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20 nacho recipes for crowd-friendly snacking

Score big with layers of flavor.
Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Whether you’re there for the big game or you’re just tuning in for the star-studded halftime show, we all know why people really show up to a Super Bowl party — the snacks. A good snack table has a medley of dips, chips and Buffalo wings, but nachos are always the first thing to go, no matter what. What’s not to love about crunchy, salty tortilla chips loaded with meat, cheese and fresh toppings?

One of the best things about making nachos is that you can play around with the flavors. Ground beef and cheese sauce may be the most traditional route, but you can add all kinds of toppings, inspired by your favorite foods like cheesy, comforting lasagna, potato skins or even your go-to sweet dessert (there’s no hard and fast rule that tortilla chips have to be savory!).

Another great thing about making nachos for game-day parties is that they feed a lot of people. Cheering for your favorite team builds up an appetite, and nachos are filling and satisfying. You can indulge in a plateful and count it as dinner, or nibble on a few chips at a time while you sample some of the other snacks. Either way, a tray of nachos is an easy way to feed a hungry crowd. 

This collection of nacho recipes consists of flavors that are both traditional and more modern. Some are assembled on big rimmed sheet pans; others layer the chips and filling in cast-iron skillets, muffin tins and foil packets. What they all have in common is big flavor. 

Nothing beats a classic, and with just four ingredients, this recipe is just that. Fry your own tortilla chips (it’s easier than you might think) and layer them with the usual suspects — refried beans, melty shredded cheese and spicy pickled chiles. Make sure to arrange everything in a single layer before baking so that each chip gets plenty of toppings and is evenly crispy. 

Easy Rotisserie Chicken Nachos

These nachos are made with a combination of easy homemade and store-bought ingredients. Shredded rotisserie chicken, canned black beans and cheddar cheese coat each crispy tortilla chip. Quick-pickled red onions, a homemade cilantro-lime crema and a few fresh ingredients such as avocado, thinly sliced radishes and fresh cilantro leaves are perfect for scattering over the top before serving. 

Building nachos on a flat surface, such as a sheet pan, is the best way to make sure each tortilla chip gets its fair share of toppings. Each chip is coated evenly with melted Monterey Jack cheese and canned black beans. Pickled peppers, scallions and a few splashes of hot sauce add a bit of a kick to each bite. 

Italian Pork Sandwich Nachos

Philadelphia is known for many things — one of those is an Italian-American sandwich loaded with succulent roast pork, broccoli rabe and mild provolone cheese. Pork shoulder is roasted with fennel and garlic until tender, and the broccoli rabe gets a quick sauté with some spices. Pile each of the components onto tortilla chips with two kinds of provolone, then add your favorite nacho toppings such as sour cream and chiles. 

Why not combine two of the most iconic game day starters into one? Spicy Buffalo wings meet nachos in this Super Bowl snack recipe. Shredded chicken, Mexican-style cheese and plenty of hot sauce adorn tortilla chips before they’re topped with a few dollops of cooling yogurt, sliced scallions and a few more dashes of your favorite hot sauce. 

Barbecue Chicken Nacho Bites

Keep things mess-free with these bite-sized nachos. Even better, you don’t have to share! Turn cut-out rounds of flour tortillas into crispy shells, then pile on sweet and tangy barbecue chicken, cheese, tomatoes, olives and fresh cilantro. These are a huge hit at dinner parties and game days alike. 

Foil Packet Nachos

There’s no rule that says nachos have to be served family-style. The individual foil packets gently steam the nachos, melting the cheese while keeping the chips nice and crispy. Serve each individual packet straight from the grill, adding any and all of your favorite toppings. 

No need to turn on the oven for this recipe — the air fryer does most of the work. These nachos have an Italian-American twist — cheesy lasagna noodles stand in for traditional tortilla chips and are topped with a tomato-based meat sauce, sautéed vegetables and mozzarella and ricotta cheeses. We top everything off with a drizzle of sweet and acidic balsamic glaze and some fresh herbs. 

