Sometimes you just need the crunchy, salty, cheesy goodness of chicken nachos. Am I right??? What’s not to love about crispy corn chips loaded with succulent chicken breast and dripping with tangy melted cheese and sour cream? They’re even better with earthy cilantro, creamy avocado, and the gentle heat from fresh jalapeno. Sigh. This is THE BEST chicken nacho recipe! It’s a perfect marriage of texture and umami bombs.
What Should I Put On My Nachos?
I’m going ’88 Bobby Brown here and saying that when it comes to ingredients for nachos, it’s your prerogative. (If you’re not familiar with My Prerogative, please enjoy three minutes of 80’s perfection.) This recipe uses chicken, fresh jalapeño, cilantro, green onions, and avocado. Some other excellent choices are:
- Veggies: Diced Bell Pepper, Diced Tomatoes, Black Beans, Corn Kernels
- Pickled Veggies: Pickled Jalapeño, Pickled Red Onions, Spicy Pickled Carrots
- Meats: Chopped Steak, Slow Cooker Carnitas, Ground Beef with Taco Seasoning
What Cheese Is Best For Nachos?
Not all cheeses melt well. So if you’re looking for an ooey-gooey cheese pull, opt for any combination of cheeses listed below. And if you can, shred your own. The additives in pre-shredded cheeses can prevent them from softening when heated.
- Monterey Jack
- Pepper Jack
- Queso Asadero
- Queso de Oaxaca
- Queso Quesadilla
- Queso Chihuahua
All that being said, I still love a sprinkle of Queso Fresco all over my nachos. It doesn’t melt, but it is sooo YUMMY.
What Sauces Go On Nachos?
You can use a simple salsa with nachos or go for something a little more complex. Drizzle it on top of your nachos or serve it on the side in a wide-mouth bowl for easy dunking. I chose a tangy Salsa Verde for this recipe, but a spicy Salsa Roja is just as good. You can also use any of these easy Budget Bytes recipes:
How To Make Perfect Chicken Nachos
- Choose a sturdy corn chip. Thicker chips can hold the weight of all of your toppings. A thin chip will break faster than a drama queen on The Bachelor.
- Line Your Sheet Pan. Use parchment or aluminum to make clean-up a breeze. Otherwise, you’ll be spending your night scrubbing burnt cheese.
- Layer your nachos. Put toppings on the first layer and then repeat. That way, you lessen the chance of getting a naked chip, i.e., the biggest nacho foul ever.
- Pre-cook your meat. Nachos should only be in the oven long enough to melt the cheese, which isn’t long enough to cook raw meat. Cook chicken ahead of time or opt for pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.
- Chop toppings into small dice. You want to get a bite with all of your carefully selected flavors. That will only happen with small chunks of meat and veggies.
- 3 tsp taco seasoning $0.21
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast $2.99
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
- 15 oz corn tortilla chips (1 large bag) $3.69
- 2 cups Mexican cheese blend, shredded $2.15
- 1 jalapeño $0.24
- 2 green onions $0.23
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro $0.23
- 1 avocado $1.50
- 1 lime, zested and juiced $0.60
- 1/2 cup sour cream $0.50
- 2 Tbsp queso fresco, crumbled $0.25
- Add a rack to the center of your oven and preheat it to 400°F. Pound the chicken breast an inch thick with a heavy skillet. Sprinkle liberally on both sides with taco seasoning.
- Add cooking oil to a heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken breast for 5 minutes, then flip it and cook for a few minutes more, or until a thermometer reads 165°F.
- Slice the jalapeño and two green onions. Chop the cilantro. Dice the avocado and drizzle lime juice over it to keep it from browning.
- When your chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F, remove it from the pan and let it rest for five minutes. Chop it into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Add half a bag of corn chips to the pan. Top with half of the shredded cheese and half of the chopped chicken.
- Repeat the layering process with the remaining chips, cheese, and chicken. Bake at 400°F until the cheese melts, about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle the nachos with the avocado, jalapeño, green onion, lime zest, and chopped cilantro. Finish with dollops of sour cream and sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Chicken Nachos – Step by Step Photos
Add a rack to the center of your oven and preheat it to 400°F. To ensure your chicken cooks evenly, cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap, and pound it an inch thick with a heavy skillet. Season your breast liberally with 3 teaspoons of taco seasoning.
Place a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is shimmering hot, add the breast. Cook for 5 minutes without moving it to create a thick sear. Then flip it and cook for a few minutes more, or until a thermometer reads 165°F.
Chop your fresh ingredients: slice one jalapeño, two green onions, a 1/2 cup of cilantro, and dice an avocado. As soon as you dice the avocado, drizzle it with the lime juice to prevent it from turning brown.
When your chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F, remove it from the pan and let it rest for five minutes before chopping it into 1/2-inch pieces.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Then, add half a bag of corn chips to the pan. Next, top with 1 cup of shredded cheese. (If you prefer cheesier nachos, double the amount asked for in the recipe.) Sprinkle the chips with half of the chopped chicken breast.
Next, repeat the layering process with the remaining chips, cheese, and chicken. Bake at 400°F until the cheese melts, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the nachos with the diced avocado, sliced jalapeño, 2 sliced green onions, lime zest, and 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro. Finish with dollops of the 1/2 cup of sour cream and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of crumbled queso fresco. Finally, serve the whole sheet pan of nachos like a party platter and snack on! Ugh. I’m jealous. I want to have these again right now!
What To Serve With Nachos
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