BBQ chicken nachos are the best of both worlds – sweet and savory plus a bit of spice! They come together in a flash so they are perfect for a quick dinner or snack.
Why you’ll love it: It’s a fun twist on plain nachos. The BBQ sauce is a nice alternative to salsa.
How long it takes: less than a half hour
Equipment you’ll need: small sheet pan (rimmed baking sheet)
When dinner time rolls around, there is a constant battle between my husband and me.
The battle I’m referring to is choosing which cuisine will reign supreme. With my love of all things Mexican and my husband’s love affair with BBQ, dinner can get complicated. But wait a minute, can’t we make a peace treaty? Reach a compromise?
Our dinner woes would be solved if we united our preferences. Why not combine the two? BBQ + nachos = match made in heaven! Our dinner woes would be solved forever!
While this is all rather tongue-in-cheek, I do believe you’ll love these BBQ chicken nachos as much as we do. The chips are have plenty of BBQ-sauced chicken, with healthy black beans and corn thrown in. Of course, there’s lots of cheese because nachos wouldn’t be nachos without cheese.
About BBQ Chicken Nachos
- This is a tested recipe. Nachos can actually be pretty easy to mess up. A number of things can go wrong. Too many toppings can result in soggy, lifeless chips. Flavorless meat leaves you wanting more. An off-balance ratio of toppings to chips can be pretty disappointing. Who wants to eat mediocre nachos? Nachos should be a splurge! We’ve tested these nachos numerous time (such a hardship!) and can vouch for their worthiness.
- These nachos are perfectly balanced. Chips, toppings, cheese all work together for the best plate of nachos.
- Nachos are great for dinner, a hearty snack, or as an appetizer. Everyone seems to love nachos and they satisfy the craving we all experience now and then for something crunchy and salty. They are filling and can be fairly healthy, depending on how you load them up. They are perfect for game day.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Cooked Shredded Chicken: Any type of cooked chicken will work. Do you have leftover grilled chicken in the fridge? A rotisserie chicken perhaps? Maybe you made a big batch of crockpot BBQ chicken and you froze a bag or two of it. I like to use my Instant Pot to cook up a family pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts and freeze it for future meals (Instant Pot shredded chicken).
- BBQ Sauce: Choose your favorite brand of BBQ sauce or make your own BBQ sauce. It’s up to you. You’ll need about a half cup, maybe a bit more if you like a lot of sauce.
- Tortilla Chips: Again, choose your favorite brand. You’ll want plain tortilla chips, not flavored ones. To cut down on sodium, buy unsalted chips. You won’t miss the salt in these nachos. The nachos are good with sweet potato chips, too.
- Corn: I usually use a can of corn, drained well. If you have frozen corn, thaw it out before using. Put it in a colander in the sink and run hot water over it. Drain well. If you’re feeling a bit more ambitious, make Instant Pot corn on the cob or air fryer corn on the cob; remove the kernels from the cobs once it cools.
- Black Beans: Buy a can of black beans, low sodium preferred. Beans add nutrition, texture, and flavor to the nachos.
- Cheese: For BBQ chicken nachos, I prefer cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese. For the best results, shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese has anti-clumping additives that affect how it melts.
- Toppings: While optional, toppings are the fun part of nachos. Here are a few ideas but feel free to riff on your own: fresh cilantro, red onions (or pickled red onions), guacamole, additional BBQ sauce, sour cream, sliced or pickled jalapeño peppers. Try this creamy cilantro lime drizzle.
How To Make BBQ Chicken Nachos
These nachos come together in less than a half hour if you have already cooked chicken. You can go with rotisserie chicken here, or you can do what I do: cook up a bunch of chicken breasts early in the week to utilize for lunches and quick dinners.
Preheat the oven. You’ll need a large sheet pan with a small rim. For easy clean-up, line the pan with parchment paper or foil. Spray it lightly with nonstick spray. Baked-on cheese can be tough to scrub off.
Arrange the chips evenly in the prepared pan. Add about half of the cheeese.
Mix the chicken with a half cup of BBQ sauce. Evenly distribute the chicken over the chips.
Sprinkle the corn and black beans over the chicken.
Next, add freshly grated cheese.
Pop the pan into the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the chips are slightly golden brown on the edges.
Enjoy them immediately with toppings of your choice.
Tips For Success
- Grate the cheese yourself instead of buying pre-shredded cheese. The key to perfectly melty cheese is to grate it yourself. It takes only a few extra minutes and the flavor and cheesiness you get is totally worth it.
- Drain the corn and beans well. You don’t want to add a bunch of watery juice to the nachos. They’ll get soggy and chewy.
- Don’t overbake the nachos. Ovens can vary so watch them closely. Nachos that are overdone can be dry and tough. Take them out when the cheese is melted. They should be a heated, cheesy beautiful mess.
Make Ahead Ideas
Cook the chicken: As I mentioned above, it’s a good idea to make the chicken ahead of time. Store it in your fridge or freezer until you’re ready to use it.
Shred the cheese: The cheese can be shredded up to a couple of days ahead of time; refrigerate in an airtight container or bag.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Nachos really are best if you eat them immediately. If you happen to have some left over, cover and refrigerate them. They’ll keep for a couple of days.
To reheat, avoid using the microwave. Your toaster oven or air fryer are the best choice to get the nachos to crisp up again.
- 1 bag tortilla chips (8 to 10 ounces)
- 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breasts (or rotisserie chicken)
- ½ cup BBQ sauce, more if desired
- 1 can (15 oz.) corn, drained
- 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups freshly shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, or a mix (add more cheese if desired)
- Optional garnishes: fresh cilantro, red onions (or pickled red onions), guacamole, additional BBQ sauce, sour cream, sliced or pickled jalapeño peppers
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 11 x 17 inch sheet pan with foil or parchment paper if desired for easy clean up. Spray pan, foil, or parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a bowl, toss together shredded chicken and BBQ sauce, adding more BBQ sauce if desired.
- On prepared sheet pan, arrange chips in an even layer. Add half of cheese, followed by the BBQ chicken, corn, and beans. Top with remaining half of cheese.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese is melted and chips are light golden brown around the edges.
- Top with desired toppings and serve immediately.
- Post and recipe retested and updated 6/2023. Previously posted as BBQ Chicken Sweet Potato Nachos.
- If desired, replace tortilla chips with sweet potato chips.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.