101—uh...Make that 20 Ways to Use a Tortilla

Creating a menu based on what you have and then only purchasing what is dramatically on sale is the mental shift I learned to accept over a decade ago.  But I believe that it’s a necessary way for me to live as it required me to be diligent and focused on what I do have, rather than what I may want.  That fits right in with my criteria of being more self-reliant.  Sure there are times when nothing will do

except for the perfect hot fudge sundae at Baskin-Robbins, but that’s the rare exception—not the rule.  There is a downside to this discipline though.  Sometimes, if you give me the perfect sale, “FREE,” I may have a tendency to overdo a bit, feeling confident in the heat of the moment that I can make plenty of wonderful things with my new-found stash. Um…I think I was wrong this time.  The flour tortilla shells were definitely making me work for my “free food.”

I’m not sure how or when this happened. It’s all a fog to me. I went to the grocery store, fully conscious, but don’t recall putting 20+ bags of tortillas in my shopping cart. And now they are everywhere, tumbling out of the refrigerator each time I open it.  I could have sworn that one of them let out a maniacal laugh. Help! What in the world can I do with all of these tortillas?  I don’t want to throw them out, they were FREE after all, thanks to the coupons combined with an awesome sale; but somehow they’ve taken over my otherwise organized refrigerator.  I swear they are attempting to drape themselves over all of the other food ingredients which I have in an attempt to jockey for first ones out to my dinner table. “Come on, Kellene. You can do it. These are just flimsy pieces of dough. You can outsmart them. After all, you are The Preparedness Pro.”

Is it even possible to create enough dishes with flour tortilla shells before my husband calls “Uncle” and begs for relief?  If I’m not successful, he might even attempt to cook something other than macaroni and cheese, and I don’t think I could bear that any better than dealing with the tortillas. One thing I know for sure, no more tortilla coupons! It’s a conspiracy, I’m tellin’ ya!

So, what’s a girl to do with too many tortilla shells? Get creative, really creative.

1) Breakfast burritos with cheese, sausage, hash browns and scrambled eggs.

2) Chicken Divine Enchiladas with a creamy white sauce of sour cream and cream cheese and chicken.

3) Cut into small triangles, bake, and use as a chips for nachos.

4) Same as #3, but dip them in a sweet garlicky hummus

5) Beef burritos with all of the fixings. (one of Prince Charming’s Favorites)

6) Spread cheese on top of one, top it with another tortilla, and then top with favorite pizza toppings.

7) Pork Asada tacos (one of my favorite recipes using the Shirley J. Pork Seasoning, cabbage and lime—YUM!)

8) Cherry Empanada’s—just fill with cherry pie filling, deep fry, and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Dangerous yes, but also very delicious. This can be used with a myriad of different stuffings such as cream, apple pie filling, and Nutella.

9) Sloppy Joe Tortillas—not as heavenly as when they are served on freshly baked rolls, but good nonetheless.

10) Chicken and pork chimichangas—just rolled up with meat, cheese, and black beans, deep fried for about 3 minutes. I can’t believe that even somewhat stale tortillas can still taste better than any restaurant food when made right in my own home.

11) Low fat turkey appetizers—spread low fat cream cheese, diced green chilis, a teaspoon of your favorite salsa, finely diced black olives, a little salt and pepper, and your favorite low fat lunch meat; roll up tightly and then cut into bite sized wedges. Great for game day munchies!

12) Cut into fine strips, season, then bake and then top your favorite tortilla soup recipe.

13) Banana Tortilla: Slather with your favorite peanut butter, add a drizzle of raw honey and then roll up a banana. This was a happy mess! I don’t know that I want regular P B & J any longer.

14) Elephant Ears: cut into fourths, then just fry for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon and enjoy nice and warm!

15) Poor Man’s Beef Wellington: Place a round piece of beef in the center, top with your favorite mushroom sauce, or use Campbells French Onion Soup, gather up the edges and then place edges down on a baking sheet, then bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Top with more of the sauce and pull out your favorite steak knife.

16) Pickle Rolls (Grandma always made these for us) Just spread cream cheese on the tortilla, followed by sliced ham, then add a long dill pickle spear and roll it up. Cut into bite sized, snack pieces.

17) Mexican Lasagna: Instead of using lasagna noodles use the tortilla shells. Make your sauce like you regularly do lasagna except add a pinch of taco seasoning. Assemble like you regularly do a lasagna dish and bake. When done baking top with fresh, diced tomatoes, black olives, shredded lettuce along with some decorative dollops of sour cream. Delish!

