When it comes to Nachos, I want mine to be loaded! This Chicken Nachos recipe starts with perfectly seasoned shredded chicken and ends with an empty tray and a table of very full and happy family members.
Have you tried Nacho night at your house? I love the simplicity of it. I can make up a huge tray of loaded chicken nachos, and everyone can just help themselves.
Sometimes I serve a simple salad with the nachos, and sometimes I just let them be the entire delicious, cheesy, satisfying meal!
If you have picky eaters, it’s easy to adjust the toppings so that part of the tray is free from tomatoes or hot peppers. Everyone is happy when nachos are for dinner.
This easy recipe for Mexican seasoned chicken is based on my Shredded Chicken Tacos recipe, but it’s simplified just a little bit so that it’s even easier to make.
I’ll give you the recipe that includes how to poach chicken breasts for shredded chicken tacos, but you can also use a rotisserie chicken if you want this to be extra easy.
Leftover Baked Salsa Chicken is also delicious on nachos!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- A Fun Family Meal– Make up a big tray of shredded chicken nachos, put the whole thing on the table, and let everyone dig in! It’s a fun way to do taco night with chips instead of tortillas.
- Traditional Mexican Flavors – Warm spices and salsa make this chicken irresistible! You might not want to go back to making ground beef nachos after trying this recipe.
- No Fancy Equipment needed – While you can make shredded chicken breasts in a slow cooker or Instant Pot, I’m showing you how to boil them on the stove quickly and easily.
Ingredients For Chicken Nachos
Here’s what you need to make this nacho recipe with chicken.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Chicken: You’ll need a pound of chicken breast meat, cooked and shredded. This should be 2-3 breasts, depending on their size. I boiled the chicken before starting this recipe, but you can use a rotisserie chicken that you’ve shredded or cook chicken in any other way you prefer.
- Salsa: Mixing the chicken with an already prepared salsa is a delicious shortcut that adds tons of flavor. Use your favorite jarred salsa, as spicy as you like.
- Garlic: Freshly minced garlic adds so much savory flavor to the chicken.
- Taco Seasonings: Follow the recipe to mix up a nacho chicken seasoning featuring cumin, oregano, and chili powder. You can also make up a batch of my homemade taco seasoning and keep it on hand.
- Oil: A small amount of vegetable oil is needed to saute the garlic and blend up the spices. Light olive oil can be used too, or any other light flavored oil.
- Chips: You can’t make nachos without tortilla chips! I like restaurant-style tortilla chips, but you can use your favorites. Triangular tortilla chips or round chips work just the same.
- Nacho Toppings: Cheese, beans, salsas, fresh veggies, and more can go on your chicken nachos!
Toppings for Chicken Nachos
You can get creative with your Nacho toppings – nobody will be there to stop you from adding anything and everything that you love to a nacho platter! Here’s what I used:
- Black Beans: A can of black beans, drained and rinsed adds extra protein, making these chips a proper meal.
- Cheese: You want about 3 cups of cheese to make this amount of nachos (we’re making enough to fill a cookie sheet). Choose your favorites. I suggest blending 2 or 3 types of cheese to make the nachos extra exciting. Choose your favorites. Cheddar, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or Mexican blend are great choices.
- Tomatoes: Diced tomato adds a cool, bright flavor to spicy foods. You can also use pico de gallo if you have some or want to make up a batch!
- Jalapeno slices: These are not for everyone, but personally I think the best chips are the ones with a whole hot pepper slice right on top.
- Cilantro: This green herb is perfect for all of your Mexican taco meals.
- Sour Cream: Go simple with a container of sour cream, or make up some flavorful lime crema instead.
- Avocado: I make an amazingly delicious homemade guacamole. You should try it! Otherwise, diced avocado is creamy and delicious too.
How To Make Shredded Chicken for Nachos
Skip this part if you already have cooked, shredded chicken on hand. This recipe works great with leftovers or a rotisserie chicken.
- Poach Chicken: Place chicken breasts in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F/74°C. I use the kitchen thermometer to check as overcooked chicken will be dry.
- Shred it: Use two forks to pull the chicken breast meat apart into bite-sized pieces, and set it aside while you make a delicious sauce for your chicken nachos.
- Make Nacho Chicken: In a skillet, heat oil and sauté the garlic for just 30 seconds. Add cumin, oregano, chili powder, and salt. Cook for 1 minute, stirring to combine. Add salsa, and cook to warm through. Mix in the shredded chicken.
