What to Do With the Crumbs at the Bottom of the Chip Bag

Don't toss those chip crumbs. Here’s how to put them to use. 

Published Apr. 5, 2023.

I love crispy, crunchy snacks of all kinds, but there’s nothing more frustrating than when you get to the bottom of the bag and it’s all crumbs. The pieces are too small for scooping up hummus or salsa, but it feels wasteful to toss them in the trash. 

Luckily, there are many ways you can put all types of chip crumbs to use. Here are some of my favorite ways to polish off the dregs of tortilla, potato, and pita chips.

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How to Use Up Tortilla Chip Crumbs

  • Black bean burgers: Tortilla chips make a great binder for homemade black bean burgers. Unlike other binders like flour, oats, or bread crumbs, they actually contribute a ton of flavor with their earthy, toasty, corny notes. 
  • Cheese log: To add extra flavor and texture to a cheese log appetizer, try crusting it in crushed tortilla chips.
  • Taco Salad: When making a taco-themed salad, top it with crushed tortilla chips for extra crunch.
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How to Use Up Potato Chip Crumbs

  • Tuna salad sandwich: A classic tuna salad sandwich is the perfect quick, satisfying lunch or picnic staple. Next time you make one, toss in a handful of crushed potato chips right before assembling for an unbeatable crunch. 
  • Cookies: It’s no secret that a little something salty takes cookies up a notch. Most cookies are pretty adaptable to mix-ins, but these cookies combine both pretzels and potato chips with a butterscotch-y frosting for the ideal balance of savory and sweet.
  • Crispy rice cereal treats: Cook’s Country Test Cook Amanda Luchtel recommends Ruffles for their thicker texture at a ratio of 7 cups rice cereal and 3 cups crushed chips. The salty pops of potato chip counteract the saccharine marshmallows.
  • Fish crust: Bread crumb–crusted fish is good. Potato chip–crusted fish is great. This recipe combines both, along with lots of dill for the perfect texture.
  • Onion rings: Frying can be intimidating. For a hands-off, less messy onion-ring method, we make them in the oven and use crushed potato chips as a crust to contribute a salty, slightly greasy flavor. 
  • Mashed potatoes: No, seriously. Test Cook Sam Block developed a recipe for BBQ Chip–Flavored Mashed Potatoes, where she basically turns chips into a ready-made seasoning packet. You can use any flavor of chips, but take your pick from more than 30 regional BBQ chip flavors.
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How to Use Up Pita Chip Crumbs

  • Salad: Traditional fattoush uses freshly baked or fried pita, but crushed pita chips are a handy shortcut for a salad topper.
  • Snack mix: Upgrade your party snacks with a homemade snack mix. In this recipe, we combine crushed pita chips with pretzels, Chex cereal, peanuts, and spices for a flavor-packed treat.

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