Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos

Tested & Perfected Recipes

chicken nachos

Whenever I visit my sister in New York City, we pick one night to leave the kids and husbands at home to go out for a girls’ night. We always dine at the same Mexican restaurant around the corner from her apartment, and we always skip entrees and order a bunch of appetizers instead. It feels like such an indulgence to pig out on chips, guac, and the like without having to worry about filling up before the main course. I love to eat this eat this way at home, too, but it’s harder when feeding a family. These chicken nachos are one of the few appetizers I can get away with serving for dinner. Loaded with pulled rotisserie chicken in a spicy chipotle-tomato sauce and ungodly amounts of cheese, they are hearty and satisfying – and everyone is happy when I say, “Nachos for dinner!” This recipe makes two large sheet pans of nachos. If you want to mix things up, the chicken mixture can also be used as a filling for quesadillas, tacos or tostadas.

how to make chicken nachos

You’ll notice that the recipe calls for two types of cheese: a Mexican blend (go ahead and buy it pre-shredded from the dairy case) and Pecorino Romano, a sharp, salty Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. The Pecorino might seem like an odd addition to nachos, but it’s an excellent substitute for the funky, longer-aged Mexican cheeses that can be hard to find. I know almost 8 cups of cheese seems like a lot, but trust me: good nachos require a generous topping of melted cheese, and light-on-the-cheese nachos are just plain sad. For the guacamole, you can make your favorite recipe — or do as I do and prepare a quick version by mashing some diced avocado with a little lime juice and salt, to taste.

how to make chicken nachos

Begin with the chicken. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Do not brown; reduce the heat if necessary.

how to make chicken nachos

Add the tomato sauce, chipotle peppers and sauce, sugar, cumin, oregano, and salt.

how to make chicken nachos

Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.

how to make chicken nachos

Add the chicken and cilantro.

how to make chicken nachos

Mix and set aside.

how to make chicken nachos

For the nachos, arrange the tortilla chips in a single layer, overlapping slightly, on two 13 x 18-inch baking sheets. Spread the chicken evenly over the chips.

how to make chicken nachos

Sprinkle the the cheeses evenly over the chicken.

how to make chicken nachos

Bake until the cheese is melted, 5 to 8 minutes.

how to make chicken nachos

Remove the nachos from the oven, then sprinkle with scallions and cilantro. Serve immediately, passing the guacamole, sour cream, and lime wedges separately.

chicken nachos

My Recipe Videos

Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos

Servings: 10
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, plus 1 tablespoon sauce from can
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken, from 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro (optional)

For the Nachos

  • 1 (13-oz) bag tortilla chips
  • 7 cups (28 oz) shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 2/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced scallions, from 2 to 3 scallions
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

For Serving (Optional)

  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Limes wedges

Instructions

For the Chicken

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Do not brown; reduce the heat if necessary.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, chipotle peppers and sauce, sugar, cumin, oregano, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Stir in the chicken and cilantro.

For the Nachos

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and set two racks in the center of the oven.
  2. Arrange the tortilla chips in a single layer, overlapping slightly, on two 13 x 18-inch baking sheets. Spread the chicken evenly over the chips, followed by the cheeses.
  3. Bake until the cheese is melted, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the nachos from the oven, then sprinkle with scallions and cilantro. Serve immediately, passing the guacamole, sour cream, and lime wedges separately.
  4. Make-Ahead Instructions: The chicken mixture can be made in advance and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead of time. Warm the chicken to room temperature in the microwave before assembling the nachos.
  5. Note: The nutritional information does not include the optional ingredients for serving.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (10 appetizer-sized servings)
  • Calories: 624
  • Fat: 42 g
  • Saturated fat: 18 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 32 g
  • Sodium: 677 mg
  • Cholesterol: 115 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Reviews & Comments

  • Awesome Sunday night dinner, my husband loves it

    • — SAVITRI SOOKOO MacIsaac on November 28, 2018
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I thought I had a can of chipotle chili peppers and already started making these. Can I just substitute chili powder instead? Thank you so much!

    • — Cheryl Q on November 17, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Cheryl, instead of chili powder, I would replace the chipotle peppers and the tomato sauce with one 14-oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes. It would be nice with 1 tsp. of smoked paprika added to the tomatoes (as it will lend a nice smoky flavor that mimics the smokiness of the adobo sauce). Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 18, 2018
      • Reply
  • Just made these for dinner tonight. Very tasty! I love the idea of an appetizer for dinner also. Would be perfect to serve as an appetizer at a football game viewing party, so will keep that in mind for next time. Jen, I have been using your recipes for several years, but this is my first time posting. Thank you so much for all the delicious recipes, especially the salads. I love to cook, but planning dinner can become tedious, so I really appreciate all the new ideas!

    • — Natalie on October 21, 2018
    • Reply
  • Thanks these were perfect just the way you made them, you have guacamole as an option but a must with my family, and I cheated and bought mine at Costco.

