One fun way to get kids thinking like cooks is to invite them to think about how they can make commonly purchased foods and ingredients themselves, like chocolate, ranch dressing, or even food coloring. This expands their understanding of where food comes from, and the basic ingredients that make up some of their favorite snacks.
One such DIY experiment is homemade tortilla chips. Turning a few tortillas—any kind will do!—into crispy, crunchy, dippable chips allows you to control the amount of oil you use, the seasoning, and even the shape.
(Food waste fighting hack: old tortillas work even better in this recipe!)
To make your chips, take your tortillas and lightly brush with olive oil (or any other vegetable oil) before you cut them—kids will love this task. Have them use a basting brush, paper towel, their fingers or clean paint brush from the art supplies.
After they’ve gotten a light coating of oil, cut into the desired shape (see tips below), lay them out on a baking sheet in a single layer, and sprinkle with salt or other seasonings.
Bake at 350 degrees or until chips are lightly browned on the edges—the timing is largely dependent on the kind of tortilla you use. Thin flour tortillas could be done in as little as 5 minutes, and corn tortillas will take up to 12-15 minutes. Watch your first batch closely and have kids help check for color and crispiness.
Once you and your little sous have the method down, it’s time to bring in some freestyle experimentation:
Have fun with shapes: Of course, you could simply use a knife, pizza cutter, or even scissors to chippify those tortillas into traditional wedges, but homemade chips also offer a great reason to break out the cookie cutters (dinosaur lovers, we see you)! You can also cut each tortilla into small strips for a fantastic topping for taco salads or tortilla soup.
Season with style: Tortillas have a pretty mild flavor, so you can really experiment with different herbs and spices to top them for different tastes. Try cinnamon sugar, ranch seasoning, taco seasoning, curry powder, or Italian herbs. Because you’re making individual chips, you can even season each one with a different spice to create a fun seasoning taste test.
Explore new colors and textures: Tortillas aren’t the only chippable ingredient to start with. Try spinach (green) or sun-dried tomato (red) wraps, pita bread, or other kinds of flatbread!
Looking for more (non-cookie) uses for those cookie cutters? We’ve got you!