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Favorite Nacho Toppings

I'm a nacho minimalist. I'm usually content with extra sharp cheddar and pickled jalapeno slices. However, I think the next time I make nachos, I'm gonna jazz it up. Any ideas? What interesting things do you apply to your tortilla chips before popping them into the oven?

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  1. Onions, tomatoes and cayenne pepper. Oh, and fresh jalapeƱos.

    1. Ceviche.

      No oven. Obviously.

      1. I like to add a little scoop of refried beans with my cheese and jalapeƱos if I happen to have some around.

        1. fave toppings: weird neon orange cheese from the 7-11 cheese machine (or at any given baseball stadium), with pickled jalapenos or green onions

          7 Replies
          1. re: calmossimo

            YES. +1 on 7-11 nachos. You can put as much cheese as you want on them. You cannot have enough cheese. ever.

            1. re: calmossimo

              Is it possible to make such processed deliciousness at home?

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                I haven't tried this recipe myself, but it's in my recipe box. Kenji from Serious Eats developed this cheese sauce recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                1. re: 4Snisl

                  I love Kenji, I'm sure this recipe turns out well I should give it a try.

                2. re: fldhkybnva


                  My wife and I recently discovered Rico's products at Walmart. Picked it up on a lark as we indulge in the jarred processed stuff on occasion for movie night. We found the Rico's cheese sauces surprisingly good, and most of the ingredients are pretty reasonably cheese related. The white queso is my favorite, and is now featured pretty regularly in my tater tot casserole.

                    1. re: laststandchili

                      "...pretty reasonably cheese related." This cracked me up. I love how all of us on Chow can be so uppity and tightly wound about food on one hand. And then on the other hand, start a conversation about nachos, and all of a sudden our dirty little secrets come to light. 7-11 cheese (my personal favorite), Velveeta, cheese "product," tater tots??? lol!! I love this thread.

                3. I like some chopped green onions, or maybe some sliced black olives, or a small amount of chopped fresh tomato.

                  The refried beans or salsa or guacamole I like on the side, so it doesn't make the nachos soggy.

                  1. Pureed black beans, chorizo nuggets, nacho cheese, jalapenos, and a warm smokey dipping salsa.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Veggo

                      You're the first to mention a meat. Took seven responses. Apparently most Hounds like their nachos light.

                    2. Man, I am of the mindset that a proper plate of Natchos is just a blank canvas. As I wrote on another thread some time ago:

                      "I believe that nachos can be a thing of utter beauty - a fantastic array of flavors and textures and contrasts. I make them with all sorts of toppings and approach the platter with the goal of attaining the proper balance.

                      Heavy/thick chips should always be the foundation - whether homemade or one of the thicker styles available from better markets. I like layers. Chips - cheese - chips - protein - cheese and then heat. After the platter comes out of the oven, the vegetables are placed on top - shredded lettuce or cabbage, onions, tomatoes and/or salsa, and, no matter what else, chiles, lots of chiles.

                      The protein-cheese-chile balance is the key. For example, I like nachos with a milder Monterey Jack cheese if I'm using a beef based chili topping to which I'll add pickled jalapenos. On the other hand, when I make my lobster version, I have found that a saltier cheese like gruyere and habaneros are a better match. Then again, leftover pulled pork barbecue works great with sharp cheddar and fresh jalapenos (and maybe some Scotch Bonnets too).

                      Lettuce or cabbage, along with the irreplaceable chopped onion, provide an essential textural component. A spoon of Kalona sour cream or thick Greek yogurt on top is also a way to add a temperature contrast and a capsaicin mitigator."


                      Anything goes, my friend, but like in everything else in life, finding the balance is key . . . . .

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: MGZ

                        Your nachos sound like a veritable casserole. Truly a meal unto themselves.

                        I've actually never done the layering approach, although I may attempt to do so while sticking to my credo of rather few ingredients.

                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                          PK, shredded chicken helps turbocharge nachos, also. Indeed, nachos can proxy for a meal, especially during a televised sporting event.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            I wholeheartedly agree that nachos can make a meal. They have done so for me many a time, usually accompanied by a big pan of Ranch Style Beans.

                        2. re: MGZ

                          I have attempted the layer technique and it didn't work out so well for me. For some reason, the layers didn't seem to melt well. What temperature and how long?

                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                              At the risk of bein' overly vain and quoting myself again, I will repost this from the other thread:

                              "I'll be honest, man, this is a topic I am in love with. I mean a good plate of nachos is a true tribute to food dorkiness globally. In fact, I think a chef should be tested by his ability to take some leftover protein - be it beans, chili, braised pork, fried chicken, whatever - and make an as*kickin' plate of nachos (none of this wussy omelette stuff). It's fundamentally like making a great pizza with toppings - it's all about the balance.

