Air fryer nachos are crispy, crunchy, and oh so crave-able! Easily make a single plate of nachos when the craving strikes. Here’s how to do it.
One of the best parts of watching sports (dare I say…the only good thing about watching sports) is the food.
Making your “game day food” at home is not only more affordable, but healthier too. Enter, air fryer nachos!
There’s nothing worse than soggy nachos. Absolutely no one enjoys the soggy remains at the bottom of the pile. That’s why you need an air fryer. Thin layers of chips and cheese mean that these vegetarian nachos are crispy throughout, even if you’re reheating them!
This recipe makes the absolute perfect amount. Enjoy them as a main meal for two, or share them with more friends. The best part is they take just 5 minutes to crisp up, so making another batch is a snap. And since we’re heating just the chips and cheese, everyone gets to customize the toppings on their own serving.
“Oh. My. Goodness. These nachos are so unbelievably delicious! Incredibly easy, and paired with some fire roasted salsa and cilantro?!?!?!?!?! 🤤🤤🤤🤤🤤🤤 YES PLEASE!!!! Ive always made these in the microwave. It never ONCE dawned on me to make them in the air fryer! Thank you for such an incredible way to make one of my fave snacks!” —Mel
Ingredients for air fryer nachos
SO simple. Grab your favorite chips and cheese at the store and get cooking.
- Tortilla Chips: Wander the chip aisle and you’ll find the standard brands, but now there are also so many to choose from, even grain-free, lower salt, lime flavored. Choose your favorite! Feeling adventurous? Make your own tortilla chips!
- Shredded Cheese: I like classic cheddar, but grab whatever strikes your fancy (need help? here’s our definitive guide to the best cheese for nachos). Monterey Jack or a cheddar-jack blend also taste great. Give vegan cheese a try, too. Daiya brand melts nicely.
- Toppings: This is where you go wild! Pickled jalapeños, pico de gallo, homemade guacamole, vegan chorizo…the list goes on!
Check out the photo below – I picked a thickly shredded cheese. This means the cheese will melt into a beautiful layer but won’t quickly turn hard or rubbery. I think it works much better than “fancy” shredded cheese, which is super thin. Try shredding your own on the large holes of a box grater.
How to make nachos in the air fryer
The hardest part is waiting 5 minutes!
Step 1: Prep
Cut a piece of parchment paper or foil the size of your basket’s insert, plus a bit to go up the sides – but not TOO high! Try and keep it below the top of the basket. This will help you pull your entire serving of air fryer nachos out of the basket, while also preventing a cheesy mess in the bottom of your air fryer (but just in case, here’s how to clean your air fryer).
Step 2: Assemble
We’re doing two layers here, just like making lasagna. Chips-cheese-chips-cheese. This makes sure every bite has cheese and there aren’t any naked chips on the bottom. Those would be sad.
Step 3: Air Fry
Cook for 5 minutes, or until your cheese is melted. No need to preheat! I also love that you can easily set the timer for longer and just hang out by the air fryer and take a quick peek multiple times without losing too much heat. This lets you get things perfect.
Step 4: Serve
Carefully lift out your vegetarian nachos by the edges of the parchment. I just place the entire paper on the serving platter. Now add allll your favorite toppings! You can also gently pull apart the entire stack of nachos into two for everyone to customize their plates.
Even Cooking: Make sure if you are using foil, you keep the edges straight up – if they droop over the nachos they will block the circulating air.
Thick Cheese: Remember to use thicker shredded cheese. The thin shreds will melt too quickly and can turn rubbery or hard.
Keep an Eye Out: This isn’t a recipe you’ll want to walk away from. All machines heat differently, so the first few times you’ll want to peek in on your nachos before the time is up to make sure they aren’t burning.
Why this Recipe Works
- No wasted energy when you want a single serving. There’s no reason to heat up the main oven when the air fryer will do!
- Five minutes is all you need to make these. You can’t even heat up a toaster oven in the time these nachos cook in the air fryer!
- No soggy nachos here! The air fryer heating element is super close to the chips, keeping them nice and crispy. And with your layered approach, no chip is cheese-less!
After trying out a bunch of different air fryers, this is my favorite!
Why do I need to line the basket?
Using parchment under your nachos serve a dual purpose. Not only can you easily lift your entire platter of nachos out at once, this way no cheese will drip in the basket! This means a quick wipe of any crumbs is all you need to clean your machine.
How do you make nachos crispy again air fryer?
These are amazing fresh, but also to reheat, just pop them right back in for a minute. Keep in mind you’re just heating it back up a bit since it’s already melted.
Can I put parchment paper in the air fryer?
Yes – it’s totally safe! Just make sure you keep the edges of the paper below the top of the basket so they don’t come into contact with the fan or heating element.
Top It Like it’s Hot
I know you already have your favorite dips and toppings in mind, but these are perfect recipes to make when making nachos for a crowd.
- Avocado Corn Salsa is perfect for those that like just a hint of avocado.
- Guacamole Dip if you can’t get enough of the green stuff!
- Blender Salsa can be made by one of your guests while the nachos heat.
- Spanish Rice and Beans are a great way to round things out and turn this appetizer into a meal.
- 4 cups tortilla chips
- 2 cups grated cheese like Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby, or a blend
- Optional Topping Ideas: pico de gallo, sour cream, avocado, cilantro
- Prep: Place a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil in your air fryer so that it covers the bottom and a bit of the sides.
- Assemble: Layer in half of the chips, then half of the cheese, then the remaining chips and cheese.
- Air Fry: Cook at 325°F (162°C) for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
- Serve: Transfer nachos on the parchment paper to a serving plate, topping with your desired toppings!