Appetizer Tex-Mex

Texas nachos 101

Nachos DSC 9529

My dad asked me a very serious question the other day. He was concerned, since I’d lived away from Texas for so long, where I fell on the nacho spectrum. Did I prefer a pile of chips with some toppings slopped on willy-nilly or did I prefer each nacho to be one chip toasted with a tasteful spread of Longhorn cheddar cheese and a sliced jalapeno. I was shocked he even had to ask. For me, and for every Texan, there is only one kind of Texas nacho: the latter. Nachos are simple and elegant. Each nacho is its own entity (and that is key), with just enough toppings to give it flavor and a bit of heft but not enough to make it saggy or soggy. Anything else is an imposter!

Nachos are reputed to have been invented in 1943 by a maitre d’ named Ignacio Anaya who was working at the Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Mexico, which is just across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. As the story goes, some ladies from Eagle Pass came into the restaurant one evening, ordered some drinks and wanted some snacks. The kitchen was already closed, so Anaya melted some Longhorn cheddar on some tortilla chips and garnished each chip with a jalapeno slice. He presented them to the ladies calling his improvised appetizer “Nacho’s Especiales” as Nacho is a nickname for Ignacio. And the name, without the “especiales,” stuck.

Nachos were made only this way until 1977 when a San Antonio businessman named Frank Liberto started selling melted processed-cheese food to Arlington Stadium. You know, the gross stuff that comes out of a pump. (Not to be confused with queso, which is far, far superior!) He called it “nacho cheese” and it was served with tortilla chips. As the story goes, sportscaster Howard Cosell tried some, loved it and extolled the virtues of these “nachos” on national TV. And a taste sensation took off, but sadly it was misinterpreted. Instead of the exquisite traditional nacho of one chip with a topping, people thought nachos were a mountain of chips with melted processed cheese. It was a very dark day in the history of this beloved Tex-Mex treat.

Texas nachos
I’ve heard some people call the wrong nachos “Yankee nachos,” though that’s clearly a misnomer since a misguided Texan was the first one to market the so-called nacho cheese. Instead, I prefer to think of them as lazy nachos, as it’s much easier to just throw a bunch of ingredients on a mountain of chips instead of taking the care and time to dress each individual chip one by one.

I have many issues with lazy nachos, but my biggest problem is that they just aren’t satisfying. You know how it goes with these—the chips on top of the pile have too much cheese, meat, beans, tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole and whatever else has been hurled on them while the rest of the chips are sans any topping. Where’s the balance? Where’s the equality? Where’s the grace? And to make matters worse, if you make or order these for a group of people, there’s always a big fight to grab the chips with toppings because you know how awful the naked stragglers will taste. So what should be a friendly and pleasant eating experience becomes an all-out struggle for nacho supremacy. Please tell me, where’s the fun in that?

Texas nachos

If you’ve never made nachos the proper way, people will be surprised and find them exotic. That’s OK. But what they’ll really discover is that a true nacho is a joy to eat, a sophisticated snack that can stand on its own. So if you’re making nachos this weekend for the Super Bowl, and have never made them the way they were invented, why not give it a try? It’s not hard to make them right. Heck, I grew up with a mom who made them the correct way almost every day when I was a kid—it was her favorite snack. I have fond memories of her spooning refried beans onto chips, adding a bit of cheese and a slice of jalapeno, baking them, and then whipping up a batch of guacamole to spread on top for added nutritional value.

If you want more than just Longhorn cheddar and refried beans, yes, topping it with a bit of meat or a vegetable is fine. Just don’t go nuts, as with nachos you’ll find that less is more. And sure, it’s quite all right to serve guacamole, sour cream or salsa on the side, but you may discover that it’s not even necessary as each nacho, when properly made, really needs no embellishment. And after each creamy, crunchy and spicy bite—I bet you’ll agree that nachos are just about the most perfect Tex-Mex food.

Nachos DSC 9529
5 from 4 votes

Proper Texas nachos

Servings 4
Author Lisa Fain



  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. Cut the tortillas into quarters.
  3. Pour enough oil in an iron skillet to come up 1/2 inch up the sides and heat to 375° F.
  4. In batches, fry the quartered tortillas for 1 to 2 minutes on each side (until golden brown) and then remove. Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt.
  5. Once chips have been made, spread each with 1 teaspoon of refried beans (if you so desire), 1 tablespoon of cheddar cheese, and 1 pickled jalapeno.
  6. Bake in oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with guacamole, sour cream, and/or salsa.  

Recipe Notes

You can also top these with beef, chicken, pork, vegetables, huitlacoche, shrimp, fish or anything else you can imagine. But use restraint and taste—nachos should be elegant and refined, not an exercise in excess. Also, if you don’t feel like making your own chips (though you should as they taste better) tortilla chips from a bag work, too.

  1. intheyearofthepig

    oh yeah,
    I made some proper nachos last Thursday when I got home from work and was in a horrible mood. Sadly I had no El Lago tortilla chips (a staple in my house growing up, but unavailable here on the east coast), and I used colby jack, but eating some proper–lightly dressed–nachos, with some leftover refried beans and one pickled jalapeno slice made me happier.

    Sunday lunch, after church, before going to do homework or chores or work on the blasted truck with my dad, my mom would regularly make up a cookie sheet of nachos for all of us to enjoy, sometimes we skipped the rest of lunch and just had the nachos, making a second tray to go in the oven as we ate the first.

    best part of the day

    really nice post to read, thank you.

  2. Lazy nachos are when you use tortilla chips and make them in the microwave. Nacho cheese goop leads to “nachos.”

  3. Lizard Eater

    Yes, Yes, YESSSS! I’ve grow up eating exactly this kind of nacho. Dad would get out the pizza pan, slice up some longhorn colby, and a jalapeno on top. Still does it, when we visit.

    I have to admit, I sometimes guild the lily with one thing … a bit of caramelized onions under the ‘peno. Really, don’t think of it as putting on the dog til you try it. Something about the sweetness of the onions and the hot of the pepper … it just works.

  4. Acme Instant Food

    I used to make an occasional meal out of these after getting home from a very long day. It does take a few extra moments to prep each individual chip, but the satisfaction from such a simple pleasure can’t be beat! I’m an L.A. boy to the core–who knew I was channeling some Texan in the kitchen! 🙂

  5. Those drool-inducing pictures of nachos are killing me! Dear God, I want some so badly. You’re absolutely correct; this is the only way to make good nachos. Anything else is sacrilege. 🙂

  6. staceyvee

    I’ve been sitting at my desk, nose pressed to my monitor, trying to decide where to go for lunch. I was considering just another sad sandwich but Guero’s or Las Manitas may be in order. If not, I’ll be whipping these up for myself tonight. I always enjoy reading your blog.

