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Shredded Chicken Nachos are not only ideal game day fare, they’re perfect for any occasion, from a family dinner to a casual get-together. This recipe comes together in just 20 minutes, combining crispy tortilla chips with juicy, salsa-infused shredded chicken, topped with a generous layer of melted Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses.

Shredded Chicken Nachos in a rimmed baking sheet photographed from the top.

The beauty of this dish is in its ease and flexibility. The combination of melted cheese and spiced chicken hits the right balance of taste and texture. Top these any way you like: add jalapeños for a spicy kick, guacamole for richness, or sour cream for a cool contrast. Garnish with fresh cilantro and Pico de Gallo for a touch of freshness. Whether it’s game day or any day, these nachos are about more than just good food; they’re about creating fun, relaxed moments with friends and family.

Ingredients for Shredded Chicken Nachos

Shredded Chicken Nachos Ingredients on a granite surface.
  • Chicken: Look for chicken that’s been freshly cooked and shredded. This can either be home-cooked (my Shredded Chicken recipe is ideal) or store-bought rotisserie chicken for convenience. Be sure it’s moist and tender, as dry chicken won’t blend as well with the salsa.
  • Fire Roasted Salsa: Choose a salsa with a smoky flavor and a texture that’s not too runny (ideally easy, homemade Fire Roasted Salsa). Chunkier salsa adds more body and better adheres to the chicken.
  • Tortilla Chips: Look for thick, sturdy chips that can hold up well under the weight of the toppings without becoming soggy. A crisp, lightly salted variety works best.
  • Monterey Jack Cheese: Choose cheese that is fresh and can be shredded at home. Freshly shredded cheese melts more evenly and provides a creamier texture than pre-shredded varieties.
  • Jalapeño: Fresh jalapeños should be firm and bright green, with no soft spots. Adjust the quantity based on your heat preference. Pickled jalapeños are also an option, for a tangier flavor.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro should have vibrant green leaves and a strong, fresh aroma. Avoid any bunches with wilted or yellow leaves.
  • Pico de Gallo: Fresh Pico de Gallo is best. It should be vibrant in color and not too watery, to avoid making the chips soggy.
  • Guacamole: Choose guacamole that is bright green and freshly made (Or make my simple Salsa Guacamole). If buying pre-made, check for a short ingredient list to ensure freshness and quality.
  • Sour Cream: Opt for a full-fat sour cream for a richer flavor and creamier texture. It should be thick and smooth.
  • Lime Wedges: Look for limes that are firm and heavy for their size, a good sign of juiciness. Fresh lime juice will add a bright, zesty flavor to the dish.

Perfect Nacho Proportions

Achieving the ideal nacho composition is key. It’s essential to strike the right balance between chips, cheese, and meat. An overload of cheese on too few chips leads to a soggy outcome, while an excess of chips with scant cheese or toppings can be underwhelming. Fortunately, there’s a simple rule of thumb to follow: a 1:1:1 ratio. So, if you’re using 8 ounces of chips, pair it with 8 ounces each of meat and grated cheese.

Shredded Chicken Nachos close up image.

4 Essential Recipe Tips

  1. Crispy Chips Secret: To ensure your chips stay perfectly crispy, bake them in the oven for 3-5 minutes before adding toppings. This step helps to remove any absorbed moisture, giving them an extra level of crispness.
  2. Optimal Layering Technique: Start with an even layer of tortilla chips, overlapping but not stacked. Then, add half of the shredded cheese, followed by the shredded chicken, and top with the remaining cheese. This layering ensures each chip gets an even distribution of toppings.
  3. Toppings Last: Add toppings like jalapeños, Pico de Gallo, guacamole, and sour cream after baking. This keeps them fresh and prevents your nachos from getting soggy.
  4. Best Served: Serve the nachos hot, right out of the oven, for the best taste and texture.

Recipe Options

  • Cheese Varieties: Beyond Monterey Jack, try cheddar or pepper jack for extra heat or a Mexican cheese blend.
  • Chip Choices: Experiment with different types of chips, such as blue corn or multigrain, for a twist on texture and taste.
  • Heat Levels: Adjust the spiciness with different types of jalapeños, or use milder peppers like poblanos for less heat.
  • Extra Toppings: Consider adding black olives, diced tomatoes, or corn for additional flavor and texture.
  • Salsa Swaps: Switch out fire-roasted salsa for a tomatillo salsa or a chunky homemade salsa for a different flavor profile.
Shredded Chicken Nachos in a rimmed baking sheet photographed from the top with salsa sour cream and guacamole.

More Must-Try Nacho Recipes

How to Make Shredded Chicken Nachos

Toss shredded chicken with salsa in a medium bowl to coat evenly. On a quarter sheet pan, arrange chips in a single, overlapping layer and bake until lightly crisp.

Layer half of the cheese over the chips, add the chicken mixture, and then top with the remaining cheese. Continue baking until the cheese melts and the chicken is thoroughly heated.

Serve the nachos hot, garnished with jalapeño slices, lime wedges, and cilantro, and accompany with Pico de Gallo, more Fire Roasted Salsa, guacamole, and sour cream on the side.

Shredded Chicken Nachos close up image from a bottom angle.

Shredded Chicken Nachos

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Calories: 440
Servings: 6 people
Crispy and hearty, these nachos are a fiesta of melted cheese and savory, spiced chicken, all dressed up with fresh, creamy toppings for a perfect blend of textures and flavors.

Ingredients  

  • 8 ounces shredded chicken this Shredded Chicken recipe or from a rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup fire roasted salsa homemade Fire Roasted Salsa or your favorite store bought brand
  • 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 to taste
  • sour cream to taste
  • lime wedges for serving, optional

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  • Add shredded chicken and salsa to a medium bowl and toss well to coat.
  • Spread chips in a single layer onto a quarter sheet pan with chips overlapping, but not stacked. Bake 3 minutes until lightly crisp.
  • Top hot chips evenly in layers: 1/2 of cheese, followed by shredded chicken mixture, finishing with remaining cheese. Bake 7-10 minutes until cheese has melted and chicken is heated through.
  • Serve hot with desired toppings (jalapeño slices, lime wedges and cilantro) along with Pico de Gallo or more Fire Roasted Salsa, guacamole and sour cream served on the side.

Notes

  1. Note that preparation time does not include making Pico de Gallo / Fire Roasted Salsa or guacamole from scratch, but it’s worth the effort! 🙂
  2. I recommend shred your own cheese. The bagged stuff is coated with potato starch or cellulose powder and doesn’t melt well.
  3. Adjust the amount of shredded cheese to taste. 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!

Nutrition

Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 498mg | Potassium: 297mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 390IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 334mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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10 Comments

  1. Valentina says:

    One of my boys makes nachos of some sort once, if not twice a day. He’ll love this. And I would love it for breakfast with a fried egg on top! 🙂 ~Valentina

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I love that, Valentina! And great idea about the fried egg.

  2. Doris Day says:

    They are in the oven now and my mouth is watering. Go Niners!! YUM.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Love it! Hope the nachos were a hit, Doris!

  3. Ben | Havocinthekitchen says:

    5 stars
    I cannot say I’m a huge nachos person, but I must admit this baked version looks and sounds phenomenal – so many great flavours and textures going on. Great job!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Thanks so much, Ben!

  4. David @ Spiced says:

    5 stars
    Oh this recipe has everything I love on it! This sounds great for a Super Bowl…or just a quiet night watching tv. I’m thinking we won’t have to worry about leftovers!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      haha…I know what you mean!

  5. Mimi Rippee says:

    I love your nachos! I really hate it when there’s not enough cheese on the chips.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      haha…same!