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Texas Nachos

February 8, 2023

Each tortilla chip is topped carefully with just the right dollop of beans and cheese, then topped with a pickled jalapeño—say howdy to the perfectionists dream that are...Texas nachos!


Texas Style Nachos with steak an chicken, cheese and jalapeño

Individually Loaded Texas Nachos are Nacho (Wink Wink) Regular Old Sloppy Nacho!

Texas nachos are not the nachos that your mom made on a baking sheet in a huge, haphazard pile, loaded indelicately within an inch of their lives with refried beans, maybe some taco meat, sour cream, guacamole and salsa from a jar. Not to knock those nachos—those were pretty good! But they have their issues, right? Sloppy, messy, sometimes soggy and always inconsistent in terms of the distribution of toppings-per-chip. Texas nachos are the solution to all of those issues and the idea for them pre-dates that of the heap-o-nachos that all 80s kids remember from childhood. In fact, Texas nachos are the OG nachos! Homesick Texan has an excellent deep dive into the history of Texas nachos but suffice it to say that this Tex-Mex recipe dates back to at least the 1940s. Each chip is carefully topped, just-so, with cheese, and a pickled jalapeño and (sometimes) spiced refried beans so that every bite is equally wonderful. No un-loaded chips on this Texas nacho platter!

ingredients for texas style nachos, cheese, steak, chicken, chips, pickled jalapeños

Real Texas Nachos Need Only 3 Key Ingredients (But You Can Also Load ‘Em Up!)

We like our Texas nachos a bit loaded. Not over-loaded, mind you—there’s an art to creating the perfect bite that is a Texas nacho, and it involves some degree of restraint. Refried beans are almost always present on a good Texas nacho—it’s not a must, but we like to include it. Where we get crazy is by serving these Texas nachos with cool sour cream and salsa on the side for dipping and, even crazier, if we have leftover grilled chicken or grilled steak, we cut it into bite-sized bits and pile that atop some of the nachos, too. But really, all of those extras are optional as far as Texas nacho purists are concerned. The only essential ingredients for real Texas nachos are:

  1. Tortilla chips! A lot of Texas nacho recipes will say that you need to make the tortilla chips from scratch. And while you totally can (here's our favorite tortilla chip recipe!) store-bought is also just fine. We’re asking you to individually load up each chip—we’re not going to demand that you make chips from scratch, too.

  2. Cheese! Longhorn cheese, which is a type of colby cheese that’s made in America, is the most classic cheese to use for Texas nachos. It looks like cheddar, but it’s very very mild. We like it just fine, but we prefer a combo of medium cheddar—which has a bit more sharpness than Longhorn—and pepper Jack, which (of course) has a LOT more kick than Longhorn cheese!

  3. Pickled jalapeños! If you can keep from gobbling up the whole jar before you’ve even had a chance to pop the nachos in the oven, you’re a stronger person than we. Well done.

chips on a baking sheet
chips with refried beans on a baking sheet
tortilla chips on a baking sheet topped with refried beans, cheese, steak, chicken
tortilla chips on a baking sheet topped with refried beans, cheese, steak, chicken
tortilla chips on a baking sheet topped with refried beans, cheese, steak, chicken and jalapeños
tortilla chips Baked on a baking sheet topped with refried beans, cheese, steak, chicken and jalapeños

How To Make Texas Nachos

Even though each chip is loaded and layered individually, Texas nachos are still just nachos. If you have a general sense of what nachos are, this Texas nachos recipe will look incredibly familiar. The true challenge is simply not eating all of the ingredients before you have a chance to assemble the nachos—no small feat, but (usually) doable for those of strong will. Here’s how to make classic Texas nachos:

  1. Scatter the tortilla chips on a baking tray.

  2. First, the bean layer! Spread each chip with a dollop of refried beans that have been spiced up with a little taco seasoning.

  3. Next, a meat layer if you’ve got it / if you want it! Add steak to half of the chips and chicken to the other half of the chips.

  4. The essential nacho moment—the cheese layer! Sprinkle each chip with the two cheeses.

  5. And the jewel on the crown...pickled jalapeños! If you’ve got someone in the crowd who is truly spice-averse (ahem, some children perhaps?) you can always leave a few nachos un-jalapeñoed. But for real-deal Texas nachos, you’ve got to have that pickled jalapeño.

  6. Bake! ‘Til the cheese is melty.

tortilla chips cooked on a baking sheet topped with refried beans, cheese, steak, chicken and jalapeños
Texas style nachos on a platter topped with refried beans, cheese, steak, chicken and jalapeños

Tools You’ll Need

More Classic Tex-Mex Recipes to Love

homemade Texas nachos on a platter garnished with pickled jalapeños, red onions and cilantro
homemade Texas nachos on a platter garnished with pickled jalapeños, red onions and cilantro

Nacho Dive Bar Nachos!

Texas nachos are SO much better. Yes, they’re slightly more work. But that payoff! Whooooo boy. It cannot be denied. So treat yourself to some Texas nachos for your next game day party or movie night with the kids—everyone will thank you. Try our Texas nachos recipe, and let us know how you like it, OK? Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Texas Nachos

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  12 min
  • Calories: 453


  • 30 Corn tortilla chips
  • 1 (13 oz) can refried beans
  • 1 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • ½ cup shredded, medium cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 (12 oz) jar Pickled jalapeno, optional
  • 1 cup cubed, grilled chicken (optional)
  • 1 cup cubed grilled steak, cubed (perfect to use leftovers, optional)
  • Salsa, optional
  • Sour cream, optional
  • Cilantro, optional
  • red onion, thinly sliced, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Arrange chips in a single layer on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread 1-2 tablespoons refried beans on each chip. Season beans with taco seasoning.
  3. Add steak pieces to half of the chips and chicken pieces to the other half of the chips. Top with 1-2 tablespoons of cheese per chip. Top cheese with a single slice of pickled jalapeno. Bake on the center rack until cheese is melted, about 12 minutes.
  4. Serve warm with salsa and sour cream, sprinkled with cilantro and red onions slices, if desired.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories453
  • Protein32 g
  • Carbohydrates40 g
  • Total Fat18 g
  • Dietary Fiber8 g
  • Cholesterol86 mg
  • sodium816 mg
  • Total Sugars2 g

Texas Nachos

Questions & Reviews

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  • Amber

    PERFECTION! Made this on Christmas Eve for movie night and my family of 4 thought it wouldn't be enough, but it was just the right amount to go around. I used TMP recommendation of making the taco seasoning (since I had the ingredients on hand and it was perfect) and tortilla chips myself by deep-frying corn tortillas. That helped with fitting all the ingredients on the chips. I didn't have left-over steak, so I just cooked a flank steak and seasoned with a little salt and pepper. I also paired it with the TMP guacamole recipe, which came out so delicious. Plates were clean...not a crumb left Everyone was full and happy. Family has already asked me to make it again this weekend. This is definitely a staple recipe and will be making another appearance for Super Bowl weekend. TMP, thank you for sharing your love of food.

    Yay! Sounds perfect!