unanticipated sogginess.

Tortilla crisps work well for a host of recipes, including tossed salads or Caesar salads. You can also use the pieces to add textures to cold salads and rice salads.

Use It For A Breakfast Quiche

Quiche in pan with zucchini
Quiche in pan with zucchini - Liliya Kandrashevich/Shutterstock

Quiche is a delicious breakfast food that everyone in your family will love. The one qualm we have with it is that the crust never seems to come out just right, or it's much too thick to enjoy. Instead of going through the arduous task of making a pie crust, slap some flour tortillas into a pie plate.

The trick is to place the wraps so that the edges overlap and will capture all the eggy filling without spilling out. Once you've lined your dish, add in your eggs and cheese mixture with any additional veggies or meat before baking it. Alternatively, you can also make mini quiches by using a single burrito wrap and a small baking pan.

Swap Out Your Bread For Morning Toast

Tortilla wrap peanut butter
Tortilla wrap peanut butter - inewsfoto/Shutterstock

If breakfast at your home is anything like breakfast at ours, getting a meal on the plate and a body out the door can be tricky. Instead of going with an open-faced piece of toast, which you're bound to drop or spill all over yourself, stick to a tortilla smothered with your toast favorites.

We love peanut butter, banana, and raisins, but you can go savory with cream cheese, lox, and dill too. In addition, avocado toast will never be the same once you add it to your tortilla. We tend to like the taste of flour tortillas for this recipe, but corn tortillas work in a pinch. If you don't want a snack wrap, cook the tortilla in a skillet to transform it into a tostada.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.