Can you make delicious nachos in an air fryer? Absolutely! These air fryer loaded nachos with ground beef are packed with all the delectable toppings you crave. From melted cheese to refried beans, pickled jalapenos to pico de gallo salsa, these nachos have it all! In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of making the best air fryer loaded nachos, including tips for choosing the healthiest nacho chips. Get ready to indulge in this mouthwatering air fryer snack recipe!
The Best Tortilla Chips for Nachos
When it comes to choosing the perfect tortilla chips for your nachos, taste and health often top the priority list. Luckily, you can have the best of both worlds! If you want to avoid ultra-processed foods, consider using baked chips made from homemade tortillas. We’ll share a simple recipe below.
Store-bought tortillas typically fall into the category of ultra-processed foods. They often contain preservatives, additives, refined flour (in the case of flour tortillas), low-quality vegetable shortening, and added sugar. However, you can find store-bought tortilla chips with a shorter ingredients list, although they are typically fried and may contain highly refined seed oils.
When shopping for nacho chips, look for those made with just corn, oil, a trace of lime, and salt (optional). The trace of lime indicates that the chips were prepared using the traditional process of nixtamalization, which enhances the nutritional value of the corn. Mi Nina White Corn Tortilla Chips is one brand that fits these criteria.
Benefits of Air Fryer Nachos
Why should you make air fryer nachos? Here are a few reasons:
- Gluten-Free and Customizable: These nachos can easily be adapted to fit various special diets, including gluten-free, low carb, vegetarian, and allergen-friendly options.
- Customize for Picky Eaters: Adjust the toppings to suit the preferences of picky eaters in your family. No need to make separate dishes!
- Easy Meal or Snack: With just a few simple steps, you can have a delicious meal or snack. Brown the meat, pile the ingredients on the chips, and let the air fryer work its magic!
- Guaranteed Family Pleaser: Surprise and delight your family with this fun and tasty twist on traditional nachos. It’s okay to indulge occasionally!
To make nachos in an air fryer, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Tortilla chips (homemade or store-bought)
- Refried beans (canned or homemade)
- Ground beef (cooked with store-bought or homemade taco seasoning)
- Shredded cheese
For the best flavor, we recommend using shredded Mexican cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, or shredded pepper jack cheese. Feel free to experiment with different types of shredded cheese to suit your taste.
You can easily make this air fryer nachos recipe using any air fryer you have on hand, such as a Ninja air fryer. Keep in mind that cooking times and directions may vary slightly depending on your specific air fryer model.
If you have a 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven like us, it works great for this recipe. You’ll need a baking tray or a foil-lined basket for the air fryer. Avoid overcrowding the food to ensure proper air circulation.
In addition to the air fryer, you’ll also need a cast-iron skillet and a good knife for browning the beef and chopping the veggies.
Air Fryer Nachos with Homemade Tortilla Chips
If you prefer homemade tortilla chips for your nachos, follow these steps:
- Make and cook your favorite tortilla recipe. Corn tortillas or a mixture of corn and whole wheat flour work best.
- Cut the cooked tortillas into 1/6ths.
- Spritz the chips with cooking spray and spread them in a single layer on the air fryer rack(s).
- Air fry the chips at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 minutes, then flip them and switch the position of the racks. Air fry for an additional 3 minutes.
- Remove the chips from the air fryer oven, immediately salt them, and let them cool. They will become crispier as they cool.
How to Air Fry Nachos
Follow these steps to make air fryer nachos:
- Start by browning the beef in a skillet with water and taco seasoning over medium heat. Use a spatula to break up the crumbles as they brown.
- Prepare your air fryer tray by lining it with foil if it has holes. If you’re using an air fryer drip pan, no foil is necessary.
- Place a layer of tortilla chips on the prepared tray, ensuring that they overlap to cover the entire tray. Approximately 2.5 ounces of chips should suffice.
- Warm the refried beans on the stovetop or in the microwave. Spoon small dollops of beans onto the chips on the tray, then sprinkle one-third of the seasoned and cooked beef on top.
- Sprinkle generous amounts of shredded cheese over the nachos to help everything adhere together. Use around 2 ounces of cheese for optimal coverage.
- Place the tray of nachos in the upper rack position of the air fryer oven and air fry at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 minutes until the cheese is melted and gooey.
- Add your desired toppings immediately after removing the nachos from the air fryer. We recommend Greek yogurt, pico de gallo, guacamole, sliced scallions, and pickled jalapenos. Thin the Greek yogurt with a little milk for easy drizzling.
- Enjoy the nachos while they’re still warm and gooey. Cold nachos just don’t have the same appeal!
How to Serve Nachos
To serve nachos, simply top them with your favorite toppings and dig in! You can set up a nacho bar with various toppings to please everyone in your family.
If you prefer homemade toppings, try making the following:
- Pico de Gallo: Use the recipe from our Savory Oatmeal Breakfast post.
- Homemade Yogurt: Follow our recipe for making yogurt without any fancy equipment.
- Guacamole: Whip up a batch of guacamole or use chopped avocado.
- Sliced scallions and pickled jalapenos: Add a tangy kick to your nachos.
Feel free to get creative and experiment with different toppings, such as corn, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives, or roasted red peppers.
Expert Tips from a Dietitian
Before we wrap up, here are a few tips from a dietitian:
- This nachos recipe falls into the level 3 category, suitable for weight maintenance and active lifestyles. It may not be the best choice for weight loss due to the fried chips.
- The serving size in this recipe is realistic and generous. However, if you want a lower-calorie option, replace the chips with greens and top them with nacho toppings. This way, you’ll have a satisfying meal with plenty of protein and veggies.
- If you’re a nacho lover who struggles with portion control, consider the salad route instead to avoid overeating chips.
Air fryer loaded nachos are a delightful treat that you can easily make at home. With the right tortilla chips, scrumptious toppings, and your trusty air fryer, you’ll create a snack that satisfies both your taste buds and cravings. So gather your favorite ingredients, fire up your air fryer, and get ready to enjoy a plate of mouthwatering nachos!
Don’t miss out on more delicious air fryer snack recipes! Check out these articles for more easy-to-make snacks using your air fryer:
- Air Fryer Potato Skins
- Air Fryer Fried Mushrooms
- Vegan Oyster Mushroom Jerky (in Air Fryer)
- Air Fryer Maduros Cooked Like Tostones
- Air Fryer Jicama Fries
For more mouthwatering recipes, check out our Hook’d Up Bar and Grill website. Stay up-to-date by subscribing to our Weekly Newsletter and following us on Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram!