These easy BBQ chicken nachos are made with my favorite secret method I learned working while working at a Mexican restaurant. This method guarantees that each crispy tortilla chip contains the perfect amount of melty cheese, tender shreds of chicken, sweet barbecue sauce, and all your favorite nacho toppings.
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📖Why This Recipe Works
This recipe is based on a method I learned while working at a Mexican restaurant in college. For these nachos, we use tostadas not tortilla chips.
They are topped and baked. Then cut into quarters making tortilla chips.
This ensures that each chip has the perfect amount of toppings. This method is ideal for sharing.
This BBQ Chicken Nachos recipe is loaded with perfect flavors and textures. They make a great addition to any Game Day appetizer spread and are a total hit for dinner.
Corn Tortillas- Instead of crunchy tortilla chips you are going to use soft corn tortillas to make tostada shells. You can use store-bought tostadas but I recommend making them from scratch using white or yellow corn tortillas. The tortillas should be no larger than 6 to 8 inches in diameter.
Chip Seasoning- Sprinkling a little cumin, chili powder, and salt on the tostada before baking is the best way to layer extra flavor.
Chicken- I find it easiest to use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken. You can use chicken breasts or chicken thighs for this recipe, with the skin and bones removed.
BBQ Sauce- You can use store-bought or your own homemade BBQ sauce. You can also combine steps and use leftover BBQ chicken.
Shredded Cheese- For the best results use full-fat cheese. I like to use a mix of cheddar and Monterey jack. Pepperjack is also an option.
Red Onion- This recipe uses both red onion and green onions. If that is too much you can reduce the amount or leave the red onion out and just use the green onions for garnish.
Cold Toppings- For the top of the nachos I like to add fresh cilantro, jalapenos, onions, and all the favorite dips like guac and a quick blender salsa.
If you have other favorite toppings feel free to give them a try on this recipe. From black olives to black beans, this recipe is all about the method for making the best barbecue chicken nachos. How you dress them up is all you!
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
💭What Is the Best Kind of Cheese for Nachos?
The best type of cheese for nachos is either a melted queso dip type of cheese or full-fat shredded cheese. For this recipe, I like to shred my own cheese.
The types of cheeses I recommend for homemade nachos are mild cheddar, pepper jack, Monterey jack, or anything labeled "Mexican Blend".
⏲️How to Make BBQ Chicken Nachos
Start by preheating your oven to 400 F degrees. Because we need to get the tostadas crunchy a fully preheated oven is necessary for success.
Step 1- Bake the Tostadas
Lay 3 to 4 tortillas on a rimmed baking sheet. You will either need two sheet pans or work in batches for this recipe.
The tortillas should be in a single layer and not overlap. Brush both sides with oil- go light, we don't want soggy chips.
Bake for a few minutes, they will be flimsy when flipped. We bake these slightly less than our homemade tostada recipe because once we top the nachos they will go back into the oven.
There is no need for aluminum foil or parchment paper with this recipe.
Step 2- Top the Nachos
Mix together BBQ filling, no secret sauce here. Get it? I love food puns.
Spoon the filling onto the crispy tortillas and top with the cheese. Bake until the cheese melts.
It should essentially look like a mini BBQ chicken pizza.
STEP 3- Serve
Cut the tostadas into 4 pieces, so you have perfectly shaped chips. Pile onto your platter and garnish with fresh jalapenos, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro.
🥗What to Serve with Nachos
You can serve these with a side of refried beans, chimichurri rice, and a few extra sauces like avocado crema and a spicy mango habanero salsa. There is something about the sweet and spicy that I just love.
Making this a main course? Serve with a house salad and refreshing mango and chamoy popsicles for dessert
Try adding crispy bacon to the chicken mixture for an extra smoky kick!
🌡️Storage and Make Ahead
Nachos are best eaten immediately. However, these are easy to prep in advance.
- Make the tortillas and cool. Store in a plastic ziptop bag at room temperature for 1 to 2 days.
- Mix together the chicken filling and shred your cheese. Store in separate airtight containers for 2 to 3 days.
- Assemble and bake according to the recipe.
More Game Day Snacks
💬Frequently Asked Questions
Serving dipping sauces, like sour cream or salsa, on the side can help. Also making your nachos from tostadas rather than dumping several layers of chips onto a sheet pan will help. When chips on set on top of each other in the oven steam is trapped in between making them soggy.
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📖 Printable Recipe Card
Easy BBQ Chicken Nachos
- 8 corn tortillas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups shredded chicken cooked
- ½ cup red onion finely diced
- ⅔ cup BBQ sauce homemade or storebought
- ½ cup montery jack cheese
- ½ cup mild cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup cilantro minced
- 1 jalapeno thinly sliced
- 2 spring onions thinly sliced
- Sour Cream
- Pico De Gallo or Salsa
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Brush both sides of the tortillas lightly with oil using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, and salt. Bake for 3 minutes, flip bake for 2 more minutes.8 corn tortillas, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- While the tortillas are baking mix together the chicken, BBQ sauce, and red onion in a medium mixing bowl.2 cups shredded chicken, ½ cup red onion, ⅔ cup BBQ sauce
- Spread the BBQ chicken mixture evenly across the baked tortillas. Top with the two types of cheese. Bake for 8 minutes or until the cheese is melted.½ cup montery jack cheese, ½ cup mild cheddar cheese
- Transfer the tortillas to a cutting board. Cut into 4 pieces and move to a serving platter.
- Garnish with cilantro, jalapenos, and spring onions. Serve with sour cream, pico de gallo, and guacamole.¼ cup cilantro, 1 jalapeno, 2 spring onions, Sour Cream, Guacamole, Pico De Gallo or Salsa
- Regular tortilla chips or tostada shells can be substituted for the corn tortillas.
- Tortillas should be roughly 6 inches in diameter.