Easy chicken nachos

What do you make in the kitchen when you want a savory snack but don’t feel like making a full meal? For a short stint, my thing was nachos. Throw some tortilla chips on a plate with some shredded cheese and nuke ‘em in the microwave. It was the epitome of a picky child choosing to eat only “yellow food”. I didn’t even bother with adding salsa. Luckily, you won’t see that version of nachos today on the blog.

This week’s Foodie Friday theme is “nachos”, and you can bet that I upped my game from the traditional 3-minute nachos. This recipe is inspired by The Pioneer Woman, which makes it even more special!

Easy chicken nachos recipe | Hello to Fit

What makes nachos extra delicious, without a ton of extra labor in the kitchen? Color. Adding fresh tomatoes, onions, and avocado morphed this dish from a child’s yellow nachos to an adult’s gourmet appetizer (or snack, or meal…). We’re adult-ing, over here!

Easy chicken nachos recipe | Hello to Fit

Another crucial step in making some bomb nachos is technique. Simply throwing tortilla chips on a plate and then topping it with the rest of the goodies leaves for some pretty sad chips. The ones in the middle and on the bottom definitely have a case of FOMO: Fear of Missing Out.

Solution? Layer that baby like you’d layer lasagna: one layer of chips, then meat, then cheese. Repeat until you have something close to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and then finish with the pico de gallo, avocado, and possibly even more cheese.

Easy chicken nachos recipe | Hello to Fit

For my friends who are saying, “NACHOS?! Nachos aren’t “healthy”!!!”

Well, you’re right. But neither is the cup of Talenti pistachio gelato I ate yesterday. While I think describing food as “healthy” can be relative, you’ll see that I’ve substituted ground beef for ground chicken. Does that make it “healthy”? Depends on how many chips you eat. Regardless, it’s an easy substitution that can decrease the fat content, which could be deemed as “more balanced”.

While I normally try and share healthIER recipes with you, I just couldn’t wait to share these chicken nachos. And once you try this dish for yourself, you may be glad I didn’t try and seriously healthify this recipe.

Easy chicken nachos recipe | Hello to Fit

Easy chicken nachos recipe | Hello to Fit

Easy chicken nachos

Serves 3-4     adjust servings


  • 2-3 handfuls tortilla chips
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 pound ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1-2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 avocado, diced

For pico de gallo

  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • Small handful cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1-2 lime wedges
  • Small pinch of salt


  1. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and saute until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add ground chicken, breaking up as you cook. Saute until chicken is cooked through.
  2. Add chili powder, cumin, and paprika to chicken mixture. Combine well, until chicken is covered in spice mix. Off the heat and set aside.
  3. To make the pico de gallo: combine tomato, yellow onion, cilantro, lime, and salt in a small bowl. Stir and set aside.
  4. On a dinner plate, place one thin layer of tortilla chips down. top with meat mixture and some of the cheese. Repeat until desired amount of chips are layered. Top nachos with rest of meat mixture, and heat in 30-second increments in the microwave until cheese is melted (not bubbling). Finish with pico de gallo and diced avocado. Serve immediately.



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Let’s chat!

  • How do you like YOUR nachos?
  • How do you make healthier substitutions?
  • Any plans for the weekend?
  • Have you been to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

By Jess

Jess is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and yoga teacher. She enjoys sharing her passion and enthusiasm for health and fitness with friends, family, clients, and readers.

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  • Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    November 6, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Yum!! Well you’ve got avocado on there– which kind of makes it healthy ;-))
    Look like a winner to me! Have a great weekend!
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Fashion Friday – Plaid Shirts & Puffy VestsMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 9, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      Haha right?! There’s something green in it!

  • Jen

    November 6, 2015 at 8:58 am

    I wish I was eating these for breakfast! they looks so good. And what a solid idea to layer – so simple, but so true. We honestly don’t eat nachos too often, but that might have to change after this recipe!

    1. Jess

      November 9, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      Haha yessss, welcome to the dark side 😉

  • Amanda

    November 6, 2015 at 9:15 am

    These seriously made me hungry and I just finished breakfast about an hour ago lol. Thanks for the yummy recipe!
    Amanda recently posted…Create a Social Media Checklist that WorksMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 9, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      Haha nice! Thanks for stopping by, Amanda 🙂

  • Rachel @ RachelMcMichael.com

    November 6, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Ok, I’m officially HUNGRY!! These nachos look amazing!! I can’t wait to try them.
    Rachel @ RachelMcMichael.com recently posted…Do You Struggle With Negative Thoughts?My Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      Hope you enjoy, Rachel!

  • Kat

    November 6, 2015 at 9:59 am

    ohhhhhh yes. Get.In.My.Belly!!
    Nachos are my go-to splurge food. Since going gluten-free its only of the treats that I can make myself at home that still has that restaurant feel to it of getting to eat out and spoil myself. Plus when I make them at home, I get to have leftovers 😉
    Kat recently posted…Reps-Based WorkoutMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      Exactly! I toasted up the leftovers in the toaster oven, and they weren’t as crunchy, but still good 🙂

  • Susie @ SuzLyfe

    November 6, 2015 at 10:44 am

    nachos are magical. Luckily, I’m not a big cheese person, so my nachos are like a giant salad bowl!
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…A Tough Week + Gratitude Giveaway with SunwarriorMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      Or sweet potatoes?