                              One nacho platter I failed to mention earlier was created when I took almost a pound of backfin crabmeat, placed it over the chips and cheese layer (camembert and fontina), dusted it with cumin, and when it was melty, took it from the oven and topped it with shredded Napa cabbage, fresh cilatro and oregano, chopped onion, diced heirloom tomato, and some really, really hot, thinly sliced serranos."

                              As to my heating time/temp, I tend to go about 275 and use chips that are thick. I eaither fry 'em myself of get the from the Mexican place down the street. Patience is essential . . . .

                              1. re: MGZ

                                Gourmet nachos con jaiba...that'll work!

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  Ain't nothin' worth doin' that ain't worth doin' right, mi amigo.

                                2. re: MGZ

                                  Thanks, I guess I should lower the temperature which might allow all the layers to melt

                          1. Khan, I'm with you, a minimalist and like the original nacho preparation , in this case a tostada, cheese, and nachos. They were invented in Piedras Negras across from Eagle Pass Texas in 1943 by Nacho Ayala. That's the way I do them at home, but two good Tex Mex place I like in Houston do some nice ones with a bit extra. El Tiempo uses fresh lump crabmeat, while Merida has chorizo nachos. Both use cheddar and jalapenos and have refried beans on them which we always get on the side.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: James Cristinian

                              There's a joint up here called Mesquite's that doesn't do much well, but they do make a hellified BBQ brisket nacho plate. It's just typical chopped brisket--who knows if it has really been smoked?--like you get on a BBQ sandwich, layered on top of the cheddared tostadas, and then topped with diced onion and pickled japs. Very good indeed. I may have to swing by Rudy's and pick up a dab of chopped brisket for this very purpose.

                            2. Refried beans, cheddar or jack cheese, seasoned beef or chicken, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, sliced black olives, sour cream. Sometimes guacamole and chopped jalapenos from my garden only, not canned. I don't bother with shredded lettuce anymore.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                Refried beans are only OK with me when on nachos.

                              2. Layer it. 3+ layered nachos. Small individual plate(s) to not be soft before can eat. Have more than one plate(s) if hungry so fresher into mouth. Use: olives, chili, cheese, ground beef, chili pepper slices, beans, tomatoes, onion, chives, bacon bits, chicken, BBQ, extra cooked meat, or salsa. Some combination alternated with chips. More filler ingredients than chips. Minimize ingredients with too much moisture. Melt together in a hot oven or BBQ under a lid to maximize chip dryness. Is best to eat a nacho right out of the heat. Before chips have a chance to get soggy from extras.

                                I like sour cream, guacamole, homemade ranch, and / or salsa on the side spooned on individual bites. Maybe top with chopped olives, chives, more bacon bits. Possibly add all the sauce and sprinkles after heat if no time to enjoy adding onto individual bites. Can build layer, heat together, and then top again. I eat with a spoon and fingers mouth over plate especially when chips are not all whole to avoid a monster mess.

                                A microwave softens some chips into mush before cheese melts so avoid microwaved nachos.

                                Go with a favorite or flavored chip if into them. I like Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili when on sale: http://www.fritolay.com/our-snacks/do...

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: smaki

                                  Bacon, duh! Why did I never think to put bacon on nachos.

                                  1. re: smaki

                                    I like everything but the bacon. Somehow it doesn't go together in my head. But I would try them

                                    1. re: smaki

                                      as a kid, my family always did nachos or doritos...now i refuse to allow them due to the calories, fat, cholesterol, you name it! oh to be young, naive and blessed with a fast metabolism...

                                    2. Pulled pork, roasted pobalano peppers, gouda cheese and BBQ sauce.

                                      1. There's a local place that serves Pulled Pork Nachos. Everyone raves about them. I didn't think they sounded appetizing but they were amazing. At home I keep my nachos simple like a lot of others here.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: KrumTx

                                          Lee Roy Selmon's has a BBQ pulled pork nacho but they stink. They have good Collard greens though.

                                        2. I still like the joke about the grocery store owner chasing the thief out the door. "That's nacho cheese! That's nacho cheese!"

                                          1. Add chili and cheese to the list of toppings already mentioned.

                                            1. My favorite is with pulled pork, with the usual cheese/peppers/tomatoes/onions, with a sprinkle of dry rub spices and a drizzle of thin, vinegary barbecue sauce.

                                              1. If you want to weird someone out put spiced Octopus on their Nachos.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. Funny thing is this thread has me thinking about a "new" nacho platter. As referenced in this other thread ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892925 ), I am going to make barbecued corned beef. I will then "pull" the shreds for nachos and use Swiss cheese, topping after comin' out of the oven with shredded cabbage, onion, and some chiles (haven't quite figured out which might work best - I'm open to suggestions?). Also, by show of hands, anyone think I should make thick, crispy "potatoe" slices in lieu of the fried tortillas?

