These nachos began as a snack I whipped up at the last minute for a friend’s Super Bowl party a few years ago. Now, this epic nachos recipe has become a staple food I cook up in my kitchen constantly.
Heavily loaded with protein-rich taco ingredients and fresh veggie toppings, these nachos are often an easy solution for a last-minute meal. I love how well these nachos can be adapted to whatever ingredients I have in my pantry or kitchen at the moment.
I can’t think of a more fail-proof way to impress and satisfy people at every gathering. These colorful nachos are flavorful, easy to put together, and inexpensive to make!
Before you get started
- Gather your equipment and ingredients so that you have them ready to go when it’s time to start cooking! I recommend opening any canned ingredients before you preheat the oven and get the skillet going.
- Don’t worry about chopping any of the fresh, refrigerated toppings right away, you will have time to do that while the nachos are baking in the oven!
Suggested Equipment & Appliances
- 1 Large round Skillet
- Large baking tray
- Silicon mat (for easy clean up)
Recipe Yield and Cook Time
- Recipe Yield: 8 Servings
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- 11, 12, or 13 oz Bag of Tortilla Chips
- 1 pound ground beef (you can use a meatless alternative)
- 1 package taco seasoning
- 4-6 chicken breast tenderloins
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced or 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon of lime juice
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
All of the following are the optional toppings that you can include, use as much or as little as you want!
The ingredients are separated into two categories, those that are added before baking, and those that are added after baking in order to preserve freshness & crispness:
- Canned black beans (drained and rinsed) or canned refried beans
- Canned yellow corn
- Canned sliced black olives
- Queso dip
- Shredded sharp cheddar or monterey jack cheese
- Diced tomatoes
- Pico de gallo
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Sliced jalapenos, fresh or pickled
- Raw, pickled, or sauteed red onions
- Sliced fresh avocado
- Sour cream
- Cotija cheese
- Sliced limes (as a garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Get a large round skillet going on medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Line a large baking tray with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or a silicon mat if you have one. Grease the lined baking tray with a thorough coat of non-stick cooking spray (use whatever kind you prefer.)
- Once the oil has warmed and spread across the skillet, throw in the ground beef and stir it around the pan, making sure to break it up into small even crumbles. After 1 minute or so and after the beef has been broken down into crumbles, sprinkle the taco seasoning packet over the beef and give it a thorough stir to coat everything evenly. Let the beef cook for another 5-6 minutes, making sure that no pink color remains.
- While the beef is cooking, lay your chicken breast tenderloins out on a large plate or chopping board. Combine the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder (if any), and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl, giving it a good stir. Sprinkle the seasoning mix over each of the chicken breasts, covering them as evenly as you can. If you’re using leftover grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken, follow this step and proceed to shred the chicken up before throwing it in the skillet.
- Drain the excess grease from the skillet and scoop or pour the cooked taco meat into a bowl, set aside. Put the skillet back on the stove, leaving the burner on medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with the minced garlic, if you’re using that. Add the chicken breast tenderloins to the skillet and pour over in 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Cook the raw chicken for 3-5 minutes per side, or until each side of the breast is lightly browned (the time will vary depending on the size of your chicken pieces and your individual stovetop.) If you’re using chicken that has already been cooked, throw it in along with the lime juice and give it a consistent stir on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the skillet, putting it on a clean chopping board to shred up. Shredding the chicken can most easily be done with a fork, pulling at the grain of the chicken so it falls apart easily.
- Start assembling your nachos by spreading out the bag of tortilla chips evenly across the baking tray. Top the chips with your cooked taco meat, shredded chicken, and any other “Before Baking” toppings you like!
- Bake your nachos for 10-12 minutes, or until any cheese has melted and the tortilla chips are lightly browned. This is a good time to chop up any fresh ingredients you haven’t added yet!
- Add your favorite “After Baking” toppings, grab your friends or family, and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
- Thicker, sturdier tortilla chips will work best for this recipe. Thin, crispier tortilla chips won’t hold up as well under the weight of all the toppings.
- Be sure to add the fresh, crunchy toppings to the nachos after baking! These items include things like salsa, green onions, cilantro, pickled jalapenos, avocado, guacamole, fresh tomatoes, and shredded lettuce!
- You can use leftover chicken breast or rotisserie chicken to make these nachos! Just shred up the chicken you have available, sprinkle it with a little cumin and chili powder, and throw on top of the nachos before baking!
- Keep an eye on the nachos while they’re in the oven to make sure you don’t burn the tortilla chips! Remove the sheet pan from the oven as soon as the nachos start to brown!
- Placing a silicone mat on top of the baking tray before assembling the nachos will make your cleanup extremely quick and easy!
- My favorite part about these nachos are how versatile and flexible they are. They can be easily adapted for everyone’s food preferences! Leave out the beef and/or the chicken if you’re a vegetarian or pescetarian! Vegans can substitute the shredded cheese for vegan cheese alternatives. If you have picky children to feed, leave out the tomatoes, olives, and jalapenos!