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    November 6, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    You know I really can’t tell you last time I’ve had any type of nachos :O That’s a sad life right there! Must fix!
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Friday Finisher 11/6/15My Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      Oh no! Haha, I’ll send a plate over!

  • Sarah

    November 6, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    These look amazing!!! I could have nachos for breakfast. lunch, dinner, and dessert!
    Sarah recently posted…Pumpkin BarsMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      Ohhhhh yas. I’m picturing all the types of nachos that could be made at each respective meal…

  • Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner

    November 6, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    The rest of my family would love these! Thanks for sharing! Hope to see you at the virtual coffee date tomorrow
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…5 Tips to Stay Healthy & Sane During The HolidaysMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks, Deborah!

  • Lauren | Just a Pinch

    November 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Now I’m starving and dreaming about nachos!
    Lauren | Just a Pinch recently posted…An #authentic HalloweenMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      Haha if I only I paired it with a marg…

  • Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie

    November 6, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Oh yum! I used to eat homemade nachos all the time when I would get home from school when I was younger, but of course I just went with the chips and melted cheese. These nachos take it way up a notch!
    Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…Currently: NovemberMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      Haha you and me both! This recipe is for us adults, now 🙂

  • Karla @SmallTownRambler

    November 6, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    YUM!! These look so good….you just can’t go wrong with those ingredients!
    Karla @SmallTownRambler recently posted…Friday Features: DIY Shelving IdeasMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      It’s the perfect combo..and so colorful, too 😉

  • lindsay

    November 6, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    nachos are my go to! so great for snacks, dinner, or apps! love it! hand me a plate
    lindsay recently posted…No Bake Coconut Peanut Butter Butterscotch Bites {Grain Free}My Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      Hehe comin’ right up!

  • GiGi Eats

    November 7, 2015 at 12:47 am

    I could easily make this awesomeness with roasted butternut squash chips !
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Stuff Everything But The Kitchen Sink, In Your MouthMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:15 pm

      YAY you can actually eat something I’ve made, with just one easy sub??!!

  • Annmarie

    November 7, 2015 at 6:13 am

    These look absolutely delicious and perfect for a football party! 😉
    Annmarie recently posted…Foodie Friday: Balsamic Pear NachosMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:15 pm

      Hehe I’ll take that as a compliment, especially since it comes from the football party recipe queen!!

  • She Rocks Fitness

    November 7, 2015 at 7:11 am

    I LOVE the Pioneer Woman and I LOVE nachos…so much crunch! I make healthier substitutions by using more nutritious chips…no sour cream…all the avocado…and lots of veggies…and ALL the hot sauce of course too. Have a great weekend friend!
    She Rocks Fitness recently posted…November WorkoutsMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      Isn’t the PW so cool?! I kind of want to be her best friend.
      Ooo, I like the tip of eating more nutritious chips. I want to try these with plantain chips or sweet potato “chips”.

  • Sam @ PancakeWarriors

    November 7, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Confession time – nachos get eaten at least once a week in this house!! Dave loves them and since one of the foods that doesn’t upset his stomach are corn tortillas we make our own chips in the oven and then nachos!! I usually add lentils and chopped veggies to mine. Dave does a very similar concauction as you. Yum!!! I’m loving your tip on the stacking and layering – so crucial!!
    Sam @ PancakeWarriors recently posted…10 Beginner Tips: Starting an Exercise RoutineMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      I have a feeling if we went on a double date, it would be EPIC.

  • Chrissa – Physical Kitchness

    November 7, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    JESS. You rock my nacho-lovin’ world!!! How did you know nachos are my fav fav fav Sunday football treat? Mmmm you nailed this recipe!
    Chrissa – Physical Kitchness recently posted…Advanced Treadmill WorkoutMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      Woohoo Chrissa! It’s a partay!

  • Courtney Bentley

    November 8, 2015 at 4:10 am

    YUM YUM YUM! Your food photography is SO good!! My mouth is drooling 🙂 xo C
    Courtney Bentley recently posted…How to Make Healthy Food Taste Good #ASKCCMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      Thanks so much, Courtney! 🙂

  • Jenn – a traveling Wife

    November 8, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Nachos – I need to make these!! I haven’t had nachos in AGES.
    Jenn – a traveling Wife recently posted…Easy and Inexpensive Hostess Gift IdeaMy Profile

    1. Jess

      November 8, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      They won’t take long to make (or eat) 😉

  • Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner

    November 8, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    These look so good!! I can’t have cheese or dairy right now or else I would be eating some nachos.
    Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner recently posted…Places to Run in San Diego: Mission TrailsMy Profile

  • Farrah

    November 9, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    I love and adore chicken nachos! 😀 This kinda reminds me of one of my favorite things from a little restaurant in Kentucky! <3
    Farrah recently posted…Ultimate Coffee Date: November 2015My Profile

  • Esther

    November 11, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    Jess, these are simply fantastic looking! You layer it up and adult like a rock star!
    Nachos for days 🙂
    Esther recently posted…Weekend Recap!My Profile

  • Liz @ THe Clean Eating Couple

    December 1, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Just saw you post this int he BGB group and I’m not sure how I missed these. They look AMAZING!! Love me some nachos 🙂
    Liz @ THe Clean Eating Couple recently posted…Holiday Gift GuideMy Profile

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