Ground Beef For Nachos

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this post is perfect for anyone who loves ground beef for nachos, or even just reading about them.

It happens. You don’t have time to make a trip to the grocery store, and you are out of ground beef. In an emergency situation like this, can you still make nachos? You’re darn right you can!

Ground Beef Nachos

Ground beef nachos are a tasty appetizer, snack, or meal. Loaded with your favorite cheese and toppings, this dish is simple and tasty. Perfect for a fiesta-inspired plateful of awesome. 

Beef Nachos Recipe

You’re going to love this ground beef nacho recipe because it’s such an easy loaded nachos recipe. Packed with diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro leaves, and all the fixin’s, this crunchy savory, spicy dish is perfect for sharing. Of course, you can also keep it t yourself too, and once you take a taste, you’ll see why it’s easy to hog it to yourself.

I love making nachos. It’s such a fabulous recipe that can please the young ones and us older ones too. I mean, you really can’t go wrong when you’ve got tortilla chips and cheese. The combination was practically made for one another.

Homemade Beef Nachos Ingredients

  • Ground beef
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Taco seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tortilla chips
  • Cheese

Optional Toppings for Beef Nachos

  • Tomatoes
  • Black olives
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Pico de gallo
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Lime wedges

How to Make Nachos with Ground Beef

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. If desired line a pan with foil to help with clean-up later.
  2. Brown your ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Once almost completely browned, drain grease from the pan.
  3. Add in the olive oil and the diced onions.
  4. Cook until the ground beef and onions are cooked. The onions should look almost translucent in color.
  5. Add in the taco seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  6. Set the ground beef mixture aside (off of the heat).
  7. On your sheet pan, spread out half of the tortilla chips.
  8. Sprinkle with half of the ground beef mixture and then top with half of the cheese.
  9. Repeat the layers (chips, ground beef, and then cheese) using the remaining beef, cheese, and chips.
  10. Bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.
  11. Top as desired with tomatoes, black olives, cilantro leaves, sour cream, or any toppings you desire.

What is the best way to layer nachos?

  1. Spread a single layer of chips on the pan you’re going to use.
  2. Spread a single layer of cheese and beef on top of the chips.
  3. Repeat until the chips, cheese, and ground beef filling are used up.
  4. Once the nachos are cooked, top with additional desired toppings.

Beef Nacho Recipe FAQ

What is the best cheese for nachos?

The answer depends! I love sharp cheddar, but Monterey jack is also fantastic because it melts beautifully. If you like more spice in your life, give pepper jack a try. If it’s in the cheddar or jack family, it’s probably a safe bet for ground beef nachos or any tex-mex dish.

Do you put meat or cheese first on nachos?

I like to layer the cheese on the nachos first because it acts like a glue to hold the ground beef mixture to the chips.

Can nachos with ground beef be made in advance?

Yes (and no). You can prepare the ground beef mixture, allowing it to cool completely and have it set aside in a covered bowl or airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can even have the cheese shredded in advance in a similar style in the fridge for up to a week or two, but I do not recommend assembling the nachos until you’re almost ready to serve.
If you prepare the nachos on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge, it can be okay for up to 3 or 4 hours before heating, but anything longer than that can possibly result in soggy or stale chips, which we’d like to avoid when possible. 

How do you make nachos without getting soggy?

The key to making nachos without getting soggy is to make sure the ground beef mixture doesn’t have excess liquid. As the recipe is written here, it doesn’t so your nachos should turn out nice and crispy.

Can nachos be reheated?

Yes, to reheat your nachos simply place them back into the 400 degrees F oven for a minute or so until the cheese is warmed. You can even take a serving’s worth and place it in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. I recommend being careful when reheating as too much cooking can cause the cheese to become hard and chewy.

How to Store Homemade Nachos

Storing homemade nachos isn’t recommended. Chips that aren’t eaten right away will soften and turn stale. It is also hard to reheat nachos without burning the already melted cheese. Instead of storing homemade nachos, make a smaller batch of finished nachos. Then, store the leftover individual ingredients separately until you’re ready to eat nachos again.

Ground Beef Nachos Supreme

These tasty Ground Beef Nachos are the best and easiest homemade nachos. Chili seasoned ground beef sits on top of melted and gooey cheese and is topped with crunchy, fresh vegetables and herbs.

A sheet pan of nachos topped with ground beef.
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Mix and match toppings with my tips, and learn what the best tortilla chips for nachos are to set you up for success.

