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Found a way to refresh stale tortilla chips

I'm sure this is not going to be revelatory for most of you expert cooks. Also, I'm sure someone's figured this out already, but:

...if you want to refresh stale tortilla chips to its formerly crunchy, brittle state; use the microwave!

Lay out a few chips on a paper towel, microwave on high for 30 seconds (watch out for scorching).**

During this time, marvel at how the moisture (which makes chips stale) is evaporated as if by magic by your oven.

When it's done, you'll get warm chips ready for dipping in a cool bowl of salsa.

BTW, I don't recommend you try this on a Dorito.


** NOTE: You need the kind of microwave that has a rotating turntable, or else you will be very sorry in a my-science-project-burned-the-school-down kind of way.

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  1. I've never tried the microwave for this purpose, but thanks for the tip!

    You can also do this in a toaster oven. Spread chips in a single layer and heat at around 350 for 3-4 minutes, being careful not to let them brown. Brings them back to being perfectly crispy.

    1. Makes sense because that's what microwave ovens do, remove moisture from foods.

      1. I would think it would depend on the thickness of the chip. The microwave would probably make the chip tough and leathery, right? A toaster oven on low should remove moisture just as well without affecting the texture.

        1 Reply
        1. re: interference

          You'd think! But my results, on a moderately thick chip, has been consistently crunchy and brittle and crisp. I dare say crunchier than it was originally!


        2. I use the oven for this (I'm "microwave adverse"). But, I might just try it for "experiment-sake" :).

          1. One of my favorite things, which incidentally prevents staling, is to keep all snack foods in the freezer. Pretzels, chips, tortilla chips, you name it, I keep it in the freezer. It just seems crispier somehow. Anyone else do this?

            1. I prefer baking them for just a few minutes.

              1. You're right! Did this a lot in college and they do come out beautifully crispy.....

                1. This comes right off the box of the Taco Bell Home Taco Kit -- 30 secs in the microwave, or 3-5 minutes in the oven (I think either 400 or 450). I don't think they recommend toaster ovens.

                  1. Why wouldn't this work on Doritos?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: angelus353

                      It would work wonderfully on Doritos, which are among the best packaged corn tortilla chips available. Anyone who claims otherwise is just being snobby. Like 'em or hate 'em, Frito-Lay knows how to make amazingly good snacks. I'm not a fan of most of the flavored ones (though I have to admit the ridonculous "cheesburger" ones are stupidly tasty), but the plain variety is hard to better.

                      1. re: dmd_kc

                        Their fire-y hot ones, I can't believe they sell them commercially. So NOT middle of the road. Love Doritos!

                    2. I agree, this works. So does a low oven for a bit. Wait for them to cool for the crisp to return.

                      1. Found out that it works on the poofy cheetos... though, 25 seconds seems to be best.

                        1. For safety reasons, it should be noted that tortilla chips will catch on fire- and once they do, it is like napalm! You can't put 'em out. Dangerous, but they do make great fire-starters for your charcoal...

                          1. Also you can use an oven at 350 degrees for a couple minutes, like DanaB said you dont want to let them brown