Loaded Nachos

$15.41 recipe / $1.93 serving

Oh nachos, the mother of all comfort food! I know, I know, they’re so unhealthy, blah blah blah. Well, one of the reasons nachos are so fabulous is that they are extremely versatile. Make them as healthy or unhealthy as you want depending on what you choose to put on them (I will list some healthier options at the end of the post). Usually, I shoot for a mix of healthy and unhealthy and just make sure to keep my serving sizes in check (just as important for your budget as your waistline) but, after a particularly strenuous week, I just went all this time.

I also love nachos because they are super quick to make and once I buy all of the goods, I can eat nachos (or taco salads) for a good week. Since everyone puts different types and amounts of toppings on their nachos, I just put the full price for each of the components that I used. The total cost for the ingredients was $15.41 and you can easily make 8 or more servings out of all of it. Just remember one thing: when building your plate of loaded nachos only use half as much of each topping as you think you’ll need because your mountain of nachos will quickly get much bigger than anticipated! I learned this lesson last night when I suddenly had a plate full of nachos that was big enough to feed three people. Ooops.

Loaded Nachos

Loaded Nachos

loaded nachos
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $15.41
Cost Per Serving: $1.93
Serves: 8
  • one 10 oz. bag corn tortilla chips $1.79
  • 1 lb. ground beef $4.32
  • 1 can refried beans $1.79
  • 1 packet taco seasoning $0.75
  • one 8oz. bag shredded lettuce $1.99
  • 2 medium roma tomatoes $0.63
  • one 8 oz. bag shredded cheese (mexican blend) $1.99
  • 8 oz. tub sour cream $1.29
  • 16 oz. jar salsa $1.79
  • 8 oz. jar sliced jalapenos $1.79
  1. In a large skillet brown the ground beef until it is cooked through. If you are using a higher fat beef, drain the meat. Add the packet of taco seasoning and ½ cup of water and stir until combined. Add the refried beans to the seasoned meat and stir until it is well combined and heated through.
  2. While the meat is cooking, dice the tomato. Set up the ingredients in bowls, each with its own utensil so that everyone can build their own plate of nachos.
  3. Build the nachos by spreading one layer of chips on a plate and topping it with some of the meat/bean mixture then cheese. The heat from the meat and beans will help the cheese melt. If you use a lot of cheese you can help it melt more by microwaving your plate for 30 seconds before adding the cold ingredients. Follow up the meat/beans and cheese with your cold ingredients (lettuce, tomato, salsa, sour cream and jalapenos) then dig in!

Step By Step Photos

meat and cheese
I like to add the hot ingredients first so the cheese melts. Add clumps of meat/bean mix, not a solid layer… you have a lot of toppings to add so don’t overkill on the first one!

fresh veggies
I like to add the fresh, cold veggies next so that there is a nice contrast between the hot and cold.

I finish it off with the sauces (salsa, sour cream) and the jalapenos. OMG, it’s so good.


NOTE: To make this healthier you can start from the bottom up. You can use baked tortilla chips if you’re hard-core but I like to just make sure that I don’t use a lot of chips. Or, you can even stuff all of these toppings into a soft tortilla shell (whole wheat if you prefer) and make it a burrito. OR you can go without chips at all… this makes a really tasty sans-carb salad. I usually use light sour cream because honestly I can’t tell the difference (but I find fat free sour cream unpalatable). If you are very opposed to ice berg lettuce, you can chop up some romaine. Romaine is very crisp and crunchy like ice berg but you get more green and all of the benefits that go along with it. Reduced fat cheese is always an option and, of course, make sure to use an extra lean beef and fat-free refried beans.

Other great toppings include: black olives, avocado, grilled peppers and onions, black beans… the list could go on forever.

What is your favorite nacho topping?


  1. $15.41?

  2. These nachos look great. It made me make some just now (a simpler version). I made sure to add on the jalapeños!

  3. It sounds weird, but plain low-fat yogurt actually is an amazing sub for sour cream in mexican food. I use it now all the time and love it

    Also, Trader Joes and Whole Foods both sell “No Salt” chips which are lower calorie and don’t have the added salt (so important in our era of hypertension). With all the salty toppings it actually tastes better to a lot of people. They are weird on their own though.

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