Ground Beef Nachos

By America’s Test Kitchen | January 17th, 2024

Hearty enough for dinner, delicious enough for a party

Ground beef nachos, with sour cream, jalapeños, cheese, beef, and other delicious toppings

These hearty ground beef nachos aren’t simply for appetizers or parties, though they’re great for those occasions. They are hearty and filling enough to be the main course!

Who says nachos can’t be dinner? When they’re loaded with seasoned ground beef and pickled jalapeños, they’re sure to be plenty filling.

We made a simple microwave cheese sauce, so you don’t even need to turn on your oven to make these easy nachos.

Ground Beef Nachos with Sweet Pickled Jalapeños

Serves 4


  • 4 jalapeño chiles, stemmed and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup ice plus 3/4 cup water
  • 1 pound 85% lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 12 ounces American cheese, chopped coarse
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 12 ounces tortilla chips


  1. Bring jalapeños, 1/4 cup sugar, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until jalapeños are just softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and stir in ice. Refrigerate until needed.
  2. Combine beef, taco seasoning, remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until beef is no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook until paste begins to darken, about 1 minute. Stir in water and cook until sauce thickens and coats beef, about 4 minutes.
  3. Microwave American cheese, milk, and chipotle in a large bowl until cheese is fully melted, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Arrange half of the chips on a serving platter. Drizzle half of the cheese sauce over chips. Repeat with remaining chips and cheese, then dollop beef mixture over top. Drain jalapeños and scatter over nachos. Serve.

More nachos and another appetizer for your recipe file:

Irish Nachos: For the Luck o’ Your Taste Buds

Smoked Nachos Elevate a Crowd Favorite

Zesty Avocado Black Bean Dip

For 25 years, home cooks have relied on America’s Test Kitchen for rigorously tested recipes developed by professional test cooks and vetted by 60,000 at-home recipe testers. The family of brands – which includes Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, and America’s Test Kitchen Kids – offers reliable recipes for cooks of all ages and skill levels. See more online at

©2023 America’s Test Kitchen. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

More from Boomer

Diner-Style Breakfast at Home

By JeanMarie Brownson | May 22, 2024

5 Cheaper Proteins for a Summer BBQ

By Lauren Wicks, | May 17, 2024

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

By Katie Leaird, America’s Test Kitchen | May 15, 2024