Stale hard taco shells are such a bummer. You are celebrating Taco Tuesday and have all of your ingredients ready to go, and then the big crunch you crave is not there. Nothing is worse than a hard taco shell that isn’t crispy. But there is hope! Want to learn how to revive stale chips and save your fiesta?
Let’s go to The Chalkboard.
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Can You Eat Stale Taco Shells?
You can eat stale taco shells. As long as there is no visible mold, it is probably good to eat. As with any leftover, it’s best to use your senses to determine if it is safe. As long as it smells and looks right, you are good to eat it, but when in doubt, throw it out. Shells are typically good for 1-2 weeks after opening the package.
Why Do Hard Taco Shells Get Stale?
Why are your hard taco shells stale? During the frying process, moisture from the chips is released, and starch molecules are created. Those molecules attract moisture from the air over time. Whereas bread loses water when it goes stale, chips lose their crunch because they’ve gained too much moisture. In order to make them crisp, we need to get rid of the excess moisture.
How Long Are Hard Shell Tacos Good For?
Manufacturers suggest you use your taco shells soon after opening. Typically 1-2 weeks at most. Unopened packages are suitable for about a year, although check the box for specific dates. Remember that not all dates are created equally.
How Do You Make Taco Shells Not Stale? How To Crisp Them Up.
It’s easy to freshen up stale hard taco shells. Simply preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Lay your shells out on a baking sheet and cook for about 7 minutes. The heat from the oven will help the excess moisture dissipate. Some manufacturers do not recommend using the toaster oven as it’s a fire hazard since the oil from the shells could touch the top element. I have found tremendous success in the oven. Yes, it takes longer to heat up, but you get a much better result. Just preheat the oven as soon as you start cooking.
How to Heat Tacos Shells In The Air Fryer
If you don’t want to fire up the oven, the air fryer is a great way to fix stale hard taco shells. They are already cooked, so you don’t need a ton of time. Heat them for 2-4 minutes at 400 degrees should do the trick.
Can You Heat Taco Shells In the Microwave?
You can heat soft taco shells in the microwave but do not heat hard taco shells. They will get soggy.
How Do You Keep Hard Taco Shells From Getting Stale?
Always check for best buy dates on packages to ensure freshness. Although sometimes the shells can be stale before that date.
If you are buying them in bulk or storing them outside of the package, proper storage is key. Put the shells in an airtight container. They should be eaten within 1-2 days.
What To Do With Stale Hard Taco Shells
So, what do we do next time? How do you keep the taco shells from getting soggy? There’s no way to prevent the staling process completely. But, your best bet is to store them properly. Keep them covered in an airtight container. Unopened packages should last for a year. After opened, they are suitable for a week or two. Be sure to look for dates on the box for more information.
We are huge proponents of reducing food waste by repurposing leftovers. So if you are unable to revive stale hard taco shells, don’t throw them out! Here are some great ways to use them.
- Chilaquiles – This is a traditional Mexican dish where the tortillas are cooked in a broth. They are great with a fried egg on top. Try this recipe from The Kitchn.
- With eggs – If you don’t want to go through the steps of making chilaquiles, mix the chips in as you scramble some eggs for a delicious breakfast. Serve with avocado and maybe some chorizo.
- Meatballs – Instead of regular breadcrumbs, crush the stale chips and use them inside meatballs. They would be a great substitute for panko in this Buffalo Chicken Meatball recipe.
- Use as a topping for chili or a little bit of texture in salad.
What Do You Think?
Have you ever had stale hard taco shells? Any tips or tricks to revive them? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to hear.
Happy Taco Tuesday!
Pin this for your next fiesta!