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Baked homemade tortilla chips smothered in a smoky salsa chicken, hearty beans, and all the best fixin’s, this shredded Chicken Nachos recipe does double duty as either a tasty appetizer or satisfying entrée.

platter of healthy chicken nachos with shredded chicken and queso

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Nachos Recipe

  • Incredibly Versatile. While this recipe is delicious as is, you can adapt it however you see fit. You could use the shredded chicken and beans as a tasty filling for burritos (see Vegetarian Burritos for inspo), add them to quesadillas, or serve them with rice for a spin on a Chipotle Bowl. Or swap the chips for Sweet Potato Fries or Air Fryer French Fries for Mexican nacho fries. YUM!
  • Family-Friendly Dinner. Who doesn’t love the idea of chips for dinner? Kids and adults alike will rejoice at the thought of having nachos, and they won’t suspect that they’re loaded with nutritious ingredients. Plus, this recipe is quick (the prep work is only 10 minutes), making it ideal for a last-minute meal (just like my Taco Pasta).
  • Exceptionally Delicious. Don’t let the simplicity or bland nachos of days past fool you, these chicken nachos are a masterpiece of textures and flavors! The shredded chicken is fall-apart tender, the flavor of the salsa with the spices is outstanding, and the creamy pinto beans blended with the cheese are pure pleasure.
a sheet pan of smothered easy chicken nachos with queso

5 Star Review

“I have made this soooo many times now. I always double because my family just can’t get enough. Super flavorful.”

— Theresa —

How to Make Chicken Nachos

The Ingredients

  • Chicken. Tender, succulent, spice-infused chicken is the crown jewel of these nachos. You can use chicken breast or chicken thighs.
  • Salsa. Adds flavor and moisture to the chicken mixture. You can use any store-bought salsa you enjoy.
  • Spices. A blend of cumin, chipotle chili pepper, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. It’s earthy, spicy, and full of rich flavor.

A Note on Spice

Know that if you use the full amount of chipotle chili pepper listed in this recipe, these will be fairly spicy chicken nachos. Dial it back or omit it for less heat.

  • Pinto Beans. Cooked in the same liquid as the chicken, salsa, and spices, the beans become incredibly creamy and flavorful. The beans add filling fiber and protein to the nachos.
  • Tortilla Chips. Homemade tortilla chips are incredibly simple to make, healthier than store-bought, and equally as delicious. All it takes are corn tortillas, cooking spray, and salt. Easy peasy!

Market Swap

If you prefer, you can swap the homemade chips for your favorite store-bought tortilla chips.

The Directions

easy chicken cooking for chicken nachos
  1. Cook the Chicken. Watch as it absorbs all those delicious flavors!
chicken nacho topping
  1. Shred the Chicken. Add the pinto beans.
Tortillas cut into triangles on a cutting board
  1. Cut the Tortillas. I cut mine into 6 wedges.
baked tortilla chips on a sheet pan
  1. Bake the Chips. Let them cool.
Uncooked nachos on a baking sheet
  1. Broil the Nachos. Top the chips with the chicken mixture and cheese, then broil for a few minutes. Remove the chips from the oven and add any other desired toppings. DIG IN!

The Best Chicken Nachos Toppings

What to put on your nachos is a personal preference, but here are a few of my favorite ideas:

  • Avocado. Sliced avocado is wonderful, but adding some homemade guacamole would be next-level scrumptious.
  • Cilantro. Fresh and delicious!
  • Jalapeno. Dial up the heat with some sliced jalapeno!
  • Sour Cream. You can also use Greek yogurt for your cool and creamy element.
  • Salsa. Use whichever kind you most enjoy.
  • Onions. Try Quick Pickled Onions for a briny twist.
  • Pico de Gallo. Pico de gallo or sliced cherry tomatoes would be delightful.
  • Queso. For the cheese lovers! A drizzle of Vegan Queso would be tasty.
a pan of easy chicken nachos with cheese, beans, and toppings

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftover nachos in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days. If possible, store the toppings separately from the tortilla chips.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm nachos on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F. Use fresh chips if possible.
  • To Freeze. Freeze the chicken mixture only in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. You can also freeze any unused corn tortillas. 

Meal Prep Tip

Up to 1 day in advance, prepare the chicken mixture as directed (through Step 2). Refrigerate the mixture in an airtight storage container until you’re ready to finish the recipe. You can also bake the chips up to 1 day in advance. Store them in a ziptop bag at room temperature.

chicken nachos with rotisserie chicken and cheese

What to Serve with Chicken Nachos

Serve your Mexican chicken nachos with any of your favorite Mexican-inspired side dishes. Here are a few ideas.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Pile Those Toppings High. While the chips and chicken mixture are quite scrumptious on their own, the toppings are the true stars of these chicken nachos. The world (aka the nachos) is your oyster! See my favorite toppings listed in the blog post above for ideas.
  • Don’t Let the Chips Burn! Keep a close eye on your homemade tortilla chips, as things can escalate quickly. When you see them turn golden, go ahead and remove them.
  • Spread the Love. When adding your chicken mixture and cheese to the chips, try your best to spread them evenly amongst all the chips. Not only do we want every chip to be as tasty as the rest, but big globs of the chicken mixture could cause the chips to become soggy.

