Skip to Content

Chicken Fajita Nachos

Get two for the price of one with these chicken fajita nachos. They are easy, perfect for a crowd, and loaded to the max with all the best toppings. Naturally gluten-free.

Vertical top down shot of table scape with pan of nachos, plate with nachos, a beer, and bowl of salsa and guacamole.

Jessica Halverstadt is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you dug my recipe for chicken fajita wraps, you are going to LOVE these nachos which I’m sharing today in honor of International Nachos Day. Yes, International Nachos Day exists.

This well-loved appetizer is definitely deserving of its own special day if you ask me. What’s not to like about crispy tortilla chips smothered in cheese and all the best toppings?

The combo of chicken, onion, and bell pepper with said crispy tortilla chips smothered in cheese fuses two quasi-Mexican dishes into one delectable dish.

Yep, quasi; neither one is actually Mexican. Nachos, although invented in Mexico, are not authentic to the country. They were originally served as a bar food in 1940 and gained popularity as they spread throughout Texas and the southwest by the 1950’s.

Fajitas, on the other hand, were not even invented in Mexico. They are straight-up Tex-Mex, originating in Texas sometime around 1969.

So now that you’ve received a little history lesson, let me tell you a bit more about these nachos.

Let me preface by saying they turned out much better than I had anticipated. Don’t get me wrong, I love chicken, but it has a tendency to be a bit dull.

It is, however, inexpensive, accessible, and easy to prepare. The key to infusing it with flavor is to marinate it. Although you could certainly skip this step for times sake, I don’t recommend it.

You can start marinating it up to two days prior to preparing the nachos which means you can dig in just 25 minutes after you begin to prep them.

These babies are loaded, meaning there is plenty to go around. Plus they’re gluten-free. Aside from the fajita mixture, they are topped with lotsa cheese.

MY NAME IS JESSICA AND I AM A CHEESE ADDICT.

You can never have too much cheese, especially when it’s melted.

Atop the mountain of crispy chips, gooey cheese, tender chicken, and caramelized veggies sit three mounds; guacamole, pico de gallo (or salsa), and sour cream. BECAUSE toppings are a girl’s best friend.

Sheet pan loaded with chicken fajita nachos topped with sour cream, guacamole, and pico.

So what do you need to make these nachos? ( + substitutions)

Top down shot of chicken fajita ingredients (see recipe card).
  • Lime juice: Fresh or bottled.
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic: Three to four cloves should do the trick.
  • Cumin
  • Paprika: Smoked paprika for extra points.
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Chicken: Breasts or tenderloins cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Tortilla chips: If you’re feeling up to it, I encourage you to fry up your own chips. It’s super easy and will taste so much better. Heat a deep fat fryer or heavy-bottomed pan with at least two-inch deep oil to 350 degrees. Cut 30 soft corn tortillas (white or yellow) into quarters. In small batches, fry the tortilla quarters for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined surface to absorb excess oil.
  • Bell peppers: Any variety of colors.
  • Onion: White onion works best, but red onion would be suitable.
  • Cheese: I recommend cheddar, Monterey jack, or pepperjack.
  • Guacamole: For my quick and easy homemade guacamole, you will need 3 sm-med ripe avocados, 1 clove garlic (minced or crushed), 1-2 tablespoons diced white or red onion, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon diced jalapeno, 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice (fresh or bottled), 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp black pepper. 1. Slice the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop out the contents and transfer to a medium bowl. 2. Smash the avocado with a fork, then stir in the remaining ingredients. 3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pico de gallo and/or salsa: Buy premade or make your own. I have included my pico recipe in the notes section of the recipe card as well as some of my favorite salsa recipes below.
  • Sour cream: If you want to amp it up a little bit add a little lime juice, salt, garlic powder, and chipotle powder. YUM!!
  • Other optional toppings: Black olives, green onions, hot sauce, fresh or pickled sliced jalapenos, lime wedges, chopped cilantro.

How do you make chicken fajita nachos? ( + tips)

Begin by preparing the marinade for the chicken. If you don’t have the time or don’t feel like it you can skip it, but keep in mind the chicken will not be nearly as flavorful. Either way, combine the lime juice, olive oil, minced/crushed garlic, onion powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and black pepper.

Small bowl of marinade with a whisk.

Pour the marinade in a container with a lid or a plastic baggy along with the cubed chicken and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour but no more than 48 hours. While the chicken does not need to be marinated for the sake of tenderness it does benefit flavor-wise. The longer you marinate it the more flavorful it will be.

If you did not opt for extended marinating, allow the chicken to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. If you did marinate it, make sure to remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking. Allowing it to come to room temperature first will help it cook more evenly as well as retain moisture.

Marinated chicken in bowl.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the chips out on a large baking sheet and set aside. For easy clean-up, line it with parchment paper.

Heat a large skillet (preferably cast-iron) to medium-high heat. Once smoking, add one tablespoon olive oil and add the chicken. Sauté for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and browned.

Close-up of cooked chicken.

Scatter the chicken atop the chips. Then add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet, if necessary, and sauté the onions and peppers for 5-6 minutes or until slightly softened and browned. They should still be a bit crunchy.

Close-up of sautéed onions and bell pepper.

Layer atop the chips and chicken, then sprinkle with cheese.

Side by side shot of layering of nachos.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes until the cheese is nice and melted then remove from the oven.

Close-up of nachos right out of the oven.

To serve: Top with sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo and/or salsa and your choice of additional toppings.

