Chicken Nachos

Tested & Perfected Recipes
Chicken Nachos

Loaded with spicy pulled rotisserie chicken and ungodly amounts of cheese, these chicken nachos are hearty and satisfying – and everyone is happy when you say, “Nachos for dinner!”

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 indulge on chips, guac, and the like without having to worry about filling up before the main course.

I love to 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.

What you’ll need to make chicken nachos

how to make chicken nachos

You’ll notice that the recipe calls for two types of cheese: a Mexican blend 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 good nachos require a generous topping of melted cheese. Plus, 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

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

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Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos

Loaded with spicy pulled rotisserie chicken and ungodly amounts of cheese, these chicken nachos are hearty and satisfying – and everyone is happy when you say, “Nachos for dinner!”

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.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Hi Jenn,
    Do you think I could use regular Romano cheese instead of the Pecorino – it was all I could find at the store. I have Asiago and Parmesan also.

    • — Colleen on February 5, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Colleen, that should work. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 5, 2021
      • Reply
  • These are so ridiculously simple compared to the complicated chicken nachos I used to make! The complicated version — with marinated, then sauteed chicken that is then simmered in a sauce — is indeed very tasty… BUT so is this recipe and it’s ten times easier using the store-bought rotisserie chicken!

    Thank you ten times over for this recipe, Jenn! We love chicken nachos, and this recipe really nips the craving without so much effort.

    Pro tip for anyone else reading (maybe Jenn mentioned it in the recipe write-up, I can’t remember!) — I don’t know if I’ve *ever* used a whole can of chipotles in Adobo sauce, and I hate to waste, so whatever remains from a can I put in my mini food processor and blitz til it’s smooth. Then I put it in a tiny tupperware and it lives on the door of the freezer for a few months. When I want chipotle flavor, I use a teaspoon to scrape as much of the frozen paste as I want, instead of using the powdered spice. Also fab to simply mix in to sour cream with a little lime for a wicked chip dip.

    • — Tiina on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • These were great! I paired these with the Stacked Beef Enchiladas from Once Upon a Chef.

    • — mikermeals on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • BEST CHICKEN NACHOSI EVER MADE!!! As a kid we used to beg to go to the local Mexican place to get this yummy appetizer, and this brought me back to 1975!!

    • — Nancy Curran on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Incredible and makes a ton! You don’t need a lot of these to get full! Love anything I can use rotessiere chicken with after a long day at the office.

    • — Sarah Fisken on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Thank you for a delicious way to use up leftover chicken and make a delicious meal. Your recipes (and your cookbook) continue to inspire us to get into the kitchen and make something yummy!!!

    • — Gail on January 28, 2021
    • Reply

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