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Turn those crumbs at the bottom of the bag into the top of your meal

Ah, the bottom of the bag. Where dreams and annoying crumbs go to die. Who hasn’t been frustrated or disappointed by reaching into a package only to find the worthless bits? In reality, they’re not so worthless after all. Here are a few ideas for what to do the next time you’re tempted to toss the remnants of your favorite snack. (Not included: Tilt your head back, open your mouth and pour.)

Potato chips

These are perhaps one of the most versatile types of crumbs around. They are another natural topping for casseroles. Use them on top of a hot dog, or in the middle of a chicken or tuna salad sandwich for a salty crunch. Or take a page from chef José Andrés and use them in a Spanish tortilla (omelet). His recipe calls for you to crush chips, but with the crumbs at the bottom of the bag, the work is done for you! (Save up the crumbs from several bags if you want to avoid having to break up bigger chips.) And Potato Chip Cookies? Heck yes. Potato and tortilla chip crumbs can make a great crust for baked or pan-fried chicken or seafood.

Tortilla chips

Stop trying to scoop up your salsa with a handful of crumbs. You’re not fooling anyone. I speak from years of personal experience. Instead, use those bits on top of a creamy, rich, ’gram-worthy Potato Casserole (pictured above). I like using tortilla chip pieces on top of black bean soup or chili, and they can also stand in for cornmeal in baked goods, including these Tortilla Chip Muffins With Honey Butter. Or combine them with eggs, peppers and cheese to scramble for the dish known as migas.


I have to admit, cereal crumbs are the ones that really throw me for a loop. Especially all that powdery stuff at the bottom of Frosted Mini-Wheats. An easy use for cereal dust would be as a topping on yogurt or ice cream. You could also use it to coat the outside of an ice cream sandwich or truffles. With something like Cornflakes or Honey Bunches of Oats, you could take inspiration from fried ice cream (even if you don’t fry it) and roll scoops of vanilla ice cream in a mix of cereal and cinnamon, followed by a drizzle of honey and a dollop of whipped cream. Larger cereal pieces would be at home in granola.


Four words: Beer and Pretzel Truffles. Similar to the salty snacks above, pretzels can coat meat, as in a schnitzel, or serve as the base of a salty-sweet crumble to go on top of puddings or other desserts. In large quantities, pretzels work in a crust for cheesecake or pie. A little bit can find its way into a granola version of Christina Tosi’s Compost Cookie.

Pita chips

Top salads with broken pieces of pita chips instead of croutons. Even if you have whole pieces to serve with dips such as hummus or baba ghanouj, you can sprinkle crumbs on them for a crunchy topping. Come tomato season, use pita remnants rather than bread in a quick, improvised version of panzanella (an Italian bread and tomato salad), or try this neat Frozen Fattoush.

Have a clever use for crumbs? Share it in the comments below.

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