Game DayTexMexGluten-FreeNachos

Classic Tex Mex nachos! Corn tortilla chips, baked with refried beans, shredded cheddar cheese, and jalapeno peppers. Served with salsa, guacamole, sour cream and cilantro.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

Nachos Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8



1 Assemble the nachos: 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.

2 Bake in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. 5 minutes in a convection oven.

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

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

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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15 Comments / Reviews

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  1. D. E. Rivas

    Add Fajita ( Beef Skirt ) to your nachos and it is now called Ponchos!!

  2. Cass

    I live in New Zealand and I’ve never had Nachos without mince (beef), even on my many trips to the USA, so I’m going to try this one on Friday…. maybe I’ll add mince.

  3. Frostie

    I have a different take altogether on nachos.
    BTW, love them for breakfast! Fast, healthy and filling. Blue corn chips, black beans, chopped fresh tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, cheddar cheese, salsa fresca, dollop of 2% greek yogurt or sour cream. Layer chips with beans and cheese. Melt in microwave. Top with remaining ingredients. Can add chopped chilies or jalapenos for some heat.

  4. Andrea

    I love your method, especially that you use beans (I go through beans so fast, I love them so. I hate that most nachos at restaurants don’t have beans!). I would add that you should definitely make it in layers so that every chip has some nacho mixings on it. I usa a single layer of chips, cheese, beans, salsa, and then repeat several times until I have a gigantic mound of nacho. Sometimes I use refried beans, sometimes I just use whole beans. I also like using both pinto and black beans. Then, after it bakes I add green onions, tomato, and lettuce.

    Easy homemade chips – heat the oven to 450 and bake store bought corn tortillas (cut into quarters) that have been brushed with a little canola oil for 5 minnutes. This is healthier that store-bought fried tortillas and super crispy and tasty. You can do tostadas this way as well. You can also deep fry the chips, which is delicious but perhaps a little greasy.

  5. star

    I love nachos. What I HATE is the processed cheese spreads (like CheeseWhiz) that they have started to use. Most of these cheese spreads have no cheese at all in the ingredients. The stadium “nachos” are junk.

    We went to a new restaurant for dinner this weekend and their speciality is “nachos”. The chips, salsa, chili and peppers were mixed together, and then melted cheese sauce was plopped on top. Nothing was cooked. They were terrible. We told the chef and she argued saying that’s what nachos are – uncooked with cheese sauce on the top – besides she said everyone has always loved them this way and that was why they serve them like that. Funny, but this restaurant had just opened the night before (Friday) and on Saturday night when we went, we were one of two couples – so how can everyone “has always loved them this way”? Hmmm, what for two whole days everyone has “always” loved them? Hey, they asked us before hand to let them know how we felt about the food. We did, and they argued. Processed cheese sauce doesn’t cut it.

    On the other hand, the menu should have said chips and salsa with clumps of yellow chemical sauce on top – uncooked. At least that’s honest.


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