activity

Which tortilla chips deserve a spot next to your favorite dips? You get to decide!

safety
  • None
difficulty
  • Beginner
time
  • 30 minutes

Prepare Ingredients

3 different brands
tortilla chips
1 per person
glass of water
2 per person
plain crackers (or 1 slice plain sandwich bread per person)
1 recipe
salsa, hummus, or guacamole

Gather equipment

1 per person + 1 extra
sheet of paper
1 per person
marker or pen
1 copy per person
Tasting Tortilla Chips scoring sheet
1 per person
small bowl
1
 

Today, you and your friends or family are going to practice being professional tasters. You’ll taste different kinds of tortilla chips and determine which one is your winner by rating them based on their flavor, their texture, and how well they work to scoop up a dip (their function).

 
2
 

Before you start tasting, take a minute to think about the tortilla chips you’ve eaten in the past.

  • What did they taste like?
  • What were their textures like?
  • How well did they scoop up things such as hummus or salsa or guacamole?
  • Were there tortilla chips you liked a lot? What were they like? How about tortilla chips you really didn’t like? Why not?
 
3
 
3 different brands
tortilla chips

Ask an adult—or a friend or family member—to be the “Tasting Organizer.” This is an important job! They will be in charge of setting up the tasting. The Tasting Organizer should:

  • Assign each type of tortilla chip a number.
  • Write down the numbers and the brand names on a separate piece of paper so you can keep track of them.

tortilla step shot

 
4
 

Meanwhile, each taster needs 1 sheet of blank paper. Using a marker or pen, divide the paper into the same number of sections as tortilla chip samples you’ll be tasting. Label the sections “Sample 1,” “Sample 2,” “Sample 3,” and so on, depending on how many samples you have.

tortilla key step shot

Tasting 3 brands? Divide your sheet into thirds.
 
5
 

Next, the Tasting Organizer should lay out the tortilla chips on each taster’s sheet of paper, placing 3 chips of the first brand in Section 1, 3 chips of the second brand in Section 2, 3 chips of the third brand is Section 3, and so on.

 
6
 
1 per person
glass of water
2 per person
plain crackers (or 1 slice plain sandwich bread per person)

Make sure each person has a glass of water and 2 crackers or a slice of sandwich bread—these are to help cleanse your palate in between tastes.

 
7
 

Give each person a copy of the Tasting Tortilla Chips scoring sheet to keep track of tasting notes.

 
8
 

Time to taste!

  • Taste the samples one at a time. (Save 1 chip from each sample for dipping a little bit later in the activity!)
  • Take small bites, chew slowly, and take sips of water and bites of cracker or bread in between samples.
  • Give each sample a Flavor Score and a Texture Score, based on what you thought of its flavor and texture. Remember: A higher score means you liked it more!
  • Jot down a few notes about the flavor and texture of each tortilla chip. Did it taste like corn? Like something else? How salty was it? Too salty? Not salty enough? Was it crisp? Soft? Chewy?
 
9
 
1 recipe
salsa, hummus, or guacamole

Next, test the function of each tortilla chip. Give each taster a small bowl of guacamole, salsa, or hummus. Starting with Sample 1, use a tortilla chip to scoop some dip, the same way you would if you were having a snack. Pay attention to these things:

  • Did the tortilla chip snap or crumble when you scooped?
  • Did the chip get very soggy once the dip was on it?
  • How much dip did it scoop up? Not enough? Too much? Just the right amount?
  • How did the shape of the chip affect the way it scooped?

Eat your chip! Then, give Sample 1 a Scoop Score based on your observations.

 
10
 

Calculate the Overall Score for Sample 1 by adding your Flavor, Texture, and Scoop Scores.

 
11
 

Repeat steps 8 through 10 for the rest of your tortilla chip samples.

 
12
 

Time to pick a winner! Which of your samples had the highest overall score? That’s your winning tortilla chip. Look at the key (made by the Tasting Organizer) to see which brand matches your winning sample.

Remember, the Tasting Organizer assigned each sample a number before you started the tasting—use that sheet here.

 
13
 

Have each person who did the tasting share their winning brand and say a little bit about why they picked it as their winner. Have each person who did the tasting share their winning brand and say a little bit about why they picked it as their winner.

Now, eat the rest of your hummus, salsa, or guacamole (or make some nachos!) with your winning tortilla chips!