Brisket Nachos

There’s no better way to use up leftover brisket than with these nachos. Sweet and tangy barbecue beef gets a second life when scattered over tortilla chips with melty cheese. A few homemade components — quick pickled onions, pico de gallo and cilantro sour cream — take this recipe up a notch. 

Loaded Potato Skin Nachos

All of the classic flavors of baked potato skins translate seamlessly to nachos. This recipe is loaded with everything we love about potato skins — crispy crumbled bacon, cheddar and Monterey Jack, sour cream and scallions. It also has one very special ingredient that raises the bar — ridged potato chips. Tortilla and potato chips add the perfect amount of crunch. 

Foccachos (Foccacia Nachos)

Swap tortilla chips for thin and crispy focaccia bites. Each bite is coated with olive oil and a medley of spices (garlic powder, oregano and pepper flakes). Assemble the focaccia bites with marinara sauce, cheese, crumbled meatballs and sausage — either sweet or spicy will work great here. 

Pulled Pork Nachos

Use liquid smoke and lots of spices to create a smokehouse-worthy flavor and aroma in this juicy pulled pork recipe. A slow cooker is a great tool to use if you have one — the pork shoulder can cook low and slow until it falls off the bone. Shred it into bite-sized pieces before scattering it over crunchy chips, along with cheese, guacamole and fresh pico de gallo. 

Plantain Pork Nachos

Store-bought plantain chips are an equally crunchy and delicious substitute for tortilla chips. Top the plantains with beer-braised pulled pork, which adds a subtle malt-like flavor. Homemade pico de gallo and creamy avocado yogurt are added on top just before serving. 

Skillet Nachos with Pulled Pork

Folks will go wild when they see a hot batch of skillet nachos on the snack table. The key is to layer the chips, cheese and other toppings for full coverage throughout each bite. The pork can be marinated and cooked ahead of time, so all that’s left to do is assemble and serve. 

Vegan Chili Cheese Nachos

You’d never guess these nachos were free of meat and dairy. Meaty lentils and canned kidney beans stand in for the usual ground beef, but still have all of the spicy flavor we know and love. Our plant-based cheese sauce is the real star of the show. It’s made with cashews, potatoes and a few spoonfuls of nutritional yeast to mimic that cheesy flavor. 

S'mores Nachos

Who says nachos have to be savory? These scoopable s’mores only have three ingredients, so you can whip up a batch in the final quarter and surprise guests with a sweet send-off. Mini marshmallows melt perfectly in the oven, and bittersweet chocolate helps balance out the cloying flavor.

The best part of this recipe (besides the easy homemade cheese sauce) is that it’s quick to cleanup. Once guests have demolished the meaty steak and black bean-layered tortilla chips, simply toss the parchment paper liner. Pro tip: make sure to use thick-cut tortilla chips for this recipe, since you’ll want something that can hold up to the sliced rib-eye steak. 

Crunchy, spicy and loaded with nutritious ingredients, this vegetarian recipe is perfect for game day. A mixture of roasted butternut squash, pinto beans, chiles and spices and just enough cheese melt atop grain-free tortilla chips. As far as toppings go, we like to reach for a handful of fresh ingredients, such as diced avocado, fresh cilantro and a good-quality salsa. 

Lobster Nachos

The flavors of these seafood nachos take a cue from the ceviche playbook. Meaty bite-sized pieces of cooked lobster are tossed with tons of fresh ingredients, such as red onion, cucumber, cilantro, lime and avocado. Instead of melting cheese over the top like usual, we drizzle everything with a coriander and cumin-spiced sour cream and a generous crumble of salty cotija cheese. 

Pierogi Nachos

Go big or go home! There are few ways to improve upon a tortilla chip, but using cheesy pierogi as the base for nachos may be it. Spicy chorizo and black beans are a perfect topping, but you can play around with other ground meats, or even crumbled tofu if you want to keep the dish vegetarian. Make sure to have plenty of classic toppings nearby for guests to use such as guacamole, sour cream and salsa.