Over-the-Top Nacho Recipes for Cheesy, Flavor-Packed Chips

Who doesn’t love crispy tortilla chips smothered with cheese? The ones from your youth were probably little more than a pile of cheddar sprinkled on some chips, then microwaved for a few minutes. Though this easy version will do in a pinch, it’s really not that tasty. You usually end up with rubbery cheese and slightly chewy chips. When serious nacho cravings hit, something more impressive is in order. We’ve rounded up seven recipes for everything from a classic rendition to a version that gives the snack a Greek twist. If nachos weren’t on the menu before, they will be now.

1. Chorizo Nachos with White Queso Sauce

Nachos, Cheese Dip

Queso | iStock.com

Though nachos hail from Mexico, they were targeted toward an American clientele. The first version was a plate of chips, cheddar cheese, and some jalapeños, which is a far cry from the slowly cooked braises and moles traditional to the country’s cuisine. The Kitchn’s addicitive nachos lean a little bit more toward Mexico by using some spicy chorizo instead of ground beef.

Rather than topping the chips with shredded cheese, this recipe turns the dairy into a creamy sauce spiked with green chiles. Start by sweating some onion and jalapeño, then stir in canned chiles and evaporated milk. Add a cornstarch slurry to help the sauce thicken, then finish with the cheese and some seasonings. It’s remarkably easy and astoundingly delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 (12-ounce) packages Mexican chorizo
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 (4-ounce) can fire-roasted green chiles
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 12 ounces white American cheese, torn
  • 4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • White pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Chicken stock
  • 1 family-size bag of corn tortilla chips

Additional toppings

  • Lime wedges
  • Sliced radishes
  • Diced avocado
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Salsa
  • Pickled jalapeños
  • Cilantro
  • Sliced green onions
  • Sour cream
  • Refried or black beans
  • Crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese

Directions: Heat ½ tablespoon canola oil in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat. Add chorizo to pan, and cook, breaking into pieces with a wooden spoon, until completely browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate, and wipe skillet clean with a paper towel.

In same pan, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add jalapeño and onion. Cook until veggies have softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add green chiles and evaporated milk, and cook until hot. Combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water in a small bowl. Whisking constantly, add cornstarch slurry to chile and evaporated milk mixture. Whisk in the cheeses, garlic powder, onion powder, and ground cumin. Cook, continuing to whisk, until cheese is melted. Season with salt, white pepper, and cayenne, to taste. Thin with stock, if needed.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray two rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray, and spread chips evenly over each. Top chips with chorizo, and bake until warm, about 5 minutes. Top nachos with sauce and serve at once with desired toppings.

2. Memphis-Style Pulled Pork Nachos

pulled pork, barbecue

Pulled pork | iStock.com

Just because summer barbecues are over for the year doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to pulled pork. Introduce the smoky meat to some crispy tortillas with Food52’s cookout-inspired nachos. Though making smoked shoulder from scratch is definitely an option for this recipe, it takes quite a bit of time. Consider taking a little bit of help from your favorite barbecue joint for the meat. You can also find packaged versions of pulled pork in the grocery store. Once it’s covered with barbecue sauce and cheese, no one will be able to tell you didn’t make it yourself.

Ingredients:

Barbecue sauce

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1½ teaspoons grated shallot
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Nachos

  • 2 pounds pulled pork
  • 2 hearts of romaine, shredded
  • 1 bag yellow corn tortilla chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 16 slices of American cheese
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ½ cup sliced green onion
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions: Combine all barbecue sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan, and stir to combine. Set over medium heat, and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove sauce from heat, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 18-by-13-inch rimmed sheet tray with aluminum foil. Spread romaine over bottom of pan, then top with half of the mozzarella and half of the red onion. Evenly spread chips on top.

Place cream in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add American cheese, a few pieces at a time, adding more as it melts. When all cheese has melted, reduce heat to low so sauce is at a bare simmer.

Dress pork with a few tablespoons of sauce, then spread over chips. Top with remaining mozzarella, and bake 10 minutes, or until chips begin to brown around edges.

Drizzle barbecue sauce over the top, then repeat with the cheese sauce. Top with green onion and remaining red onion. Serve at once.

3. Sriracha Beef Nachos

nachos, tortilla chips

Beef nachos | iStock.com

Sriracha pandemonium has reached an all-time high. It’s featured on menus across the country, spanning every imaginable cuisine. Even doughnuts have gotten in on the trend. Though many of these foods are a little bit too bizarre, the spicy chile sauce is perfectly at home in this beef nacho recipe from i am a food blog. The sauce is an easy way to give tons of flavor to the meat, so you don’t need loads of other ingredients.

The real key to this dish is layering all of the ingredients multiple times. Most restaurants create a huge mount of chips, then pile everything else on top. The first few bites are great, but you soon find yourself eating bare tortilla chips. If you take the time to layer the components, you’ll ensure every inch tastes phenomenal.

