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How do you make nachos ?

I asked this question because the few times I have made them. They were limp,and tasteless. A freind of mine buys the chips from a taqueria and uses black beans. Use mexican grated cheese. Don't put the cheese on untill the chips are warm.I heard from someone else. For myself I like some beans,I really like the refried beans, a little jalapeno with cheeese on chips.It's one of these things I call simply hard.
Oven temp?What brand chips to use? Layering the chips? Cheese and beans on each layer? Make your own beans or use canned?What cheese to use?I want to make them for our Super Bowl party. I can get all of the ingredients. Just need to build it. Help

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  1. Hot stuff: refried beans, cheese, and meat, any meat works fine. That goes into my oven. Temp doesn't really matter, I just want the cheese to melt. I use whatever cheese I have, which is usually cheddar.

    You could layer the beans and cheese, I don't but it works better.

    Top with pico de gallo, guac, and sour cream.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jaykayen

      Yeah, that's pretty much what I do. I put the whole mess in a cast iron skillet and bake. I've found this helps keep the whole mess warm and melty. I usually use round corn chips; I found they break off less than the triangle shaped ones. I only use the triangle shaped ones when I'm doing the original nacho recipe that called for tortillas cut into quarters, fried, each topped with some cheese and a single slice of jalapeno.

    2. Here's a recent discussion, with a lot of solid thoughts: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/879957

      Otherwise, . . . .
      I like a low oven 275 to 300.
      I usually make the chips & the beans (or whatever meat toppings - nachos are kinda a "leftovers" food).
      Cheeses can be varied according to toppings.

      1 Reply
      1. I love nachos, but I think they're a hard food to serve in a group setting, because you only have a small window between nice melty cheese and one big clump of stuck-together chips. I would opt for something like 7 layer dip, or do some kind of queso dip in a crockpot. You could have meat, beans, salsa, guac, sour cream and olives on the side for a nacho bar.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gmm

          I agree, much easier for a crowd.

          That being said, when I make nachos (which is usually for two), I lay out the chips on a cookie sheet, toast under broiler just a little, put sliced cheese on the chips, broil until melted, and top with hot (stove top) refried beans, avocado, tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream. This way the chips stay crispier.

          If I really wanted that nacho experience for a crowd, I would do chalupas. Brush corn tortillas with oil, both sides, and bake at 350. You can do this a few hours ahead. The corn tortillas stay crispy.

          When ready to serve, top with hot refried beans, grated cheddar, lettuce, tomato, salsa, avocado, sour creme, etc.

          The corn tortillas hold up much better than chips do.

        2. I like napolitos, pepperoncini, pickled jalapeño or other pickled veg sprinkled in there too. Gives a nice "punch" of flavor to wake up beans and cheese.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sedimental

            +1 particularly the pickled peppers.

            Sometimes When I make seven layer bean dip I add some of the pickled jalapeno juice to the beans...

          2. Cook up ground beef, onions, mushrooms jalapenos to top on nachos (as flat as possible on baking sheet). Add cheese, bake.

              1. store bought commercial chips,
                store bought commercial salsa.
                store bought commercial grated cheese.
                store bought commercial sour cream.
                home made guacamole.

                Chips placed on a single-ish layer in a baking dish that can be brought up to the table.
                I like to have a bit of salsa on each chips so that they are a bit soft; put the cheese on top, pop in the oven until cheese is nicely melted.

                No need to be fancy.... wash it down with your preferred beverage.


                1. What happened to chips? There are only a few bags of plain (non-flavored) chips, in smallish bags. I remember the big bag of low-sodium chips marked "Restaurant Style" but haven't seen them lately.

                  1. Yes, help! I was so excited to make nachos a few weeks ago for a football game watching snack and it was a disaster. A friend recommended low broil vs bake. I layered the cheese and chips and other toppings to bake and in they went. When the cheese on top was melted I removed from the oven and carefully put on a plate and on my lap. I removed the first chip and met a pile of chips and unmelted cheese. I stuck them back in the oven to melt and of course the cheese on top turned into a hard, crusty clumpy mess which found the trash can. The substituted chips and dip was OK but I'd love to figure out how to make nachos. I must admit though - as a kid we loved microwave nachos so I might just resort to that.

                    1. I use a pizza pan or cookie sheet and spread the (Tostitos) chips, add grated mexican cheese blend (fine shred if you can get it, I use a local store brand) then broil until bubby. Move to serving platter then add (microwave-warmed) beans, chopped tomatoes and jalenpenos. Salsa, guac and sour cream are on the side. I use canned beans and commerical sour cream but home made salsa and guac.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: mrssamiam

                        How long do you broil? Low or high? I broiled and got melted cheese on top with stone cold on the bottom.

                        Also what are toppings do people add prior to baking/broiling? My mom likes warm salsa so always put that on as well as jalapeños and any meat. Any others? Of course the guacamole and sour cream should be on the side

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          The possibilities for toppings are practically without limit. As I posted in the thread I linked above, I've used lobster, crab, pork, turkey, chicken, mushrooms, etc. Hell, pork roll or spam could work great. Nachos are an excuse to be funky and creative.

