Kitchn Love Letters

I’m a Registered Dietician and My Family Eats Sheet Pan Nachos Once a Week — Here’s How We Make Them

published Dec 2, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Whether it’s game day and I need a snack to appease the masses, or a busy weeknight that calls for a one-pan dinner ASAP, sheet pan nachos rarely disappoint. And while it’s pretty hard to mess up anything covered with melted cheese, I have made my fair share of not-so-great nachos.

As a committed sheet-pan-nacho maker, I’ve spent years finding the perfect mix of flavors, colors, and crunch that my family will love. I’ve managed to whip up some pretty awesome nachos over the years (hungry mouths agree!), but at the same time, I was always looking for ways to give my dish a unique twist. 

Over the years I’ve experimented with every layer: I’ve added surprising proteins, mixed and matched cheeses, loaded up on different toppings, and even swapped out the tortilla-chip base for one of my favorite snacks.

Credit: Lauren Manaker

BuyPopCorners Sea Salt Popped Corn Snacks, $3.32 for 7 ounces at Walmart

See, I already loved noshing on PopCorners popped-corn chips. They’re baked (not fried), made without artificial flavors, and have a delicious light, airy texture. In a moment of snacking, I realized that if I used the PopCorners Sea Salt Popped Corn Snacks as a base for my nachos, I would marry the light and airy consistency of my beloved snack with the bold combination of flavors I’d created. Now, they’re my go-to!

I arrange a layer of the chips on a sheet pan; load them up with chopped peppers, onions, refried beans, and a mix of shredded cheeses; and then bake them in a preheated oven. Once the cheese melts, I remove the pan and top the cheesy chips with freshly chopped avocado, olives, tomatoes, and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt (my swap for sour cream to give the dish some live and active cultures). 

Time after time, hungry mouths agree: They’re pretty awesome! My family literally eats these up. Fun fact: I also love to use PopCorners on top of green bean casserole instead of crunchy fried onions.

What chips do you use for the base of your nachos? Tell us in the comments below!