Sheet pan nachos are here just in time for Super Bowl Sunday!
But really, you should enjoy them year-round, because they are AWESOME.
Nachos at a restaurant are often delicious, and often crazy unhealthy. When you make them at home, you control the ingredients and nutrition, and honestly, the (better) flavors!
These easy sheet pan nachos are also super easy to customize based on your preferences. I used ground turkey seasoned with chili powder (everyone thought it was ground beef), but you can make these vegetarian or vegan if you prefer. You could also use beef or chicken, too.
I used organic tortilla (corn) chips to make our sheet pan nachos old-school, which are naturally gluten-free. However, you can use grain-free tortilla chips or even potato chips if you want to make them grain-free. The options are endless to make these your own.
Sheet Pan Nachos Ingredients:
ground turkey (or ground beef or ground chicken, or any leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken works, too); look for the 93% lean ground turkey if possible. To make vegetarian or vegan sheet pan nachos, omit the meat and instead add the beans to the sauteed onion and taco seasoning so they still have lots of flavor
tortilla chips, or chips of your choice; corn is often genetically modified, so use organic corn tortilla chips if possible. I like the ones labeled “thin and crispy”
pico de gallo or chopped tomatoes; grab a small container of fresh pico de gallo at your store, or use up any cherry or grape tomatoes you have on hand
1 small bag shredded Mexican-blend cheese, OR vegan queso (I like the Siete foods cashew queso if you need to buy it); use my zesty taco cashew cream if you want to make your own
black beans (or pinto beans would be great) (use 2 cans if not using meat)
avocado—umm, I forgot the add the diced avocado in the photo here (my bad!)—I was too excited to get you this recipe that I overlooked it, but definitely add it
your favorite salsa, preferably something that isn’t watery to prevent soggy nachos
a few green onions (or, if you don’t want to buy green onions, save 2-3 tablespoons of the raw onion you chop for the meat to garnish on top of the nachos)
fresh cilantro (omit if you don’t like it)
1-2 limes, cut into wedges—fresh lime juice is the only way to go here
optional: sour cream or more of my zesty taco cashew cream (food blogger trick: mix it with a little water and lime juice to thin it out and make it pourable if desired)
You might be thinking, why use both pico de gallo and regular salsa? And, why so many types of onions, woman!?
I’ll tell you, layering flavors like this really takes food from ordinary to extraordinary. Yes, it’s best to use a white or yellow onion with the meat, pico de gallo pickled red onion on top, and garnish with green onion (or save some raw chopped onion from the onion you add to the meat)—it all makes a difference.
However, if you need something with fewer ingredients budget-wise, choose either the pico de gallo of the salsa. You can also omit the green onions and instead save some of the onion you chop for the meat, and finely chop it to garnish at the end.
Sheet Pan Nachos Method
To ensure success with your sheet pan nachos, read the full instructions in the recipe card below. It’s super easy to make these with a few tips and tricks.
You’ll want to assemble the first ingredient layers and broil (watching it carefully) until the chips are slightly browned and the cheese melts if you’re using it, then remove it and garnish with the rest of the ingredients. Finally, pop the whole thing back in the oven for a few minutes just to slightly warm it all up.
Sheet Pan Nachos Tips:
The pickled red onions really make the dish—here’s how to make them. Add sliced jalapenos and/or sliced Fresno peppers to the jar when you make the pickled red onions if you like heat. It makes the jalapenos so yummy and they turn the onions slightly hot, too. Omit the jalapenos if you don’t like heat. Fresno peppers are the red peppers that look like jalapenos, but they’re much milder with a little heat. Quick-pickled veggies are easy to make and flexible, so add anything you want to the jar and make them your own.
I love ground turkey on sheet pan nachos because it just melds with all of the flavors—the kids thought it was ground beef. If you use ground beef, use 90/10 or drain the pan if needed to prevent soggy nachos. Ground chicken works, too, simply cook it like you would cook the ground turkey, but add another few teaspoons of olive oil since there’s barely any fat in it and it needs help browning. Or, use any leftover cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken. Still warm it though with the sauteed onions and add the taco seasoning if you’re using already cooked chicken.
You can easily make this vegetarian or vegan by omitting the meat. Use two (14-ounce) cans of beans instead of one can if you omit the meat, and cook the beans with the onions and taco seasoning the same way you’d cook the meat to give them extra flavor.
