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This is the Ultimate Nacho Recipe! Crispy chips with melted cheese, ground beef, refried beans, and all of your favorite toppings. 

Nachos on a baking sheet with salsa and green onions on the side

Cinco de Mayo is almost here, and who doesn’t love nachos? Despite what was served at elementary school cafeteria lunches, nachos do not have to mean stale chips with a bland cheese sauce. Discovering real nachos is revolutionary! Chips, cheese, meat, beans, veggies, yum! 

History Lesson: Nachos were created by Ignacio “El Nacho” Anaya in 1943 in Mexico. He created a new snack for the wives of soldiers stationed at Fort Duncan, frying cut tortillas and adding shredded cheese and pickled jalapeños. He called them, “Nacho Especiales.”  

  • What dish can I bake this in?

    Nachos can be made in any oven-safe baking dish. For the photos and videos included with this recipe we used a standard baking sheet (baker’s half sheet). You could also use a cast iron skillet, a 9×13 pan, or if you want individual portions you could also use pie plates or 9×9 pans. 
  • Meat Options:

    If you don’t love ground beef, there are so many other options for nachos. Shredded beef, leftover carnitas, even chicken (ground or shredded) goes well on nachos.

  • Nacho Toppings:

    The possibilities are endless! Some of our favorites are:
    • Sour Cream
    • Guacamole or diced avocado
    • Salsa (canned, fresh, or pico de gallo)
    • Freshly chopped cilantro
    • Sliced black olives
    • Sliced or pickled jalapeños
    • Diced red onion
    • Sliced green onions
    • Corn (frozen or canned)
  • Nacho Cheese Sauce vs. Shredded Cheese

    We love a good quality shredded cheese like cheddar, or even a blend of cheddar, pepper jack, and colby jack, but nachos are also amazing with Nacho Cheese Sauce. If you use nacho cheese sauce instead of shredded cheese, you’ll want to toast your chips at 350 degrees for 5 minutes to heat up, then dot with the beef and bean mix, and drizzle cheese sauce on top. 

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious Mexican-inspired recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTubeFacebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Nachos on a baking sheet surrounded by toppings
Nachos on a baking sheet with salsa and green onions on the side
This is the Ultimate Nacho Recipe! Crispy chips with melted cheese, ground beef, refried beans, and all of your favorite toppings. 
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
  • 16 ounces tortilla chips
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 15 ounce can refried beans
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Additional Topping Ideas:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup guacamole
  • 1/3 cup sliced olives
  • 1/2 cup fresh salsa
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup sliced or pickled jalapenos
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in ground beef. Use a spoon to break up the meat and cook 8 to 10 minutes until beef is fully cooked through. Drain excess grease. Add in taco seasoning, stir, and cook 60-90 seconds.
  • Pour in water and add in refried beans. Stir to combine and cook until heated through. Keep warm.
  • Spread chips out onto a baking sheet (or other desired oven-safe baking dish including a 9x13 pan, cast iron skillet, or even a pie plate).
  • Sprinkle 2 cups of the cheese over the chips. Dot with the beef and bean mixture. Top with remaining 2 cups of cheese.
  • Bake in the 350 degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until cheese is fully melted.
  • Remove from heat and add additional toppings as desired. Serve warm.

Homemade Taco Seasoning:

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoons paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Nachos
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May 7, 2020 9:54 am

5 stars
This will become a Cinco de Mayo tradition. Everyone loved them. Used Salsa style retried beans & made a velveeta & diced tomatoes with green Chile’s cheese sauce instead of shredded.

Lorna M Williams
May 1, 2020 4:41 pm

Absolutely delicious thanz

Lynda Kalb
June 29, 2020 6:43 pm

5 stars
This was totally delicious and SO easy!! We’ll definitely be having these nachos again.

Alfred Gaylord Jones
November 7, 2020 5:45 pm

5 stars
Easy to make and taste delicious

Jenny Nance
June 14, 2020 10:55 am

5 stars
The nachos were not only easy to prepare, but also delicious!!!!

June 12, 2020 10:06 am

5 stars
This was outstanding! My favorite “meal” is nachos, but until now nachos was some tortilla chips, each spread with refried beans and topped with a banana pepper and cheese and heated in the microwave. I never thought of adding taco beef to the beans before spreading it on the tortillas, and I never thought of adding more toppings after heating. And thank you for the recipe for taco seasoning. I’m sure this will taste much better than the packaged taco seasoning I’ve been using.

May 2, 2020 6:50 am

5 stars
Absolutely phenomenal nachos! I’ve made variations of this recipe over the years… you’d be hard pressed to find a better nacho recipe! Nachos are purely subjective, numerous different variations but THIS ONE is truly awesome! Thanks for reminding me how easy and tasty this can be! Mmmm… so good!

Melissa Sperka
May 1, 2020 1:39 pm

5 stars
This has me drooling what a spectacular interactive appetizer or dinner. Love it!

April 25, 2020 6:25 pm

Is there a recipe for the cheese sauce?

Marty Ponnech
May 4, 2020 7:12 pm

Hello. I receive recipes on my cell phone from you. I really like the recipe for “authentic Carne Asada” and want to prine the recipe. Unfortunately, I can’t find it ony your site from my desk top. If you could post that, It would be very much appreciated!! Thank you!! Marty Ponnech

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