How to Make Better Nachos: 2 Methods for Perfection

You can’t go wrong with nachos for any occasion, but if you’re looking to make them just right, here are two methods guaranteed to produce incredible results.

The “best cheese for nachos in oven” is a method that makes the nachos more flavorful and crunchy. The other method is to make them on the stovetop.

My wife was born and bred in Wisconsin, so she was doomed to be obsessed with cheese and soured milk. It’s in her blood, as it is in the blood of most Midwesterners.

On our favorite game days and trips while we were dating, we’d frequently “share” one of our favorite guilty pleasures: a spread of nachos, wings, and domestic light beers.

That’s when I discovered my wife’s awful nacho etiquette for the first time. When nachos are made in the common, ill-considered manner in which all toppings are piled atop a pile of chips (more on this later), my wife was the first to remove the cheese, soured milk, and other toppings from the top, ensuring that the majority of the cheese, sour cream, and other toppings were consumed by her and her alone. I was left to rummage among a strew of broken chips and green onions strewn over the mound.

When dating, one needs to put up with such antics; overreacting to someone’s nacho munching during the courting period is probably a red sign, so I kept my cool. But I made my move soon after we said our “I do’s” — really the following morning when everyone gathered to watch Sunday football —

I’d never “split” a plate of nachos with her again until she learned to share the bounty. As we traveled south to Mexico for our real honeymoon, we made some progress, cementing our newly minted vows and nacho commitment.

My wife, on the other hand, is not to blame for everything.

Much of the muck in this circumstance stems from the dish’s normally poor preparation. As I previously said, there’s nothing more aggravating than a large mound of chips with an assortment of meager toppings covering just the exterior surface. You get a few bites of grandeur in this situation, but the remainder of the mess resembles the broken shards of a tortilla chip window.

There is a better way to do things. Actually, there are a few.

Take, for example, the eatery Chili’s. While I am not usually one to preach the praises of corporate restaurants, Chili’s got one thing right with its “perfect bite nachos” (as I call them). Each chip is individually smeared with refried beans, cheese, jalapeos, and other toppings and presented one at a time for a consistent eating experience. There’s no sifting through haphazard stacks of toppings, and there’s no waste. Each mouthful is exquisite, with enough of sour cream or guacamole on the side to properly distribute. This is a win-win situation for a type A person like myself, and it’s one you can easily recreate at home.

However, there is a certain “cool” element to having a big ol’ pile of a gastronomic adventure laid out in front of you, and if deviating from tradition isn’t your thing, the traditional “mountain of nachos” technique may still be salvaged – if approached from a different, better planned perspective. 

I’ve laid down both techniques of nacho building below, each with its own set of advantages.

 

Keep in mind that creating nachos is a “choose your own adventure” situation, with a variety of toppings ranging from vegetarian to wild game to seafood. Below are some fundamental templates, recipes, and approaches that you may change and transform to make them uniquely yours. Have a good time and don’t forget to share.

Nachos with a Perfect Bite

Nachos in a tray.

This approach takes a little more time and effort than tossing chips on a baking sheet and then dusting toppings on top haphazardly, but it yields a far more level distribution of toppings, ensuring that each chip is as flavorful and appealing as the next.

Ingredients 

  • 2 packages tortilla chips, round
  • Refried beans in a 32-ounce can
  • 8 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz. grated Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 jar jalapeos, sliced
  • thinly sliced cherry tomatoes
  • thinly sliced green onions
  • sour cream
  • salsa

Thin layer of refried beans on a baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to broil. Place each chip on a baking sheet lined with foil and spread a thin layer of refried beans on top.

Cheese and on top sliced jalapeno.

Top each chip with a sliced jalapeo and a large amount of cheese. Place on the center shelf of the oven and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned and the cheese is bubbling. Remove from the oven and scatter sliced tomatoes and green onions on top. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Mountain of Nachos

Nachos mountain in a tray.

Like much of my cooking, my nacho mountain begins in a cast-iron pan. The pan doubles as a robust cooking and serving surface, keeping heat throughout the meal to keep the chips crisp and toasty. Two types of cheese are required for this approach. Queso is a must-have ingredient that serves as the glue that holds everything together. (And no, I’m not referring about the radioactive orange thing sold at baseball games.) I’ve included a queso recipe below that can be used to make nachos or as a simple cheese dip.

By adding complete (not broken) chips to the bottom of the pan, a stacking approach must be used. These should be rapidly topped with queso, as well as any chili, beans, or other proteins you choose to include. The goal is to have enough “heft” from the dish at the bottom of the stack. You don’t want this bottom layer to get wet, so work quickly. You may keep layering until you reach the top, at which point a new layer of cheese will need to be made.

Cheese and different vegetables on chopping board.

I prefer a combination of shredded sharp cheddar (for taste) and Monterey jack for this top layer of cheese (for melted goodness). This crunchy cheese layer, cooked under the broiler, ties everything together. After that, add tomato, cilantro, green onions, additional chili and/or proteins, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, and anything else you have on hand.

Layering and heaping these stuff into one magical mountain insures everyone’s happiness, including mine and my marriage’s. Queso del Diablo

 

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. white American cheese, grated
  • whole milk, 4 oz.
  • a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeo, coarsely minced

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine all of the ingredients. Heat until smooth, stirring occasionally and being cautious not to let it boil. Keep heated until ready to serve.

Mountain of Nachos

  • 2 tortilla chip bags
  • 2 cups queso a la da (recipe above) 
  • 8 oz. warmed black bean can
  • 8 oz. warmed shredded chicken
  • 8 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz. grated Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 jar jalapeos, sliced
  • thinly sliced cherry tomatoes
  • cilantro
  • sour cream
  • guacamole
  • salsa

Preheat the oven to broil. Drizzle queso, beans, and chicken over a layer of chips in the bottom of a cast-iron pan. Carry on in this fashion until you’ve constructed a few levels and a pile of chips. Cheese should be liberally sprinkled on top. Place on the center shelf of the oven and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned and the cheese is bubbling. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with sliced tomatoes, cilantro, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream on top.

Preheat the oven to broil. Drizzle queso, beans, and chicken over a layer of chips in the bottom of a cast-iron pan. Carry on in this fashion until you’ve constructed a few levels and a pile of chips. Cheese should be liberally sprinkled on top. Place on the center shelf of the oven and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned and the cheese is bubbling. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with sliced tomatoes, cilantro, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream on top.

Matt Moore is the author of The South’s Best Butts and a frequent contributor to the Art of Manliness.

 

 

Watch This Video-

If you want to make the best nachos, you need to use the right cheese. There are two methods for perfection: using a pre-made mix and making your own. The first is easier, but the second will give you more control over what ingredients go into your nachos. Reference: best cheese for nachos reddit.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make nachos better?

A: Add chicken.

What is the best combination for nachos?

A: The best combination for nachos is with a mix of cheese, sour cream, guacamole and tomatoes.

What is the best way to layer nachos?

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