  7. Well, I’ll be damned. I’ve never had a proper nacho! And I didn’t even know it. Perhaps that’s why I always found “nachos” so insipid, nasty and unappetizing. I’m such a Yank 🙂

  8. Ha! You know, I lived in Texas (well, Dallas, if that counts …) for eight years and don’t remember once hearing anyone discuss proper nachos. Thanks to you, I feel properly edified 🙂

    • Shannon, Another Homesick Texan

      Dallas counts BIG! And Texans don’t talk about it in Texas because we just assume everyone knows what a nacho should be. I didn’t realize there was anything else masquerading as nachos until I moved to the Midwest. Sacrilege in deed.

  9. You are so good! I always wonder what gem of Texas cuisine you will share. Like Lizard Eater, my dad used to make a batch on the pizza pan. Brought back many good memories. As usual, this is priceless.


  10. I didn’t know this! And it would solve my big complaint about nachos which is that you end up with chips on the bottom with nothing on them. (Too bad they aren’t more diet friendly, but hey, it’s the superbowl!)

  11. Someone Being Me

    I grew up eating the Texas nachos as a snack. We would broil them in the oven and eat them while watching TV. If I’m out to eat I want some sour cream, pico, and guacamole to go with my nachos too. Although I will own up to appreciating the occasional processed cheese nachos at the movies or taco bell.

  12. this post makes me laugh. my dad always made nachos using this method. each chip precisely placed on the baking sheet with each one given proper attention to the refried bean, cheese & jalapeno… we always laughed at him for his precision! i don’t think i’ve ever eaten nachos at anyone else’s home so had no idea he was just being authentic 😉 i’m guilty of using black beans & carmelized onions on mine though!

  13. I had no idea about proper nachos. It’s like the Texan answer to canapes. We’ll have to try them soon; raw, blustery weather (of the sort we’ve had plenty of in Seattle) always puts me in the mood for food with a slightly spicy bite to it.

  14. PrissyCook

    I’m a Texas. My grandmother is a Texan. I invited her over for nachos one evening and she asked, “I didn’t know you could make nachos at home. Will you give me the recipe?”

    She’s too cute.

  15. I have never had nachos like this before — never even heard of them — but I’m going to make them. They have all the things I like about nachos without all the things I don’t like about them.

    And you’ve just made my husband a very happy man! This is so his kind of thing.

  16. Chicken Fried Gourmet

    The best nachos I ever had were made this way and they were in Matamoros Mexico. I remember going back for seconds, thirds and eventually lost count.

  17. My mother in law (native Texan) was visiting us over New Years and made them like this…and I must confess, this Virginia girl thought she had lost her marbles when I saw her piling cheese on each individual chip on the baking sheet.

    But, (though it pains me to give her this much credit…sigh…) they were fantastic! I make them “the right way” now, and my darling Texan hubby is most appreciative. She didn’t use the sliced Longhorn, though, just shredded cheddar – probably because that’s what I had in the fridge. Grocery shopping tomorrow, and Longhorn is now on my list! 🙂

  18. Anonymous

    As a Texan living in MA, I look forward to each of your posts with anticipation and glee. Texans show their feelings through food, and your blog reminds me of the love I’ve been shown from the past and present. I’m inspired to show my properly Bostonian friends and associates the true path to delicious, simple, and beautiful food as I am reminded of it here in your blog. They’ve gotten to experience the gamut of Texas food from homemade biscuits to a pot of beans, from the sweetness of pecans to a big bowl of chicken and dumplings. Thank you so much for putting into words the feelings that for so long I’ve had through my tastebuds.

  19. Even though I am a Yankee through-and-through, I do love a pile of nachos made carefully and individually, with refried beans and cheese very carefully spread on each one.

    You’re so right about the sloppy nachos. Yuck.

    Great post.

  20. Anonymous

    have you been to Joe T’s in Fort Worth? Proper nachos with diced jalapenos.
    Isn’t longhorn just the shape of the brick of cheese? I think it is the flat bottom with the rounded corners at the top. ????

  21. Yes, Lisa, the ‘nachos’ at the sports events with the pump cheese are awful. I like the 2 or 3 ingredient style too-a pickled jalapeno is a must!

  22. Oh, wow. I agree a thousand percent with everything you just said. There was a bar in my home town that used to serve individually-dressed nachos, with just a smear of refried beans, a shred of great, spicy chicken, cheddar cheese, a dab of sour cream, and a slice of jalapeno. I don’t think I knew how good I had it.

  23. persephone113

    This is so timely. While visiting my sister during the holidays in Massachusetts we were both discussing this very thing. (Neiter of us will even order so-called Nachos in a restaurant). There really is something to the statement “less is more” when it comes to certain things. My sister and I were both raised in Pasadena, TX, and her husband was raised in Georgia. We also discussed the merits of Texas BBQ vs. SCarolina, Memphis, and Kansas City types. Of course you know who I like. And don’t even get me started on what goes for BBQ and Cornbread in Massachusetts.

  24. Curt McAdams

    I was in Texas the first time in 1976, and we ate at Casa Rio on the Riverwalk. I was 14, and it was the first time I’d heard of nachos. Each chip had beans, cheese and a jalapeno slice, and they were great! I’m a born and raised Buckeye, but I still only like nachos done this way.

    I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one outside of Texas that thinks the pile of goo that restaurants serve is ridiculous.

  25. Lisa Fain

    In the year of the pig–I wish we had good chips such as El Lago on the East coast–the Whole Foods Restaurant Style ones are OK, but that’s why I started making my own. And yes, eating nachos is always the best part of the day!

    Allison–Thanks for the clarification!

    Lizard Eater–I don’t think caramelized onion is gilding the lily, as long as the nacho is not drowning in it!

    Acme Instant Food–I think aspects of LA and Texas have a lot in common, so I’m not surprised that you’ve been channeling some Texan all your life!

    K–Yep, it’s a sacrilege!

    Stacyvee–Oh, how I wish I had those lunchtime options! Eat some refried beans for me!

    Ann–How sad you’ve never had a proper nacho, but if you like tacos there’s no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy these, Yankee palate or not!

    Alanna–Dallas better count as I was born in Big D! I reckon no one ever discussed it because it wasn’t an issue–they know how to make nachos in Texas.

    Texann–Thanks! Nachos bring back good memories for me as well!

    Kalyn–Wow! I’m shocked at how many people have never had a true nacho. And to make them more diet friendly, you can use baked tortilla chips and low-fat cheese.

    Someone Being Me–They make a great snack. And I have to admit that I’ve had Taco Bell “nachos” a few times (but shhhhh…don’t tell anyone!).

    Ashley–That’s too funny! My dad’s the same way and he gets upset when presented with nachos not made the proper way.

    Meg–Yes! That’s exactly what they are–Tex-Mex canapes!

    PrissyCook–That is too cute! Was she surprised when she learned how easy they are to make?

