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If you’ve ever had nachos, you know there’s certainly a bit of skill and art required to create the perfect tray. You’ve probably trudged through soggy chips or crunched upon one that lacks any toppings—a true snacking tragedy. But all of that can disappear, thanks to some tips from “Basic Bitchen” author and Chowhound Editor-at-Large Joey Skladany

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Like many, Joey swears by nachos because it’s a customizable dish. “You can top them with, quite literally, anything you’re craving, from meats and cheeses to vegetables and sauces,” he says. “In fact, it may just be the most perfect food for anyone who can’t drunkenly make up their mind at 2 a.m. after a night at the bars. Or am I just speaking for myself?”

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However which way you consume nachos, there are some handy tips Joey says you should keep in mind. The first is to always invest in a sturdy chip. Joey often mixes up the flavors by using both yellow and blue corn tortillas, but he ensures that the chips he buys are thick, heavy, and a perfect vessel for lots of toppings.

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Secondly, it’s all about the layers. “Create a base, but don’t use up all of your toppings right away,” Joey advises. “Equally distribute them in levels so that your chip isn’t weighed down under a giant mass of meat, veggies, and sauces. This will also prevent your sauces from pooling at the bottom and creating sad, soggy chips.” Another plus of following this technique is that you’re guaranteed to have a perfect chip-to-filling ratio.

Now that you’re armed with these tips, let’s discuss what we’re all really here for: the toppings. On Joey’s nachos, he goes for both guacamole and queso, but he encourages you to experiment with different ingredients. Bored of cotija? Sprinkle piles of gouda on top. Looking to mix up chorizo? Why not throw on leftover BBQ pulled pork and caramelized onions? You could even go the sweet route and dust nachos with cinnamon and sugar.

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“Nachos are amazing because they can take on the flavor profiles of your most beloved foods, but in chip and dip form,” Joey says. “They force you to think outside of the box, but are always capable of satisfying whatever you may be craving.”

Below you’ll find Joey’s recipe for Nacho Average Nachos from “Basic Bitchen.” Joey’s version calls for chorizo, onions, pinto beans, queso, pico de gallo, guacamole, pickled jalapenos, cotija, scallions, and cilantro leaves. If there are ingredients you’re simply not into or have other ideas for toppings, feel free to get as creative as you want.

Nacho Average Nachos Recipe 

My favorite pastime is creating dishes in the form of literal mountains and challenging myself to see if I can rappel down them to the plate. This makes me the textbook definition of skinny-fat, but I could be addicted to meth instead, so fight me. Perhaps the most fun mountain to make is one of nachos, loaded with ingredient after ingredient so that no two bites are exactly the same. It’s not difficult to make and, once I swap my summer bod for my dad bod in the winter, serves as a perfect substitute for a warm boyfriend. Who needs human touch? Not this guy. (Unless that human is bringing nachos.)

Nacho Average Nachos

Prep Time: 15 minutesCook Time: 10 minutesServes: 10-12
  • 1/2 pound fresh (Mexican) chorizo, casings removed
  • 1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 (8-ounce) bag blue corn tortilla chips
  • 1/2 (8-ounce) bag yellow corn tortilla chips
  • 1 cup Soul Mate Queso Dip
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo
  • 1/3 cup Five-Star Guacamole
  • 1/4 cup crema
  • 1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeño (optional)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese 2 small scallions, thinly sliced on the bias (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese 2 small scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the chorizo, breaking it up with a potato masher, until well browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and beans and cook until the onion softens and the beans warm through, about 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel–lined plate.
  2. Scatter the blue and yellow tortilla chips over a serving platter. Top evenly with the queso dip, chorizo mixture, pico de gallo, guacamole, crema, jalapeño, cotija, scallions, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Header image by Davide Luciano.

Amy Schulman is an associate editor at Chowhound. She is decidedly pro-chocolate.
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