18) Seven Layer Mexi-Pizza: Spread the following items, each on its own tortilla—cheese, sour cream, refried beans, cooked and seasoned hamburger, Spanish flavored rice, salsa, and cheese again on a single tortilla, stacking each new layer of flavor on top of the first. Top with cheese and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

19) Chicken Pot pie: Use two tortillas to line the bottom and the top of your chicken pot pie filling.(I cut them to fit)  Top with butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes until ingredients are bubbly.

20) Peach Cobbler: Follow any traditional peach cobbler recipe, except instead of making a dumpling dough, top with strips of tortillas. (I like to do them in a criss cross fashion) Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and place 6 pats of butter. Bake as you normally would and indulge.

This was quite the journey, to be honest. I felt truly challenged. However, I will say that it makes me much more comfortable in knowing that I don’t have to make traditional dumpling, crusts, or bread, and instead can whip up some fresh tortillas with a handy-dandy tortilla press and a cast iron skillet. Tortillas require very little physical exertion, heat,  cooking time, etc. compared to making bread; and use very few foolproof ingredients. Just flour, salt, and lard--so I think they are a great food asset if we familiarize ourselves with their use.  Some of these dishes that I stumbled upon I’m planning on making all over again--on purpose!

I’d love to hear what your creative minds conjure up for this ingredient as well.


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For corn tortillas I cut into quarters soak them over nite in lime juice and make low salt chips out of them. With lime juice soak there is no need for salt.

My grandmother cut them in strips, 1 inch wide, cut each strip in half and used them as the dumplings in chicken n dumplings. Also fill with lunch meat, chicken salad, tuna salad and veggies and roll up for a great sandwich.

Any good recipes for flour tortillas out there -- anyone?

I just cut FLOUR TORTILLAS in strips, deep fry them and serve them hot with cheese dip, or as crackers with my chicken soup or chili... I eat them as crackers with everything... I store them in a glass gallon jar on the countertop and eat them with tuna.. I love them.

One of my favorite is for

One of my favorite is for left overs at Thanksgiving. Take a tortilla shell, spread cream cheese, add some sliced left over turkey, spread some cranberry sauce, roll up and enjoy.

Cut in strips and use in soup as dumplings or noodles.

YES!!! I use them this way all the time, delicious! In fact I think they are better and "lighter" in texture than homemade dumplings. If you remove the chicken from the stock before you put the "dumplings" in to cook, they are less likely to stick to the pan. Add some small carrots and frozen english peas and a diced sweet onion...yum-oh!

Thanks for all the ideas! Love the ideas in the comments as well!

Spread the flour tortilla with pizza sauce, sprinkle with grated cheese, top with thinly sliced lunch meats or tortillas, or minced veggies. Pop into the microwave for a minute or so, and they come out crispy, like a microwave pizza.

I freeze all of my tortillas. Set them on the counter in the morning to thaw and presto...no more tortillas taking up precious room in the fridge.

How about Quesadillas? Top a tortilla with a thin layer of grated cheese and diced chicken or steak or sausage or just cheese and bacon bits. Fold in half and slather with a little butter. Heat in hot skillet until cheese just starts to melt and flip over to brown the other side. I usually cut with a pizza cutter to cut in thirds or fourths. You can also make them with two tortillas with the filling in between, but these a harder to flip over.

Bean and cheese enchiladas with green sauce... YUM!

I like to scramble up some eggs with feta cheese, chipotle mayonnaise and garlic chutney and wrap it in a tortilla. Quick, easy and delicious!

I also like quesadillas, but i put butter on one side, put it in a warm skillet, put grated cheese on half, and when it's all melty and the other side is golden (just lift it up to check) fold it in half and put on your plate, dip it in salsa to eat. (i usally need to of these, they're great for a snack or lunch)
Also, you can make up chicken enchiladas with boxed spanish rice and canned chicken rolled into tortillas and set in a pan. put some enchilada sauce in a baggy and put the whole thing in the freezer for later. just remember to take out the baggy before you bake it!

Oh Kellene, just freeze them and quit whining! 8-D

LOL...my freezer is full of more important things. :-)

I'm a bit surprised, nobody has remember these: chopped or shredded chicken, fried up with some sliced onion, bell peppers, maybe experiment with some shrooms even, then wrap it all up in tortillas with some shredded cheese, salsa, beans, sour cream, etc. What's that they's call again, Fajitas?

