Jalapeño Business: Our Tips for Killer Nachos

Is there really anyone who doesn’t like nachos? One of the ultimate blank canvas foods, nachos have been experimented and built off of since their creation in Piedras Negras, Mexico in the early 1940’s. That being said, not every experiment can be a success. We’ve spent our time in the proverbial lab testing out recipes so you don’t have to. Without further ado, here are our tips for mind-numbingly good nachos.

Stay Cheesy

Whenever you can, stay cheesy. While there are some fans of processed nacho cheese, it doesn’t hold a candle to the flavor profile and gooey texture of freshly grated melted cheese. Selecting the right cheese is important too. If you’re looking for a classic flavor profile, we’d recommend using a mixture of cheddar and Monterey jack. However, chefs craving more authentic Mexican flavors would be better off with Oaxacan or Cotija cheese.

Load It Up

Once you’ve decided on your cheese, it’s time to focus on the toppings. Loaded and unloaded nachos are two entirely different beasts, varying vastly in prep time and overall flavor profile. That being said, loaded nachos have a ton of different regional variants, be it barbecue pulled pork nachos from Tennessee or jalapeño covered nachos from northern Mexico, so you can easily test out which kind of loaded nachos fit in best with your overall menu. If you’re looking to play it safe, we’d recommend adding fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, and sour cream. 

  • Pro Tip: Be sure to visit “Holy Guacamole” to learn how to craft the ultimate guac. 

Shake It Up

Well, shake some salt on top at least. Too many chefs forget the power of seasoning when it comes to nachos. The simple addition of salt, lime juice, and cilantro can make a big difference to your overall flavor profile. Better yet, these ingredients are utilized in many other dishes in the Mexican food pantheon, so adding them can create a better unison of flavor in the overall dining experience. 

Fry Don’t Cry

Assembling your nachos improperly can quickly undo any careful efforts to make the perfect dish. Once you’re chosen your toppings and cheeses, it’s important to arrange any hot ingredients equally while adding them to the tortilla chips in order to prevent a single area from getting soggy or weighed down. After spreading everything out on top of the chips, throw it all in the broiler but be sure to keep any cold ingredients on the side; no one wants baked sour cream. 

Find Your Partner

While nachos are fantastic on their own, they’re even better with friends. When pairing the classic dish, we like to test out ingredients featuring classic Mexican ingredients like nopales, jalapeños, and cactus pears. However, if you’d rather focus on a low-key drink pairing, you can’t go wrong with margaritas! Check out our top picks for margaritas here.