ULTIMATE GROUND BEEF NACHOS

This resident Texan loves a good nacho platter. And let me tell you, there are many different kinds of nachos. The nachos that mix queso and ground beef, like Mattito’s. The nachos perfectly piled on individual chips, inspired by Taco Diner. The nachos with beans and cheese, shredded lettuce optional, like E-Bar. But what if you could combine all of these for nachos supreme?! You’d get this recipe.

I love this recipe because:

  • It’s the perfect weeknight or weekend meal when you’re too tired to put in a lot of effort.
  • Nachos are so crowd-pleasing and can be catered to lots of different diets.
  • You can customize them to be gluten free or vegetarian easily.
  • They’re the perfect game day appetizer.

BEST TORTILLA CHIPS FOR NACHOS

Good tortilla chips are an essential part of nachos. They’re the foundation for the house…and we all know what happens when you have a bad foundation. This means avoid thin chips that break really easily.

Some favorites: A Texas favorite of mine is G. Cardona which can be found at HEB and Whole Foods Texas. Santitas Yellow Corn work well and have a great price point. On The Border also has a thick chip with good corn flavor that works well with nachos.

Pass on these: Xochitl has great flavor, but I find them a little thin for nachos. Their “dipper” version is better. Whole Foods brand lacks flavor and texture, same with Trader Joe’s.

If you’re following a migraine diet, don’t worry about “trace of lime” or “chemical lime”. This isn’t actually citrus lime (like “hint of lime flavor”), but a way of processing the corn.

Ingredients for nachos.

INGREDIENTS

Here are just some ingredients that I used for these ground beef nachos, but feel free to edit it to what works for you.

  • Ground Beef – I like to use 85/15 which I find the most flavorful, but any ground beef will work. You could also use ground turkey or chicken.
  • Chili powder – Essential for the spice mixture, I like to use one with limited ingredients (and no cocoa powder) like Morton and Basset or Frontier. This mixes well with the other spices like cuminsmoked paprika, and garlic powder.
  • American Cheese – Did you know that most Tex-Mex restaurants use American cheese in their queso? This is because it melts so beautifully and has a really mild flavor. I like to use Boar’s Head or Andrew and Everett White American Cheese, which are typically sold at the deli counter. Ask for it to be cut “block style” to make for easy, at-home grating. If you can’t find either of those or don’t have a deli counter, Horizon has a good one too.
  • Black Beans – I use low sodium black beans in a can. Just drain them and rinse, then pat dry.
  • Corn – I like to use Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn and keep it in the freezer so I can whip these up anytime.
  • Radish – Love these for an extra crunch!
  • Cilantro – Omit if you’re one of those people who can’t stand the taste!
  • Peppers – Bell pepper will work, but I just used thin-sliced, sweet mini peppers here.
Ground beef nachos with cheese, cilantro, and vegetables.

HOW TO MAKE

It’s really important to layer the ground beef nachos in this order to avoid sogginess, or cooking toppings that need to be left fresh.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Begin by making the seasoned ground beef, which also works well in tacos! You can also add the corn in this step if you don’t mind them being mixed, or just use the same pan to heat it up after if you want to layer it.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up. Layer a large amount of tortilla chips on top.
  3. Use a cheese grater to grate the cheese and spread it evenly on top of the chips. If your cheese comes in slices, you can remove the separation paper and smoosh them together to grate them, or tear the cheese and divide it evenly on top of the chips.
  4. Top the cheese with seasoned ground beef, black beans and corn and bake for 5-7 minutes until cheese has fully melted.
  5. Sprinkle the peppers, radish, cilantro, and any other fresh vegetables on top. Serve hot!

Want to make this vegetarian? Leave off the chili-spiced ground beef!

Process photos for cooking ground beef and baking nachos.

ADDITIONAL TOPPINGS

Here are a few of my favorite additional toppings for ground beef nachos.

  • Other types of cheese – Mix up the cheese with another cheese that’s easy to melt, like mozzarella, which will give you those beautiful stringy cheese pulls.
  • Substitute the black beans for refried beans to make this more like the Taco Bell Nachos Supreme.
  • Shallots, which have a lighter flavor than onion.
  • Sliced Jalapeno or Poblano Peppers…basically any peppers.
  • If you’re sensitive to sour cream, like I am, place cottage cheese in a food processor and blend till smooth.
  • My salsa verde recipe or regular salsa, both in my cookbook. Or a good store-bought salsa.
  • Mango Salsa

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