Prepare your ever-loving Tex-Mex minds for a new weeknight dinner obsession. These Chicken Nachos satisfy any and all Mexican food cravings in one fell swoop with their melty cheese, full-flavored, super juicy bites of chicken, and crunchy tortilla chips. Kids and grown-ups alike swoon for these nachos!
Top them off with some sour cream, guacamole, or pico de Gallo, and you've got yourself the perfect quick-fix dinner or even a winning addition to the Superbowl party snack table! Want more recipes like this? Add our Fajita Nachos and Chicken Flautas to your "to-make" list!
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN NACHOS
To kick off your Chicken Nachos, you first need to address the chicken! For this recipe, we will be using boneless skinless chicken thighs over chicken breasts. Chicken thighs are an excellent option for nachos, as they do not dry out quickly in the oven and are full of flavor!
The chicken thighs get a makeover in a delicious adobo-based spice rub. Adobo is made up of ingredients like chili powder, tomatoes, vinegar, garlic, and so on. It's a powerhouse ingredient, and an easy way to add a big bang of flavor to your Chicken Nachos! We love this ingredient in our easy Chipotle Sauce and fully trust you will love it too.
You can find adobo sauce near other Mexican ingredients in the international food aisle. It is sometimes sold as a sauce on its own or you can also spoon it out of a can of Chipotles in Adobo.
Combine the adobo sauce, salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and oil in a small bowl, and use a fork to combine all of the ingredients until they are well-mixed.
Next, place your chicken on a work surface and use paper towels to dab away any excess moisture from the outside of the chicken. This will help your spice rub to stick to your chicken and stay put while baking in the oven.
Rub the chicken with your spice mix and transfer to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Place in a preheated 350°F oven and bake for 28 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked through.
Note, if you don't have time to whip up your own spice rub and bake chicken, you can easily sub in rotisserie chicken in this recipe. You could also heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add a pound of ground beef, hit it with a packet of taco seasoning, cook until completely browned and use that as a quick-fix protein instead!
Once your chicken is cooked through, remove it from the oven and set it aside until it is cool enough to handle. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and cut it into ½", bite-sized pieces. Place the diced chicken back onto the baking sheet and toss it around in the juices in the pan for maximum flavor results!
It is officially time to assemble some Chicken Nachos! You can use a cast iron skillet or a rimmed sheet pan to bake your nachos. If you use a sheet pan, you can assemble your nachos in a single layer if preferred.
For nachos, it is best to use thick, sturdy tortilla chips rather than thin ones.
Place a single layer of tortilla chips across the bottom of your baking vessel, and top them with warmed refried beans. If your beans are not easy to spread, you can add a tablespoon or two of warm water to the refried beans and stir until reach a consistency in which they can spread easily over the chips.
Add ⅓ of the refried beans over your layer of tortilla chips, and then add a third of your chopped chicken across the top of the beans.
For the cheese, we will be using the classic Tex-Mex mix of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. It is best if you use freshly grated cheese over prepackaged shredded cheese. Both the flavor and the texture will be exponentially better!
Mix your cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and add a third of the cheese mixture across the top of the chicken. Repeat with another layer of chips, beans, and chicken; then repeat again!
Transfer your nachos to a 350°F oven and bake for about 10 to 14 minutes, or just until the cheese is perfectly melty! Remove your Chicken Nachos from the oven and top them with your favorite nacho toppings!
The topping options for this chicken nachos recipe are practically endless! Here are just a few of our favorites:
- Sour Cream
- Pico de gallo
- Pickled or fresh jalapeno peppers
- Chopped green onions
And, if you're feeling extra, you'll definitely want to whip up a bowl of queso blanco to serve on the side!
6 MORE MEXICAN RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Green Enchiladas
- Chicken Birria Tacos
- Shredded Chicken Tacos
- Tinga de Pollo
- Chicken Empanadas
- Chicken Ranchero
Cure your Tex-Mex cravings and your weeknight dinner boredom with these quick, easy and delicious Chicken Nachos!
- 2-3 teaspoons adobo sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons avocado or canola oil
- 1-1 ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ½ (13-18 ounce) bag of tortilla chips (thick, sturdy chips work better than thin chips for this recipe)
- About ¾ cup refried beans, warmed
- 1 ½ cups freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 ½ cups freshly grated Cheddar cheese
- Optional for serving: salsa, sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, pickled jalapeños, or chopped cilantro
Preheat the oven to 350°F and have ready a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
Place the chicken on a work surface and pat dry with paper towels.
Add the adobo sauce, Kosher salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and oil to a small bowl and use a fork to mix until combined.
Rub the chicken all over with the spice mixture and transfer to the prepared pan. Bake for 28 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked through.
Remove the chicken from the oven, and as soon as it is cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board and chop into ½"-sized pieces. Return the chicken to the pan and toss in the juices.
Have ready a large, clean skillet (or a rimmed sheet pan).
Add a single layer of tortilla chips to the skillet and add about ⅓ of the beans, followed by a third of the chicken, and a third of each type of cheese evenly across the top of the chips. Repeat in this order 2 more times.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 8-12 minutes at 350°F, or until all of the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven, add any other desired toppings, serve, and enjoy!
Source: What is Adobo?