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How To Reheat Nachos – The Best Ways

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Who doesn’t love a huge bowl of nachos?

Warm, crunchy tortilla chips topped will all the delicious gooey flavors of guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and of course, nacho cheese.

Now, chances are that all your nachos will get eaten at the first sitting, but if you do have any left over you will want to reheat them to enjoy them at their best.

So, what is the best way to reheat nachos? You can reheat nachos in several different ways, including in the oven, in the air fryer, or by using a skillet. Reheating nachos in the oven is the best way to prevent them from getting soggy.

We’ve got all the information you need about reheating nachos, including our top tips and mistakes to avoid. Keep reading to find out more!

What Are Nachos?

We really do think that nachos are one of life’s true indulgences! This delicious dish was created in northern Mexico in the 1940s and is named after its creator – Ignacio Anaya.

We reckon that Ignacio (Nacio for short) deserves a medal or something for inventing this simple but delicious combination of flavors!

The simplest and purest form of nachos consists of plain tortilla chips topped with cheese and jalapeno chilies. This is warmed in the oven until the cheese melts over the tortilla chips.

The tortilla chips themselves should be thick and crispy, able to lift the gooey cheesy topping without breaking.

The jalapenos are thinly sliced to add a little bit of heat and flavor to every bite. If you are not a fan of spicy food, opt for a milder pepper such as sliced bell pepper.

On the other hand, if you’re a spice fiend you might like a fiery little Habanero or Scotch Bonnet chili.

When it comes to the cheesy topping, you need something which will easily melt such as Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mozzarella. You can also find nacho cheese sauce in most grocery stores.

Nowadays, the range of nacho toppings has expanded significantly from the original creation.

You can now come across nachos topped with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa. Some people also add a meaty topping, such as pulled pork, chicken, chili beef, steak, or chorizo.

Just remember that if you are going to add different toppings, some of them need to be added after the nachos come out of the oven.

Cold dips such as sour cream or guacamole are best served just that way – straight from the refrigerator.

And when it comes to adding meaty toppings, make sure that they are fully cooked first before adding them to your nachos.

Traditionally, nachos were served as a snack, normally to be shared with friends. Just imagine relaxing in the Mexican sunshine, enjoying a cold beer with friends, and sharing a bowl of nachos – pure bliss!

However, nowadays nachos are also eaten as a main meal and are often enjoyed as part of a movie night with family and friends.

Why Would You Need To Reheat Nachos?

OK, so we know it sounds unlikely, but there is a slim chance that you might have leftover nachos after a party or family gathering. Perhaps you massively over-catered and have a stack of buffet food left over – yes, we’ve all been there!

Or maybe your guests have been delayed, and the nacho dish you lovingly prepared has gone cold. Whatever the reason, you won’t want those delicious nachos to go to waste. In which case, should you reheat them or eat them cold?

Although a cold nacho dish is perfectly edible, to be enjoyed at its best this dish should be warm. This is because as the nachos cool, the cheese will start to harden and become a little unappetizing.

This can make the whole dish unpalatable, and to be quite honest it is a waste of good food to eat your nachos cold!

There is one word of caution to mention if you are reheating nachos with a meat-based topping. Any meat must be heated through thoroughly before serving, to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

It may be sensible to avoid reheating nachos with meat toppings, as it can be difficult to heat the meat sufficiently without burning the nachos.

Most food experts advise against reheating cooked meats more than once, so if they’ve already been reheated when the nachos were first cooked, they will need to be discarded.

Why Do Nachos Get Soggy When Reheated?

One of the big problems when it comes to reheating nachos is that you can end up with a horrible pile of soggy tortilla chips.

These will not only be fairly disgusting to eat, but they will also lack the ability to scoop up the delicious, melted cheese and spicy Jalapeno chilies – what a waste!

But why do nachos go soggy when reheated? Quite simply, it all comes down to moisture and air.

