Creamy Zigzag Tortilla Bake

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Not to be dramatic… but I think this zigzag tortilla bake might just be my favourite recipe of the year so far.

On top, it’s got plenty of melted cheese, with nice crispy bits on all the edges of tortilla.

And underneath, it’s gooey and creamy, with tasty vegetables and tomato sauce.

I’ve never tried the ‘zigzag’ method before… but it’s definitely one I will be trying again and again!

A baking dish with creamy zigzag tortilla bake topped with cheese.

The zigzag method I used in this tortilla bake was inspired by this Instagram post I stumbled upon, from a Turkish recipe creator called Sema Cenik. It looked like such a fun way of making a tasty bake that I had to give it a try myself! And I’m glad I did – it was such a success.

Apart from the zigzag tortillas, the rest of this recipe is totally different to the one I saw on Instagram, but that’s the nice thing about it – you can change the ingredients around to suit your own preferences! I knew my version would have to contain plenty of cheese, of course.

🤔 What’s all this about Zigzag Tortillas?

You may be wondering what I mean with all this talk of ‘zigzag tortillas’.

Basically, rather than simply layering the tortillas (like in Mexican lasagne), or rolling them (like in enchiladas), they’re folded into a zigzag shape, like this, and then stacked vertically alongside each other:

A tortilla wrap folded into zigzags.

This method makes lots of edges of tortilla stick upwards, which makes a lovely rough surface for the top of the bake.

  • lots of crevices to hold melty cheese
  • lots of edges to get beautifully crispy
  • and it’s pretty fun to make!

And if you think it looks complicated or fiddly, please remember – I don’t do complicated. Ever. Even if you fold your tortillas into the most scruffy, uneven zigzags ever, it’s really no problem. It will all end up tasting great!

🥗 Ingredients and Substitutions

Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe. See the printable recipe card below for detailed ingredient quantities.

Ingredients for creamy zigzag tortilla bake with text overlay.
  • flour tortillas – I used nice large ones that were the same length as my baking dish. Corn tortillas could also work.
  • cream cheese – this is what’s going to add that sense of luxury to your tortilla bake.
  • tomato sauce – passata will work nicely, or your favourite pasta or pizza sauce. You could even use salsa or enchilada sauce, if that’s what you have on hand. Not ketchup!
  • red onion – not white onion, as the flavour is too intense for this dish. It’s only in the oven for about 25 minutes, so you need the milder flavour of a red onion.
  • black olives – my favourite! Skip them or swap them if you’re not an olive fan.
  • fresh basil – parsley or cilantro (coriander) would also be great.
  • grated cheese – for the gooey topping. I used cheddar, but mozzarella or similar would also work well.

You could easily swap the onion and olives for something else, if you want to use up what you already have. Choose ingredients that cook quickly, as it doesn’t need long to bake. Here are a few ideas:

  • canned sweetcorn
  • spring onions
  • canned black beans
  • finely chopped mushrooms
  • finely chopped bell peppers
  • chopped garlic

Becca’s Top Tip

Because of the cheese and tomato sauce, this tortilla bake ends up having a bit of an Italian-inspired pizza vibe – so if you can’t decide what to put inside, take some inspiration from your favourite vegetarian pizza toppings!


📹 Recipe Video

🔪 Equipment

All you’ll need for this recipe is a ceramic baking dish. If you have one that’s about the same length as the diameter of your tortillas, that’s ideal!

Here’s an example of a perfect dish on Amazon, with great reviews:

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Ceramic Baking Dishes
I use a ceramic dish very similar to this one!
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A portion of creamy zigzag tortilla bake on a plate with salad.

🖨️ Printable Instructions

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Overhead view of creamy zigzag tortilla bake in a dish.

Creamy Zigzag Tortilla Bake

Folding tortillas into zigzags makes the BEST creamy tortilla bake! I'm going to use this method again and again.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 526kcal
Author: Becca Heyes

Ingredients

  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp sliced black olives
  • Few sprigs fresh basil, chopped (remove any tough stems)
  • 200 g (~ 7 oz) cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 200 g (~ 7 oz) tomato sauce (e.g. pasta sauce or passata)
  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • 100 g (~ 1 cup) grated cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F). If you'd like to, practise folding the tortillas into zigzag shapes – it's easier to practise this technique before you spread them with the creamy filling! You don't have to pre-fold the tortillas if you don't want to.
    A tortilla wrap folded into zigzags.
  • Add the diced red onion to a mixing bowl, along with the sliced olives, chopped basil, cream cheese, and black pepper. Mix well to combine.
    Cream cheese, red onion and olives mixed together in a bowl.
  • Spread a spoonful or two of tomato sauce around the bottom of a baking dish (mine measured approx. 10 x 7 inches) – just a thin layer, to prevent the tortillas from sticking.
    A thin layer of tomato sauce spread around the bottom of a baking dish.
  • Spread about a quarter of the cream cheese mixture across one of the tortillas. Fold in a zig-zag shape like you practised before (watch the recipe video to see my technique if you need help!).
    A tortilla wrap spread with cream cheese, red onion and olives.
  • Lay the folded tortilla cheese-side-up in the baking tray. Repeat with the other 3 tortillas and the rest of the cheese mixture, placing the folded tortillas side by side in the dish.
    Zigzag folded tortillas stuffed with cream cheese in a baking dish.
  • Pour the remaining tomato sauce evenly across the tortillas in the dish.
    Unbaked creamy zigzag tortilla bake topped with tomato sauce.
  • Top with grated cheese.
    Unbaked creamy zigzag tortilla bake topped with grated cheese.
  • Bake for around 20-25 minutes, until crispy on top and piping hot throughout. If the cheese is crisping up before the rest of the bake is piping hot, cover it with foil and cook a little longer.
    Cooked creamy zigzag tortilla bake.

Video

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Creamy Zigzag Tortilla Bake
Amount Per Serving (1 portion)
Calories 526 Calories from Fat 281
% Daily Value*
Fat 31.2g48%
Saturated Fat 17.4g87%
Cholesterol 83mg28%
Sodium 935mg39%
Potassium 340mg10%
Carbohydrates 42.2g14%
Fiber 3.7g15%
Sugar 6.6g7%
Protein 18.1g36%
Calcium 296mg30%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.

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💭 Recipe FAQs

Can I prep this tortilla bake in advance?

Yes! If you want to prepare this recipe in advance, I would fully assemble the dish without baking it, then leave it in the fridge for up to a day or so, until you’re ready to bake and serve. If the uncooked bake is cold from the fridge, it will take longer to cook fully, so you might need to cover the dish with foil to ensure the cheese doesn’t burn.

Can I freeze this bake?

I haven’t tried freezing this recipe, but similar cheesy bakes usually freeze nicely, so I definitely say it’s worth a try.

How should I reheat any leftovers?

Personally I would reheat any leftovers for a few minutes in the microwave. You could also reheat in a low oven, but this might cause the dish to dry out and become overly crispy.

What to serve with tortilla bake?

This bake is pretty rich and creamy, so a light salad on the side is perfect!

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