    Julie–I swear that your husband is a closet Texan (or at least his palate is). Enjoy!

    Chicken Fried Gourmet–Great story! It’s easy to lose track when you’re indulging in nachos!

    Ri–That’s too funny, and I’m glad you liked them (but honestly, how could you not?). A true case of nacho diplomacy!

    Anon–Thank you, and you’re so right–food is the way to our hearts. And chicken and dumplings? My, my, I haven’t thought of them in a while–I should make some.

    Mrs. W.–Yep, sloppy nachos aren’t even worth eating.

    Anon–I’ve been there twice, I believe, and it was a loooong time ago so I don’t recall their nachos, but I know they’d make them the proper way. And yes, Longhorn refers to the shape of the cheese–that half-moon shape. I believe it’s the same sharpness as Colby.

    Frank–I can’t even imagine nachos without the jalapenos.

    Molly–Those nachos sound divine, though they’re easy to make at home, too.

    Persephone113–I won’t order so-called nachos in restaurants either as I’m always disappointed. And yep, don’t get me started either on bbq as there’s no comparison!

    Curt McAdams–What a great taste memory! And it’s good to hear that there’s someone in the Midwest who appreciates proper nachos!

  26. Honestly, these are the most elegant nachos! So much more appealing than the piles of glop we generally see in restaurants here in the Northeast.

  27. Lisa, I feel the wool has been lifted from my eyes! I always knew there was something wrong with nachos pile-style but I could never put my finger on it. In fact, I’ve always wondered what was wrong with me for not liking them as much as everybody else, my husband and mother included (who both count nachos as their favorite meal on earth!). With passions running that high, I’m not sure how well a nacho shake-up will go down, but you can be sure I’m going to give it a shot!

  28. I just made nachos earlier this week – and yes, individual nachos are a MUST! (Didn’t have any corn tortillas on hand, so had to go with the round corn chips, but it still works.)

    And for a little batch, it is yet another reason that a toaster oven with broiler is an essential kitchen tool!

  29. I’ve always made my nachos singly like this with refried beans, cheese, jalapeno, sour cream and guacamole – It’s amazing to me how many people have never had chips this way.

  30. I was recently at Chris Madrid’s (here in San Antonio) where they make proper nachos, and enjoyed some before devouring my tasty hamburger. One time while there with a group that ordered nachos, one of the women was disappointed to see that the nachos were so “plain”. She refused to have them as they didn’t have meat and lettuce and cream cheese et cetera! Later I found out she was from Missouri. No worries, more for the rest of us who know what a proper tasty nacho should look like!!

  31. Tempered Woman

    I insist on eating my french fries the same darn way. Only with guac. One french frie, scoop of guac and a jalapeno on top. YUM!
    Thanks for educating the masses. 😉

  32. Being that I’ve never been to Texas and grew up in California….I’ve always loved the piled on nachos! Made at home with lots of shredded cheddar, spicy beef mixture, onions, and jalapenos and baked in the oven they are heavenly. If you put enough stuff on the chips, it runs down and through the mass and you can scoop up the goodies with each bite. Sorry, but the individual ones look skimpy.


  33. That is too funny the way you describe lazy nachos. I have shared plenty of nacho platters in my career and this can be a very good study in human behaviour, depending on who you are dining with.
    I absolutely detest the person who grabs a side plate, cuts a big honking wedge from the part with all the goodies and declares this portion to be theirs. If lazy nachos plates had any continuity, it vanishes after large sections are cut away and the offender sits and eats from their own personal plates.

  34. Lazy nachos are only good with homemade queso. The yucky orange pseudo-cheese is gross. I’m horrified to learn that the guy was from San Antonio, my hometown. Growing up for a treat my Dad would fry up corn tortillas to make chips and serve with salt. But we did make individual nachos on a baking tray with small chunks of Longhorn cheddar. UMM! I had forgotten about them. May have to make for our Superbowl guests. Hubby is planning a Jewish food feast for them. I’m not sure I can make Jewish nachos (matso with cheese?) but your’s sound heavenly.

  35. Yep, this is exactly how I remember them bein’ made when I lived in Texas—the best! Fantastic photos & post today!

  36. Hattermad

    Love your recipes and info ya got here, gotta though disagree a bit wit’ ya. Being a Texan and loving the heaping mess nacho…Maybe it’s a South of San Antone thing…a Rio Grande Valley thing, most of the rest of Texas don’t like us much, maybe that’s why, we like it piled high and sloppy…

    on another note, love your chili powder recipe, just [email protected]#n fabulous!!!

  37. Anonymous

    Ha! I thought I’d invented these as a teenager growing up in California. I’d make these after school almost everyday, usually just with the cheese. Then, as my taste for spice grew, I’d sprinkle the tops of the cheese with chili powder. The first time I went out and saw a pile of “lazy nachos,” it looked like an untenable mess. Now, I mix some chili powder and a bit of cayenne into the refied beans before using it. Sometimes, if I make ’em spicy, I’ll dip them later in sour cream. Yum. I was so happy to read this. Bookmark!

  38. yum yum yum. Those look tasty…though I must confess…and forgive me now…..we usually eat nachos round here the big pile-o stuff on top of the chips method. BUT I’m not saying it’s the BEST way, or even right, but if it’s wrong it’s wrong good cause YUMMERS. I’ll take nachos any way I can get em! I will try them your way next time, cause ever since your blog steered me towards chili gravy I have been next door to omnipotent in my husband’s eyes. haha (of course he saw me that way before but now it’s omnipotent WITH chili gravy!)

  39. Ah, the memories! However, as a kid, I didn’t like too much spicy stuff, so my dad would make half the nachos with just beans and cheese, just for me. And when we didn’t have jalepenos on hand, he added little dabs of salsa after heating them up. Mmm…I need some nachos.

    Also, I am in the process of making your bread on the post below. It’s rising now and smells delicious. I substituted a cup of whole wheat flour for one of the cups of regular flour, so we’ll see how it turns out.

  40. Miss Meat and Potatoes

    It’s amazing how many nacho offenders are out there – even in the great state of Texas. Nothing angers my husband and I more than ordering a big plate of nachos only to be served a mountain of canned black olive slices, lettuce, and God knows what else piled on top of wilted, soggy chips.

    The best nachos are the simplest ones, just as you describe, and are almost as much about the chip as they are the topping.

    This was my mom’s version of chicken noodle soup for me when I was little and not feeling well.

  41. just found your blog and think its great! im so glad to get recipes! i am a born and raised texan who just moved to munich, and let me tell you, there is NO texan or mexican food here. 🙂 keep up the great work!

  42. Growing up in NYC in the Eighties, there was a great proliferation of Tex-Mex restaurants where we’d go for margaritas (for my parents, not me!) and nachos. This is exactly what they were like and I loved them! I wondered what happened to this childhood classic of mine, and have been craving them lately. I was wondering if the jalapenos were pickled or not, so thanks for theillumination!

