Next time you're looking for a fun dinner or the perfect game day appetizer to serve when you're hosting, make this barbecue chicken nacho recipe! Crispy tortilla chips are topped with melty cheese, delicious bbq chicken and any other favorite toppings you'd like in this easy recipe.
Friday night dinners at our house are most often one of two things- nachos or pizza.
Both consisting of melted cheese and a variety of different flavor options, they just make such a fun dinner to start the weekend!
One of our go-to flavors on pizza night is BBQ chicken.
And so I got to thinking- what if we made that one of our nacho flavors as well?
The answer- why didn't we try this sooner?!
Chicken tossed with barbecue sauce on top of tortilla chips is every bit as good as the same combination on top of pizza dough.
And while I will always love and make the pizza version, nachos are just so quick and easy.
Now, I am a bit of a snob when it comes to nachos so in order to make these the BEST, make sure you take the time to layer them evenly so that all of the chips have toppings (I'll save my plain tortilla chips for dipping in guacamole thankyouverymuch).
Make sure that you also shred your own cheese from the block. Did you know that pre-shredded cheese is coated to prevent it from sticking together in the bag? This coating prevents it from melting as evenly so if you can, I always recommend shredding your own!
- Skinless, Boneless Chicken Thighs- If you'd prefer, use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead or if you have some already cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken on hand, you can use that.
- BBQ Sauce- I like to you use this easy no-cook recipe but you can use your favorite.
- Red Onion- Chopped white onion or yellow onion would work or you can leave them off if you aren't a fan.
- Jalapeño (Optional)- To reduce the spice, remove the seeds and membranes or you can also use pickled sliced jalapeños instead.
- Corn Tortilla Chips
- Pepper Jack Cheese- Feel free to substitute another favorite such as Monterey Jack, white cheddar cheese, mozzarella or smoked gouda. Just be sure that you shred it yourself for best results.
- Diced Tomatoes, Green Onions and Cilantro- For topping with some fresh flavor.
1. Prepare chicken. Place the boneless, skinless chicken breast in a large pot, fill with enough water to cover the chicken by 1 inch and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer until the chicken is cooked through to 165 F, about 12-14 minutes.
Use a fork or slotted spoon to remove the chicken and shred. TIP: Place it in a deep bowl and use a hand mixer or in a stand mixer to shred it quickly. (Alternatively, you can dice it into small pieces.)
Place the shredded chicken in a bowl and mix with the barbecue sauce until coated evenly.
2. Assemble sheet pan nachos. Spread the nacho chips on a large baking sheet in a single layer, overlapping slightly.
Spoon ¾ cup of the bbq chicken mixture over top followed by half of the red onions and jalapeños (if using- I forgot them the day I took photos!).
And then half of the shredded cheese.
Top with a second layer of chips and then the second amount of toppings and cheese.
3. Bake. Bake the barbecue chicken nachos at 400 F for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly golden.
4. Serve! Garnish with tomato, cilantro and any other favorite toppings.
Leftovers and Storage
Make Ahead: You can cook the shredded chicken up to 2 days in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freeze it for up to 3 months.
To Store: Cool leftover nachos on a wire rack completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
To Reheat: You can reheat leftover bbq chicken nachos by spreading them in a single layer on a sheet pan and placing them in the oven or toaster oven at 300 F for 15-20 minutes. See this post for microwave, air fryer and stove top reheating methods plus tips.
Smaller Batch: If you know that you won't eat a full tray of nachos, I recommend assembling a smaller portion and storing the leftover bbq chicken mixture, cheese and vegetables in separate containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Then can assemble extras fresh rather than reheating leftovers and possibly having soggy nachos.
Make it Your Own
Add more toppings! Feel free to include any of your favorite nacho toppings. Some suggestions:
- Black Beans
- Bell Peppers
- Caramelized Onions
Make a Bigger Batch- You can double the recipe and assemble it in three layers on a very large baking sheet if you're serving a big group.
Skillet Nachos- You can also assemble the barbecue chicken nachos in a 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet. Divide the chips and toppings into 3 layers instead of 2. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F and increase the baking time by a couple of minutes to ensure even melting of all of the layers.
Load these sheet pan bbq chicken nachos up with all of your favorite toppings and sides such as:
- Corn and Black Bean Salsa or my favorite Easy Salsa
- Pico de Gallo
- Guacamole or diced avocado
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt
- A squeeze of fresh lime juice
- Sliced green onions
- Refried beans
Tips For the Best Nachos
- Shred Your Own Cheese- My number one tip for making THE BEST homemade nachos is to own cheese because pre-shredded cheese is usually coated to prevent it from caking together which prevents it from melting as well.
- Take the Time to Layer Properly- Taking the time to lay out the chips rather than dumping the bag ensures even toppings and cheese. If you're looking for the best way to make nachos, I highly recommend taking the extra couple of minutes to assemble them well.
- Make Clean Up Easy- If you'd like, line your baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper to make clean up easier.
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And if you liked this recipe...
...you might also like:
- Ground Turkey Nachos
- Shredded Chicken Nachos (With the BEST Easy Taco Chicken)
- Easy Chicken Fajita Nachos
- Chimichurri Chicken Nachos
BBQ Chicken Nachos
- 10 oz boneless skinless chicken breast about 1 large, or 1 and ½ cups cooked shredded chicken
- ½ cup barbecue sauce
- 6 oz tortilla chips (a little over half of a 295 g/10 oz bag)
- 2 cups Monterey jack cheese shredded
- ½ red onion about ½ cup diced
- 1 jalapeno optional thinly sliced
- 1 tomato diced
- ¼ cup cilantro and/or green onions chopped
- Place the chicken in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover the chicken by 1 inch. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat to medium and let simmer until the chicken is cooked through to 165 F, about 12-14 minutes.Use a fork or slotted spoon to remove the chicken and shred. TIP: Place it in a deep bowl and use a hand mixer or in a stand mixer to shred it quickly. Or, you can dice it into small pieces.Place the shredded chicken in a bowl and mix with the barbecue sauce until coated evenly.
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
- On a large baking sheet, spread the half of the nacho chips in a single layer, overlapping slightly. Spoon ¾ cup of the chicken mixture over top followed by ¼ cup of the diced onions and ½ of the sliced jalapeno. And then half of the shredded cheese.Top with a second layer of chips and the second amount of toppings and cheese.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly golden. Serve garnished with cilantro and tomatoes.