Baking Nachos

Recipes I find online for baked (as opposed to microwaved) nachos say to put it in at a high heat level for a short amount of time. (For example, one says 400 degrees for five minutes.)

I would have thought that, in order for the beans and meat to be thoroughly heated, you would need to heat it at low temp for a longer amount of time. (I was guestimating 200 degrees for ten or fifteen minutes.)

How would you make nachos in an oven? Maybe heat the chips, meat and beans first, then add the cheese and heat for a few more minutes?

Or else would you cook the beans and meet on the stove, and put them in the oven still hot with the cheese?

Or should I not worry about cooking at high heat for a low amount of time? Will the beans etc. get heated after all, despite my worry?


We bake nachos all the time. High temperature (400, 450) until the cheese melts and the chips brown). Everything comes out delicious.

I make nachos for desert, using only fresh jalapenos and cheese. I put the jalapenos on the chips, then the cheese (shredded Cheddar) on top of the jalapenos to hold them, and then run the tray under the broiler. If I were adding meat, I might fry it first. I make too many to fit in the microwave. :slight_smile:

I generally have cooked the ground beef just before assembling or put the beans through the microwave (or both).

So then I just toss them in the oven for a few minutes on high to make the cheese brown and melty.

Daaaaamn. Want Nachos now. We’ve got beans and cheese, but no sour cream… Plus we’ve already got plans for dinner, and I had a bad reaction to something last night so the last thing my gut needs is tex-mex.

And just a pinch of sand?

So it’s a dry heat then…

I don’t understand.

Nachos? For dessert?

Isn’t dessert a sweet food by definition?

I’m serious; educate me.


I have sandwiches for dessert also sometimes.

Dessert is what you eat some time after dinner. I don’t eat dessert at home right after dinner, since your body doesn’t have the chance yet to figure out it is full. Eating later actually means you eat less, which helps me keep my boyish figure.

I eat sweet things sometimes, but often popcorn, or even frozen White Castle hamburgers. It depends if I want to drink coffee or a soda with it.

I don’t really have that much of a sweet tooth.

Uh huh.

I believe what you’re calling dessert is what most people call a late-night snack. However I would be interested in being corrected on this.

To my knowledge, dessert is (strictly speaking) a final course of a meal, consisting in a small portion of a sweet food. If it’s not part of a meal (i.e. dinner,) then it’s not dessert, it’s a snack.



Nachos in the microwave? Egad… I suppose I should try it before condemnation, but something seems just a little off with the concept.

Nachos are an art, and though I admit any nachos are better than no nachos, going through life without ever appreciating the depth and range of exquisite goodness would be like going through life thinking McDonalds is the extent of what could be done with beef.

Given the ramifications of ignoring nacho-related cravings, I do keep some Utz or Tostitos on hand, as well as plenty of canned refrieds. But if there’s enough time (i.e., throwing a party), things start with dried pinto beans in a pot and the masa harina in a bowl. Corn tortillas are ridiculously easy to make, it just takes a few trial runs to get the proportions and feel right. Once you get it, you can slap together a batch in under an hour. From there, sliding them into oil to fry into chips creates the perfect foundation.

For the cheese, I generally like to take a couple sharpnesses of cheddar, some jack, colby, and a smattering of gruyere (works almost like a binder) and throw it in the food processor to shred. There are better/different cheeses to select, but these are the basics.

The cheese is where I’ll throw the main spices. The tortillas have some, but I find the flavor flows better when it is embedded in the cheese. One thing to add at this point is a very small amount of vanilla. DO NOT overdue it, as while it won’t necessarily be bad, it will be too distracting. Just enough to release the cumin’s natural undercurrents and complement the cheese.

Assemble the whole thing carefully – the architecture is important because of how the heat, steam, ingredients, and final resting interact. The chips should remain crunchy, stable platforms for heavenly deliverance, not soggy, wobbly limp blankets. The key is to build layers that can breath, not pack things in as tightly as possible.

For each layer, keep a light interlocking matrix of chips. Then deliberately add scoops of your beans, meat, jalapenos, tomato (which you diced and wrapped in a paper towel to absorb excess water), olives, and whatever else you care to add. Deliberately as in you don’t want to throw things on there all willy-nilly. Think about placement in terms of heat, air flow, stability, and how they’re going to be eaten. Add about half the layer’s amount on bare chips, then add a heafty amount of cheese, then the other half of that layer’s toppings, then a slight coating of cheese to hold things together. Repeat for the rest of the layers (how many layers you can reasonably make depends on the size of the tray, and how large/stable your chips are. This is another benefit to making your own chips–in doing so, you can build some amazing creations that maintain crispiness all the way through).

While everything is generally cooked and warmed through before the assembly, there is no way to keep it hot before going in the oven. (Hey look, I’m getting around to the OP!) I put them in at around 250 or so for about seven to twelve minutes. Watch carefully so things don’t dry out – the timing depends on what’s inside your nachos. When everything is beginning to melt/meld, and everything is warmed through, I’ll turn it up to the 400 range to push the melt down. At the very last minute I’ll switch to broiling to give the top a browning (but DO NOT turn your back on the broiler–this is less than a minute!).

And them’s nachos!

OK, you win the thread for best nachos.
I just fry up meat & throw in a can of beans, some spices & salsa, layer it on chips & top with grated cheddar/jack and microwave the thing for 90 seconds. That’s more work than most people do. But you, my friend, are a real nacho artist.

I don’t think you’re telling him anything he doesn’t already know.


Next question - which chips to use? I use Tostitos rounds, but I don’t like them. The old Tostitos yellow corn chips were much better, but they’re no longer available. My requirements are that the chips are relatively flat, and have enough surface area for a good mix of cheese and jalapeno. No other brand available seems to be any better.

Any one notice that the new Tostitos packaging doesn’t let you see which packages have fewest broken chips? I like broken chips fine with meals, just not for nachos.