Do you know how to reheat tortilla chips?
From setting down at a Mexican restaurant to getting ready to enjoy the big game, tortilla chips are a crucial part of many of life’s great pleasures.
However, if a crispy, warm tortilla chip is joy (especially if packed with guacamole or salsa), then a soggy, cold one is disappointing.
Even though we have nothing against tortilla chips straight from the bag, we think that warming them up can offer a great deal of added taste. Therefore, here we’re going to look at how to reheat tortilla chips.
What Makes Tortilla Chips So Special
There are two overwhelming textures when it comes to tortilla chips that we should be seeking to preserve whenever we reheat them.
The easiest by far is the abundance of salt. While it may sound odd to describe that as a texture, the grains of salt on each chip do add something that should not be ignored.
Second, and by far more noticable, is the crunch. Tortilla chips are always crispy. Some of them may be delicately crisp, like the cantina chips offered by certain national retailers, and served by some Mexican restaurants.
Still others may be thick, hearty, but still quick crispy, like those offered by more mom and pop establishments. Luckily, the techniques that we’re going to cover work for both types of tortilla chip.
Preserving Crispness When You Reheat Tortilla Chips
Therefore, all of our efforts in reheating tortilla chips should be focused on keeping them crispy. That means that we have to immediately take into account that certain processes may disrupt that crispness.
Luckily, the tortilla chip has no other texture that must be saved. Other Mexican dishes, like burritos, aren’t so lucky.
Still, whatever we end up doing, it must be a dry heat, get enough enough to preserve, if not invoke, more crispiness, and if not preserve the salt on the chip, allow easy reapplication later.
What to Avoid
There is one technique that should absolutely be avoided in all instances, as you will be all but begging for disappointment.
Do not put your tortilla chips in the microwave. Because microwaves cook by steaming food from within, you’ll be destroying the crispness of the chips.
With all this focus on preserving crispness, you might be tempted to put the tortilla chips under a broiler for a few minutes.
However, this is a poor idea as well; the chips will likely burn before they have time to get crispy. Additionally, we’re looking for crispiness on both sides of the chip, not just the top. Of course, if you’re making nachos, this changes things.
For the most straightforward way to reheat your tortilla chips, simply put them on a sheet pan in a 375 degree oven for 6-10 minutes, or until heated through.
If needed, sprinkle with a bit of extra salt, but honestly that shouldn’t be necessary. You’re not doing anything to agitate existing salt, and the chips should have plenty of time to get crispy the whole way through without burning.
That will get you 95% of the way there. For those purists who want to be as good as the day they were made, you’re going to have to fry them, albeit quickly.
Remember that frying works much faster than baking, so you’ll only need a minute or so for each small batch of chips.
Remember to work in small batches, as too many chips will lower the temperature, making the chips greasy.
Fry at around 350 for 45-75 seconds, draining thoroughly on paper towels, a wire rack, or a combination thereof. Remember to salt these liberally when they emerge.