    I came here today for the first time by way of Smitten Kitchen, and I’ll definitely be back! Your Grandma’s bread looks like something I was going to bake up myself to help cure my own Januaries. I think I’ll use her recipe. Thanks!

  43. Interesting, I had no clue about these Texan nachos… I’ve been a lazy nacho-eater all my life and didn’t even know there was a better way! Thanks for giving me the heads up, I can’t wait to try these pretty little ones!

  44. I’m beginning to think that Waco and Austin aren’t “really” Texas. I have never heard of this “proper nacho” in the three and a half years I have been here…

  45. Anonymous

    Boy did this post bring back memories. We used to make these at home too, but I’ve never seen them in a restaurant, even in TX. (Lazy nachos were easier, I guess) I’m currently marooned in California, where I’ve learned never to order chips and salsa, because they can’t make salsa, let alone nachos. Sigh…

  46. Homesick Houstonian

    Maybe i’m just lucky i lived in houston all my life, but i’ve never received anything but proper nachos from a restaurant (unless it was a non texmex diner or a bar). I’ve always thought of my method of nacho making as “restaurant style”. Except, i don’t put cheese on each chip, as i feel it falls off as i place it or gets placed to where it runs onto the pan. I’m fussier. I lay the chips in an intricate pattern as i put them down after spreading beans on them to where they all overlap with each other slightly, but lay in a solid flat layer. Then I sprinkle cheese over the whole bunch, since they are laying in a flat layer and not a pile, they all get covered and since they are overlapping the cheese stays on the chips AND you have a convenient little corner to grab and pick up each nacho. Its like a mass of cheese with little chip corners sticking out to grab. YUM. Plus, i love cheese, so this allows for maximum cheesiness. and curled chips? i check for those afterwards and stuff cheese into the pockets.

    I always have to have guacamole, but i get split between eating them with it or without it. They’re so good plain! I usually end up eating the guac with plain chips while the nachos are broiling, heh.

    I’ve noticed both here and in texas, when the menu has “texas nachos” listed it usually means they have guacamole. Probably the most accurate use of “texas” i’ve seen on menus.

    Oh yeah, and everyone reading this that doesn’t make their own chips, try Xochitl brand chips. They are the best (unless you can find Milagro Totopos). They sell Xochitl at Whole Foods and Amish Market.

  47. I love queso mixed with salsa, and nachos, and the combination of corn, cheese and jalapeno is priceless!

    My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

    And I also miss all the American cheddars, not only longhorn, and also monterey jack. But patience, only a few months to go and I’ll be back!

  48. Cynthia

    Thanks to this post, I now know why I never went for the mass-produced-served nachos. I like the way you and your dad have it. Gotta try it.

  49. WOW! I just found your blog yesterday while on the hunt for a good pimento cheese recipe. I think you are my long lost sister! I am a Texas who now finds herself living in Central Pennsylvania! Talk about having Tex-Mex withdrawls!! I was laughing literally out loud reading your gift giving post as I just polished off the last of 5 dozen Pedro’s Tamales HA!
    I am a Nacho addict and had no idea anyone else was as ‘passionate’ about properly made nachos. Definately something I have to make at home, as around these parts “nachos” are smothered in the canned cheese *blech*
    Keep the posts coming, you have a new reader in PA!!

  50. gal writer

    darlin’, darlin’, darlin’…as an expat tx gal mysel, currently in california, fixin to be further, i must say: beans are not optional.
    i do thank you kindly however, for publicizing and correcting folks, as the one chip at a time approach is the way to go. and plus, these california types don’t know squat about queso, it’s dang stadium, highschool football type nacho cheese.
    keep on fightin’ the good fight.
    -your sister in tex mex

  51. Brilynn

    You’ve so got me craving nachos right now, it’s been way too long since I’ve had some.

  52. My mom always has fond memories/tales of growing up in Eagle Pass (in fact my grandfather was mayor of Eagle Pass for a short time)…so it’s shocking to think in retrospect that upon the arrival of the microwave….she piled a load of Fritos on a plate…some cheese on top of that…:45 later she yelled….”Nachos!!!”

    tsk tsk tsk

  53. Hillary

    I LOVE nachos this way! Thanks for a fabulous recipe right before the super bowl!

  54. The Urbane Epicurean

    First of all, let me say that I love the fact I found a blog of another homesick Texan in NY, lost in a world with no fajitas!

    I make nachos with Fritos scoops and layer them with refried beans and shredded cheese, and on top I place a small piece of chicken that I sauteed with lime and a little cumin. I love nachos, I love your post!

    -The UE

  55. A wonderful variation is shypoke eggs, first served at Hipps Bubble Room (now closed) in San Antonio. The tradition is carried on at Timbo’s in San Antonio.

    Shypoke eggs are the basic nacho: round chip, layer of monterrey jack cheese to cover the whole chip, jalapeno, and smaller round of cheddar cheese placed in the center of the jack cheese. When baked/broiled the resulting nacho looked like a sunny side up egg.

  56. Lisa Fain

    Lydia–They are indeed elegant.

    Melissa–Well isn’t that good news! And good luck with the nacho shake-up–hopefully you can convince your Mom and Manuel that these are just as good if not better than the “wrong” nachos.

    Cindy–Round chips are just fine. I remember in the early 80’s, it seemed that round chips were all the rage.

    Lizurs1–I know, isn’t it strange?

    Elisa–Ha! More for the rest of us indeed!

    Tempered Woman–That sounds tasty, I’ll have to try my French fries nacho style.

    Becky–That’s cool–that just leaves more for the rest of us!

    Tommy–I’m so glad someone else understands what happens when a group orders nachos–it can get very unpleasant!

    Jodie–I love the idea of Jewish nachos–how about matso with cream cheese and lox with a caper on top?

    JEP–Thanks! And I agree, they are the best!

    Hatter mad–I’m glad you like the chile powder recipe, and like I said above, that’s cool if you don’t prefer these–we’re all entitled to our opinion–it just leaves more for the rest of us!

    Anon–Oh yes! I always sprinkle some cayenne and chili powder into my refried beans–the spicier the better!

    Tace–Good luck with the nachos and let me know what you think. And I’m pleased to hear that your now omnipotent WITH chili gravy in your husband’s eyes! It doesn’t get much better than that!

    Kari–I bake mine with half whole wheat most of the time, and I think it makes it even more nutty not to mention nutritious.

    Miss Meat and Potatoes–Isn’t it criminal? It’s so frustrating. And that’s such a sweet memory of your mom making them for you when you didn’t feel well–nachos can make anyone feel better!

    Ex-Tex–Welcome! And what a challenge it must be trying to make Tex-Mex in Munich, though I hear Gruyere makes some yummy cheese enchiladas!