Tortilla chips are made from corn tortillas, which are cut until triangles and baked or fried until crispy. Like any other type of crispy food, exposure to air will quickly cause them to become stale, with a soft, chewy texture.

So as soon as you open your bag of tortilla chips or finish frying your homemade version, they will be exposed to air and start to become stale and soft.

And then, when we make nachos, we add moisture to our tortilla chips. The majority of our favorite nacho toppings, from salsa to cheese, will add a certain amount of liquid to the tortillas.

Normally, they are robust enough to stand up to this, and will still be relatively rigid when you take them out of the oven. But over time the moisture will soak into the tortilla chips, and they will become a disgusting soggy mess.

Now, we hate to see a good bowl of nachos go to waste! So, let’s take a look at the best ways to reheat nachos, to keep this delicious snack at its absolute best.

Best Ways To Reheat Nachos Without Them Getting Soggy

OK, so the rare event that you’ve got some leftover nachos has occurred. To enjoy them at their best you will want to reheat them. But what is the best way to do this without them going soggy?

Firstly, you are going to need to keep your toppings to a minimum in your original dish. A pile of tortilla chips loaded with salsa, sour cream and guacamole is inevitably going to go soggy, no matter what you do!

We’d suggest that you only add the oven-based toppings such as cheese, jalapenos, and shredded meat to the nachos to start with, and you can add the other dips as you served them.

But what if you’ve already loaded up your nachos with sauce – are you going to have to throw them away?

Well, we’d never suggest throwing good food away, so the best suggestion we have is to try to scrape as much as possible of the toppings off.

You could even remove the top layer of tortilla chips to reveal a fresh, sauce-free layer underneath.

Then just add some freshly grated cheese and sliced jalapenos, and you’re ready to reheat!

The best way to reheat nachos is by using an oven that circulates hot air around the dish. This will help to keep the tortilla chips as crisp as possible, reducing the risk of your reheated snack turning soggy and inedible.

Another way to reheat nachos which can work well is over a direct heat source, such as a skillet or griddle.

Let’s take a look at how each of these methods compares when reheating nachos. 

How To Reheat Nachos In The Oven

Using the oven to reheat nachos gives you good chance that they will come out as crispy as the first time around.

The success of this method depends on how much extra moisture your nachos have absorbed, so removing any excess sauce is essential here.

First, preheat the oven to 300°F. Take a non-stick baking sheet and spread the tortilla chips out on the sheet, keeping them in a thin layer.

If you think your nachos would benefit from some extra cheese or jalapenos, add this now.

Reheat your nachos in the oven for 5 minutes. If they are warm and the cheese has melted, they are ready to eat. If not, pop them back in the oven for another 2-3 minutes, but remember that nachos burn very easily!

How To Reheat Nachos In A Skillet

Using a skillet is a quick and easy way to reheat nachos, and you will get surprisingly good results using this method.

Take a large, clean skillet and spread the nachos evenly across the bottom. You need a fairly thin layer of nachos; otherwise, any in the middle may go soggy. If necessary, reheat your nachos in more than one batch.

Cover the skillet with aluminum foil, making sure that you have a tight seal on the pan. Alternatively, if your skillet has a lid, you can use this instead.

Covering the skillet will raise the heat to a sufficient level to heat the nachos quickly and thoroughly.

Put the skillet on a burner set to medium heat and cook for 4-5 minutes. After this time the cheese should be gooey and melting down over the warm nachos. If not, warm them for another 1-2 minutes.

How To Reheat Nachos In An Air Fryer

An air fryer is one of the best methods to bring your leftover nachos back to life, keeping the tortilla chips crisp and light whilst heating the cheese topping to perfection.

The trick to keeping your leftover nachos crispy is to add a layer of fresh tortilla chips below and on top of them.

To reheat your cold nachos in the air fryer, preheat the fryer to 350°F. Take the air fryer basket and give it a light spray with oil.

