The Best Nachos
The Best Nachos

These classic Tex-Mex nachos are loaded to the max! Avoid soggy nachos by baking them briefly before topping them with cheese, seasoned beef, refried beans, guacamole, and salsa. They’re a great snack, party appetizer, or even a casual weeknight dinner.

Nachos have always been my “I’m too tired to cook after grocery shopping” dinner. We’ve all been there, am I right? You’ve spent a significant chunk of your paycheck on groceries, but you’re so tired you need to quickly put together a meal.

Video: How to make the best nachos


The best nachos

The History of Nachos

I live 4 1/2 hours from the birthplace of nachos. Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya created the dish for a group of US Army wives in the border town of Piedras Negras, Mexico, just across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas.

The women loved it and Nacho specialties morphed into the nachos we all know and love. As a former Army wife, I can well imagine sitting down to experience this Tex-Mex staple with my friends for the first time.

What are the best toppings for nachos?

Nachos toppings can let your imagination run wild, but I prefer to keep them classic.

My recipe features a mix of beef and refried beans—which not only makes the nachos easier to eat because the beans help the beef stick to the tortillas, but as a newlywed also stretches the protein to give me more bang for the buck, too give. It offered plenty of meat to top our nachos and then some.

A cheddar and Colby Jack cheese mix that I shred at home is melted over corn tortilla chips. Yes, you could use pre-shredded cheese, but if you want that stringy cheese, you’ll have to grate it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese is coated in an anti-caking powder that prevents it from melting to its stickiest potential.

Pico de gallo (store-bought or fresh), guacamole, sour cream, sliced ​​jalapeños, diced onions and tomatoes, and fresh cilantro are classic fresh nacho toppings that can be sprinkled on top.

Ways to customize this recipe!

If you’re craving variety in your nachos or don’t have all of the toppings I give below, try swapping out some of the ingredients!


  • Shredded grilled chicken or brisket are two of my favorites. Sliced ​​steak, grilled tofu, or seasoned pork are also good suggestions.


  • I’m also a fan of crumbly cotija or queso fresco. Both are mild Mexican cheeses that are very nacho friendly.
  • For cheeses with a bit of spiciness, try a Monterey Jack or a Habañero cheese. (With all the amazing cheeses available now, I think we can eliminate the use of canned “cheese” products, don’t we?)

There’s an exhaustive selection of salsas, guacamoles and even tortilla chips to add a mix of colors and flavors to your plate of nachos. I recommend experimenting with one or all of them at least once a month.

What are the best chips for nachos?

While I don’t know if it’s the perfect chip, I believe a corn tortilla cut into wedges and fried at home is the most robust. How to make your own tortilla chips!

But let’s face it, many of us don’t have the time or inclination to fry homemade tortilla chips. Many grocery stores now sell packaged tortilla chips that have been fried in-house or on site. Check the bakery section of your supermarket to see if they have them. They tend to be thicker and sturdier, making them ideal for nachos.

If those aren’t available, regular store-bought triangular corn tortilla chips are also great for nachos –just absolutely avoid the skinny kind. You want thick tortilla chips so they don’t break when you lift them!

If you have younger children or older grandparents who have trouble eating, I recommend using round tortilla chips, as the pointed ends of the triangular chips can sometimes be awkward for these guests.

How to avoid soggy nachos

I take my nacho making seriously. It’s irritating to prepare for a loaded nacho only to see the toppings smash onto the plate because the tortilla chip wasn’t built for the task or soaked up quickly.

To avoid a nacho nightmare, I harden the chips with a quick pre-bake in a 350°F oven, then sprinkle a protective layer of shredded cheese on top to create a buffer between the chips and the rest of the toppings. The cheese melts easily.

No, the fries don’t stay crispy forever, but that gives you a good amount of time before the chips start to get mushy.

Prepare yourself for a simple assembly

Along with everything else that makes nachos great—their versatility, their low cost, their deliciousness—nachos are quick to make. You’ll spend more time preparing your toppings than baking them, which only takes about 10 minutes.

If you want to keep the prep simple, top your nachos with store-bought ingredients (pico de gallo, guacamole, salsa, etc.). If you’re not a fan of store-bought toppings, you can shred the cheese, sear the meat, or make the salsa up to three days ahead.

The only topping I recommend making the same day is the guacamole, just to keep it from overly browning.

Tips for the ultimate nacho setup

  • Bake nachos on a ovenproof plate or quarter sheet pans. I can arrange the cheese chips, top with the beef and bean mix, and bake. This means you can go from oven to table and everyone can top their nachos however they like. The pans serve as casserole dishes and plates. (See our Loaded Sheet Pan Nachos for the ultimate experience using only a sheet pan!)
  • Overlap the tortilla chips, keeping it to just one layer per sheet pan. This ensures that each chip has toppings.
  • Place your toppings in ramekins so everyone can assemble their own batch of nachos with the least amount of stress while eating.

What about leftover nachos?

Let’s face it: nachos taste best right after they’re made. Leftovers get soggy, stale and just plain disappointing.

Because they’re so easy to scale up or down, I recommend making just enough to eat in one sitting. It’s also not advisable to reheat nachos topped with sour cream.

Want more nacho recipes? Check out these!

  • Mexican street corn nachos
  • Grilled Chicken Nachos
  • Loaded Sheet Pan Nachos
  • Blue Corn Chicken Nachos
  • How to make homemade tortilla chips

The best nachos

preparation time
15 minutes

cooking time
15 minutes

total time
30 minutes

6 servings


For the spice mix:

  • 2 tablespoon chilli powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic

  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • prize from cayenne pepper (Optional)

For the nachos:

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

  • 1 lb ground beef (Lean to fat ratio 80:20)

  • 16 ounces (2 cups) chilled beanscanned or homemade

  • 1/4 Cup water

  • 1 big pocket from tortilla chips

  • 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups), plus more for topping

  • 4 ounces Colby Jack cheese, grated (about 2 cups), plus more for topping

  • 1 Cup Pico de Gallostore-bought or homemade, plus more to spread

  • 1/4 Cup chopped coriander

  • 1 jalapeno (pickled or fresh), sliced

Optional toppings:

  • guacamole

  • salsa

  • sour cream

  • Canned black olives

  • Sliced ​​spring onions

  • Shredded lettuce

  • Corn

  • Hot sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Make the taco seasoning mix:

    Combine all the spices (chili powder to cayenne pepper) together in a small bowl.

  3. Prepare the beef and bean topping:

    Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the ground beef to the skillet and season with all of the taco seasoning mix. While the meat is cooking, use a spoon to crumble the meat into crumbles.

    Fry for about 8 minutes until the meat is brown and drain the fat through a sieve.

    Return the meat to the pan and add the bean puree and water. Heat the mixture until the beans are smooth and warmed through. Reduce the heat to low and keep the beef and bean mixture warm while you prepare the fries.

  4. Toast the fries:

    Arrange the tortilla chips on a 13×18-inch ovenproof dish or sheet in a single layer, overlapping slightly. Toast the chips in the preheated oven for 5 minutes or just until you start to smell their aroma.

  5. Assemble and Bake Nachos:

    Carefully remove the pan from the oven and top with half of the grated cheese. Let the heat from the chips melt the cheese slightly before adding the beef and bean mixture to the chips.

    Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the beef and return the pan to the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted.

  6. Fill up and serve:

    Top the nachos with the pico de gallo, chopped cilantro, jalapeño slices, or any of your favorite toppings. Serve hot.

nutritional information (per serving)
1234 calories
75g Fat
39g carbohydrates
98g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!