    Dara–Welcome! And I hope you enjoy the bread!

    CC–I find that’s often the case, but it’s never too late to learn!

    Jamie–Hmmmmm, that’s disturbing news.

    Anon–That’s odd, I still seem them in restaurants when I go home, like at Los Cucos in Houston. But I’d think California, with its proximity to Mexico, would have decent Mexican food or at least salsa.

    Homesick Houstonian–I like your method for maximum cheesiness–I’ll have to try it sometime! And if done right, they are good plain, though a little guacamole doesn’t ever hurt, that is, if you have any left over. Have you seen Milagro Totopos in NYC? I like Xochitl, but they’re so darn expensive.

    Olivia–It is indeed the holy trinity of Tex-Mex flavors. When are you coming back to America?

    Cynthia–It’s good stuff–I’m just sad that so many people think that mass-produced nachos are what nachos are.

    Kelly–Thanks for stopping by! Mmmm, those tamales sound delicious!

    Gal Writer–Howdy, my sister in Tex-Mex! I have to agree with you, though Ignacio Anaya’s Nacho’s Especiales didn’t have beans, hence my saying that they’re optional.

    Brilynn–What are you waiting for–it’s time for you to make some nachos!

    Mike–Your grandfather was mayor of Eagle Pass? How cool is that! But tsk, tsk, indeed! I can’t believe she made them in the microwave!

    Hillary–You’re very welcome–enjoy!

    Urban Epicurean–Mmmmm, that chicken sounds great–I love lime and cumin together! And welcome!

    O’Dub–I’ve never heard of shypoke eggs, but they sound cute.

  57. I passed this recipe onto my neighbor in Ohio… a homesick Texan and she was all over it. Thank you!

  58. Wow, who knew that 1) so many people had never had Texan nachos and 2) so many people would be so passionate about it!

    Having lived in Tx myself, I do have particularities (like I prefer a simple fajita taco with a fresh made flour tortilla, a bit of real chunky quacamole, a bit of pico de gallo, and lots of cilantro) but I do not have much around nachos. I prefer them simple, super simple, cheese only with MAYBE a bit of jalapeno juice. I do not like it when people put like an entire meal on each chip.

    Oh lord, and then there is the whole sour cream thing.. keep the sour cream for the baked potatoes.

    Best queso and chips I have ever had didnt look like nachos.. it was in Piedras Negras, baked evil hot in a little cassarole, served with chips. You dip out the cheese with the chips and then sip your lime-y tecate. *sighs* wow, I think I need that right now! No chance of it.. its all ice and snow for us.

    Oh, and let me just say for the non-spanish speaking non-tex-mex experienced types, a chicken and a shrimp do not HAVE a fajita so by definition, there is no such thing as a chicken or shrimp fajita – tacos maybe .. not fajita.

    ok, got that off my chest *winks*

  59. Art Good

    I live in Indiana, and I remember making “proper nachos” at my uncle’s house when I was a kid. I loved them. Used to be able to buy these perfectly round, somewhat thick tortilla chips in a box that we used to make the nachos.

    Good times… good times.

  60. I am also a Texan living in NYC and I love reading your blog. My mom made nachos this way when I was a kid and it is still my favorite style. If she used cheese and jalapenos, she called them nachos. If she added refried beans under the cheese, she called them veracruzanos. For some reason, if there were both beans and cheese on the chip, then chopped lettuce and tomato could be added to your individual serving at the table, making each chip a mini chalupa. But the extra toppings were entirely optional and were added carefully to each chip. My hometown of Weslaco is at the very Southern tip of Texas, 8 miles from the Mexican border. At some local Tex-Mex restaurants, the beans, cheese, jalapenos on chips combo is called panchos. I can’t wait to see what favorite Texan food item you’ll write about next!

  61. Texas2Tennessee

    Have made these every day since reading your post. Happiness may be a warm puppy, Charlie Brown, but nachos, well there’s just nuttin’ better! Thanks for the reminder.

  62. I am a Texan living in Minnesota and would have to disagree….I grew up on nachos and panchos and we never used chips. We would make our own “tortillas de masa (or Maiz if you wanna be proper…)” cut them into triangles and fry them up to create our own chip. Then we would take Longhorn or extra sharp cheddar and melt that with a hint of tomatoe sauce and/or jalapeno juice for maximum sauciness, you’ll figure what works best for your tastebuds. We would then pick the fresh chiles, (jalapenos preferably, not to be confused with Serrano peppers as I’ve seen mistakenly used in many a restaurant) chop them up and top them. Even the beans, lettuce and tomatoe was optional. We would never shred the cheese and just make our own sauce, this is the best way and most authentic way to do it. Never use sour cream, black olives, and all that junk, leave that for your “gringo” friends to use…lol The bottom line is that spreading the “chips” out and individually topping them with the jalapeno and making sure the cheese is on each and every one, as little or as much as you like, is the only way to go!! MMMM…mmmm…now if only people could get the fajita right…after all there is only one fajita…the “beef skirt steak” fajita…!! “Que shrimp y chicken” that’s no fajita!

  63. I have tried the nachos your way…and..they were tasty. So then, (to compare of course, not cause we’re pigs) we had them our regular way at the next meal. And they were tasty too! I am thinking there can be no wrong way to have refried beans and tortilla chips! haha
    The tidy, individual chip way you showed will be a nice change I shall implement once in a while to shake things up in our little world. 🙂

  64. i just found your blog today through smittenkitchen. i love what i’ve read so far and so will definitely continue reading. 🙂

    “Where’s the balance? Where’s the equality? Where’s the grace?” — haha.

  65. I’m from Europe so mostly ashamed I must say I’ve never made proper nachos. I took notes this time 🙂 and I will most likely enjoy these next week-end. Can’t wait and thanks for sharing!

  66. Ahhh, this post really took me back to the pre- cheese-food nacho heresy days in SA. But, when I got to the optionals and saw [horror] sour cream, I wonder if you’ve spent too much time on the right and/or left coasts.
    In any case, great post that took me back to days of po-dunk SA with frito pies at little league and batches of nachos served directly from the oven for the team after the win or loss at the designated house of the evening. Even at that young age, the single jalapeno slice was de riguer.

  67. oh wow. i like your nachos better than the lazy kind as well!!!

  68. SteamyKitchen

    uh oh….you are SO going to hate me…

    i like the lazy kind.

    and the nacho cheese the comes out of the pump.

    (hiding under the table now!)

    xoxo, jaden

  69. Like so many others before me, I’ve never had a real nacho either. Those look much better and make so much more sense.

  70. MelissaQ

    I never really thought of Nachos like that. As I rarely if ever go out of my way to eat them. My family is from Piedras Negras, and many of them still live in Eagle Pass. I will have to pass the word to my Familia & I will never look at nachos the same again.