                          1. re: MGZ

                            I never thought of seafood as a nacho topping until I had some wonderfully simple crabmeat ones at a restaurant a few years that I now duplicate frequently.

                            Basically just the chips sprinkled with lump Blue-Claw crabmeat, crumbled goat cheese, & shredded mozzarella. Bake in oven until chips are toasty & cheese is melted.

                            Serve with bowls of pico de gallo (or salsa) & guacamole on the side.

                          2. re: fldhkybnva

                            If you do more than one layer of chips and cheese, you'll need to bake at a moderate temperature (350ish) to get everything melted before the top layer burns. You can then broil briefly if you like a little bubbly browning. Someone's suggestion of doing them in cast iron so that things stay warm is a good one - it keeps the cheese gooey longer.

                            As for toppings, it really depends on what you like and how heavy loaded you want them. Meat and beans have a lot of moisture, so they tend to make the chips a little soggy - some people like that, some don't. Sour cream and guac definitely need to be on the side, but otherwise, it's up to you.

                            1. re: biondanonima

                              OK, thanks. I guess I do make a great nachos as my SO reminded me in response to my mention of posting here. For years (though we haven't had it in a long time so I guess that's why I forgot about it) we did a stove top queso blanco sauce, topped chips with ingredients and poured the sauce on top. They were delicious but I think I remember a few sog issues and for some reason a few weeks ago didn't even think of going that route.

                        2. Make your own chips.

                          Heat up a can of refritos with salsa, onions, and jalapenos.

                          Make the cheese into a thin cheese sauce.

                          Put the beans in the center of a large bowl. Put the chips in rings around the side of the bowl. Pour the cheese over the top.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: 512window

                            Ah, the reason for the cheese sauce is so they don't stick together, stay gooey longer, and don't turn into a hard, crusty clumpy mess .

                          2. I've made them over the years, and I just don't like the stuff served together, limp chip syndrome.
                            I like to serve all the mixin's separately, I do melt cheese over a single layer/ very slightly overlapped, home fried corn chips. Folks can make 'em how they want 'em, mix it on their own plates.

                            1. Any preferences for single vs multiple layer? Perhaps I should try single layer

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                I always do a single layer. No need to be anal about it - the edges can overlap a bit - but you end up with crisper chips & everything is easier to eat. The only con is depending on how many folks you're feeding, you may have to make several batches.

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Single layer is certainly more forgiving when using commercial chips. Perhaps you could do more than one tray at a time?

                                  1. re: MGZ


                                    You wrote, "when using commercial chips." How do the commercial chips differ in the way they react to having stuff poured on them, as opposed to homemade chips?


                                    1. re: gfr1111

                                      I find that when I fry corn tortillas, they are thicker, harder, and denser than anything I can get in a package.

                                2. I am a picky nacho builder. Local chips, each with a hearty schmear of frijoles topped with a little sour cream and a chunk of jalapeño, add a chunk of fajita or a cube of chili meat if available, grate cheddar over a tray of non-overlapping nachos, and broil. Add guacamole if available. Eat straight from jelly roll pan. Nachos never make it out of the kitchen.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: tim irvine

                                    Surely the cold/perishable items, sour cream, guac (and salsa), get put on after the heating and melting no?

                                  2. In case you haven't figured out what works for you yet, this is what I used to do whenever my sister requested nachos, using store bought chips and re-fried beans as well as green onions, sour cream/Greek yogurt, guacamole, tomatoes, and jalapenos.

                                    It’s a bit of a PITA, but I would smear re-fried beans on each (each!) chip using a spatula and would place it on a pizza or cookie sheet; once I had a layer of nachos with beans, I would put on grated cheese and start another layer. It wasn't difficult as much as time-consuming.

                                    I usually made two or three layers, depending on the size of the sheet and the number of people eating. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the oven temp, but I think it was around 200°F or so and I just kept an eye on it – the nachos getting warm and the cheese melting.

                                    After taking the sheet out of the oven, I scattered chopped green onions, tomatoes, and jalapenos on the nachos and dolloped the sour cream/Greek yogurt and guacamole in the middle. The sheet would go directly on a trivet and people just helped themselves.

                                    It worked for most people because some of the nachos remained crispy and hard and others softened as they were loaded down w/ more of the beans and cheese and by the centre. And pretty much, because it was nachos to eat that they didn't have to make! Hope that helps...

                                    ETA: and of course salsa or pico de gallo went on the nachos along with the sour cream/Greek yogurt and guac!

                                    1. I think this might be what you are looking for:

                                      I have made these several times and they were fantastic. Making the chips from corn tortillas will bring it over the top but using your favorite tortilla chips works as well. If find that the refried beans spread more easily if you heat it prior to use.

                                      1. We always had so much left over and soggy chips are not good the next day. So our version is now a de-constructed Nacho. On a large plate, spread refried beans. Top with browned ground beef, then shredded cheese. Microwave till cheese is melted and refried beans and beef are warm. In separate dishes are shredded lettuce, diced tomato, diced onion and sliced olives. This way, it's easy to reheat the leftovers and each person can build their own. While this is being prepared, warm chips in a single layer in the oven. Serve with side condiments of sour cream, guac and salsa.

