Tortilla chips are a pantry staple for many people. Whether you’re making nachos, scooping up guacamole, or just eating them plain, sometimes the flavor of basic tortilla chips leaves something to be desired. Store-bought chips can be bland and lacking in excitement. Thankfully, there are countless ways to jazz up packaged tortilla chips with extra seasonings and toppings. Taking plain chips from boring to boldly delicious is easy.
Should you season store-bought tortilla chips?
Absolutely! Pre-seasoned tortilla chips from the store are massed produced to appeal to the most people. This often means the flavor profile is pretty middle-of-the-road. The good news is a few simple additions can transform generic tortilla chips into something special. Amping up the spices and flavors is an easy way to customize store-bought chips to match your tastes.
What are the best seasonings for tortilla chips?
You are limited only by your imagination when it comes to seasoning tortilla chips. Savory, spicy, herby, cheesy – the possibilities are endless! Here are some of the most popular ways to add flavor to plain tortilla chips:
This spice cabinet staple infuses tortilla chips with a warm, mild heat. Sprinkle chili powder generously over chips before serving for instant Southwest flavor. Smoked paprika can also be used for a similar effect.
For instant garlic bread-like flavor, garlic powder is your go-to seasoning. Shake on as much as you want over plain chips. The garlic flavor pairs well with cheese or guacamole dips too. Onion powder can be used for a similar oniony kick.
Lime Juice & Zest
Fresh lime juice and grated lime zest give tortilla chips a bright citrus burst. The acidity helps cut through the oiliness of the chips too. For best results, sprinkle tortilla chips with lime juice then follow up with a sprinkle of zest.
To take tortilla chips from mild to fiery hot, reach for the cayenne. This ground red pepper adds serious heat. Use a light hand at first, as a little cayenne goes a long way. Tap more out to keep increasing the spice level.
Cumin is an earthy spice popular in Tex-Mex and Southwestern cuisine. It pairs perfectly with corn tortilla chips. Dust your chips with ground cumin before eating for a bold, aromatic flavor. Cumin Stands up well to cheese and bean dips too.
For a cheesy, umami taste, sprinkle tortilla chips with nutritional yeast flakes. This deactivated yeast has a savory, almost cheese-like flavor that vegans use in place of dairy cheese. It nicely coats each chip for addictive cheesiness without artificial flavors.
An Italian herb blend turns tortilla chips into a pizza-flavored snack. Look for a mix that contains popular Italian spices like basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. These aromatic herbs infuse chips with a fresh Mediterranean essence.
Recreate the taste of taco night by shaking on store-bought taco seasoning. This bold blend of chili powder, cumin, garlic, and other zesty spices gives tortilla chips serious Tex-Mex attitude. Make your own mix for maximum flavor.
Everything Bagel Seasoning
This popular blend adds a poppy seed, sesame, onion, and garlic punch. Sprinkle it over chips for an everything bagel taste without the bread. You can find this seasoning ready-made or whip up a homemade batch.
What ingredients can add flavor to tortilla chips?
Beyond dried herbs and spices, there are tons of mix-ins that can take tortilla chips up a notch. Get creative with your favorite flavors! Here are some tasty ideas:
An easy way to make any dish better is to add cheese, and tortilla chips are no exception. Finely grate hard cheeses like parmesan, cheddar, cotija, or manchego and sprinkle over chips before serving. The chips get an instant cheesy upgrade.
For ultimate snacking decadence, top tortilla chips with crispy crumbled bacon. The smoky, salty bacon flavor pairs wonderfully with the corn chips. Make bacon bits in advance for quick bacon chip sprinkling.
Bring on the heat with fresh jalapeño slices. Use a vegetable peeler to cut thin rounds of jalapeño. Scatter the slices over tortilla chips before serving for a fresh pop of heat. Pickled jalapeño slices work too.
Spoon your favorite salsa over plain tortilla chips to instantly infuse them with flavor. Try tomato salsa, mango salsa, peach salsa, or another fruity option. The options for homemade or store-bought salsa are endless.
What better topper for tortilla chips than creamy, dreamy guacamole? Make it yourself or use store-bought and dollop a spoonful over chips. The avocado’s richness pairs perfectly with crisp, salty chips.
For a fresh, peppery crunch, top tortilla chips with thin slices of radish. The radish’s bite plays nicely against the starchiness of the chips. Pick red, white, French breakfast, or black radishes for variety.
Pico de Gallo
Spoon on this fresh tomato salsa for an instant flavor boost. The tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice in pico de gallo makes a tasty chip topping. Make it yourself for the freshest flavor.
This crumbly Mexican cheese can be sprinkled over chips just like parmesan. Cotija has a salty, mildly tangy flavor that enhances but doesn’t overwhelm tortilla chips. Other crumbly cheeses like feta or queso fresco work too.