Or how about shredded chicken, cheese, and bacon?

One of my daughters have a favorite, just melt cheese between 2 of them(flat) and quarter it.

Tortillas are a very versatile staple when you can get creative. I need to get the things to make them now that I'm thinking about them. See what ya started? Lol.

Where are some good tutorials online for making tortillas from scratch? Ones that are basically idiot proof, so that even I can get it edible, preferably using a cast iron pan.

This is may favorite breakfast...I make by the dozens...(my friends like them as well)......I cook of a large chub of burger or elk burger..drain well. then cook up an extra large bag of hashbrowns add to burger mixture..then add onion,peppers,green chilies any thing that you like to a low slow fry pan....or omit anything that you do not like add to meat mixture.....then scramble up as many eggs as you like....again mix in.....I open a large bag of shredded cheese and open a large jar of salsa....I lay out an assembly line.....Preheat a few dozen tortillias I use aluminum foil then put down prefered amount of cheese,salsa add some of the mixture and roll up and tighty cover in foil....I can get about 5 or 7 in a freezer bag.....and into the freezer.....these will keep for about 6 monthes.....great for breakfast,snacks or any time It's a good idea to roll and tuck in all sides like any burrito...these can get messy if your kids eat them.....simply put in oven or remove foil cover and microwave.

Sounds like a great reason to

Sounds like a great reason to have your friends over. Yum, thanks for sharing that.

Fast food joint uses them instead of buns for a hamburger.....a bit messy, but good.

I never thought of making elephant ears...that would be an awesome, yummy after school treat! Maybe a little fruit salsa to dip them in!

I make a casserole with cream of chicken soup(Healthy Request because msg gives me headaches), chicken broth, chicken, green chiles, and a little cheddar cheese.. you can also add mexican seasonins or onions and garlic.. rip up the tortillas into 1-inche pieces.. yummy!

I've got to try this one for sure.

Lori, you need to discover Shirley J's Universal Sauce! It has no hydrogenated oils, no msg, and has a 30 year shelf life...oh, and it's significantly LESS expensive than the canned soups and is foolproof. You can have it simmer all day if you want it to and it won't separate. It's useful for a TON of things including alfredo sauce, pizza sauce, creamed soup base, etc. etc. I switched over to it due to the MSG issue, but the lower cost and excellent shelf-life definitely helped me!

I've seen you mention Shirley J's a lot.. I will have to try that! I'm tired of scrutinizing every label for msg! Thanks!

I'm totally a Shirley J junkie! I asked Santa this past Christmas for a case of the Universal Sauce and a case of their Dessert Creme. Love it!!
(you can get any of their products through Five Star Preparedness for less than you would in their store, just FYI>)

30 yr. shelf life for a sauce? And one that's universal as well? Hmmmmm....are you sure you're not talking about asbestos? ":O) Gotta get me some of that!

Another thing I do with tortillas is stack them in two layers and make little pizzas with sauce and veggies or pepperoni.

I like to make ranch chicken the recipe is on the back of rotel but I add more spices to mine than what they call for. I add chili powder,garlic and if you want to add a kick add some green chilis. I use corn tortillas cut into fours layer them but before I layer the tortilla I speed the sauce on the bottom of the pan so they don't stick or get hard, just enough to cover the bottom.

Other face that I grew up with is cheese enchiladas, it's nest to use fresh grated cheese, you can use Colby or cheddar. Warming the corn tortillas for a few seconds helps in rolling them up. Or if you want to go all out and not worried about cals, you can quick fry them placing one at a time in the frying pan turning over once to do both sides, this not only helps with rolling but taste so good.
Take a baking dish spread the bottom of dish with can chili just enough to cover the bottom of pan, roll cheese into tortillas placing the rolled up tortilla with edge of tortilla down, it helps to have someone hold them in place if you have someone to help out, if not it's ok but sometimes it can be trying they do come undone sometimes. After you get the pan filled with the cheese tortillas spoon the rest of the chili on top bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.
This recipe uses about a pound of cheese, 12 tortillas and two 15 oz cans of chili or one large can 24 oz chili.

