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Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,478
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

A trick for building nachos?

I failed once again and am ready to never make nachos ever again. The toppings fall off the chips and are more of a mess to eat than they should be.

I started with finely pre-shredded cheese thinking it would hold the other ingredients. I even added cheese between the beans, meat and olives. I used Doritos plain corn chips which were blah. Maybe freshly shredded cheese would have been best. I think the hamburger should have been saucy rather than crumbled.

DH jokingly said they weren't greasy enough to hold together. I read a hint online to start with warm chips. ??? Anyone have their own way to do it right?

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,259
Registered: ‎11-15-2011

Re: A trick for building nachos?

Here are some tips I found online.....

The Five Keys To Reaching Nacho Nirvana

THE CHIP The ideal specimen is medium-thick. Greasy, thin versions–like the ones some restaurants fry in-house–won’t hold up here. I’m into Tostitos Simply Natural chips.

THE CHEESE Go for a blend of sharp yellow cheddar and Monterey Jack; they melt well and aren’t overpowering.

THE MEAT You want shredded or pulled meat for easy building and eating. Pork is my gold standard–it crisps up nicely but remains juicy under blasts of cheese-melting heat.

THE FIXINGS As with any dish, balance is paramount. Meat and cheese beg for heat, freshness, and acidity. So finish with cilantro and set out jalapeños, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream for garnishing.

THE STRATEGY Proper assembly is nonnegotiable.
Start with a baking sheet: You need surface area, plus it makes a statement to present a tray of nachos that generous. Spread out a layer of chips, followed by an even distribution of meat and beans, then lots–I mean lots–of cheese. Complete coverage guarantees you don’t commit the cardinal sin of nacho making: the sad chip with no topping. Repeat until you have an impressive tray a few layers high, then bake.

Pour yourself a Margarita, let guests yank out a cheesy chipful, and watch them go nuts.

Preheat the oven to 375F

Put a third of the tortilla chips into an oven dish, and top with a quarter of the chilli and cheddar. Repeat this twice more, then put the remaining chilli and cheese on top and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Top with the salsa, guacamole and sliced radishes or jalapeños, and serve immediately, with any extra salsa or guacamole on the side.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,020
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: A trick for building nachos?

Brown and crumble one lb of a quality ground beef, in my case round. Mix one can of refried beans and heat, this keeps the meat sticking to the chips. Use regular, vegetarian, no fat, whatever. Cut to half a can if you really can't stand refried beans. Spread Tostitos Cantina Chips, the thick ones, on a large cookie sheet. Dab the meat bean mixture by spoonfuls until used up. Grate four to six ounces of Monterey Jack cheese over the surface, or buy pre-grated. Don't overdo the cheese at first until you get the hang of this. I sprinkle with chopped onion, chopped firm tomatoes, and one of those little cans of sliced black olives. Put the sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and the chopped ingredients are heated through. You can also put the cheese on after the chopped ingredients, but the other way is more colorful. We now eat these more than the tacos I used to make with a similar recipe. Serve with more chopped ingredients and a couple flavors of Salsa. My current favorites are Pace Mango and Peach and Citrus Pineapple. Serve red for traditionalists.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 36,682
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: A trick for building nachos?

I quarter corn tortillas and fry, then drain, and salt them. I then lay the chips in the dish/pan, then top with refried beans, then meat, usually shredded pork shoulder which I make in advance, (freeze in baggies), then cheese, and put in oven or microwave to heat and melt the cheese. The beans hold everything in place. Once heated, the toppings/garnishes are added, and it's done.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 124
Registered: ‎11-18-2014

Re: A trick for building nachos?

You need to use bigger chips. Tortilla chips work best.
Super Contributor
Posts: 431
Registered: ‎07-19-2013

Re: A trick for building nachos?

I cheat. I layer the cooked spiced beef in a dish with beans and cheese and such, put a spoon in it, and have people put some on their plate to dip the chips into. All the flavor, none of the trickiness.

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 3,874
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: A trick for building nachos?

I line a shallow baking pan with foil, spritz it with cooking spray, and cover the botom with a layer of tortilla chips. While my oven is heating to 400 degrees, I sprinkle the tortilla chips with seasoned, browned taco meat and a generous layer of grated cheese (jack, cheddar, mozzarella -- you choose). Then I put the nachos into the oven till they're melty and beginning to brown (about 3 - 5 minutes, usually). Serve a portion of crispy/toasty/melty nachos onto each person's plate. Have toppings (chopped sweet onion, shredded lettuce, sliced ripe olives, chopped tomatoes, guacamole, pickled jalapeno slices, sour cream, warm beans, fresh salsa and/or pico de gallo) on hand so people can "dress" their own nachos. These are a smash hit at our house. Great football game food!

Valued Contributor
Posts: 765
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: A trick for building nachos?

I make the Rotel/Velveeta cheese dip and put that on first to stick to the chips and make them gooey, then add whatever other toppings I want to add on top of that.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,440
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: A trick for building nachos?

Haven't made them in years, but I used to put enough tortilla chips on a plate to cover it & a little piled up, open a can of refried beans & spoon globs of it on top of the chips (use the whole can), sprinkle sliced canned black olives & lots of diced raw onion on top of the whole thing & then heap lots of shredded cheddar cheese all over it & nuke it in a microwave on high for 2 minutes & serve with sour cream & salsa on top when it come out of the microwave. It's easy & pretty tasty, though not especially healthy!

Valued Contributor
Posts: 745
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: A trick for building nachos?

My nachos start with "should taste this good" multi-grain chips from Costco. These are GF and taste better that corn chips IMO. I start with chips, then cheese, a layer of "Emeril's Toco Bar" recipe, a mixture of diced tomatoes and sliced olives, one more layer of cheese. I microwave each plate for 3 minutes but you could put in oven if using oven safe plates. Emeril's meat recipe is really really good.