Air Fryer Nachos are our favourite Mexican-inspired snack to enjoy with family and friends.
Our healthy vegetarian Air Fryer Nachos recipe is one of our favourite quick & easy homemade snacks to cook when a craving for carbs and cheese hits!
Our simple Air Fryer recipe takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and cook. It features common pantry ingredients like nachos, shredded cheese, canned black beans, red onion, black olives, pickled jalapeno, guacamole, salsa, sour cream and cilantro.
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What Are Nachos?
Nachos are a Mexican regional dish from northern Mexico that consists of heated tortilla chips or totopos covered with melted cheese, often served as a snack or appetizer.
More elaborate versions of the dish include other ingredients, and may be substantial enough to serve as a main dish.
Ignacio “El Nacho” Anaya created the dish in 1940. The original nachos consisted of fried corn tortilla chips covered with melted cheese and sliced jalapeño peppers.
The popularity of the dish quickly spread throughout Texas and the American Southwest. The first known appearance of the word “nachos” in English dates to 1950, from the book A Taste of Texas. According to El Cholo Spanish Cafe history, waitress Carmen Rocha is credited with making nachos in San Antonio, before introducing the dish to Los Angeles at the cafe in 1959.
A simplified version of the dish, with cheese sauce and prepared tortilla chips, was marketed in 1976 by Frank Liberto, during Texas Rangers baseball games at Arlington Stadium. This version became known as “ballpark nachos”.
These quick & easy nachos covered in velveeta cheese sauce soon started competing with popcorn as the most popular movie theatre snack food.
Travel to Mexico by Making Nachos at Home
I love traveling to Latin America.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in Central America, South America and the Caribbean, from traditional markets to award winning restaurants.
For over ten years, I’ve been on the hunt for the best nachos recipe. I’ve embarked on culinary adventures at local restaurants in Cuba, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Curacao, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
In Mexico, I’ve snacked on plates covered in nachos at restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, Mexico City, Merida, Chichen Itza and Playa del Carmen.
After enjoying your first few bites, you’ll realize why nachos are a must-try when visiting Mexico!
Where To Eat Nachos
If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Mexican restaurant that serves traditional nachos.
Haven’t traveled to Mexico before? It may be helpful to first sample nachos at a local restaurant to better understand how it is served. You’ll get an idea of what toppings to include, the ideal cheese to tortilla chip ratio and best dips to serve for dunking.
In Toronto, the best Mexican restaurants that may offer nachos include El Rey, La Carnita, Playa Cabana, El Catrin, Campechano, El Trompo, Fonda Lola, Hot Mess Tex Mex, Rosalinda, Reposado Bar, Grand Electric and Milagro.
My Family Loves Air Fryer Nachos
My family is obsessed with Air Fryer Nachos.
My father is well known for his obsession with carbs, cheese, salsa and guacamole. Baked nachos was a common snack my parents served during busy weeks when last minute dinners were all the rage.
We often enjoyed nachos served with guacamole, sour cream and salsa in the summer as a mid-afternoon snack at our family cottage in Muskoka.
My mom loved baking nachos covered in melted cheese around 4pm to satiate hunger cravings so she didn’t have to prepare dinner until after the sunset over the lake, after 9pm.
Now that we’ve upgraded our kitchen with the trendiest new gadget we love making Air Fryer Nachos.
Cooking Air Fryer Nachos is a modern day marvel for home cooks who have a penchant for hosting Tex Mex snack parties. Air Fryers cook food much quicker and help ensure cheesy nachos are both crispy and delicious!
Best Air Fryers
An air fryer is a small countertop convection oven designed to simulate deep frying without submerging the food in oil. A fan circulates hot air at high speed, producing a crisp layer via browning reactions.
In 2010, Philips introduced the Airfryer brand of convection oven at a consumer electronics fair in Berlin. It used the patented Rapid Air technology, though the term air fryer is now used generically.
Early air fryers were barrel-shaped, though more recently, many have come to resemble toaster ovens and pressure cookers, offering additional functions like toasting, baking, dehydrating and rotisserie.
A decade after their launch, Air Fryers are now one of the trendiest kitchen appliance. They are particularly popular with gourmands living in condos or apartments in big cities like Toronto as they reduce the number of appliances taking up space in your kitchen.
- Hamilton Beach: I tested this recipe with a Hamilton Beach toaster oven-style air fryer. They are an excellent option for those looking for an affordable air fryer and I particularly like mine as it allowed me to replace my toaster, dehydrator and rotisserie. It’s also easier to spread food out and make it crispy by using a baking tray rather than a basket.
- Instant Vortex: This popular air fryer is brought to you by the inventors of the popular Instant Pot. It’s 6 quart capacity features an easy to clean tray that air frys, roasts and bakes.
- COSORI: This 5.8 quart air fryer is an 11-in-1 cooker featuring a nonstick basket and helpful shake reminder setting.
- Ninja: This premium brand is the perfect option for those looking to invest in a heavy duty stainless steel air fryer. The product has been designed to look similar to an Instant Pot, with the top of the air fryer flipping backwards so you can easily lower a basket filled with food.