Ingredients:

Beef

  • Cooking oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 small shallots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ⅓ cup Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Nachos

  • 1 (14-ounce) bag tortilla chips
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 3 jalapeños, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet. Set over medium-high heat. Add onion and shallots to pan. Cook until translucent and beginning to soften, then add garlic, and cook 2 minutes longer. Add beef to pan, and cook until completely browned. Drain off excess fat, then stir in Sriracha and soy sauce. Set aside.

Create a thin layer of chips over the pan, then sprinkle with a bit of the beef mixture, green onions, chiles, red pepper, and cheeses. Repeat layers until you’ve used up the remaining ingredients.

Bake nachos 5 to 7 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Garnish with toppings, and serve.

4. Ohio Nachos

potato chips

Potato chips can be used for nachos, too | iStock.com

Surprise your friends with this twisted take on nachos from Saveur. They’re made with potato chips, blue cheese, and a rich alfredo sauce. Though it might sound strange, it’s not much different than serving dip with a bag of fried spuds. If you want to make these truly gourmet, try adding some caramelized onions on top.

Ingredients:

  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed into a paste
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 3 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (13-ounce) bag kettle-style potato chips
  • 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring garlic and cream to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Pile chips on an ovenproof plate, drizzle with sauce, and top with blue cheese. Bake until cheese is just beginning to melt, 5 to 7 minutes. Garnish with chives, and serve.

5. Loaded Nachos

Nachos with Cheese and Vegetables

Vegetarian nachos | iStock.com

Vegetarians shouldn’t have to miss out on the fun of eating nachos, and they don’t have to with this hearty version from Damn Delicious. Even meat eaters will love this recipe as it features satisfying refried beans, sweet corn, creamy avocado, and melted cheese. Upgrade the chips even more by adding some salsa and sour cream.

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 5 cups tortilla chips
  • 1½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • ½ cup black beans
  • ½ cup refried beans
  • ⅓ cup corn kernels
  • ¼ cup green chiles
  • Pickled jalapeños

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread chips evenly over dish. Top with cheese, avocado, tomato, both beans, corn, and chiles. Bake until cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Garnish with jalapeños, and serve.

6. Greek Pita Nachos

fresh pitas, flatbread

Even pita chips work | iStock.com

Pita chips usually only appear alongside a bowl of hummus, which means leftovers tend to go stale. Show the flatbread a little more love with Kelsey Nixon’s Greek take on nachos, which was featured on Food Network. Topped with creamy yogurt and plenty of fresh veggies, it’s also one of the healthier nacho recipes you’ll ever eat.

When buying feta for this dish, you’ll likely see a couple of different kinds in your store. We particularly like the creamier French version. Use leftovers in salads, sandwiches, and crumbled over simple vegetable dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (6-count) bag pitas
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ¼ cup black olives, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • Feta cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush pitas with olive oil, and cut each into 6 triangles. Spread in a single layer on baking sheet, season with salt, and bake until crisped, 10 to 13 minutes.

In a bowl, combine yogurt, dill, and lemon juice. Add black olives, cucumber, tomatoes, and red onions, then stir to combine. Spoon over chips, top with feta, and serve.

7. Loaded Buffalo Chicken Nachos

blue cheese

Blue cheese | iStock.com

Chicken nachos can be a little lacking in flavor, but not when the poultry gets tossed in a spicy sauce. Try the technique with Host the Toast’s buffalo chicken-topped tortilla chips. The creamy cheese sauce is the real star, and it’s super easy. Just bring the cream to a simmer, then stir in the cheeses until they melt. Finally, sprinkle in some ranch seasoning. A final flourish of blue cheese, green onions, and pickled chiles completes the dish.

You may want to make extra cheese sauce, because it’s great in tons of applications. You can eat it like fondue or use it to make a fantastic macaroni and cheese. And feel free to use any combination of melting cheeses you prefer.

Ingredients:

Chicken

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1 cup buffalo sauce, plus more
  • 2 teaspoons ranch dressing mix

Cheese sauce

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound white American cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack or pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ranch dressing mix

Nachos

  • ½ bag tortilla chips
  • 10 slices pickled jalapeño, plus more
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • Buffalo sauce

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, toss chicken with buffalo sauce and 2 teaspoons ranch dressing mix. Cover, and set aside until ready to use.

In a small saucepan, bring cream to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in cheeses, adding one handful at a time, waiting until fully melted before adding more. Stir in ranch dressing mix, and remove from heat.

Place a thick layer of chips in the bottom of a cast-iron skillet. Top with half of chicken, then a drizzle of sauce. Repeat layers once more. You should have cheese sauce left to serve on the side. Top with jalapeños, green onions, and blue cheese. Drizzle with additional buffalo sauce, if desired.

Bake 2 to 3 minutes, or until cheese just begins to melt and chicken is heated through. Serve at once with additional cheese sauce.

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