    • — LILLIAN BROWN on October 8, 2018
    • Reply
  • These nachos were fantastic. My teenage son said “OMG, my friends would devour these. So good!” Thanks Jenn. I would make a little less spicy but everything else was perfection

    • — Karin Walker on September 12, 2018
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I was wondering what brand of tortilla chips you’d recommend for this recipe? Thanks!

    • — Gabi on September 10, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Gabi, I usually buy Tostitos, but any supermarket brand is fine. 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 10, 2018
      • Reply
  • We inhaled these!!! They were so good and so easy to make!!!

    • — Nicole on September 10, 2018
    • Reply
  • OFF THE THE CHAIN JENN! Made the roasted salsa to go with the nachos. OMG with your margaritas….. happy girl/family

    • — Kerrie on September 9, 2018
    • Reply
  • What kind of cheese would you use if the Mexican cheeses were easy to find, as they are in Texas? Cotija? Queso fresco?

    • — Karen on September 9, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Karen, Cotija would be perfect.

      • — Jenn on September 9, 2018
      • Reply
  • I needed to make a vegetarian version, so in place of the chicken, I shredded extra firm tofu (squeeze the water out of it and then shred it). It worked well as the sauce is very flavorful. We found the cumin a bit overpowering (but maybe I added too much). Thank you as always for your great recipes!

    • — Nick on September 9, 2018
    • Reply
  • This looks great for a potluck dinner we will be going to. The only thing is that for whatever reason, I have always hated the taste of chipotle chiles (and am not sure if I can source them here in Malaysia anyway.) Could I just add some chili powder to the sauce or something else?

    • — Jessica Wright on September 6, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Jessica, I would replace the chipotle peppers and the tomato sauce with one 14-oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes. It would be nice with 1 tsp. of smoked paprika added to the tomatoes (as it will lend a nice smoky flavor that mimics the smokiness of the adobo sauce). Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 7, 2018
      • Reply
      • Thank you, Jenn!!! These were absolutely inhaled at the potluck we attended. A great way to make friends with our new neighbors. 🙂

        • — Jessica Wright on September 11, 2018
        • Reply
  • My whole family loved these nachos! My picky eater and meat eater were both satisfied 😊 This one is a keeper!

    • — Lea on September 6, 2018
    • Reply
  • I noticed you didn’t give nutrition information for these as you usually do. Are they as fattening as they seem? They do sound delicious.
    My family of 5 loves all of your recipes!

    • — Arielle Grill on September 6, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Arielle, I was struggling with how to calculate the number of servings as they could be an appetizer or a main dish. I’ve calculated/added them based on 10 appetizer-sized portions. Hope you enjoy if you make them!

      • — Jenn on September 7, 2018
      • Reply
  • Jenn,

    My daughter and I are addicted to chicken nachos at a local eatery. I would love to surprise her at home with these! My only worry is that she is not yet into foods that are too spicy. What sort of adjustment would you recommend to bring the spiciness down a bit without sacrificing too much flavor?

    Thanks,
    pmm

    • — pmm on September 6, 2018
    • Reply
    • The chicken mixture itself is spicy but the nachos really aren’t too spicy. That said, it’s fine to cut the amount of chipotle peppers and sauce in half. Hope you and your daughter enjoy them!

      • — Jenn on September 6, 2018
      • Reply
      • We are literally devouring these right now!! Sooooooo good! I did reduce the amount of peppers and it has enough heat and flavor that we both can enjoy them! Thank you for another winner, Jenn!!!

        • — pmm on September 16, 2018
        • Reply
  • You have perfect timing. Our theme for this week’s dinners has been Mexican, so we’ve made your chicken tacos, your quesadillas, Mexican lasagna and last night, we were thinking of nachos for tonight!
    We do, however, have a 3 year old and I’m wondering if the Chipotle peppers would make this spicy for her? Any recommendations to make this toddler-friendly? We were even thinking using toasted pita chips to make it a little healthier.

    • — Bea on September 6, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Bea, The chicken itself is spicy but the nachos aren’t really that hot, thanks to all that cheese. But go ahead and reduce the chipotle peppers if you’d like to tone it down.

      • — Jenn on September 6, 2018
      • Reply
  • In the photo, I am seeing avacado but it is not listed as an ingredient?

    • — Laurie Cynkin on September 6, 2018
    • Reply
    • HI Laurie, Sorry for any confusion – I list guacamole as an optional ingredient for serving. Hope you enjoy the nachos if you try them!

      • — Jenn on September 6, 2018
      • Reply
  • I’m a huge fan of your Texas Chilli (as are any of my friends who have tried it) but I really can’t bring myself to add Chipotle chilli powder to it – the smell just reminds me of cigarette ash trays. In that recipe I use a regular hot chilli powder alongside the other spices, will this approach work for this recipe too?

    • — Lee on September 6, 2018
    • Reply
    • Sure, Lee, that would work here. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 7, 2018
      • Reply

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