Classic Cheese Crisps


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Cheese Crisps are my life. Literally. They probably make up about 50% of my body because they are pretty much all I ate until I turned 16. Growing up in Tucson, AZ (where the original cheese crisps is rumored to be invented) it’s pretty hard to stay away from these little treats. It’s pretty much an open faced flour tortilla, smeared with a little butter, toasted in the oven and then smothered with cheese, toasted again and voila – a cheese crisp!! I kid you not, these will change your life. If you’ve never had one before you need to run to the store immediately, pick up the ingredients and make them. Because they are a.w.e.s.o.m.e. And if you’re feeling jazzy – then you can sprinkle on a few of your favorite toppings like scallions, sauteed poblano peppers and some spicy chorizo. (drool)

Here are some plain cheese crisps. They are pretty much heaven. You could serve them just like this and people would be begging you to make them again.

Maybe you sprinkle on a few sliced scallions. Or some cilantro. Perhaps some chives. Whatever floats your boat.

As an Arizona girl, I had to add some peppers. It was only right.

And then I finished it off with some chorizo. Be still my heart. I literally couldn’t control myself when I made these. I just wanted to keep eating them. But then I remembered they were for a party and people were coming over in 20 minutes and I needed to stop stuffing my face and get myself cleaned up because there may or may not have been cheese and chorizo all over my clothes. Don’t judge. πŸ™‚

Promise me you’ll make these immediately. Okay, I’ll even wait 24 hours. But you’ve gotta do it. They will rock your world!

Classic Cheese Crisps

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Gaby Dalkin
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  • 1 poblano pepper sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pork chorizo
  • 4 small flour tortillas
  • 4 tsp butter
  • 1 cup of mexican cheese shredded (I used a blend of Cheddar, Queso Quesadilla and Oaxaca)
  • 2 scallions sliced


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Slice the poblano pepper into thin strips.
  • Heat a skillet over medium high heat with olive oil. Add the sliced poblano and saute for 5 minutes until the skin of the poblano starts to blister. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add the pork chorizo and saute until fully cooked. Remove and set aside.
  • Place each of the small tortillas on a baking sheet. Spread 1 tsp of butter on each tortilla. Place the baking sheet into the oven and let the tortillas toast. It will take about 5-7 minutes but keep your eyes on them. Once the edges start to turn golden brown, remove from the oven.
  • Place 1/4 cup of cheese on each of the tortillas and place back into the oven for about 3 minutes until the cheese has melted. Remove from oven.
  • Top with scallions, poblano peppers and chorizo if desired.
  • Serve immediately.
Classic Cheese Crisps: Chef Vision

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  1. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

    Gaby these look perfect!

    In junior high I used to make tortilla shells + cheese in the microwave after school! this reminds me of that except prettier and I’m sure way crispier and more delish!

    Beautiful photography!

  2. Bev Weidner

    You just have no idea how much this post means to me. I L.O.V.E. cheese crisps. Growing up, my snack was always melted “cheeseonbread.” But you had to say it like that – “cheeseonbread.” Then, as I got older I transitioned into the tortilla, and all kinds of sexy hotness occurred. And NOW, as a 35-year old, I still make crispy torts with melted cheese and herbs on it, for snacks. And I’m OKAY with that. HAPPY in fact. GIDDY even.

    yes, yes!

  3. Mandy Minette

    If I have one vice (ok, who am I kidding – I have several), it would be cheese. I love cheese crisps and as a Phoenix (by way of Gilbert) girl, I never knew that crisps started in Tucson! What a fun tidbit of trivia. Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

    • Collin

      Very cool, always ordered these as appetizers at the Mexican restaurants. La Parilla Suiza on Speedway still offered them the last time I visited

  4. Lucy Lean

    OMG – love these things – reminds me of the walking elephants ears I had at Lydia Shire’s place Scampo in Boston – could they be Mexican Pizzas?!

    • Bill Burwell

      A Mexican pizza is a cheese crisp with ground beef, onions (or scallions)., tomatoes. Poblano peppers refried beans (if you like),. extra cheese, and black olives (if you like), and most of all salsa! You can top it off with guacamole, or sour cream. Your favorite salsa or hot sauce, Jalapenos and Habaneros’ top off the pizza.

    • Deena Rose

      Can you say tostado deluxe! Cheese crisis with toasted green chillies…. Be still need heart.

  5. Marla

    Love the cheese crisps. Really wish I could just live on these. With extra chorizo please.

  6. Michelle B

    I have to work late…wonder if I could find someone to go make these for me and bring me some……think ….think…think….

  7. Krista

    The moment I finished reading this post, I went straight to the kitchen and made 4 of these for me and my two teenage sons. SO freaking delicious…..especially the crispy bits of cheese that fell onto the baking sheet. =)

  8. Brooke

    I’m going to have to agree with you here. These snacks probably make up 65 percent of my body’s chemistry. I think I ate a version of this every day for at least twenty years…so that’s saying a lot. I like these crisps A LOT. (just like you!)

  9. nancy@acommunaltable

    On the list of “world’s perfect foods” this would easily make the top 5 !! This is, hands down, my son’s favorite after workout treat – yep, I am pretty much keeping the tortillaria in my neighborhood in business!!

  10. Sandy @EverydaySouthwest

    Cheese Crisps! Aren’t they the best?! I had no idea that you were from Tucson… me too!
    I’m so happy to see you remember authentic cheese crisps. They have become an endangered species around here, since quesadillas came along.
    Thanks for the memory.

  11. Nicole

    I just made these. Something about melted cheese on tortillas spoke to me on a deep level. It’s been over 100 degrees in this state for a month and I haven’t turned my oven on. Except for cheese crisps. It’s how much I love cheese.

  12. Diane D

    I got addicted to cheese crisps back in the seventies. The very best were served at a Mexican restaurant in Payson, smothered with green chile pork. Heaven on a plate. Thanks for the instructions.

  13. Lora

    Hello from Australia! I discovered your amazing website via Pinterest. I just made these cheese crisps and they have as you stated, changed my life. Wow! I added a dollop of guacamole on top with a dash of salsa. I am hosting a Mexican dinner party next weekend and i am going to make teeny cheese crisps for canapes. Im going to try your pulled pork sliders on friday night, this blog is amazing.
    Thanks again!

  14. Ruth Wright

    I remember eating these in a small Mexican restaurant on Speedway in 1961 when I was in college in Tucson. They were wonderful. I had them again in February when I was visiting in Tucson. Just as good as I remembered. Thanks for this recipe.

    • Gaby

      YAY TUCSON!!!!! omg the BEST mexican restaurants are there

  15. Lily

    These would make great appetizers for a Mexican restaurant. I know they may not be completely authentic, but they look absolutely delicious! Thanks for the recipe.


  16. Kelley

    They started in a local to Tucson Mexican restaurant chain, Casa Molina. Any of the Molina restaurants had great food.

    I grew up in both CA and AZ.

    Outside of Tucson, eyes roll when I ask for them. Phoenix has had enough guests from Tucson demanding them to start doing them too.

    They really are like an open faced quesadilla with a crispy crust..

    We went to AZ this Christmas from Texas and my wife and I introduced our children to cheese crisps. They loved them.

  17. roger samms

    I grew up in west Phoenix since 1950 and have been eating cheese crisps
    since I could eat..
    macayos restaurants
    and love them..I put red chilie on them sometime but 90%just plain cheese with hot sauce..enjoyed your about a recipe for Arizona red chilie..thanks the samms family

  18. Js

    Now if someone could just give me the recipe for Low Yentes Restaurant enchilada pie!!!