Nachos are considered more “Tex Mex” than Mexican, being an invention of one Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, a restaurateur serving American servicemen in the 1940s. At their essence, they are simply a layer of tortilla chips with melted cheddar cheese and jalapeño peppers.

These days most people use melted, processed Velveeta cheese, instead of real cheddar. But you don’t have to. You can easily make nachos with regular cheddar cheese, which will melt beautifully in the oven.

Nachos are all about the ingredients—the best tortilla chips, refried pinto beans, grated cheddar cheese, jalapeño peppers, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and fresh cilantro.

There are two kinds of tomato salsa that we use often, one with fresh tomatoes and one with cooked. We used to make the cooked tomato salsa from scratch, but there are so many great prepared salsas on the market these days, that we don’t ours from scratch very often. This recipe works best with the cooked tomato salsa, but really, you can use any salsa.



1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange a layer of tortilla chips along the bottom of a wide, shallow baking pan. It will make things easier if this baking pan also can be used as a serving pan, such as the ceramic platter shown in the photo above. The layer of tortilla chips can be a couple chips thick. Spread the refried beans over the chips (this is why you need extra thick chips, so they don't break when encountering the beans). Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top of chips and beans. Sprinkle slices of jalapeño peppers over the cheese. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. 5 minutes in a convection oven.

2 Serve with dollops of salsa, sour cream and guacamole, with chopped cilantro sprinkled on top.

What is pictured above is a half-recipe.


Texas nachos with homemade tortilla chips from Lisa Fain, our Homesick Texan

Main Ingredients