Easy Steak Nachos Recipe

Nothing says a fun dinner or snack as a heaping tray of nachos. Just because they're often served as a greasy bar snack, it doesn't mean you can't make them into a nourishing dish. If you plan your toppings right, your plate of nachos can be a filling meal that includes all of the food groups. While the most basic nachos entail dumping a bunch of cheese on a tray of chips and baking them until it melts, this recipe for steak nachos by Michelle Morey, recipe developer at Barefoot in the Pines, goes a few steps further. Seasoned steak, refried beans, cheese, and vegetables make these nachos the perfect option for an easy weeknight dinner.

The recipe and toppings can be adapted depending on what you have in your fridge, and Morey remarks that "The sky is the limit on these!" If you're short on time or have leftover meat from another meal, Morey suggests using up those cuts in this recipe. Whether you use these nachos to get rid of loose ends in your fridge, or grill up a fresh steak for the purpose, you will love the result. These are one of Morey's favorites and she notes, "They're so fun to make!" Aside from preparing the individual components, the overall process is very straightforward. Simply assemble everything on a tray, and remember to layer the ingredients properly so that every bite is loaded. They're great for entertaining and Morey confirms, "They're perfect for a crowd."

Gather the ingredients to prepare these steak nachos

For maximum flavor, mix some spices to infuse plenty of flavor to the meat. For ease, use a packaged taco seasoning, otherwise make your own by mixing cumin, chili, garlic, and onion powder, smoked paprika, coriander, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Next you'll need flank steak, leftover steak, or shredded beef. To vary, Morey recommends, "Pulled pork or taco chicken are great on these nachos." Use olive oil or your favorite cooking oil to grill up the steak. 

You can't have nachos without nacho chips! Choose your favorite brand — flat chips are ideal so that you can properly spread out the layers. Refried beans add a nice creamy element or Morey suggests to "swap [them] for black beans", especially if you prefer a chewier texture. Mexican blend cheese is perfect for melting over the chips, but you can experiment with others like Monterey Jack. For a sweet and savory crunch, add some chopped red peppers and red onion. Finally, if you like an extra fiery kick, don't forget the jalapenos —  fresh or pickled in a jar are fine. Feel free to experiment with toppings, Morey suggests, "You can add sliced black olives, roasted corn, or even Mexican style corn." If you want to keep it simple, "just top with a refreshing pico de gallo and guacamole!"

Morey loves adding shredded lettuce and cilantro leaves as garnish, and recommends serving these nachos with "an assortment of your favorite salsas, sour cream, and avocado."

Prepare the taco seasoning, and coat the meat

In a small bowl, combine the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, kosher salt, dried oregano, coriander, and pepper. If you are using a packaged taco seasoning, you can tip it into a bowl to make it easier to add to the meat. Place your piece of meat on a plate or cutting board. Brush some olive oil on both sides of the meat, and thoroughly coat it with the seasoning. Be sure to rub it in well so that it stays on while the meat cooks. Allow the meat to rest at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes in order for it to absorb the flavors of the seasoning and slowly warm up. This will help it cook more evenly. 

If you are using a leftover piece of meat, cut it into bite sized pieces, toss it in a bowl with the taco seasoning, and set it aside.

Cook the meat in a pan or on the grill

Brush a grill pan, a cast-iron skillet, or a BBQ with a little bit of olive oil, and heat to high until the oil is just smoking. Then, add the piece of meat to the grill or to the pan. Depending on the thickness of the meat, cook it on each side between 2 and 5 minutes. Morey indicates that "the steak is ready to flip when it releases from the pan easily." Cook the steak until it is medium rare — if you have a meat thermometer aim for 130 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Morey advises, "don't overcook it on the first cook." She explains that "The steak will cook again under the broiler", so "[it] should still have some pink inside." Remove the meat from heat and set it aside. The seasoning will be crusted onto the steak, adding plenty of flavor.

Alternately, you can use 2 cups of already cooked leftover steak or shredded beef, this will cut your time int he kitchen significantly.

Spread out the nacho chips, and top with refried beans, pieces of steak, and cheddar cheese

Move your oven rack to the second rack from the top, and heat your broiler to high.

Set out a large cookie sheet or half sheet pan and spread out the tortilla chips to cover the entire surface. Top the chips with dollops of refried beans evenly dispersed. Avoid overdoing it or you'll end up with soggy chips.  Cover the top of the chips with shredded cheese, ensuring it is well spread out so that you have some cheese in every bite. Slice your steak across the grain and cut it again into smaller bite sized pieces. Next, distribute the pieces of steak over the top of the nacho chips. 