Omit the cheese and use cashew queso (or my homemade zesty taco cashew cream) to make this dairy-free! Don’t broil the cashew queso. Instead, add it after the broiling step to prevent drying it out. Then bake the entire thing for about 10 minutes at the end to make sure it all warms through.
If you want to turn your sour cream or cashew cream into “crema” to drizzle back and forth as it did in the photos here, whisk together 3 tablespoons of sour cream (or cashew cream) with 4 teaspoons each water and fresh lime juice. Use a spoon or a pastry bag to drizzle it back and forth over the nachos.
Sheet pan nachos are a super-easy way to make an awesome party snack. They’re also flexible so you can make them with any ingredients that your family loves. I highly recommend the quick-pickled red onions (and jalapenos if you like heat)—they really make it!
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small white or yellow onion
1 pound ground turkey (or ground beef or ground chicken, or any leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken works, too); look for the 93% lean ground turkey if possible
1 tablespoon of taco seasoning, OR, 1.5 teaspoons each chili powder & ground cumin (whichever you have on hand)
sea salt or kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper
1 bag tortilla chips, or chips of your choice (you’ll have some leftover)
1 small bag Mexican blend cheese; OR vegan queso (I like the Siete foods cashew queso if you need to buy it), or my zesty taco cashew cream if you want to make it from scratch
1 (14-ounce) can of black beans (or pinto beans would be great), drained and rinsed
1 avocado, diced
1 small container of fresh pico de gallo from the store, or 10–12 cherry tomatoes
your favorite salsa (preferably one that isn’t watery to prevent soggy nachos)
pickled red onions & jalapenos*
2 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
chopped fresh cilantro (omit if you don’t like it)
optional: sour cream or my zesty taco cashew cream
1–2 limes, cut into wedges
Pre-step: Make your pickled red onions & pickled jalapenos—this can be done up to 3 days in advance. If possible do it as early as possible to give them time to marinate, but even just 30 minutes of marinating works.
Tip: The meat can be made up to 1 day in advance and stored in the refrigerator until use if desired.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and diced onion. Saute for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the ground turkey and a big pinch of salt and cook until it’s opaque about 8-10 minutes. Use the back of a wooden spoon to break up the turkey as it cooks. Once it’s almost done, add the taco seasoning or chili powder/cumin and a few spins of freshly ground black pepper. Cook another 5-10 minutes until the turkey is slightly browned. Taste and add another dash of salt if needed. Remove from heat.
Place a piece of parchment paper (NOT wax paper) on a sheet pan. Add 4-5 big handfuls of tortilla chips and scatter around, until the pan has one layer of chips. This is about 4-5 cups of chips.
Top the chips with the seasoned ground turkey (or any meat you’re using). (Of course, omit this if not using meat.)
Sprinkle the drained and rinsed beans all over the top of the chips and meat.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of pico de gallo (or chopped tomatoes) over the top. If using pico de gallo, first place it in a fine-mesh strainer or pick up pieces with a fork to drain the liquid from it to prevent soggy nachos.
Sprinkle about 1.5 cups of shredded Mexican blend cheese over the top. (If using the vegan queso, use a teaspoon to make dollops all over the top of the nachos and add after the next broiling step.)
Turn the oven to broil and place the oven rack 4-5 inches below broiler (this is usually the 2nd spot down from the top.) The heat from the preheated oven and broiler will quickly melt the cheese and brown the edges of the chips, so don’t walk away! Watch it closely for 1-4 minutes and carefully remove the hot sheet pan once the edges of the chips are brown.
Turn off the broiler and turn the oven back to 350°F.
Garnish the nachos with pickled red onions & jalapenos, diced avocado, spoonfuls of salsa, sour cream dollops/cashew queso if using*, chopped cilantro, and chopped green onions and cilantro. Squeeze a few wedges of lime juice over the top them place the lime wedges throughout the edges of the pan so people can use more if desired. Feel free to add another handful of cheese all over the top if desired, but that’s pretty extra and not necessary unless you want to go big.
Place the whole thing back in the hot oven for 5 minutes to warm it all up together and melt any remaining cheese.
To make this grain-free: use grain-free tortilla chips. I like the ones from Siete Foods.
To make this vegan: omit the meat and instead cook the beans with the onion and taco seasoning. Use cashew queso instead of cheese.
* If you want to turn your sour cream or cashew cream into “crema” to drizzle back and forth as it did in the photos here, whisk together 3 tablespoons of sour cream (or cashew cream) with 4 teaspoons each water and fresh lime juice. Use a spoon or a pastry bag to drizzle it back and forth over the nachos.