Chicken Nachos

4.69 from 19 votes
The best shredded chicken nachos with toppings galore! Cheesy and crispy with juicy chicken and beans, cooked on a sheet pan to keep it easy.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

For the Chicken:

  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar prepared salsa choose mild, medium or spicy, depending upon your heat preference
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper 1 teaspoon will have more of a kick
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can low sodium pinto beans rinsed and drained

For the Baked Tortilla Chips (or swap your favorite store bought tortilla chips):

  • 8 yellow corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For Topping:

  • 6 ounces Mexican blend cheese
  • Other desired nacho fixin’s: chopped green onions, sliced black olives, sliced jalapenos, cilantro, diced avocados, diced fresh tomatoes, nonfat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

Instructions
 

  • Place the chicken, salsa, cumin, chipotle chili, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and water in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine, then bring to a gentle simmer. Partially cover the pot, then simmer for 12 to 14 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (it should reach 165°F on an instant read thermometer). Halfway through, use a large spoon to turn the chicken over and spoon some of the salsa mixture over the top.
  • With two forks, shred the chicken on a cutting board (or directly in the pot). Stir it back into the salsa mixture. Stir in the pinto beans. Let simmer for 2 minutes, stirring often, until hot and slightly thickened.
  • Bake the chips: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Cut each tortilla into 6 wedges (I cut mine in half, then slice each half into three evenly sized wedges), then arrange in a single layer on two ungreased baking sheets.
  • Bake for 6 minutes, then with tongs (or quickly and carefully with your fingers), flip the chips. Lightly coat with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Rotate the pans between the top and bottom racks, then bake the chips an additional 6 to 9 minutes, until they are just beginning to turn golden. Remove from the oven and let cool. Turn the oven to broil.
  • Arrange the cooled tortilla chips on an oven-proof serving platter or pile all of them onto a single baking sheet. Spoon the chicken and bean mixture over the chips. Sprinkle with cheese, then place under the broiler for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven, then sprinkle with any additional desired nacho toppings. Enjoy immediately.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover nachos in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days. If possible, store the toppings separately from the tortilla chips. Store the tortilla chips in an airtight storage container at room temperature. 
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm nachos on a baking sheet in the oven at 350°F or in the microwave. 
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze the chicken mixture only in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. You can also freeze any unused corn tortillas. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4) without additional toppingsCalories: 522kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 50gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 117mgPotassium: 1284mgFiber: 11gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 939IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 643mgIron: 4mg

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Cheese for Making Nachos?

We love topping our nachos with a Mexican blend cheese, but you could also use cheddar, Monterey Jack, or make chicken nachos with queso. Use a cheese that melts easily.

How Can I Use Leftover Nachos?

Pile the leftover chicken mixture onto a bed of lettuce or rice. Add your favorite toppings, then crumble the leftover tortilla chips over the top. Or, take some chilaquiles inspo and add a fried egg.

Only have leftover chips? Use them for any of your favorite dips. I recommend serving them with this 7 Layer Taco Dip, Chicken Enchilada Dip, salsa, queso, or guacamole.

What Vegetables Can I Add to My Nachos?

If you’d like to add a few extra veggies to your nachos, try adding diced red or green bell peppers before baking.

More Mexican-Inspired Recipes

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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31 Comments

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  1. Oh, Erin, how perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration! Can’t wait to make! Thanks for posting! Ole!

  2. How fun to have a Chopped style challenge! Your dish would definitely win ;) I’m so all about this giant and delicious plate of nachos. This is what I want for dinner!

  3. Usually every Friday night I get a craving for either chips and salsa or fries for dinner. Since I didn’t have any chips for Cinco de Mayo last night I see no reason why I shouldn’t eat these awesome nachos for dinner tonight! I love how easy they are to make!

  4. Just made this tonight & it was so good!! The chicken & beans could be used to make so many different dishes too.5 stars

    1. YAY Jill! I’m so glad you enjoyed the nachos. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this nice review!

  5. So delicious! This is now my husband’s favorite dish to eat. I adjusted it & made it in the instant pot. Only took about 20 min! We will definitely be making this often.5 stars

    1. How did you adjust this receipt  for the instant pot!? 
      I’m new to the instant pot game would love some help 

      1. I actually made this in the instant pot! First I mixed the seasoning and put some on each side of the chicken then I used the saute mode to brown the chicken thighs. After about 5 min or less of sauteing them I poured the salsa on top of it and put the beans in and set it on high pressure for 20 minutes. Natural released. Delish!

    2. I wish you would’ve left a link to the older version of this that was made in the crockpot. :(

      1. Hi Danielle! Email us at hello@wellplated and we will see if we can get you a copy of it. Hope this helps!

  6. Made this on Friday for dinner and it was truly delicious. I did end up brushing the tortillas with avocado oil because I wanted the salt to stick. I meant to also toss with lime juice, but totally forgot. Topped ours with yogurt instead of sour cream, pickled red onion, jalapenos, and avocado. The best part about the homemade tortillas, is that when they get softer from juices they don’t fall apart, they just kind of turn back to their original tortilla shape.

    What a fun dinner idea, thanks!5 stars

  7. I have made this soooo many times now. I always double because my family just can’t get enough. Super flavorful. I haven’t done the homemade chips yet. I buy really good restaurant style chips and it’s delicious. This is great to make for a crowd because the flavors appeal to most. Toppings everyone can adjust to their liking.5 stars

    1. Hi Jamie, this recipe has recently been updated from the original one that was posted back in 2016.

  8. Did this used to be a crock pot recipe?? I swear I pinned this with crock pot instructions lol I still make it in the crock pot and it comes out great. Just curious5 stars

  9. Do you still have the crockpot recipe for this? I used to use it all the time, want to have these for dinner tomorrow but suddenly it’s not a crock pot recipe? Thanks!

  10. I don’t understand why you will cook this in a crackpot. Is a recipe of 14 minutes at the most. How many hours will you cook the chicken. It will be disintegrate like flakes. I see notes of people cooking chicken for 4 or 5 hours.5 stars

    1. Hi Lillian, we’ve updated this recipe and it no longer requires the crockpot. Hope you enjoy it!