What better comfort food to feed a family than nachos. Flavoursome, easy to make and the perfect crowd pleaser just like these chicken fajita nachos that have been on repeat at our place.

If you love a comforting chicken dish, you’ll love this pesto chicken calzone and this chicken lasagna too.

A baking dish filled with nachos and topped with sliced jalapenos
  • Crunchy corn chips
  • Juicy, spiced and flavourful chicken
  • Loads of veggies
  • and loads of gooey cheese

If that all sounds like your kind of delicious then you’re going to love these chicken fajita nachos fresh from the oven.

Fajita nachos ingredients

Ingredients for chicken fajita nachos
Ingredients for chicken fajita nachos
  • Chicken thighs (1): I like to use chicken thighs (1) for this recipe, they have better flavour and stay nice and juicy.
  • Crushed tomatoes (2): but just the tomato pulp. I strain out all the juice so we don’t end up with soggy nachos.
  • Fajita Seasoning (3): I make my own fajita seasoning using garlic powder, cumin, paprika, chilli powder, onion powder and salt.
  • Capsicum / peppers (4): red, yellow and green give a variety of flavour and colour.
  • Vegetable oil (5): I use rice bran oil. It has a high heating point so it’s just what I always have in my kitchen but you can use something like canola, avocado or even a light flavoured olive oil.
  • Onion (6): I like red onion for this but you can certainly use white or brown too.
  • Cheese (7): Lots of it. I use a creamy cheddar but you could also add in some mozzarella for extra stringiness.
  • Corn chips (8): This is the most important choice you’ll make. The best corn chips for nachos are thicker – they’ll hold their crunch much better and stave off the sog. Don’t go for a regular bag of plain Doritos, they may be great for snacking on but your nachos will be a soggy mess sooner rather than later. Have a good look at the types of corn chips you can get and pick the thicker ones.
A nacho being pulled out of a dish with cheese strings

What’s the best cheese for nachos

I touched on it above, but I like a creamy or semi-hard cheddar. You want a cheese that has a good strong flavour but also a nice melting texture, so I find a creamier cheddar best. Monterey Jack is a firm favourite if you can get it.

You can add a little mozzarella if you want extra melty, stringy cheese but remember it has a very mild flavour so won’t add any flavour to the nachos here.

How to make them

6 images showing cooking fajita chicken and straining tomatoes
How to cook the chicken and strain the tomatoes
  1. The chicken fajita seasoning recipe: This is literally a case of mixing together 6 everyday spices in a bowl and it’s ready.
  2. Turn it into fajita chicken: Coat the chicken thighs in the spice mix (photo 1) then heat some oil in a pan and cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side until it’s just cooked through and starting to get that char on the outside (photos 2 & 3). Take it out and chop it up (quite small) (photo 4).
  3. Strain the tomatoes (photo 5 & 6): Technically you can leave out the tomatoes altogether but I don’t like a dry nacho filling so my solution: strain all the juice from some crushed tomatoes and add just the pulp. It adds some tomato flavour and a little moisture to the filling without adding liquid.
6 images showing cooking veggies in a pan and layering up nachos in a dish
How to cook the veggies and layer the nachos
  1. Cook the veggies: Saute the capsicum (peppers) and onion (photo 7) until softened, then add the tomato puree (photo 8) and give it mix around. Add the chicken back (photo 9) and give it a good mix.
  2. Layer it up (photos 10, 11 & 12): I like my nachos two layers high so start layering it all up. Corn chips, cheese, chicken mix, cheese, and repeat.

You might love these Korean Chicken Tacos too.


How to avoid soggy nachos

No one likes soggy nachos, so here are my top tips for crunchy nachos

  • Thick corn chips – the thicker the better.
  • Cheese between every layer – this creates a bit of a barrier between the filling and the chips.
  • Two layers – the layering effect helps to keep more of those chips crunchy.
  • Eat it quickly – be ready to dig in as soon as those nachos come out of the oven. There is no avoiding them softening over time.
A hand holding a nacho with toppings

Toppings for nachos

These chicken fajita nachos don’t really even need any toppings since there is so much flavour in the filling, however, I always find it hard to go past a bit of chunky guacamole or sour cream with any Mexican food.

Sliced jalapenos and coriander (cilantro) give it a kick and a bit of brightness too.

Can I use other meats?

Chicken breast will work as will ground beef or a nice steak. You could also use rotisserie chicken – add shredded rotisserie chicken once the veggies are cooked and along with all the spices making sure to mix it together well.

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A black plate with nahcos, chicken and guacaomole on it

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A nacho being pulled out of a dish with cheese strings

Chicken Fajita Nachos

5 from 4 votes
Loaded with melty cheese and succulent seasoned chicken thighs, these chicken fajita nachos are great for a weeknight or weekend dinner. This is easy comfort food at it’s best.

Ingredients

HOMEMADE FAJITA SEASONING

  • 2 teaspoons paprika (notes 1)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon Mexican chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

NACHO FILLING

  • 1 tin (400g) crushed tomatoes (14 oz)
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 500 g chicken thighs (1.1 lb / 3 medium thighs)
  • 1 small red capsicum / pepper (1 inch long slices)
  • 1 small green capsicum / pepper (1 inch long slices)
  • 1 small yellow capsicum / pepper (1 inch long slices)
  • 1 small red onion (1 inch long slices)
  • 2 cups firmly packed grated cheddar (225g / 8oz)
  • 200 g thick corn chips (5 big handfuls / 7oz)

TO SERVE

  • Sliced jalapenos, coriander (cilantro), guacamole, sour cream

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 200C / 395F / 180C fan forced.
  • Strain the crushed tomatoes into a bowl, pressing through with a spoon, until you have just ½ cup of pulp left. Reserve the purée for something else, you only need the tomatoes for the nachos.
  • Mix the fajita seasoning ingredients (paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chilli powder and salt) together in a small bowl.
  • In a cold non stick frying pan, combine the chicken thighs, spice mix and 3 teaspoons of oil. Mix well until the thighs are evenly coated.
  • Place pan over medium heat and cook for 4-5 minutes. Flip then cover for another 4-5 minutes or until cooked through (notes 2). Transfer chicken to a bowl with all the juices.
  • Add the remaining teaspoon of oil to the pan, along with the capsicum and onion. Cook for 3-4 minutes until softened. While that’s cooking, slice the chicken into small pieces.
  • Add the tomato pulp to the pan with the vegetables, then cook, stirring, for a minute to evaporate any remaining juice.
  • Add the chicken along with any juices from it and give it a stir to combine everything well. Take it off the heat.
  • Place half of the chips into an 9 inch round casserole dish or skillet – slightly overlapping and some sticking up around the sides.
  • Set aside ⅓ of the cheese for topping. Scatter ⅓ of the remaining cheese over the chips. Add half the chicken mixture and another ⅓ of the cheese. Repeat – corn chips, cheese, chicken topping it finally with the cheese you set aside. This puts the largest cheese portion on the top.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly
  • Serve immediately, topped with jalapeños and coriander over the top and guacamole and sour cream on the side.

Notes

  1. PaprikaI like mild or sweet but use smoked if you prefer
  2. Internal temperature of cooked chicken is 75C / 165F
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