Easy Loaded Nachos Recipe

Easy Loaded Nachos Recipe

The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 22 mins
Total: 32 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 1 pan
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
654 Calories
40g Fat
40g Carbs
35g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 654
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 40g 51%
Saturated Fat 16g 81%
Cholesterol 104mg 35%
Sodium 910mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 15%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 4mg 21%
Calcium 493mg 38%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 563mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These easy baked nachos are loaded with ground beef and classic vegetable toppings and condiments. The tortilla chips are baked with a browned ground beef and refried bean topping, and a generous layer of melty cheese. Finish these crispy, cheesy nachos with fresh pico de gallo or diced tomatoes along with your favorite toppings. Spice them up with pickled jalapeño rings or fresh sliced jalapeño or Fresno peppers, and serve them with an optional garnish of sour cream, guacamole, diced avocado, cilantro, and sliced green onions. 

Nachos are a great choice for game day gatherings, tv night, or midnight craving, and they make a tasty side dish to serve alongside burritos, burgers, wings, or tacos. They're fabulous party food as well. Serve the hot cheese-topped nachos surrounded by bowls of popular toppings and sauces. Your guests will enjoy adding their favorite toppings.

Ingredients

For the Nachos

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, more for the pan

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning

  • 1 (16-ounce) can refried beans

  • 12 ounces tortilla chips

  • 8 ounces shredded mild cheddar cheese

  • 8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese

For the Toppings

  • 1 cup pico de gallo, or diced tomatoes, optional

  • 1/2 cup sour cream, optional

  • 1 medium avocado, diced, or 1/2 cup guacamole, optional

  • 1/3 cup sliced jalapeño peppers, fresh or pickled, optional

  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, optional

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for easy nachos

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375 F. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet or ovenproof platter.

  3. In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. 

    onions sauteed

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  4. Add the ground beef to the skillet and continue to cook using a spatula to break up the meat until it is no longer pink, about 7 minutes.

    brown the ground beef

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  5. Add the taco seasoning and refried beans and continue to cook until the beans are softened, and ingredients are well blended, about 2 minutes.

    ground beef with refried beans for nachos

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  6. Spread tortilla chips evenly in the prepared baking sheet or pan. Layer chips with the beef-bean mixture. Evenly sprinkle with the cheeses.

    cheese on nacho chips

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  7. Bake until the cheese is melted and nachos are hot, about 8 minutes. Serve the nachos on the baking sheet or pan with desired toppings.

    baking dish with nachos

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

Tips

  • If your schedule is busier than usual, make the ground beef and sauce mixture the day before you plan to serve them. All you have to do is assemble the nachos and bake when you're ready to eat.
  • If possible, use block cheese and grate it on the large holes of a box grater or food processor disc. Store-bought shredded cheese can contain cellulose to keep the shreds from clumping, so this cheese may not melt as smoothly as freshly-grated cheese.
  • Nachos don't keep well, so plan to garnish and eat as soon as they come out of the oven.

Recipe Variations

  • Use shredded pepper jack cheese, cheddar jack, or a Mexican blend instead of plain cheddar cheese.
  • Replace the ground beef with carne asada, pulled pork, bulk sausage, shredded chicken, or ground turkey. 
  • For vegan or vegetarian nachos, skip the ground beef or use a meat replacement or beans.
  • You may halve the recipe to serve two to four people.
  • Instead of shredded cheese, finish the hot nachos with homemade queso.

How do I keep my nachos from becoming soggy?

  • Make sure your meat mixture isn't overly moist, and spoon it evenly over the chips. Your guests should get some of the cheese and meat mixture every time they grab a few chips.
  • Don't skimp on the cheese. A good, substantial layer of melted cheese acts as a buffer, keeping the toppings from soaking into the chips.
  • Add toppings just before serving, and don't overdo.
  • Instead of shredded cheese, use a homemade cheese sauce or queso. Bake the chips and then with the ground beef and bean mixture and then finish with cheese sauce or queso and toppings.

What kind of cheese is best for nachos?

You want to use cheese that will melt well for nachos. Stay away from hard cheeses and strong flavors. Freshly grated cheddar and Monterey Jack are excellent choices. American cheese and pepper jack will work as well.

How can I spice up my nachos?

Here are a few ideas for spicing up nachos:

  • Part or all pepper jack cheese is an excellent way to add some heat to nachos.
  • Finish them with hot salsa instead of mild, and add extra jalapeño peppers.
  • Drizzle spicy taco sauce over the nachos just before serving.
  • Add a dash of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes to the ground beef and bean mixture.