Add the jalapeños and red pepper, and broil for five to seven minutes

Next, add on the remaining toppings. Sprinkle on the jalapenos if you're a fan of spice, and add on the chopped red pepper for some extra crunch and flavor. Check that your oven has reached temperature, and pop the baking tray onto the rack. Since the oven is very hot, set a timer for 5 minutes so that you don't forget about your nachos. They may take up to seven minutes for the cheese to fully melt and Morey warns, "Just make sure to keep an eye on the nachos while they're broiling." If you don't, she cautions that "They'll burn quickly!" 

Remove the nachos when the cheese melts, sprinkle on any garnishes, and enjoy

Once the cheese has melted and begun to brown, and the steak has started to crisp around the edges, remove the tray from the oven and turn it off. If you're planning to add any garnishes, now is the time. Sprinkle on the red onion, shredded lettuce, and cilantro leaves. Serve them along with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, or "your favorite nacho fixings" as recommended by Morey. Feel free to add anything else, you really can't go wrong!

If you're eating these as a hearty snack or appetizer, dig in perhaps with a cool drink at your side. If you're serving these for dinner, enjoy them with a fresh green or tomato salad on the side. Morey shares her favorite way to dish these out: "I love serving these on the sheet pan and let people use a spatula to serve themselves." The best part is she puts together "a little nacho bar", by setting the sheet pan alongside "all kinds of fixings like salsas, veggies, sour cream, and guacamole." This sounds like a dream set up!

These are best eaten immediately and won't keep well unless you eat them cold or reheated later the same day.

Easy Steak Nachos Recipe
5 from 39 ratings
While the most basic nachos entail melting cheese on chips, Michelle Morey's recipe for easy steak nachos goes a few steps further — and is super adaptable.
Prep Time
Cook Time
close up of loaded nacho chip
Total time: 19 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder or dehydrated onion
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander powder
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 pound of flank steak
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 5½ oz (½ bag) of tortilla chips
  • 1 cup of refried beans, warmed
  • 2 cups of Mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup fresh or jarred jalapenos, sliced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
Optional Ingredients
  • Shredded lettuce for garnish
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish
  • An assortment of your favorite salsas, sour cream, and avocado for topping.
  1. For the homemade taco seasoning, combine the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, oregano, coriander, and pepper in a small dish and set aside.
  2. If cooking the steak from scratch, brush each side of your flank steak with olive oil and sprinkle on the taco seasoning, making sure to evenly coat both sides of the meat. (Skip to step 7 if using cooked steak.)
  3. Allow the steak to sit at room temperature for about 30 to 45 minutes to warm up and absorb the seasonings.
  4. Next, brush a grill pan, cast-iron skillet, or BBQ grill with just enough olive oil to coat and heat on high until it nearly smokes.
  5. Add the flank steak and cook or grill about 2 to 5 minutes per side depending on thickness. The steak is ready to flip when it easily releases from the pan or grill. Cook until the steak reaches an internal temperature of 130 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit, or medium-rare.
  6. Remove the steak from the heat and set it aside to rest while you prepare the nachos.
  7. If using already cooked beef, simply dice the steak into bite-sized pieces and toss with the taco seasoning in a medium-sized bowl. Set it aside until the chips are ready.
  8. Move the oven rack to the second rack from the top and set the broiler to high.
  9. On a large cookie sheet or half sheet pan, spread out your tortilla chips evenly.
  10. Add dollops of warmed refried beans to the top of the chips.
  11. Next, sprinkle on the shredded cheese.
  12. Slice your steak across the grain and then dice it into bite-sized chunks.
  13. Distribute the cooked steak evenly over the top of the cheese.
  14. Sprinkle on the sliced jalapenos and diced red pepper.
  15. Move the pan to the oven and broil for 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese has melted and browned, and the steak is starting to crisp around the edges.
  16. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle on the red onion, cilantro, and lettuce.
  17. Serve and top with your favorite nacho fixings!
Calories per Serving 460
Total Fat 26.1 g
Saturated Fat 10.3 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 86.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 27.1 g
Dietary Fiber 3.9 g
Total Sugars 2.2 g
Sodium 489.0 mg
Protein 29.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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