These hearty loaded shredded chicken nachos are just what the doctor ordered for a gameday shareable appetizer, or even a quick dinner. Loaded with melty cheese, seasoned pulled chicken, and tons of fresh, every chip is perfectly piled high!
With football season starting, I can’t think of a better time to share this recipe. Crispy, light, and packed full of melty cheddar and amazing toppings, my chicken nachos are the ideal appetizer for game days, end-of-summer parties because they are so sharable.
But I can honestly say I’ve used this on many an occasion for a quick dinner in under 15 minutes! When I am covered in sawdust or paint for working hard on the home remodeling gig, the last thing I want to do is cook. These are wonderful for using leftover taco meat or a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Yessssss!
They also pair perfectly with my Buffalo Chicken Dip, Healthy Ranch Dip, Tri-color Pasta Salad, or my Delicious Corn and Black Bean Salad to make for the perfect football party spread! Add some Oreo Brownies to take it over the top!
Nacho Topping Ideas
The toppings and customization level of nachos is nearly endless. I have put together a list below of the most common nacho toppings that you can choose from.
Basic Hot Toppings
- Shredded Chicken or pork, Ground Beef, or Ground Turkey
- Shredded Cheese or Cheese Sauce
- Canned or Homemade Chili
- Black Beans
- Grilled Corn Kernels
Fresh Topping Ideas
- Shredded Lettuce (iceberg and romaine are the most often used)
- Pico De Gallo
- Poblano Cream Sauce
- Diced Tomatoes
- Diced Avocado
- Green Onion
- Jalapeno slices
- Sliced Black Olives
- Sour Cream
- Lime Wedges
Cut the Cooking Time: This is excellent for making quickly using leftover taco meat or a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
How to Layer Nachos
No one wants to dig into melty, piled high pulled chicken nachos only to get the chip that is unsatisfyingly bare! But I have a few tricks to get every chip covered and evenly warmed.
- Layer the hot toppings. ½ chips-> ½ of the cheese/chicken/chili->other ½ chips ->the rest of the HOT toppings. Keep the chips spread out rather than clumped up, so every chip gets evenly warmed.
- Pop them in the oven under broil until all of the cheese melts through.
- Add the cold toppings such as tomatoes, sour cream, green onions, or avocado. The choice of toppings is endless!
Tips for Making the BEST Loaded Nachos
- Shredding cheese off the block always melts a little better than pre-shredded cheese since the blocks don’t have cellulose (that white dust you often see in the bag that helps the cheese keep its shape). However, you can use either with success.
- Or use my Queso Blanco Recipe to make these nachos outta this world!
- I like to serve the sour cream, salsa, and guacamole on the side in small dishes with spoons. It’s easy to refill and easier to spread on the chips. You can also sprinkle all around the nachos to get flavor on each.
- Keep the chips spread out rather than clumped up, so every chip gets evenly warmed.
- Warm the chili or chicken prior to topping if cold or been in the refrigerator.
Reheating Nachos and Storage
Sometimes I make individual servings in smaller oven-safe pans, like these personal cast iron pans so the nachos are always fresh!
Store: If you have leftover pulled chicken nachos (I’d be surprised, our), refrigerate in an airtight container. I often keep the salsa, sour cream, and guacamole on the side I usually scoop the cold toppings like lettuce and sour cream into another dish so the nachos don’t become soggy during storage or reheating. Chili is much harder to keep from making the chips soggy.
Reheat: Arrange nachos on a baking sheet and make sure they aren’t too deep or the chicken may not reheat evenly. Reheat in the oven on 350 until the cheese has melted again. Make sure you watch so the tortilla chips don’t burn!
Make Ahead: Prep up all the topping and shred the meat. Store in a compartmentalized container if you have one or make small piles in a large casserole dish to cut down on dishes. When ready, build the chicken nachos in a pan and put in the oven.
For more delicious Game Day Appetizers, check out these:
- Ham and Cheese Mini Sandwiches
- Kielbasa and Peppers Hoagies
- Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- 15 Healthy Football Appetizers
- Crispy Onion Strings
You need a dish is oven broiler safe. This can be a sheet pan, casserole pan, or a Cast Iron Skillet. The key is something wide enough so the chips aren’t stacked too high. Another helpful tool is My favorite vegetable slicer. From dicing to shredding, the 5 different blades replaces all of my other slicers and makes cutting the toppings a breeze.
Shredding your own cheese will melt better than pre-shredded mixes, but either kind can be used. Sharp Cheddar, Colby and Monterrey Jack, Queso Blanco, and Chihuahua are the most often used.
If you’re really into spicy food, you can surely alter these to match your palette by adding different toppings. You can add spicier seasonings like cayenne or cumin or throw on some extra jalapenos. Another idea is swapping out the cheese for pepper jack or habanero jack cheese instead.
I wish I had a genius life hack for this, but unfortunately, nachos are the best when they are fresh. A few things that will help, however, are serving the moist toppings such as chili, sour cream, and salsa on the side and reheating in the oven rather than microwaving.
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Shredded Chicken Nachos
- 6-8 handfuls Tortilla Chips
- 1 lb Chicken cooked and shredded (pre-cooked rotisserie is a great option)
- 2 cups Chili quality canned or homemade
- 8 oz Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese shredded
- 3 cups Shredded Lettuce iceberg or romaine
- 1 Tomato diced
- ½ cup Pickled Jalapenos
- ¼ cup Black Olives sliced
- 2 Green Onions sliced
- Avocado diced
- Sour Cream
- Preheat the oven to broil. Heat the chili in the microwave until hot. You can use any sort of oven safe dish, cookie sheet, or cast iron skillet for this recipe.
- Layer ½ of the chips in the dish. Sprinkle ½ of the chicken, chili and cheese over top. You can add olives or jalapenos here too if you like. Layer the other half of the chips and hot toppings. Keep the chips spread out rather than clumped up, so every chip gets evenly warmed.
- Put in the oven for 4-8 minutes or until the cheese fully melts and the tips of the chips begin to brown.
- Top with lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, and other desired toppings if you wish. Serve with sour cream, salsa, and guacamole on the side if you prefer.