                                                  For what it's worth, I'm goin' do it as a silly main after starting the "birthday girls" off with fried scallops and crab cakes. As to the thread I linked, I'm still open to ideas.

                                                  1. Say what you want about me and or my methods however when I'm making nacho's I can only do so with cheese which I have stolen. Yes, you have read that correctly, I need to only use cheese which I have shoplifted or taken from some other individual. In my mind that is the only way to make nacho's properly.

                                                    Can any of you explain this bizarre behavior of mine?

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                      There is a rare disorder known as kleptofromagia. Sounds like you may have it. Talk to MGZ. I believe he's a "mental health worker" or some such.

                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                        Nah, I'n just a healthy worker who's mental.

                                                      2. re: jrvedivici

                                                        Somehow, I have a whole new respect for you.

                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                          Because if you steal the cheese first then it's " Not-yo-cheese "


                                                          Thank you, thank you, thank you. I just flew in and boy are my arms tired! Take my wife, please!!

                                                          Oh my, I'm here every Mon-Fri 9-5 please catch my next show, 2 drink minimum, one for you and one for me!

                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                            Man, this thread has the wheels turnin' (you can probably hear the squeaks). How do you feel about a pork roll nachos? I mean, make a chili kinda thing out of pr and top it with whatever cheese you choose to steal? Now that would be "modern" diner fare, huh?

                                                            I may start working on it next week. Have to see what I learn from the rueben nachos trial . . . .

                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                              As I noted above, "stop ...thief!... that's nacho cheese! That's nacho cheese!"

                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                +1 lol I used the recommend button as well since I really have no idea what it's intended purpose is.

                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                  Side note: I agree, I'm still confused about it's purpose so I do what you just did +1 and click the button which I think makes it useless.

                                                            2. Having been raised in Texas, and nachos are a certifiable Tex-Mex food, the platters of layer (or piled up) tortillia chips with chili and cheese and great amounts of other things dumped on the chips are definitely not nachos. To be nachos the chips have to be individual chips with whatever topping pleases you.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Virginian

                                                                Agree ciento porciento, one hundred percent.

                                                                1. re: Virginian

                                                                  Yes, we get it. No beans in chili, no cheese with seafood, and always make sure you cook your eggs 'til the yolks are hardened. I've got a bit of a prescriptivist bent myself, but I just can't let that prevent me from tryin' good chow. I mean, a California Roll is pretty blasphemous, but it appears to taste pretty good to a whole lot a folks . . . .

                                                                2. A CHOW video on a nacho technique with good info is at: http://www.chow.com/videos/show/youre... Summary: Put thick corn chips on a baking pan a single layer thick. Apply fillings with a small spoon to as many single chips as possible. Sprinkle cheese to cover. Bake to melt. Out of oven add small dots of 'cold' toppings all over 'warm' nacho chip tops. Consume without delay.

                                                                  1. I make some very tasty "Crab & Goat Cheese Nachos" that contain lumb Blue-Claw crabmeat, fresh goat cheese, & shredded mozzarella; served with salsa or pico de gallo, sour cream, & guacamole on the side for dipping.

                                                                    1. I don' t think you can go wrong with good cheese and peppers. You could try cheese/pepper variation (e.g. queso blanco with chipotle, monterey jack with fresh jalapenos....etc). Why mess with perfection?

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                        Initially, I note that finding a great cheese-chile balance for natchos can be a thing of near spiritual glory. In fact, I believe that the cheese-chile-protein balance is he core f a terrific plate I must, however, respond to something else you suggested:

                                                                        "Why mess with perfection?"'

                                                                        Why always play a song the same way every time? Some nights, leavin' out a coupla notes in your solo
                                                                        or changin' the tune to a different key, can make magic (though, admittedly, sometimes it will pretty much suck). Either way, we ain't gonna live forever . . . .

                                                                      2. Whole black beans (goya canned), green onions, salted chiles from my fridge stash, grated queso seco, and a drizzle of mexican crema on top.

                                                                        1. simple is good for nachos but lots of toppings is best!
                                                                          thick chips, refried beans (out of a can is fine, just thin them out a bit), "mexican" style cheese, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, olives and jalapenos. baked in the over till cheese is melty and chip edges slightly burned. sides of pico de gallo (or salsa), sour cream and guacamole. a meal in itself!

                                                                          1. Costco sells the same nacho cheese sauce that you get on your 7-11 nachos and chili dogs. It's in a gallon can called Que Bueno nacho cheese sauce.

                                                                            1. Sliced black olives (pitted) and lots of ultra-sharp super-aged cheddar.

                                                                              1. Gosh, why didn't I think of this before?

                                                                                On top of your nachos, place a layer of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, then brown under the broiler.