Line the bottom of the basket with a layer of fresh tortilla chips, then layer up your leftover nachos on top. Add another layer of fresh tortilla chips on top, and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Pop the pan into the air fryer for 4 minutes, then check your nachos. If the cheese on top is bubbling and golden, your nachos will be ready to eat. If not, give the basket a gentle shake and heat them for a further 2 minutes.

If you find your nachos get a little bit dry or overcooked during the reheating process, try adding a spray of oil next time.

How To Reheat Nachos In A Toaster Oven

These days, many of us have a small counter-top toaster oven rather than a conventional oven. But can these handy little devices be used to reheat nachos?

Toaster ovens work really well for reheating nachos, particularly if you just need to do a small batch.

However, it can be a good idea to cover your nachos over with aluminum foil for reheating in the toaster oven, to keep them crispy without burning.

We’d recommend using a lower heat to reheat nachos in a toaster oven compared to a conventional oven, and a higher temperature. 15 minutes at 225°F should give you perfectly reheated nachos.

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over the best ways to reheat nachos in the oven, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

What is the best way to store leftover nachos?

If you have nachos leftover from a party or family gathering, it is essential to store them properly to keep them in the best possible condition. There is no way you can let a snack as good as this go to waste!

Nachos which are left out at room temperature, without being covered, will quickly become stale and soggy. Once this has happened it will be very difficult to revive them, so storing them correctly is the key.

First, you may need to remove some of the toppings from your nachos. If you’ve kept to the traditional recipe and used only jalapenos and cheese, then these can be left in place.

Anything else, such as salsa, guacamole, and sour cream, should be removed as much as possible. You may need to sacrifice a few tortilla chips to do this, especially the ones which are smothered in the gloopy sauce!

If you have used any meat toppings, such as pulled pork, chicken, chili beef, or sliced steak, think about whether these are going to be safe to reheat again.

Most food experts advise against reheating cooked meats more than once, so if they’ve already been reheated when the nachos were first cooked, they will need to be discarded.

Once you have deconstructed your nachos, pop them into an airtight container with the lid tightly closed. This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

What happens if you reheat nachos in the microwave?

Who doesn’t love the convenience of a microwave? Being able to pop in a dish of cooked food, press a button or two, and taking out a hot dinner just minutes later is one of the ultimate luxuries of modern-day convenience!

But unfortunately, there are just some foods which do not take kindly to being reheated in the microwave. And sadly, for us, our delicious leftover nachos are one of them.

Microwaves work in a very different way from other types of cooking and heating methods.

These handy little devices blast food with electromagnetic waves, which heats water molecules inside the foodstuff. Great for reheating soft and liquid food items, not so good for anything which you want to keep crispy!

And when it comes to something like nachos, the end result will most likely be a gooey mess of tortilla chips, swimming in melted cheese. Doesn’t sound all that appetizing, does it?!

If the microwave is your only option, there are some steps you can take to keep your nachos as crisp as possible.

The first of these is to use something to absorb any excess moisture. A layer of paper towel underneath the nachos works well for this.

Second, you want to reduce steam from circulating around the nachos. Use a flat plate or low-sided dish, making sure it is microwave safe first. Opening the microwave door at regular intervals to release excess steam will also help.

We’d suggest that you heat your nachos on high power for 20 seconds at a time, opening the door to check them each time. They should take no more than a minute to be heated through thoroughly.

What to do with leftover nachos?

If you’ve got nachos leftover from a party, you can have fun turning them into other delicious Mexican-inspired dishes!

All of these dishes will work just fine with soggy nachos, so if you’ve got some which are beyond the point of rescue then can be repurposed into something new and tasty.

Why not turn them into an enchilada-style dish? Layering them with black beans, sour cream, and salsa, top with cheese, and bake in the oven until bubbling and golden.

Alternatively, have a go at making nacho chilaquiles – nachos in spicy tomato sauce, topped with a fried egg.

Or, if you’re feeling really outrageous, crumble your leftover nachos into a bubbling pan of chicken or vegetable stock for a tasty soup!

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