How to Make a Nacho Bar

Serving Size: 8

How to Make a Nacho Bar / Laura Agra / Katie Workman /

If you are having a party (especially if there are teenagers as part of the mix) and want a surefire hit, you will be hard pressed to find something more crowd pleasing than a nacho bar.  My sister-in-law did this for one her her son’s graduation parties, and I knew then and there it was going to become part of my repertoire.

Most recently I put this out for a super bowl party, and it reminded me of watching a zooper keeper feed the lions.  Throw in the food, snatch back your hand as quickly as possible, and don’t get between the beasts (in this case about half a dozen teenage boys) and the food.

How to Make a Nacho Bar / Laura Agra / Katie Workman /

The list of possible toppings abound, and while a number are listed below, you can get very creative — or stick with the basics.

Chili is one of the suggested toppings and you can make any kind of chili, from chicken to turkey to beef to vegetarian.  Here are some to try:

Or, instead of chili, you can also serve up cooked taco meat, or shredded slow cooked pork, beef, or chicken.

How to Make a Nacho Bar / Laura Agra / Katie Workman /

The very first time I did a test run of these was when my younger son, Charlie, had a bunch of friends over for a movie night. (I will pause to mention that two of the attending friends were named Linus and Lucy. Yes, it’s freaking adorable. No they didn’t watch Peanuts.)

Linus, amazingly, had NEVER had nachos! Isn’t that crazy? He kept repeating this fact with wonder and anticipation as the nachos baked. He lives a rich and full life otherwise, with much exposure to all of the wonders of the world, so this oversight is an anomaly. I was so happy to show him the light – how often do you get to provide a person with their first nacho night experience?

How to Make a Nacho Bar / Laura Agra / Katie Workman /

How to Make a Nacho Bar


  • 1 13-ounce bag tortilla chips
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend or cheddar cheese


  • Jalapenos
  • Olives
  • Chili  
  • Various salsas or pico de gallo sauces
  • Sliced scallions
  • Guacamole or diced avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced artichoke hearts
  • Sautéed Mushrooms

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread half the tortilla chips on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle over half of the cheese, and then layer on the rest of the chips, and cover with the rest of the cheese.

2. Place any and all of the desired toppings in individual bowls and place on the table, with small plates. Heat up the chili.

3. When ready to serve, bake the nachos for about 8 minutes until the cheese is melted. Transfer the nachos to a serving platter, and serve hot.

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