Easy Homemade Carne Asada Nachos
Nothing screams Game Day like a skillet full of my Easy Carne Asada Nachos, piled high with deeply flavorful bits of steak, hearty black beans, melty cheese, spicy jalapeños and – the pièce de résistance – creamy homemade guacamole.
Inspired by one of my favorite tacos, these delightfully adorned chips are a far cry from the neon orange “nasty nachos” of my youth. (Just to be clear, I still love nasty nachos. These are just better in every way imaginable.)
Nachos, how I love thee, let me count the ways… You’re crunchy, salty, spicy, cheesy, filling, and intended to be eaten by hand. In short, you are the perfect meal for my rowdy group of football-loving hooligans, especially when you’re topped with my favorite recipe for quick and easy carne asada.
About This Recipe
When it comes to Sundays at Casa de Marquez-Sharpnack, we are all about noshing on tasty snacks and watching our favorite teams work their way up and down the gridiron. One of our favorite Game Day snack-meals is without a doubt nachos. I mean, what is better than crispy, crunchy tortilla chips loaded up with tasty toppings? NOTHING. That’s what.
The best part about making your own nachos at home is that you can do serious quality control. (Read: no more stale chips or cold, coagulated nacho “cheese” here!) And while I love nachos of all sorts – including those concession stand atrocities – these carne asada nachos take the proverbial cake.
Not only are they prettier and healthier than the ungodly orange numbers my cousin Erika and I used to devour on Friday nights, they’re also SUPER easy to pull off. Once the meat is cooked and ready to go, these yummy carne asada nachos can be made and plated during halftime. That’s right – you don’t even have to miss watching the game!
While you are free to get ready cooked carne asada from your local carneceria, making your own marinated Mexican meat is also a piece of cake. My speedy carne asada recipe requires just 30 minutes of marinating time and is cooked on the grill, which means almost no dishes need to be cleaned.
No grill? No problem! Try a cast iron grill pan.
After the meat is prepped and ready to go, all that is left to do is shred some cheese, chop a few veggies, do some strategic layering and pop everything in the oven. It honestly couldn’t be simpler. So let’s get to the kitchen, shall we?
Ingredients & Equipment
Making homemade nachos is a snap, and as an added bonus, you get to customize them exactly to your liking. Here is everything I need to make the perfect platter of carne asada nachos:
- Tortilla Chips: Homemade tortilla chips are a nice touch, but not necessary. For ease of use, feel free to pick your favorite bagged variety at the store.
- Black Beans: Again, if you have some homemade black beans left in the fridge, feel free to use them! Canned beans will do just as well, and you can absolutely swap in pinto beans if you prefer.
- Grilled Carne Asada: Do yourself a favor and make a double recipe of this super easy carne asada; you’ll want to put it on everything from pizza and fries to quesadillas, skewers, enchiladas, and of course these nachos.
- Shredded Cheese: Any melty variety will do. I prefer Oaxaca, Quesadilla, or Monterey Jack cheese, but you do you. As a side note, I should mention that pre-grated cheese will work here, but grating your own will result in better cheese pulls.
- Onion, Tomato, and Jalapeños: This trio makes for a sort of deconstructed pico de gallo. Feel free to swap in a fresh, chunky salsa, or use pickled jalapeños, and pickled red onions instead.
How To Make
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place your tortilla chips across the bottom of your cast iron skillet or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add beans evenly across the chips; sprinkle the grilled carne asada, shredded cheese, onions, tomatoes, and jalapeño slices across the chips evenly. For the best results, I suggest using equal parts cheese, chips, and meat/beans.
Repeat to build layers if you’re feeding a crowd. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and veggies are warm, about 15 minutes for a single layer or 20 minutes for multiple layers.
While the nachos are baking, make the guacamole.
When the nachos are nice and melty, pull them out of the oven, top with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!
Homemade nachos come in about a gazillion different ways, which is yet another reason to love them! Feel free to change out the ingredients at will to make your perfect plate. Here are a few ideas:
- Swap out the protein, using Chicken Tinga, Slow Cooker Pasilla Pulled Pork, Chorizo Chili con Carne, or even a vegetarian option like grilled vegetables.
- Switch up the cheese! You can get some of those old school vibes by swapping in homemade chile con queso for shredded cheese.
- Change your base! If corn is out of the question, try using flour tortilla chips. You can also go off script and use any number of different potato varieties like tater tots, french fries, or sweet potato fries.
- Play with your toppings! Want refried beans instead of black beans? Or want to add roasted Mexican street corn for a pop of sweetness? Go with your gut!
For even more homemade nacho inspiration, check out some of my other favorite recipes:
- Brisket Nachos
- Classic Nachos
- Kettle-Chip Nachos
- Chicken Mole Nachos
- Sheet Pan Spicy Shrimp Nachos
- Ground Turkey Nachos
If you come up with a particularly amazing plate of nachos, be sure to tag me in your Instagram so I can see (and cheer) your creativity!
Frequently Asked Questions
*Sort of.* Nachos are best served hot from the oven, and don’t really make for great leftovers. That said, you can do ALL of the prep work ahead of time – cooking the carne asada, chopping and grating the remaining ingredients – so all you have to do is layer and bake.
Oops, sounds like you broke the cardinal rule: don’t overcrowd your nachos. Be sure that you are working with a single layer of chips, and don’t be stingy with the toppings. The perfect ratio in my book is composed of equal parts chips, cheese, and meat/beans by weight.
If you have a large crowd to serve, build the nachos in layers. This is a bit more time consuming – you’ll need to remove the nachos from the oven every 3-5 minutes to keep adding more layers – but the results will be well worth it.
Also, be sure to serve creamy dips like sour cream and guacamole, plus salsas or hot sauce on the side. If you end up with any naked chips (gasp!), these powerhouses will solve the problem for you.
I am personally fond of using the oven – the heat is even, and my cookie sheet fits. In a pinch, you can microwave a plate of nachos if you’re only serving yourself, but this is not a recommended method.
More Game Day Recipes
If you tried this recipe for my Easy Homemade Carne Asada Nachos, please be sure to rate and review it below!
Carne Asada Nachos with Guacamole
- Tortilla chips
- 1 ½ cups black beans, drained and rinsed
- Grilled carne asada, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Oaxaca, Quesadilla, or Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/4 cup red onion, sliced
- 1 roma tomato, chopped
- 1 to 2 jalapeños, sliced
- Crema Mexicana or sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place your tortilla chips across the bottom of your cast iron skillet or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add beans evenly across the chips; sprinkle the grilled carne asada, shredded cheese, onions, tomatoes, and jalapeño slices across the chips evenly.
- Repeat to build layers if you’re feeding a crowd. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and veggies are warm, about 15 minutes for a single layer or 20 minutes for multiple layers. Serve immediately with your favorite toppings and don’t forget the guacamole.
- Add the garlic, onion, jalapeño (optional), salt, and tomato (optional). Squeeze the lime juice over all the ingredients and give everything a gentle stir, but don’t overdo it.
Photography by Jeanine Thurston
Originally published: January 2013.