  71. Homesick Houstonian

    You know, I saw El Milagro Totopos once and it was in a bodega and I’m kicking myself because I don’t remember where or which one. When I find them I’ll leave a random comment about it.
    Speaking of random, have you tried Manhattan Chili Company? Their “Texas Chain Gang” (despite containing beans) is not bad.
    Also someone above mentioned Queso Flameado, that would be cool to see here!

  72. Jonara Blu Maui

    I love nacho’s..but have never had them this way…I’ll have to try it when I’m not being lazy 😉 it sure beats having all the left over naked chips on your plate!

  73. RecipeGirl

    I hate lazy nachos too 🙁 Great, informative post. Never thought I could learn so much about the history of nachos 🙂

  74. Anonymous

    My husband, who is a Texan, makes Nachos this way- I always thought it was a kinda funny quirk- I didn’t realize it was the proper way! I always love them when he makes them, but my favorite was one summer when it was too hot to turn the oven on he made them outside on the BBQ (on a cookie sheet of course!)- he tossed in some mesquite chips on the coals. They tasted so decadent (almost bacon-y!)

  75. Brave Sir Robin

    xas. I have never heard of this “proper nacho” in the three and a half years I have been here…

    Yes Jamie, sadly, even here in Texas the “Lazy Pile of Nacho-like food product” has become widely used. The best, (pretty much ONLY” place to find a real nacho these days is a Mom and Pop place.

    Any chain place will give you a plate of slop.


    These are also really good with Joy Peppers. (pickled Jalapenos pickled in the bread and butter fashion.)

    I know, sacrilege, but still yummy.

  76. I don’t know about proper, but I use to make those years ago and I’m from Tennessee.

    I don’t even remember where I got the recipe but I haven’t even thought about them for years until reading your post.

    I’ll have to bring that little delight back out again because they are very good.


  77. I return in September. For Good, no looking back! I was talking about it tonight at dinner with a friend from Houston, who is stopping in town for a few days. (She now lives in Mexico City!)

  78. These look awesome…love your blog and your pics are drooling!!!


  79. Texas in Minnesota...

    I made these for friends in Minneapolis, and they thought they were ‘fancy’ and assumed they were the real deal since I’m Texan. I’ve always called these my dad’s nachos because this is how I grew up eating them at home, and since I rarely order nachos in lieu of enchiladas at any given Tex-Mex (though family members do comment annoyingly if nachos are served in a pile), I just thought it was our specialty. I guess that’s what happens when everyone in your family is from Texas!! Thanks for posting about a true comfort food and one of my all time faves.

  80. Oh, yes, finally someone else understands…..It would be a fellow displaced Texan……I am currently in Annapolis, MD and there is not a true Tex/Mex, or even Northern Mexican restaurant within hours of here.

    Love your blog…

  81. Kate / Kajal

    i never knew that story about nachos. I thank some of the greatest things were invented just like that ! Thank God for this one. Its one of my most fav. bar snacks !!!

  82. “Nacho’s Especiales”! As a huge fan of nachos, both traditional and lazy, I love that story.

  83. Lisa Fain

    SarahE–You’re welcome, glad she enjoyed it.

    Nika–I really, really need to take a trip to Piedras Negras.

    Art Good–Tortilla chips in a box? I don’t remember those!

    Leah R–I’ve never knew they could also be called Veracruzanos or Panchos. And Welasco is on my list of places to go–I’m thinking about taking my next holiday in the Valley.

    Texas2Tennessee–Nuttin’ better, indeed!

    Tace–Glad you enjoyed the change!

    Lisa–Welcome, and thanks!

    Lore–You’re very welcome!

    YGBSM–Perhaps, though I have to admit I love sour cream, and would put it on everything if I could.


    SteamyKitchen–I won’t tell anyone. It can be our secret.

    Aiofe–Thanks for the tag! It’s the second one I’ve received in the past few weeks so it looks like I’m due to reveal seven things about myself.

    MelissaQ–¡Qué lástima! The state of the nacho is worse than I thought if someone whose family is from Piedras Negras never thought of them the “proper” way. Glad to change your perspective!

    Homesick Houstonian–I used to eat there when I first moved here in 1995, and I recall enjoying it but for some reason stopped going there. And yes, I’m planning on writing about queso flameado soon–I got a 6-inch iron skillet for Christmas that’s perfect for the dish.

    Jonara Blu Maui–Yep, that’s the best thing about these–every chip is dressed.

    RecipeGirl–Thanks! And I’m glad to meet another proper nacho lover.

    Anon–Oh, that’s an excellent idea! If I’m around a grill this summer I’ll have to try it that way.

    Brave Sir Robin–That’s just so depressing!

    Terry–Glad to have jogged your memory. Enjoy!

    Olivia–Wonderful news–I bet you’re thrilled beyond belief!

    Terri–Thank you!

    Texas in Minnesota–It’s interesting how many responders think of these as their “dad’s nachos.” That’s pretty cool!

    Candace–I feel your pain–there’s quite a dearth of Tex-Mex here in NYC as well.

    Kate–Yep, it’s always fun to learn how our favorite dishes came to be.

    Sarah–It’s a good one, isn’t it?

  84. Those photos are works of art. You’ve made me hungry! 🙂

  85. I am so glad I came across your site!

    I am a misplaced Texan living in Michigan right now. Tex-Mex is unheard of here, and if it IS heard of, it certainly isn’t prepared the right way! I just took queso to a party, and the guests all freaked out over the delicious “cheese dip”. It’s all to hilarious for me, sometimes.

    I enjoy your site, as well as your recipes. Thank you!

  86. Jessica "Su Good Sweets"

    What? I thought nachos were just tortilla chips with cheese sauce. What an educating post.

  87. I’ve only just “discovered” your blog – but already I am a fan.

    I had never had these kinds of nachos, and I was intrigued – so I gave them a try last night.

    Oh. My. God.

    Little bits of nirvana on baking sheet…

    I took your advice, and made the chips myself. So good. And, funnily enough, earned me some major culinary respect from both the husband and the 9 year-old son. In their eyes, I’d done something miraculous – like turning water into wine, or something.

    So thank you so very much for introducing something new to our repertoire. I can tell that this recipe’s a keeper…

  88. borchard504

    I grew up on the beaches of Southern California, a hotbed of mexican food, but it wasn’t until 7 years now that I’ve been in Dallas, that I’d had these – Margie, my beautiful Dallas native GF made them one night. I was shocked about how good these kind of nachos are. And to read your article, that a native Texan will be the one’s preparing them singularly, has been proven and now verified!

  89. Melissa Huskey

    HI! Found your post from LLA. I am a fellow Tennesseean with her. I have been making nachos this was my entire life and never knew I was doing something “right” my friends think I am crazy when I go to a Mexican restaurant and order something like fajitas and then make individual nachos out of the chips on the table with my fajita fixxin’s. My grandmother is from Bonham, Texas and never lets anyone forget it, so I guess I am channeling her inner Texan, she will be so proud!