Rinse and drain black, pinto, or kidney beans and spoon them over tortilla chips for extra protein. Beans pair well with cheese or Mexican-style seasonings. Refried beans also make a nice spreadable topper.
What are the best dipping sauces for tortilla chips?
Chips and dip just seem to go hand in hand. Amp up your tortilla chips with flavorful sauces and dips. Beyond guacamole and salsa, consider these dip ideas:
Warm, gooey queso is a no-brainer dip for tortilla chips. Make your own white queso with melted cheese, or use a prepared queso dip. Top with pico de gallo, chili peppers, or meat for a heartier dip.
The creaminess of hummus complements crispy tortilla chips beautifully. Traditional chickpea hummus works great. Or branch out with unique flavors like roasted red pepper, garlic, or olive hummus.
Cool and refreshing Greek tzatziki sauce makes a zesty dip for tortilla chips. Mix Greek yogurt with grated cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and fresh dill and herbs. Pair with lime-seasoned chips.
Smoky chipotle chilies in adobo sauce make a quick Southwestern dip. Blend chipotles with sour cream or mayo, lime juice, cilantro, and cumin. Dip your spicy chili powdered chips away.
Nacho Cheese Sauce
No nacho is complete without ooey-gooey cheese sauce. Make your own with melted cheese, milk, and seasonings, or heat up a prepared cheese sauce. Pour it over chips piled high with fixings.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
This popular chicken and cheese dip gets a spicy kick from hot sauce. Mix shredded chicken, cream cheese, hot sauce, and ranch dressing or mayo. Serve with creamy, cool ranch tortilla chips.
Herby green pesto makes an ultra-flavorful dip for tortilla chips. Try basil, spinach, kale, or even cilantro or sun-dried tomato pesto. The garlic, olive oil, and nutty flavors pair perfectly with chips.
Caramelized Onion Dip
Sweet, savory caramelized onions blended into sour cream or mayo becomes an addictive dip. Make it from scratch or open a packet of onion soup mix. Dip your chips into creamy onion goodness.
For dessert chips and dip, make an easy chocolate fondue. Melt chocolate chips with cream or condensed milk. Dip plain or cinnamon-sugar tortilla chips right into the silky chocolate sauce.
Are there quick ways to spice up bagged tortilla chips?
If you’re in a hurry, there are speedy shortcuts for jazzing up plain tortilla chips using things you likely have on hand:
- Microwave queso dip and pour it over chips.
- Mix Parmesan, garlic powder, salt and pepper for instant chip seasoning.
- Top chips with hot sauce-spiked sour cream or mayo.
- Quickly sautéchorizo and spoon it over chips.
- Drizzle melted butter over chips and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
- Sprinkle chips with red pepper flakes and lemon juice.
- Microwave jarred salsa to warm it up and dip chips.
- Toss chips with olive oil and Italian seasoning blend.
- Mash an avocado with lime juice and spoon over chips.
- Microwave cream cheese with taco seasoning and onion powder mixed in.
With a few minutes and simple ingedients, you can take boring chips from the bag to party-ready.
How do I make gourmet flavored tortilla chips from scratch?
For truly custom tortilla chips, make them yourself from scratch. Homemade chips let you bake in any flavors you like. Here’s one way to do it:
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Stack 6 small (6 inch) flour tortillas and slice into 6 wedges to make triangles.
- Toss tortilla wedges in olive oil, salt and desired seasonings.
- Options: Chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, barbecue seasoning, everything bagel seasoning, Italian herbs, etc.
- Spread chips in a single layer and bake 8-10 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
- Let chips cool before topping with extra seasonings like grated cheese, chopped herbs, etc.
- Enjoy your fresh homemade flavored tortilla chips!
Making your own lets you play with fun flavors like lemon-pepper, rosemary-sea salt, cinnamon-sugar, and more. The options are limitless for custom chips suited to your tastes.
What are good tortilla chip flavor combinations?
When seasoning your own tortilla chips, think about flavor combos that excite your palate. Here are some delicious ideas to inspire you:
|Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne
|Shredded cheddar, crumbled bacon
|Oregano, basil, crushed red pepper, garlic powder
|Grated Parmesan, pepperoni
|Chili powder, cumin, garlic, oregano
|Melted cheese, salsa, guacamole
|Sweet & Salty
|Honey mustard or caramel sauce
|Loaded Baked Potato
|Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, parsley
|Shredded cheddar, crumbled bacon, sour cream
|Cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder
|Blue cheese crumbles, ranch dressing
Get creative and think of your own signature flavors! Taste as you season to craft the perfect custom chip.
Plain tortilla chips are crying out for flavor. With the right seasonings and toppings, you can easily transform boring bagged chips into party snacks everyone will rave about. Get inspiration from chili powders and garlic to hot sauce drizzles and melty cheese. Whip up custom flavored chips by making your own and baking in spices. However you decide to spice things up, your chips will be instantly upgraded from snore to spectacular.