For sides I made meican rice and refired beans.
For my Mexican rice I use one cup of rice, chili powder, onion, cumiun,salt and one can of tomatoes or one can of rotel tomatoes.
In a sauce pan add three table spoons of oil put I. Rice and diced onion cook until these are browned, put in can tomatoes, and remaining spices, chili powder about a teaspoon,teaspoon of cumin and a touch of salt you can add more later if you like, two cups of water, bring to a boil, let boil till nearly dry where you just see bubbles coming up through the rice and no water turn down heat all the way to number one if using electric stove cover and let sit for 20 minutes. It is very important Do Not Stir rice once the water has gone down just let it cook.

From this article this 'flatbread' becomes a great meal maker if you have these ingredients on hand.

The banana roll up sounds wonderful--subsitute nutella for the peanut butter if you dare!

adding different herbs, spices or spinach flakes would also make them a versatile 'package' to put your meal in and eat.

I have a freezerful of tortilla shells and wondered what to do with them! lots of great suggestions THANKS

Flour tortillas can be used in many recipes that call for pie crust or phyllo dough. One of our favorites is to make little muffin size quiches using the warmed flour tortilla to line the tin. They are quick and fast. You can also fill it with pie filling for a quick dessert. Make sure to spray or butter the tin so it doesn't stick.

Do little sandwich pinwheels. I like a creamcheese/cucumber spread them place thin sliced meats,cheese, lettuce, tomato, peppers, sliced olives whatever you have on hand. Then roll up and slice for apetizers or a movie night snacks.

I make a recipe called South of the border crepe stack and use flour tortillas rather than crepes. It is just ground beef and refried beans and taco sauce or salsa cooked together and then layered with cheese between tortillas. Bake and serve with tomatoes and guacamole and or sour cream. The other thing is make a KFC snacker and roll up a chicken finger with lettuce and tomatoe and ranch. Really good.

My husband always makes fun of me because I will spread a thin layer of peanut butter and a thin coat of jelly, roll up like a burrito and voila - burrito pbj.

We use them to make a easy finger food great for get togethers or game day. Spread reg. or light cream cheese on shell. Sprinkle on some diced chives or very small pieces of onion (you can omit this if you like). Place either thin sliced deli ham or turky slices on top leave a small area at the top with no meat so the cream cheese helps hold the shell together. Roll up ending up at the area you left with no meat. Slice into aprox. 3/4" pieces. Place on tray and watch them vanish. These are so good I could eat them as a meal.

I believe elephant ears are a short cut version of sopapillas. Instead of the cinnamon and sugar try drizzling with honey. We prefer honey. Chilaquiles are a mexican scrambled eggs omlette dish. Usually corn tortillas are used but I have also used flour. Add any leftover veggies, meat or cheese to the scramblesd eggs. When the eggs are almost set add the fried tortilla strips and serve immediately. Both recipes are designed to use up leftovers and work better with older tortillas.

I've been trying to find a way to make the flour tortilla shells stick together on the edges. They make perfect fried pie shells. My only problem is keeping the filling inside for cooking. The taste is wonderful. I've tried my crimper with canned milk, egg whites, water, and even the flour paste. Nothing seems to make them stay together.. If you know how, please send me a note to my e-mail.

LOL... thank you for the best laugh I've had all week! I, too, was looking for a unique way to use some leftover flour tortillas, and found this site... you have a terrific sense of humor.... and you also have some very appetizing recipes here that I fully intend to try... thanks again! :-)

I really am not a bread fan

I really am not a bread fan except for my toast and coffee in the mornings. However... living on a shoestring budget the last couple of years I've probably eaten more bread that the rest of my life combined. While telling a friend this she said, so matter-of-factly, as if it's the most normal thing ever, "So stop buying bread. Just use tortillas." Really? Huh... She added, And since they're flat, they take up a lot less room int he fridge and freezer!" Freezer? You can freeze them? Huh...

To be honest, I can't think of a single time I have EVER bought tortillas, and I'm in my 40s!! When I make Hispanic foods they're usually in a pot or a pan w/ no tortillas 'required' so I just opt out. When I get the craving for tacos I buy taco shells.

Then... Sams club had this great sale recently and I decided to bite the bullet. All sizes were 2 for 1 and you had to buy 2, ya couldn't just by 1. I bought 4 of each size and the smallest ones, like taco size, came 100 to a pack. It's been a bit of a learning curve but it's been fun.

I found this article because I searched for, you guessed it, "What else to do with tortillas" So THANK YOU for all the fantastic ideas!!

Spread a little butter on the

Spread a little butter on the tortilla and cinnamon and a little sugar and broil on hi :)

My favorite alternative use

My favorite alternative use for soft flour tortillas is to make samosas.
The recipe is here:
So good!


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