  90. Lisa Fain


    K–Ha! Well that’s just more queso for you to enjoy!

    Jessica–I’m glad I’ve done my bit to educate the world about nachos!

    LLA–Why thank you! And I’m pleased to hear they were a hit with your family. And once you eat homemade chips, it’s hard to go back to the bag.

    Borchard504–Yep, once you eat these it’s hard to go back to the other kind.

    Melissa Huskey–My family is from that part of Texas as well–a little speck on the map called Sedalia (close to Van Alstyne). Is your grandmother a big Sam Rayburn fan? It seems everyone in Grayson County knew him!

  91. Having lived in Eagle Pass, this is exactly like I like my nachos! Mr Anaya’s family are really nice people.

  92. I live on the Texas Gulf Coast – this is the only way to make nachos – ever – end of story –
    Great blog – I read it often!

  93. phoenikia

    Great post! It’s good to know the history behind the nachos. Up here in Canada, I’ve only see the lazy type show up on menus.


    Funny… I had something almost identical last night at a Japanese restaurant! Isn’t that nuts – in California you have to go to a Japanese place to get decent nachos. 🙂 They were awesome.

  95. I like “nachos” in any form. Serious. But I’ve only had the above once, at a (chain; I’m sorry!) restaurant whose pictures showed exactly the above, except bigger, and when they came (I’d said “I doubt they look like that!” and that’s why I ordered them), they did indeed look like that, but it was so MUCH gunk on each one that they quickly sogged up and I was very disappointed. When I’m home, and I have a choice, I actually prefer to mix the toppings in a big bowl (meat, cheese, sour cream, sometimes guacamole, maybe salsa, whatever it is) – I mix them into a big mash up and then scoop chips individually in them so the chips don’t get soggy. It’s not quite as gorgeous as yours, but it’s satisfying when I’m alone and just want to stuff my face with goodness.

  96. Wandering Chopsticks

    You were so persuasive that I recently made nachos this way just to see. And you’re right! Each chip was so flavorful, I gobbled them all up.

  97. familiabencomo

    Oh, how this speaks to my heart!!! Grew up in Texas, moved to NYC after college for 5 years before falling in love with my hubs & moving 3 more times….

    Yes, these are how nachos are done! How is anyone to eat properly “fishing” a chip out from a messy pile of stuff!?!?

    Great blog, so happy to have found it!

    xoxox Amy

  98. Oh man! I’m from South Arkansas/North Louisiana, but this is the way my dad has made nachos for as long as I can remember! So glad that he’s been validated!

    Thanks…and as a fellow NYC-transplanted Southerner, I thank you.

  99. Anonymous

    Hi Olivia,
    I love your blog so much. I’m a homesick Texan living in Chicago. Anyhow, I miss food from Texas so much that I want to cry half of the time. I do my best with what I’ve got, but as a true Texan will know, it just doesn’t taste the same unless your in Texas.

    I have very fond memories of my father making these nachos for me. (I’m from Dallas), and my dad made them exactly except with Frito Lay bean dip which of course doesn’t taste the same anymore since the removal of lard. He also made them with tostitos or any chip we had on hand.

    Many a hot summer I would spend the whole day in the pool. My dad “feared” (was afraid) that I would get “water-logged,” and the ONLY thing that would get me out was his famous nachos.

    I still make them when I miss him (which is all the time). Except now I use a different brand of bean dip. He died 4 years ago. He was west Texan from La Mesa (pronounced La Meesa by west Texans).

    All my best to you,

    P.S. What part of the country (meaning Texas) are you from?

  100. Anonymous

    I thought I was getting over homesickness (from San Antonio) until I saw this blog recently. And then you directed me to the nacho page. I thought I was quieting down a craving when I first moved here, and ordered nachos. Don’t know what those were, but they were not nachos. And I haven’t found any here in the Central Valley yet. I like my own nachos with a bit of the jalapeno juice sprinkled over the cheese, right before eating them.

  101. Anonymous

    Totally tracking with you on the simple nacho. My dad made nachos the same way when I was a child. Have passed along this post to others in effort to recover the lost art of the nacho. SO GOOD!

    Thanks so much.

    Jodi in Boston (via Dallas)

  102. Catherine in Maryland

    Found your blog by searching for Carnitas recipe (on the stovetop bubbling happily away as I type, will come back and comment on the results later). JUST made these for hubby looking for football snacks, perfect! Will keep an eye out for more delicious ideas.
    We’re an Army family from California currently living in Maryland. Used to get to Texas quite often when we were stationed down in Arizona. Definite lack of any good home-style Mex food here, I’ve resorted to making it all at home. Sigh, that culinary degree does come in handy at times!
    Love the blog

  103. Does El Patio in Austin still make the best nachos? They were my benchmark in the 70s when I lived there.


  104. Merrissa

    Nachos have been a favorite snack of mine since I was a little kid. I don’t really know how this tradition got started, but we would always eat them late at night on Christmas Eve. My mother always made them one of the lazy ways, just by throwing a bunch of cheese on them willy nilly, then baking them (we would never EVER use nacho cheese…ew). But I’m greedy, and there was never enough cheese on each individual chip.

    So now, as a young adult, when I am making nachos at home I’m pretty anal about it. And I somehow evolved them into the very recipe you listed here. I must have been texan in a past life…:)

  105. jacannon

    Just to be totally clear, the women who ordered the “nacho” were officer’s wives, from a nearby Air Force base. My dad was an Air Force pilot and he tells a story of this first nacho, in 1968-ish: he went across the border from Del Rio (which had an Air Force base) and was treated to beers and nachos. He came home and told me mother something like: “I had the most delicious treat in Cuidad Acuna today, it was this crispy triangle corn thing, with melted cheese and a sliver of some spicy pepper!!!!”
    We call what my dad tasted a “Del Rio Nacho” because that is where we first had them (even though it might have been tasted in Acuna, Mexico).
    Years later I had a girl friend in Austin whose mother made nachos nearly every day and I remember the first time I saw her slicing cheese slivered cheese squares and placing them INDIVIDUALLY on tortilla chips. Then she would take out a jar of picked jalapeno and slice them thin, placing a sliver on each piece of cheese. I commented that hardly anyone eats them that way and told her my story of Del Rio Nachos. Of course she told me that she learned about the ONLY WAY TO MAKE NACHOS, when she was on a trip to DEL RIO about 20 years earlier.

    Nuff said.

  106. Is there some sort of Nacho fan club or support group that I can join? I'm drooling just reading about this.

    Nachos are awesome. And I agree with everything you've written. Less IS MORE!!

  107. This is so right on.
    The bean cheese jalapeno nacho is exactly how we made them all my life in DFW (as a kid we removed the pepper but the taste was still there!). I can't stand a big pile of messed up soggy chips. Thank you for clearing up why.