                                        1. General thoughts - It would seem that the only thing you could use for nachos that would make them come out soggy would be anything liquid (or anything that could exude liquid when cooked).

                                          If you make sure that you drain any whole beans thoroughly, remove the seeds and juice from any tomatoes you might add, and don't use an overly runny re-fried bean mixture (if that''s your choice) you should be fine. Unless you LIKE burned chip edges, temperature shouldn't be critical. Just don't let things get dried out or (the opposite) cook too quickly for adequate heat through. Enjoy!

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Midlife

                                            I've been on a bit of a nacho kick lately and I hate soggy chips, so I've been doing what one of my local Mexican restaurants does by putting the cheese on the chips first, then adding the refried beans, and then another light layer of cheese.

                                            1. re: gmm

                                              Can't figure out where, in that sequence, the cooking/broiling happens. One local resto, where we love the nachos, asks whether you want the chips cooked IN the dish or separately. It just doesn't seem possible to avoid the sogginess of the chips that are underneath the beans or any other ingredient that has moisture in it. Seems like part of the 'secret' is the size of the dish. If there's room at the edges for non-soggy chips under the broiler, the overall presentation seems to work better.

                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                One layer of chips, cheese, beans, cheese again, and then into a very hot oven. At least that's how I've been doing it. The fat in the first layer of cheese seems to create a bit of a barrier, so the beans don't sog up the chips so much. Then after it comes out, I top with sliced olives, chopped scallions, and serve sour cream, guac and salsa on the side.

                                                1. re: gmm

                                                  I'm pretty sure that's the way the nachos I described are done too. The only soggy chips are those in the lower middle, right next to the beans.

                                          2. I make white bean chicken chili, wait until I'm sick of eating the leftovers, then scoop it into a bowl using a slotted spoon (so the broth stays behind). Add nacho "cheese" from the jar, microwave, stir, and dip chips in ;)

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: speakhandsforme

                                              I'd love to hear your recipe for white bean chicken chili.

                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                Hi! Sorry it took me so long to see this. This is off the top of my head, but there are many recipes online and it's quite easy to tweak to your liking. I make this in the slow cooker.

                                                3 chicken breasts
                                                2 cans white beans, canned black beans also work well.
                                                3-4 tomatillos, chopped in the food processor (paper skins off, green skins on)
                                                Large white onion, processed with the tomatillos
                                                Small can green chiles - use more/different peppers if you like it spicier, I'm pretty lame when it comes to capsaicin. Adobo chiles in sauce would be very good here.
                                                Cumin - 2 tbsp or to taste
                                                Salt and black pepper to taste
                                                1 can corn, sometimes, if I have it on hand and/or feel like it.

                                                Toppers - fresh cilantro, avocado, sour cream, cotija cheese, crispy tortilla strips.

                                                Dump everything but the toppers into the crockpot. Cook for 1-2 hours on high or until the chicken breasts are done. Shred chicken, return to pot, let the flavors simmer for another 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

                                                You can make it without the tomatillos, but they really add a nice, bright citrusy flavor to the dish. Chili can be heavy, but this one is much less so than the beef/tomatoes version, IMO.

                                            2. I lay out the chips in a single layer on some foil, sprinkle on shredded cheese and bacon bits, hit it with the broiler until the cheese melts, slop on some jalapenos, and that's all she wrote.

                                              1. I don't think I've ever made nachos to share with someone else, so it's okay to call me Miss Piggy if you'd like. But I do love playing with my food, so here's how I do it...

                                                1 bag Tostitos Scoops, quantity determined by you

                                                1 can refried beans prepared as follows:
                                                3 Tbsp olive oil
                                                1/2 chopped onion
                                                garlic powder, ground cumin, chili powder to taste
                                                Slow cook onions in oil until transparent,, then crisp a bit around the edges before adding the whole can of refried beans. Stir gently until smooth and onions are evenly mixed and texure of beans is smoothe. Season to taste with spices. Cool to a comfortable level to touch, then place in ziplock sandwich bag, squeeze out the air and zip closed. Cut off one corner just enough to make it a piping bag.

                                                Picadillo or other taco meat of choice

                                                Grated cheese of choice. I like good Mexican cheeses. I've also used feta, as well as cheddar. If you like it, you can use Cheez Wiz, if that's your favorite.

                                                Sour cream in ziplock piping bag (optional)

                                                chopped tomatoes, small-dice avocados, chopped chiles of your choice and any other taco garnish you love.

                                                Spread Tostitos cups face up and in a single layer across a microwave safe plate or platter. Pipe refried beans into individual Tostito cups. Top beans with remainining ingredients of choice in given order except fresh veggies. Nuke until cheese melts, top with sour cream and veggies.

                                                Settle yourself into your favorite place with a cold beverage of choice and your platter of nachos and enjoy!

                                                Unfortunately these don't stay crispie long enough to pass around at a party.