- NuWave: This sleek digital air fryer features a traditional removable basket and reaches temperatures up to 390 F.
How To Make Air Fryer Nachos
Our air fryer nachos recipe is so easy to make you’ll have it ready to serve in under 10 minutes!
There are two methods to making nachos in an air fryer, which depend on the style of air fryer you are using.
- Traditional Basket: air fryers with a removable basket are still the most common. In order to make Air Fryer Nachos in these machines, simply create a layer of nachos at the bottom of the basket, sprinkle with your favourite toppings, add another layer of nachos and finish with a sprinkle of shredded cheese.
- Toaster Oven Tray: modern air fryers featuring a glass door and tray configuration make it easy to prepare cheesy air fryer nachos at home. Simply place the nachos on the tray, layer with toppings and finish with shredded cheese. You’ll have the added benefit of being able to watch the cheese melt while peaking through the glass door.
Air Fryer Nachos Cooking Tips
- Layer the nachos and topping ingredients. This makes it easier to share the nachos on a platter as the two layers of cheese and toppings help glue the nacho chips together.
- You can make simple nachos in an air fryer by scattering tortilla chips with shredded cheese. This is a great option for picky eaters or those who need a last minute snack with an empty fridge.
- Add additional protein to make Air Fryer Nachos a full meal. This recipe is vegetarian but you could also add toppings like bbq chicken, chorizo sausage, pulled pork, crumbled bacon or minced beef.
- We like to use mozzarella for cheesy air fryer nachos as it melts well and is so stringy. You can also substitue for cheddar cheese, monterey jack, jalapeno havarti or gouda.
Best Nacho Toppings
This easy Air Fryer Nacho recipe is vegetarian friendly but you can add or substitute ingredients based on your preferences.
- Nachos or Doritos
- Canned Black Beans or Refried Beans
- Red Onion or Sweet Vidalia Onion
- Black Olives or Green Olives
- Pickled Jalapeno or Raw Jalapeno Slices
- Mozzarella, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Jalapeno Havarti or Gouda Cheese
- Fermented Garlic or Roasted Garlic
- Cilantro, Green Onions or Chives
- Chopped Tomatoes, Slices of Avocado or Sweet Corn
- Ground Beef, Chorizo Sausage, Barbecue Chicken, Pulled Pork or Crumbled Bacon
Air Fryer Nachos Health Benefits
Our Air Fryer Nachos recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Beans are rich in cancer-fighting vitamin C, energy-boosting B vitamins, and gut-healthy fibre.
Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Olives are ranked as containing one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. They contain vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.
Peppers are an incredible source of vitamins C and A, which support your skin and immune system. They also provide beneficial carotenoid compounds such as beta-carotene, which has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Consuming dairy products (such as cheese) provides health benefits — especially improved bone health. Dairy foods provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.
Packed with calcium and friendly probiotic bacteria, sour cream and yogurt help keep your bones strong and your gut healthy. Yogurt may also help reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and some types of cancer.
Avocado in guacamole contain almost 20 different vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals, and good fats that together support your heart health and nervous system.
Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.
A good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, cilantro is also rich in antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage by free radicals.
What To Serve With Homemade Nachos
Air Fryer Nachos can be enjoyed as a snack on its own, glammed up with gourmet toppings for a hearty lunch or as a side dish at a Tex Mex dinner party.
If you’re planning a classic Mexican potluck menu pair Air Fryer Nachos with Vegetarian Chipotle Mexican Bean Soup, Cheesy Vegetarian Antojito, Healthy Keto Jalapeno Poppers, Chicken Fajita Tacos, Mexican Sweet Potato Rice or Mexican Queso.
For a healthy meal we suggest serving Air Fryer Nachos with fresh salads like Roasted Pumpkin Feta Salad, Roasted Beetroot Salad, Warm Orzo Lemon Salad, Canadian Salad, Garlic Lemon Chickpea Avocado Salad, Cherry Pecan Kale Salad or Fennel, Apple, Celery and Roasted Hazelnut Salad.
After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe, Cinnamon Babka For Chocolate Lovers, Rhubarb Strawberry Dutch Baby or Jordgubbstårta Swedish Strawberry Cake.
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Best Homemade Air Fryer Nachos Recipe
Air Fryer Nachos
- Air Fryer
- cheese grater
- French knife
- 2.5 cups Nachos
- 1/2 cup Canned Mexican Black Beans
- 2 tbsp Red Onion chopped
- 2 tbsp Black Olives sliced
- 1/4 cup Pickled Jalapeno
- 1.5 cups Mozzarella Cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup Guacamole
- 1/4 cup Pico de Gallo
- 1/4 cup Sour Cream
- 1 tbsp Cilantro
- Preheat Air Fryer to 350 F. Line the basket with tin foil and lightly spray with oil.
- Spread a layer of nachos onto the foil. Top with half the black beans, red onion, black olives, pickled jalapenos and shredded cheese.
- Add a final layer of nachos and top with remaining ingredients.
- Place the nacho on the tray into the air fryer and cook for 5-6 minutes. The nachos are done once the cheese is bubbling and crispy.
- Slide the foil onto a plate, top with a dollop of sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve hot.
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