How to Make Chicken Nachos
Once you’ve made your deliciously seasoned Mexican shredded chicken, it’s time to assemble the best tray of nachos you’ve ever had!
- Start with Chips: Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C while you fill a half-size sheet tray with tortilla chips. It’s ok if they overlap, but be sure to spread them out in an even layer.
- Add Toppings: Some of your nacho toppings should be cooked, and others will go on later. When preparing the nachos for the oven, top them with shredded chicken, then beans, and finally cheese.
- Bake: Place the whole tray in the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
- Add Cold Toppings: Fresh toppings like tomatoes, guacamole, fresh jalapeno, and sour cream should be added just before serving.
Make clean up easy! Line the pan with aluminum foil before assembling your chicken nachos. Then all you have to do is wipe the tray and put it away.
- Add More Toppings: Please, get creative and add whatever you like to these nachos. Aside from the toppings I’ve already mentioned, sliced olives, diced onion or bell pepper, fresh corn, queso dip, and homemade Salsa Verde are also delicious.
- Don’t bake the cold toppings: Save your fresh veggies and cool sauces for after the chips come out of the oven. Only heat up the chips with the chicken, cheese, and beans.
- Shortcuts are fine! I recommend shredding your own cheese from a block whenever possible, but if bagged cheese helps you to get dinner ready fast, go for it! Rotisserie chicken for nachos is also a smart shortcut for this recipe.
- Eat Nachos Right Away: You’ll get the best texture and flavor if you enjoy your nachos with chicken right after they come out of the oven.
- Switch out the Tortilla Chips with Tater Tots! These are called Totchos, and I have a great recipe for you!
Nachos are best eaten right after you’ve made them. If kept as leftovers, the chips will get soggy and soft.
The shredded chicken can be stored separately in an airtight container and kept for 4-5 days. This way you can put together nachos whenever you’re ready.
What To Serve With Chicken Nachos
The great thing about a big tray of loaded nachos is that it is a full meal! Your family will love it when it’s Nacho night.
Try some of these other Mexican-inspired meals to make it a full nacho/taco night feast!
- Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Shrimp Ceviche
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers
- Agua Fresca to drink
- and Pinata Cupcakes for dessert!
You can make a smaller portion of nachos with chicken using your air fryer. Line the air fryer basket with foil and then layer in the chips, chicken, beans, and cheese. Air Fry at 350°F/180°C for 2-5 minutes, just until the cheese is melted.
You definitely can! This seasoned chicken is as delicious wrapped in a tortilla as it is on top of chips.
Nachos for dinner are so fun and simple to make! Everyone will love it when you serve these chicken nachos, so be sure that you save the recipe so you can make it again.
For The Shredded Chicken
- 1 pound (450g) chicken breasts about 2 large breasts, or 3-4 cups of cooked, shredded chicken. See note 3
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup salsa
To Assemble the Nachos
- 16 ounces tortilla chips restaurant style, about 1 bag full
- 15 ounces canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheese cheddar, mozzarella, monterrey jack, Mexican blend, or a combination.
- 1 small roma tomato diced, or ¼ cup pico de gallo
- 1 fresh jalapeno sliced
- cilantro leaves
- sour cream or lime crema
- avocado or guacamole
To Make Shredded Chicken for Nachos
- Place chicken breasts in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F/74°C.
- Use two forks to pull the chicken breast meat apart into bite-sized pieces, and set it aside while you make the sauce.
- In a skillet, heat oil and sauté the garlic for just 30 seconds. Add cumin, oregano, chilli powder, and salt. Cook for 1 minute, stirring to combine. Add salsa, and cook to warm through. Mix in the shredded chicken.
To Assemble the Nachos
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C while you fill a half-size sheet tray with tortilla chips. It's ok if they overlap, but be sure to spread them out in an even layer.
- Top the chips with the shredded chicken, black beans, and cheese, in that order.
- Place the tray of nachos in the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
- Add cold toppings (tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, sour cream, and avocado) just before serving.
- In place of the salt, pepper, and dry spices, use 3 tablespoons of store-bought or homemade taco seasoning instead.
- This recipe can serve 6-8 people. Plan on six servings if you’re serving this for dinner, and more than that if you’re using Chicken Nachos as a side or appetizer.
- Use a rotisserie chicken to save time. Skip the poaching step and add your already cooked chicken to the homemade sauce. Other cooked chicken can also be used.
- To make clean up easier, line the sheet pan with aluminum foil before assembling the nachos.
- Enjoy nachos immediately after making them. The chips will get soggy if kept as leftovers.
- The seasoned chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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