How to make a Nacho Bar


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Follow my easy guide for the ultimate Nacho Bar. It’s a perfect idea for a Super Bowl party! Your guests can customize their nacho plate to their tastes.

If you love to entertain, then you know the crockpot is your best friend. We also make a Mashed Potato Bar and Grape Jelly Meatballs when entertaining.

Nacho bar set up with crockpots and toppings.

Why have a nacho bar

Any type of get-together deserves a nacho bar! Graduation, birthday party, Super Bowl, or really any game day celebration is the perfect occasion for a nacho bar party. Nothing is better, really! Your guests can return for as many servings as they want throughout the party.

A Nacho bar also an economical way to feed a crowd. You ask guests to bring certain toppings, chips, and even the drinks.

Ingredients for a nacho bar with drinks in the background.

Nacho Bar Toppings

Here are the best and classic toppings for a nacho bar!

  • Tortilla Chips – I buy a few bag of tortilla chips, you do not want to run out of chips and besides you can use any extra chips up for other recipes in the month.
  • Taco Meat – I usually make 2 pounds of ground beef for my nacho bars; if you expect many more guests, just add a pound or two more of ground beef. If you have extra time, you can cook the taco meat right in the slow cooker. Here is my slow cooker taco meat recipe. Ground turkey is wonderful too.
  • Nacho Cheese – I make a simple nacho cheese sauce that consists of Velveeta cheese, milk, and hot sauce. Or instead, you can buy canned nacho cheese (try walmart for a giant can of nacho cheese), or buy a few jars of salsa con queso that is located on the chip aisle.
  • Black Beans (cold) – Have you ever had nachos at a bar? Often, they use black beans instead of refried beans! It makes the nachos less sloppy and you can really taste all the other toppings. Canned pinto beans work the same way here.
  • Salsa – I like to pick up a container of salsa from my local Mexican restaurant; if I don’t have time, I buy refrigerated style salsa, for it has less of a vinegar flavor and a good salsa will elevate your nacho bar.
  • Tomatoes – Just need a few diced tomatoes for those who love them.
  • Green Onions – Remember back in the day when taco bell used to put green onions on nachos? There’s nothing like that flavor! Don’t skip these.
  • Jalapenos – I buy jarred sliced jalapenos; it’s a classic nacho topping. You can also finely dice 3-4 fresh jalapenos!
  • Guacamole – I make a simple guacamole (recipe below). But nowadays, you can find really good store-bought guacamole! You can always pass this task on a guest that is wanting to contribute.
  • Olives – Yes, I know olives aren’t usually in authentic Mexican food, but they are a great flavor option and the kids will love them.
  • Sour cream – Most everyone LOVES sour cream. You can buy a tub of sour cream or buy the squeeze container.
  • Hot Sauces – Gather your favorite hot sauces from your cabinets; we love Tapatio, Valentina, and Tabasco!
  • Other Topping Ideas
    • Add another crockpot and heat up canned chili, or canned refried beans or make my slow cooker refried beans recipe.
    • Other options are: chopped fresh cilantro, diced red onion and pico de Gallo.
  • Other meat options: Copycat Chiptole Barbacoa, Slow Cooker Chile Verde, and Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken.
nacho bar with chips, meat, nacho cheese and toppings.

How to set up a nacho bar

  • Decorate the table to your theme! Have a casual party with a Mexican theme; use a Mexican table runner, and serve Jarritos sodas to drink. Or decorate the table with football-themed items, such as a football-shaped bowl for the chips and a football-shaped crockpot for the meat!
  • Have all the items in line in order. I start at the left with the paper plate or paper trays, then chips, nacho cheese, ground beef, and nacho toppings. At the end of the nacho bar, you can add beverages and hot sauces. You can get the paper trays at restaurant supply store or Amazon, but I have seen them at Costco, too.
  • You can add the napkins and forks at the beginning or end of the line. I tend to add them at the beginning.
  • Make this a taco bar by adding small flour tortillas and wamred crunchy taco shells for your guests to fill.
  • For a stress-free party, assemble all the nacho toppings on a tray, cover it in plastic wrap, place the entire tray in the fridge, and pull it out right before your guests arrive.
nachos in paper trays.

Nacho Bar FAQs

How much meat is needed for nacho bar?

For a nacho bar, plan for one pound of meat to feed six people. If you are serving 12, do two pounds of meat.

What alcohol goes with nachos?

Tequila (margaritas) and cheap beer are favorites to go with a nacho bar party.

Can I put out shredded cheese for a nacho party instead of nacho cheese?

You can have shredded cheese available for guests who don’t like processed cheese. They can melt the cheese on their chips in the microwave.

cheese being dripped over nacho chips.

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Ingredients for a nacho bar with drinks in the background.

Nacho Bar

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 12
Make this easy nacho bar for game day for the best day ever! It's one of the easiest meals to make for entertaining.

Ingredients 
 

Nacho Cheese Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. box original Velveeta cheese, (or instead of making nacho cheese buy a large can of nacho cheese)
  • 1 Tbsp. hot sauce such as Tapatio
  • 1 cup milk
  • additional milk for thinning if needed

Other Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef, cooked and seasoned
  • 16 oz. jar salsa
  • 4 tomatoes chopped
  • 16 oz. jar jalapeno slices
  • 2 bunches of green onions, sliced
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 3 small cans of sliced black olives
  • 30 oz. black beans drained, (two 15-oz. cans)
  • 2 large bags of tortilla chips

Guacamole Ingredients:

  • 5 avocados, 1
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 lime
  • salt to tase

Instructions 

For the Nacho Cheese

  • Cube the velveeta, put in slow cooker the milk and hot sauce. Cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stir often. Add milk to thin. You don't want the cheese to be gloppy. I kept the cheese on high during the party, so the cheese would stay thinned out, stir often, and keep adding milk if the cheese thickens.

For the Guacamole:

  • Take 4 to 5 avocados, and mash with a fork and add 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons lime juice, and a dash of salt, mix lightly.

Assemble the Nacho Bar:

  • Put the cooked and seasoned ground beef in a small slow cooker on low, or a pan with a lid works fine. Put all your toppings in little dishes. Put the chips in a big bowl. I got the paper nacho trays from a restaurant supply store (Cash and Carry), but you can get them at Costco too. Invite all your friends over for the big game, I think they will be impressed!

Notes

  • For a stress free party. Assemble all the nacho toppings on a tray and cover in plastic wrap, place the entire tray in the fridge and pull out right before your guest arrive.
  • Recipe can be doubled if you’re expecting more people.
  • Don’t forget fun drinks like Jarritos sodas or margaritas! Also, be sure to provide napkins and forks.
  • Wondering how much meat to make? Plan for 1 pound of meat per six guests. 

Nutrition

Calories: 694kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 1933mg | Potassium: 1774mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 2097IU | Vitamin C: 70mg | Calcium: 603mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.

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30 Comments

  1. B. says:

    5 stars
    This was such a huge hit at our Super Bowl party and so simple. I got 2 small crockpots at Target For $8 to keep the meat and cheese warm!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mom

  3. Malissa Adams says:

    I’m doing this for Cinco De Mayo thank you for posting