How to store

Nachos are best served fresh but can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two days.

Top down shot of pan of nachos with a serving pork and a side of guacamole in a bowl.
Close-up of chicken fajita nachos.

Nacho worthy salsas:

  • Habanero Salsa: This made from scratch habanero salsa brings the heat. It’s fresh, easy, and takes only 15 minutes. Naturally vegan and gluten-free.
  • Chile De Árbol Salsa: This rich and spicy five-ingredient chile de árbol salsa is so easy to make and takes only 20 minutes. Great for dipping chips or to top your favorite tacos. Naturally vegan and gluten-free.
  • Roasted Salsa Verdé: This roasted salsa verdé combines tomatillos, onions, garlic, and cilantro with three different peppers; including jalapeno, poblano, and Serrano. It’s got just the right amount of heat, is easy to prepare, and is ready to go in just 20 minutes. Naturally vegan and gluten-free.

If you make these chicken fajita nachos I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @taoofspiceblog. Love, light, and happy cooking ya’ll ♥

Vertical top down shot of table scape with pan of nachos, plate with nachos, a beer, and bowl of salsa and guacamole.

Chicken Fajita Nachos

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 23 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 3 minutes

Get two for the price of one with these chicken fajita nachos. They are easy, perfect for a crowd, and loaded to the max with all the best toppings. Naturally gluten-free.

Ingredients

Chicken Marinade

  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or crushed 
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Chicken Fajita Nachos

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 16 ounces thick tortilla chips (see notes for homemade chips recipe) 
  • 1 pound chicken breasts or tenderloins, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 medium bell peppers, any color, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
  • 1 medium white onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, could sub for red
  • 16 ounces cheddar, Monterey Jack, or pepperjack cheese, shredded
  • Guacamole (see notes for my recipe) 
  • Pico de gallo (see notes for my recipe) or salsa
  • Sour cream (see notes for kicked up version)
  • Optional toppings: Black olives, green onions, fresh or pickled jalapenos, hot sauce, lime wedges, cilantro. 

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, olive oil, minced/crushed garlic, onion powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Pour the marinade in a container with a lid or a plastic baggy along with the cubed chicken and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour but no more than 48 hours. (see notes)
  2. Remove chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread chips out on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside.
  4. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Once smoking, add one tablespoon of olive oil and the chicken and sauté 8-10 minutes until thoroughly cooked and browned, stirring frequently. Scatter the chicken atop the chips.
  5. Add another tablespoon of oil if necessary and sauté the onions and peppers for 5-6 minutes or until slightly softened and browned. Layer atop the chips and chicken, then sprinkle with cheese.
  6. Bake for approximately 10 minutes until the cheese is nice and melted then remove from oven.
  7. To serve: Top with sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, and/or salsa and your choice of additional toppings.

Storage: Nachos are best served fresh but can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two days.





Notes

      If you're feeling up to it, I encourage you to fry up your own chips. It's super easy and will taste so much better. Heat a deep fat fryer or heavy-bottomed pan with at least two-inch deep oil to 350 degrees. Cut 30 soft corn tortillas (white or yellow) into quarters. In small batches, fry the tortilla quarters for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined surface to absorb excess oil.

    • For my quick and easy homemade guacamole, you will need 3 sm-med ripe avocados, 1 clove garlic (minced or crushed), 1-2 tablespoons diced white or red onion, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon diced jalapeno, 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice (fresh or bottled), 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper. 1. Slice the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop out the contents and transfer to a medium bowl. 2. Smash the avocado with a fork, then stir in the remaining ingredients. 3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    • For my pico de gallo, you will need 2 1/2 cups diced Roma tomatoes-about 5 medium Roma's, 1/2 cup diced white or red onion, 2 jalapenos, diced, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves, 2 cloves garlic (minced), 1 tablespoon lime juice (fresh or bottled), and 1/2 teaspoon salt. 1. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients. 2. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld or serve immediately. Add salt and lime juice to taste.
    • If you don't have the time or don't feel like it, you skip the marinating process, but keep in mind the chicken will not be nearly as flavorful. If you chose to skip the extended marinating time, you should still prepare the marinade and let the chicken rest in it for thirty minutes while it comes to room temperature.
    • If you want to amp up the sour cream a little bit add a little lime juice, salt, garlic powder, and chipotle powder.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 799Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 1121mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 46g

The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Michelle Frank | Flipped-Out Food

Tuesday 27th of October 2020

I'll be making these beauties for my next football party. I love that so much of this recipe can be done in advance to simplify prep at "go time."

Jessica Halverstadt

Tuesday 27th of October 2020

I'm sure they will be a touchdown. Lol. Let me know if you run into any problems or have any questions.

Brianna

Monday 26th of October 2020

Tortilla chips smothered in spicy chicken and gooey cheese, what's not to love?

Jessica Halverstadt

Monday 26th of October 2020

Precisely!!!

Biana

Monday 26th of October 2020

These sound so delicious! I love how simple they are to make, and how healthy and colorful the chicken fajita nachos are.

Jessica Halverstadt

Monday 26th of October 2020

Thank you very much! They are like a fiesta on a pan.

Jen @ thelifestuff.co.uk

Monday 26th of October 2020

These look so delicious. I'm going to give this recipe a try minus the chicken.

Jessica Halverstadt

Monday 26th of October 2020

Thanks! Honestly, I prefer them without the chicken myself (my family not so much). Bring on the veggies!

Skip to Recipe