Nachos are the perfect food for a crowd. They’re easy to make, and everyone can customize their own plate. So if you’re looking to take your party menu up a notch, try making these loaded ground beef nachos at home.
Do you love nachos as much as I do?
With melty cheese, ground beef and toppings on top of crunchy tortilla chips, what’s not to love?
However, I often find that the nachos served in restaurants have too many chips and not enough toppings.
Which is how this homemade loaded nachos recipe came about.
When you make nachos at home, you can put exactly what you want on them in whatever quantities you want.
Even better? Nachos are really easy.
And if you’re making them for a party, most of the steps can be done the day before so there will be less for you to do on the day of the event.
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Here is your shopping list:
For the nachos
- oil – 1 Tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
- fresh vegetables – 1 white or red onion, (optional) 1 jalapeno pepper
- spices – 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 2 fresh garlic cloves
- meat – 1 pound ground beef
- chips – 1 bag of tortilla chips – any kind that you like
Here are some of the toppings you traditionally find on loaded nachos.
- sauces – guacamole, salsa or pico de gallo, cheese sauce – you can use either store-bought or homemade versions of all of these.
- dairy – sour cream, grated cheese – I like to use cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack. This is one time when using store-bought grated cheese is fine if you don’t feel like doing the work yourself.
- vegetables – tomatoes, lettuce, jalapeno peppers, avocado, olives, green onions
- any other topping you feel like putting on your nachos. (That’s the beauty of making your own.)
- Ground turkey or ground chicken can be used instead of the ground beef if you prefer.
- If you don’t have taco seasoning, you can make your own by combining 1 Tablespoon chili powder with 1 teaspoon oregano and 1 teaspoon cumin.
How To Make loaded Nachos
Most of the work for this dish is in preparing the toppings. (But that’s a small price to pay to have your nachos loaded like you want them!)
Chop all of the vegetables into small enough pieces that they are easy to scoop off the plate with tortilla chips.
If you didn’t buy cheese that is already shredded, grate it now.
If you are preparing for a party ahead of time, cover everything and refrigerate it until it’s time to serve.
Cook the meat
Next make the ground beef.
To do this, saute the garlic and onion in a pan with some vegetable oil.
When they are soft, add in the spices and the jalapeno pepper (if you are using it).
Cook for a couple more minutes.
Then add the ground beef and cook until it is completely brown.
The meat can also be made up to a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Put them together
To make the nachos, start by spreading a single layer of tortilla chips on a plate.
They add a layer of ground beef and grated cheese.
Put some more tortillas on top of the first layer.
And add another layer of ground beef and cheese.
Heat the plate in the microwave until the cheese has melted, about 2 minutes.
Then add the salsa and all of the other toppings to complete the dish.
How to serve nachos for a crowd
If you are making nachos for game day or some other event, the easiest way to serve them is to create a nacho bar and have people make their own.
Here’s what I do:
- Pour the tortillas into a large bowl
- Put the nacho meat into a crockpot or hot plate and turn it on. If you’ve made the meat the day before, you can put it into the crock pot a couple of hours before the party starts. Turn it on to low heat and leave it be. The meat should be warm by the time your guests arrive.
- Use this crock pot cheese dip instead of grated cheese.
- Put out bowls with all of the other toppings.
Then give everyone plates and let them make their own nacho creations.
I do this all the time for my annual Super Bowl party and everyone loves it.
Plus it’s way less work for you.
Other easy recipes you might like
Loaded Ground Beef Nachos
- 1 bag Tortilla chips
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 cooking onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tablespoon of taco seasoning store bought, or make your own with the recipe below
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 green chile pepper (such as a jalapeno pepper) finely chopped (optional)
- 1 pound ground beef
- salsa or pico de gallo
- shredded cheddar cheese
- sliced jalapeno peppers
- sliced green onions
- sour cream
- chopped avocado
Homemade Taco Seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
How to make the meat
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Saute the chopped onion and garlic until soft, 3 – 5 minutes.
- Add the taco seasonings, pepper flakes and chopped chile pepper (if using).
- Stir until the seasonings are well mixed in with the onions.
- Add the ground meat and cook until browned all the way through, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes.
How to put them together
- Spread a single layer of tortilla chips on a plate.
- Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese along with the ground meat over the chips. You can also include other toppings that can be heated (such as re-fried beans)
- Spread another layer of tortilla chips on top.
- Sprinkle the rest of the cheese and ground meat over the top.
- Heat the plate in the microwave until the cheese is melted (about 2 minutes).
- Add the salsa and other toppings over the top.
How to make taco seasoning
- Combine the chili powder, oregano and cumin in a small bowl.
- Substitute ground turkey or ground chicken for the ground beef if preferred.
- The meat can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
- To serve nachos for a crowd, it’s easier to replace the grated cheese with our crock pot cheese dip. Then put all of the fixings out on a table and let people make their own nachos.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Have comments or questions about our loaded ground beef nachos? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on March 16, 2015 but was updated with new content on December 17, 2023.