  108. What a great post! As a recent UT-Austin grad relocated to Baltimore in the late 1980s, I still remember a social gathering at an acquaintance's house where the host asked if we would like some nachos. "Of course!" I replied, only to be horrified to watch him pour most of a bag of tortilla chips into a heap on a platter, throw handfuls of pre-shredded cheese from a bag onto it, and nuke the whole mess in a microwave. Yuck. Oddly, I remember the chain restaurant Chile's as being the only place in the region where one could get individually spread nachos.

  109. Dawn White

    I loved this article. My father a native Texan raised in El Paso and now living in San Antonio, would never make a nacho any other way. In fact he always fries his own tortillas and puts them in the oven. There is never a bag chip or microwave used in his nachos. It really took me back! Just a few weeks ago, I went to my parents house and he was eating some fresh nachos standing next to the stove that he had just pulled out of the oven! Dawn White

  110. Hector M. Barrientos

    I grew up in Eagle Pass. On Friday nights my siblings and I would watch scary movies on TV and make Nachos from scratch, just like they were invented across the Rio Grande in Piedras Negras! Yummy childhood memories! I still take the time to make proper Nachos.

  111. Hello all NACHO LOVERS !I Grew up in north TX and our local K-Mart(Denton) had a pile of nacho's that were i s..t you not literally 8 inches high and on a plate about 18 inches around,it was GOOY HEAVEN ON EARTH LOL…just tons of cheese and jalapenos,not sure what kind of cheese it was but OMG it was YUMMY !!!I could eat the whole plate and had an ICEE too.I live in PA now and i love the "proper nachos"with Longhorn cheese and jalapenos,i also make Rotel…(2 cans of Rotel(i like it hot)and not thick-1lb of Velveta and refried beans,lettuce and jalapenos…to die for !!!

  112. Woops i forgot to mention that i add refried pintos or black beans on my Rotel nachos…hope everyone in the world gets a chance to enjoy,its the only thing you will ever crave again !!!

  113. I just discovered this site looking for a rice and beans recipe. I'm so glad you are out there! I am a homesick Texan who has been living out west for the past 10 years and cannot get good food unless I make it myself. I grew up making these nachos and now this is making me want some. My husband is from Louisiana and he had never had a proper nacho until he met me and asks me to make them all the time. I can't find Longhorn Cheddar out here (Arizona/Utah border) so I use a block of sharp cheddar. I don't shred it though; I've always just sliced off a chunk and let it melt down nice and brown and bubbly. Gotta have the jalapeno and I'm good to go. Thank you so much for being here. I will be looking for some recipes that I had forgotten about!

  114. Anonymous

    Nachos are on my super bowl sunday menu today.. I was ready to do the lazy version and top those chips with all sorts of bad. Your recipe to the rescue!! I am going to make my nachs the texas way!! Thanks much!!

  115. I've had Nachos all my life, however this is the first time I have ever heard of them called "Proper Nachos". Growing up in Amarillo in the 1960's we called them "Nachas", I never even heard them called "Nachos" until they started showing up in restaurants in the 70's.

    My mom made them at least twice a week and of course for any special gathering of family and friends. My parents entertained a lot for business and whenever Yankees or Foreigners came to dinner (they were always excited to try true Texas cuisine) my mom always fixed Nachos for appetizers and traditional Texas steak dinners, etc. They were always a big hit with the out of towners!

    In 6th grade we had an assignment in which we had to teach the class something. I taught the class how to make nachos. My mom spent all morning making the nachos for the class and brought two huge tupperware containers full of nachos for everyone. I demonstrated how to make them and then the class chowed down. I don't think I have ever felt so loved as I did that day by all my classmates.

    We always used Tascosa Tostados (a local Tortilliaria), refried beans, Longhorn Cheese and/or Monterrey Jack (sliced, never grated) , and a Jalapeno slice. None of this lazy nachos stuff.

    Since my mom passed away I sometimes have to go to the internet to look up recipes and I am thrilled to have found your site! I have to admit when I saw the link to your "Proper Nachos" recipe I had to click on it, looking to get a good laugh, much to my surprise it was authentic! I will definitely be coming back to check out more of your recipes, I've got to go now to make some proper nachos! 🙂

  116. somuch2do

    Exactly. I have found ONE place here in Arlington that understands this. Unfortunately, the nachos are the only thing you want to eat there. So, I fix mine at home. Now, I am wondering where my chips are. Of course, I always have Cheddar cheese and jalapenos on hand. Wow! I am hungry!

  117. Angela Gibb

    I have to admit that I cannot (won't) eat the lazy nachos. There just not my thing. I actually didn't know the story behind 'real' nachos until I found you. In my early years, I worked as a prep cook and a saute chef in a small restaurant in Northern Virginia. One of my FAVORITE things on their menu was their 'nachos' but not like i'd ever seen before. They were flat (not quartered) corn tortillas, with refried bean, cheese and a slice of jalapeno, the kicker is they also served a chicken sour cream nacho the same way (like yours!). 40 years later, I crave them, but couldn't really figure out, or remember how they went together until I found your blog. I guess the guys that ran that small restaurant (now a huge restaurant group here in NoVa), were Texans! who knew! love your stuff Lisa, thanks for sharing your recipes and stories with us.

  118. 5 stars
    It’s not a prequalifier to use Longhorn cheese, I assure you. Any hand-shredded “real” cheese counts (mild to sharp cheddar, Monterrey jack, etc . . . my preference is mild cheddar and Monterrey jack combined). The key is for each chip to have its own toppings.

    In Florida we don’t get good chips. I can spend $5 for a bag of Xochitl and that’s the best we’ve got. I suppose I could drive 45 minutes to Gainesville (FL not TX) and grab some chips from Chuy’s, but that’s a bit excessive. I would sell my husband’s dog (but not mine!) for unhindered access to El Milagro or El Lago chips.

    I spread the chips on a plate, side-by-side, and add to each of them black beans and cheese (taco meat – with homemade seasoning – when we have left over) and pop ’em in the microwave when I need a snack. In fact, I taught my husband that taco night is followed by nacho night (on this night we use the oven) to use up all the meat. If we have left over then on the third day we have queso as a snack. The man didn’t eat leftovers before I came on the scene – I’m raising him properly. 😉

    I feel badly for the folks who don’t know what proper nachos are, and I agree – restaurant nachos drive me batty with ingredients piled on top of a stack of chips! A fork ought not to be needed to consume nachos! All those “naked” chips at the bottom go to waste. Lazy and naked nachos – two accurate descriptors!

    Y’all cross your fingers for us – we put in an offer on some land near Boerne and if we can get a darn Civil Engineer to call us back (they all seem to be too busy to give a ring back, which I find unusual for Texans!) so we can get it surveyed and this gal can get back home!

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