Carne Asada Nachos are decadent, delicious and easy to make with melted cheese, juicy bites of grilled Carne Asada, fresh Pico de Gallo, guacamole, and sour cream. I'll share four simple secrets to make sure that your nachos are perfect every time (never soggy or boring!).
The first secret to perfect Carne Asada Nachos is to get the ratio right between chips, cheese and steak. Cheese is key here: too much and you have a goopy mess, too little and you have boring nachos.
Ingredients You Need to Make Carne Asada Nachos
- Grilled Carne Asada: leftover or just grilled (see recipe note #2)
- Olive oil: for crisping up leftover steak if it's not freshly grilled.
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Tortilla chips: ideally thick and sturdy
- Cheese: Monterey Jack cheese, a mix of Jack and cheddar or Colby Jack
- Jalapeño: fresh or pickled
- Fresh Cilantro
- Pico de Gallo or Fire Roasted Salsa
- Avocado or Guacamole
- Fresh Lime
- Sour Cream
4 Secrets for Making the Best Nachos
- The best ratio of chips to cheese to steak is easy to remember - 1:1:1. So if you want to make enough nachos for 4 to 6 people on a quarter sheet pan (13 by 9 in), use 8 ounces of tortilla chips, spread out in an even layer with chips overlapping, but not stacked. Top with 8 ounces of shredded cheese and 8 ounces of steak in bite-size chunks. For a half sheet pan (18 by 13 in), you would double these amounts to serve 8 to 12. (I use the same ratio in these amazing Pulled Pork Nachos.) I like to assemble these nachos with half of the cheese directly on the chips then the Carne Asada, finishing with the remaining cheese. That way some of the steak bites have cheese melted over the top!
- Secret two is to reheat and lightly crisp your steak bites in a skillet before sprinkling over your chips. This is only necessary if you're making these nachos with leftover steak (as I typically am - also great for making Carne Asada Fries). If you're making nachos with Carne Asada that you've just grilled, you can skip this step.
- The third secret is to bake the chips before you add any toppings, a genius tip I learned from this recipe over at Simply Recipes. It's well worth the 5 minutes to ensure that your chips stay crisp.
- Which brings me to the fourth secret: serve your nachos hot, straight from the oven. Top with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and sliced fresh or pickled jalapeños, but serve Pico de Gallo, guacamole, and sour cream (or Chipotle Crema, Lime Crema or Jalapeño Ranch) on the side with spoons for topping chips individually. Though delicious (and essential in my opinion!), piling these toppings on your nachos can make them soggy.
The Best Cheese for Nachos
A couple of notes on cheese: shred your own and use cheese that melts well, like Monterey Jack (my favorite) or cheddar. Pre-shredded cheese is convenient, but I don't recommend it. It's coated with potato starch and/or cellulose powder which inhibits smooth melting.
The Best Chips for Nachos
Choose thick tortilla chips. Use chips that are sturdy enough to hold all of those toppings and melted cheese without breaking.
How to Make Carne Asada Nachos
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet until hot. Add bite-size pieces of grilled Carne Asada (or Carne Asada made in the oven); cook and stir until heated and lightly browned on one side. Remove from heat and set aside.
Spread tortilla chips in a quarter sheet pan in a slightly overlapping, single layer. Bake just the chips for 3-5 minutes at 375˚F.
Top hot chips evenly with ½ of shredded cheese, then steak pieces, and finish with remaining cheese.
Bake 5 to 7 minutes until cheese has melted.
Sprinkle cilantro and slices of fresh or pickled jalapeño (optional). Serve immediately with Pico de Gallo, avocado slices or guacamole, lime wedges and sour cream on the side.
Carne Asada Nachos Recipe Video
Carne Asada Nachos
- 8 ounces grilled Carne Asada leftover or just grilled (see recipe note #2)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 8 ounces tortilla chips ideally thick and sturdy
- 8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese or a mix of Jack and cheddar
- thinly sliced jalapeño fresh or pickled, to taste
- chopped fresh cilantro to taste
- Pico de Gallo to taste
- guacamole or avocado slices to taste
- lime wedges optional
- sour cream to taste
- Preheat oven to 375˚F.
- Slice cooked Carne Asada steak across the grain into slices and then into bite-size pieces.
- Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Add steak; cook and stir until heated through and slightly crisped, 3 to 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Spread chips onto a quarter sheet pan in a single layer with chips overlapping, but not stacked. Bake 3-5 minutes (depending on chip thickness) until lightly crisp and fragrant.
- Top hot chips evenly in 3 layers: ½ of cheese, followed by Carne Asada pieces, finishing with remaining cheese. Bake 5 to 7 minutes until cheese has melted.
- Serve hot, topped with jalapeño slices and cilantro (optional) and Pico de Gallo, guacamole, lime wedges and sour cream on the side.
- Note that preparation time does not include making Pico de Gallo or guacamole from scratch, but I recommend that you do! 🙂
- If you've just grilled your Carne Asada, you can skip the step of heating it up in a skillet. You can also make these nachos with my recipe for Carne Asada in the oven.
- It's worth it to shred your own cheese. Skip the bagged stuff that's coated in potato starch or cellulose powder as it doesn't melt well.
- Feel free to adjust the amount of shredded cheese. I've seen recipes with much less than I suggest and up to twice as much - the amount is definitely subjective. I encourage you to make these your own!