Chicken Nachos are an easy and delicious dinner to the rescue!
Chicken Nachos are one of those “nothing’s going right today, please give me something delicious and easy for dinner” recipes.
Two things I love (love, love love!) are cooking and shopping. If I could spend my days in a haze of creative kitchening and consumerism, I would be a blissfully happy gal. That said, two things I very (very, very, very!) strongly dislike are cooking and shopping when they’re not on my terms.
Chicken Nachos Ingredients
- Chicken – You can use a rotisserie chicken or some shredded cooked chicken breast.
- Salsa – Jarred salsa is good, but you could also make some of our roasted tomato salsa.
- Shredded cheese – I like Mexican blend cheese (also sometimes called Fiesta blend cheese).
- Tortilla chips – If you’re out of tortilla chips, try breaking up some taco shells.
- Optional toppings – Pickled jalapenos, pickled onions.
How do you make chicken nachos? (Step-by-step)
⭐ First, in a large bowl, mix the shredded chicken, salsa and shredded cheese until thoroughly combined.
⭐ Next, pour one bag of tortilla chips into your large skillet or roasting pan, then place about half the chicken mixture over it and give a little toss to evenly incorporate. Sprinkle shredded cheese over top. Repeat until you are out of chips, cheese, and chicken.
⭐ Then, bake on center/low oven rack until cheese is bubbly and chips are browning.
⭐ Finally, top with jalapenos and enjoy!
Scroll down to the printable recipe card toward the bottom of this article for ingredient measurements and detailed cooking instructions.
Exhibit A: my five children whining at me that they’re hungry (didn’t I just feed them lunch???) and they don’t want anything on the menu plan. Exhibit B: my daughter telling me her sneakers no longer fit as we’re walking out the door.
I do not enjoy cooking out of obligation when I know the result, however delicious, will be not be well received. Sometimes you just can’t please kids. Amiright?
So, for days when nothing’s going according to plan. When we have to run out at the last minute to shoe the children. When there are 14 after-school activities planned at 11 different locations.
Those days when I desperately want to throw up my hands in the air and take us all to a (sports) bar for dinner. I make this super easy baked Chicken Nachos recipe.
Sidebar, y’all. This is my daughter. She is a terror. But also the best. thing. ever. Mostly she’s a terror because she’s me in smaller, cuter form.
She was four when we originally published this recipe and I literally cannot even with looking back at these photos. Seems like just yesterday, but oh she’s so itty bitty! She insisted on being included in the post, and who am I to say no to that?
But yeh. She’s a force. Hell hath no fury, like a mom with a clone for a daughter. Or something like that.
Copycat Alehouse Chicken Nachos
These Chicken Nachos are actually copycat Alehouse Chicken Nachos. They’re modeled after a local restaurant that is a little bit famous for them. Or maybe it’s just my favorite thing on the menu.
Who can tell? They’re super easy to whip up, and are great fun to eat. I like to make them piled high in a large skillet (which is how they’re served at the restaurant), or on a sheet pan.
So Monday (of course it was a Monday) after a mad dash to for new sneakers, we sat down together and dug into a heaping pan of Chicken Nachos served with fresh Pico de Gallo, Pickled Garlic Jalapenos, and sour cream. It’s basically what every Monday needs.
How to Make Chicken Nachos in the Oven
The key to making amazing chicken nachos in the oven is using the layering technique. You can’t just drop a pile of chips, then a pile of cheese, then chicken, and so forth. If you do that the chips on top end up overloaded and the chips on the bottom end up nekkid.
Rather, you need to do a lasagna-style layering technique. Single layer of nachos, followed by chicken and cheese (and whatever other goodies you’re including), then repeat until you get a massive mound of delicious chicken nachos.
Then you just toss the whole pan of chicken nachos into the oven. So easy peasy. And so delicious!
How to Season Chicken for Nachos
This might be as important as the nacho layering technique. There’s nothing worse than ordering (or making) chicken nachos only to find that the chicken is unseasoned, bland, and dry.
No. Just, no. It’s especially important to prep the chicken since you’re using already cooked chicken and heating it in the oven again. We want moist, juicy, flavorful chicken on our chicken nachos!
The key is salsa. Yup. Shred your chicken, then stir a can of salsa into it before adding to the nacho pile. Mmmm. So good!
Tools we love
- Cuisinart ‘Everyday Pan’ with domed cover – This is the pan we’re using in the pictures here. I loooooove this pan, it’s one of my favs. We use it all week long!
- Baker’s Half Sheet – This is the baking sheet we use in the cooking video. Another favvvvvorite. I have four or maybe six of them. We use these half sheets for everything from cakes, to roasting vegetables, and even as a serving tray!
- Stainless steel mixing bowls – Classic, basic, mixing bowls that everyone should have in your kitchen. You’ve seen me use them on the cooking show at least seventy bajillion time. Ish.
More delicious Mexican inspired dishes
- Pickled Garlic Jalapenos – Oh, you’d better believe we top our chicken nachos with these pickled jalapenos! They’re so much better than the pickled jalapenos from the grocery store, and totally easy to make. I like to make a big giant batch and hand them out to friends and neighbors!
- Pico de Gallo – Fresh pico with my nachos? Yes, please! This is a quickie salsa recipe that tastes great with chicken nachos or on fish, or steak, or with a spoon.
- Cilantro Garlic Sauce – Cilantro garlic sauce is just mmmm mmmmm mmmmm. I like to drizzle it all over the top of my chicken nachos. Wesley, the husband, likes to dip his nachos in it. Are you a drencher or a dipper?
- Restaurant Style Roasted Salsa – If you’ve got a little more time, this restaurant style roasted salsa is something you’ll definitely want to make. Roasting the veggies before turning it into salsa brings everything to the next level. And next level salsa is where it’s at!
- Chicken Taco Casserole -If you just can’t get enough chickeny nachoness in your life, then try this Chicken Taco casserole. It’s hashtag delish, and the great part is you don’t have to cook the rice in advance!
- Tostadas Recipe – Another quick and easy, but totally delicious dinner idea!
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How to Make Chicken Nachos
- 1 rotisserie chicken or 4 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 3 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
- 2 bags tortilla chips 9 ounces each
- Pickled jalapenos
- In a large bowl, mix the shredded chicken, 1/2 cup of salsa and about 1 cup of the shredded cheese until thoroughly combined.
- Pour one bag of tortilla chips into your large skillet or roasting pan, then place about half the chicken mixture over it and give a little toss to evenly incorporate. Sprinkle 1 cup shredded cheese over top.
- Repeat step 2.
- Bake on center/low oven rack at 425 degrees for 10 -12 minutes until cheese is bubbly and chips are browning.
- Top with jalapenos and enjoy!