Tips and Tricks for the Best Nachos

Learn how to create delicious, crowd-pleasing nachos at home.

It's hard to go wrong with nachos. Anything that starts with salty chips and melted cheese is practically guaranteed to be delicious! But beyond that basic combination lies a world of nacho options: choices of meats, cheeses, veggies, and other add-ons that allow you to express your creativity and create your own crave-worthy plate.

Here's how to make nachos at home, with tips to take your nacho game to the next level:

Chips

Make 'Em Sturdy

A thick corn chip is a great option — it can stand up to warm and wet toppings without getting soggy. If you want an extra-colorful plate, consider using blue or red tortilla chips, which taste essentially the same as traditional chips.

Make 'Em Classic

Choose a lightly-salted tortilla chip, and be careful to avoid strong-flavored options, which can compete with the taste of the toppings.

Cheese

Shred It Yourself

If melty shredded cheese if your favorite way to dress up nachos, resist the urge to buy pre-shredded cheese. It's treated with stabilizers that don't perform well when subjected to heat. For the best, meltiest cheese, shred your own Cheddar or Monterey Jack (or a mixture of both).

Get Saucy

If you're more of a fan of gooey and yellow nacho cheese sauce, many people swear by the taste and texture of processed-cheese products such as Velveeta; we don't judge! For a more homemade route, learn how to make cheese sauce for nachos, with tips for getting the perfect consistency from your cheese sauce.

Toppings

Layer It Up

To keep your nachos interesting from top to bottom, layer your ingredients more than once. Start with the chips, then hot toppings, then cover with cheese, herbs, and veggies, then repeat the layer at least once before baking. Remember: Excess = success!

Keep It Bite-Size

Make sure your shredded chicken, tomatoes, and other toppings are all on the small side to keep this communal dish from getting too hard to handle.

Separate Hot and Cold

The best nachos feature a mix of cooked and fresh ingredients, such as grilled shrimp and cilantro. Yet it's best to keep hot and cold separate throughout the preparation process, so fresh herbs and green onions don't wilt from heat, and guacamole and sour cream don't liquefy. For best results, add these cold ingredients just before serving.

How to Make Nachos

  1. Keep it neat. Line your sheet pan with aluminum foil for super-easy clean-up. Coat it with a little non-stick spray to prevent any sticking.
  2. Layer up the pan with your chips, cheese, and toppings. Try to avoid any chips being without toppings, as they're more likely to burn that way.
  3. Bake in a hot oven preheated to 400 degrees. And keep an eye on the chips. Bake your nachos until the cheese is melty and the edges of the chips just begin to brown.
  4. Let your nachos cool for just a minute, then slap on your cold toppings and enjoy!

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