Nachos have come a long way since our elementary school cafeteria lunch days. Discovering real nachos has been revolutionary! This recipe is full of chips, cheese, meats, beans, and veggies, yum! We especially love how this is made on a single baking sheet, making clean up an absolute breeze. The best part of this meal? Everyone can choose their favorite toppings, leaving zero room for complaints. Whether you’re making nachos on a busy weeknight, Super Bowl Sunday, or cinco de Mayo, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easily customizable to your family’s favorite toppings.
  • Made on a single sheet pan with quick prep and cook time.
  • Ideal for parties, potlucks, or casual dining.
Nachos on a baking sheet with salsa and green onions on the side

Nachos Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Tortilla Chips: The crunchy base; opt for thick chips for better support.
  • Ground Beef: Adds savory depth. Substitute with shredded beef, leftover carnitas, or even chicken (ground or shredded) or ground turkey. For a plant-based option, you can simply add more beans and omit the meat or use your favorite vegetarian crumbles
  • Taco Seasoning: Provides a zesty flavor. Make your own blend for a personalized touch.
  • Refried Beans: Offers a creamy texture. Swap with black beans for variety.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Melts beautifully for gooey goodness. Experiment with different cheeses like Monterey Jack for a twist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this ahead of time?

Best enjoyed fresh, but you can prep toppings in advance.

What baking pan should I use?

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. 

How can I make it spicier?

Incorporate diced jalapeños into the beef mixture or drizzle with hot sauce before serving.

Can I make this gluten-free?

Absolutely, just ensure your tortilla chips and taco seasoning are certified gluten-free.

What if I don’t have taco seasoning?

You can always make your own taco seasoning!

How can I keep the chips from getting soggy?

Layering is key. Start with a base layer of cheese on the chips before adding wet ingredients.

Can I use cheese sauce instead of shredded cheese?

Certainly! 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. 

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.”  

Nacho Toppings

Vegetables and Fresh Additions

  • Tomatoes: Diced tomatoes add a fresh, juicy element. Drain them to avoid sogginess.
  • Onions: Both green and red onions lend a sharp, tangy flavor. Red onions offer a more intense bite.
  • Bell Peppers: For a sweet crunch, add diced bell peppers of any color.
  • Jalapeños: For that essential kick. Fresh slices offer crispness, while pickled jalapeños bring tanginess and heat.
  • Corn: Sweet corn kernels can be used fresh, grilled, or even as a salsa for a sweet pop.
  • Avocado/Guacamole: A creamy addition that pairs wonderfully with the heat of other toppings.

Sauces and Condiments

  • Salsa: From mild pico de gallo to fiery salsa roja, it adds moisture and spice.
  • Sour Cream: Offers a cool, creamy counterpoint to the heat.
  • Hot Sauce: A must for heat lovers. Drizzle over the top for an extra zing.
  • Cheese Sauce: A creamy cheese sauce can be drizzled over or served on the side.


  • Soggy Chips: Avoid overloading with wet toppings; add salsa and sour cream after baking.
  • Unevenly Melted Cheese: Spread cheese evenly and check oven temperature.

Tips From the Chef

  • Layer chips and toppings for even distribution.
  • Use a wide baking dish for more evenly cooked nachos.
  • Use a mix of cheeses for varied flavor and texture.
Nachos on a baking sheet surrounded by toppings

Nachos Readiness Indicators

  • Color: Look for golden, melted cheese and lightly browned edges on the chips.
  • Texture: Chips should be crispy, not soggy.
  • Aroma: A rich, savory smell indicates the nachos are ready to be devoured.

Storage & Reheating Instructions

  • Refrigerate: Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
  • Reheat: Warm in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain crispiness.
  • Freezing: Not recommended, as it affects the texture and quality.

More 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.