With just a handful of easy to transport ingredients, this campfire nachos recipe is the perfect snack when you’re sitting around the campfire. Ready in under 20 minutes, it’s a crowd-pleaser!
Let’s be real – when we go camping, we don’t do it for the whole sleeping outside thing. We do it for the camping food.
Let’s make Campfire Nachos!
Layering tortilla chips with melty Mexican cheese, hearty black beans, and zesty Rotel tomatoes (or Pico de Gallo), these nachos pack a flavor punch. Cooked over hot coals or a low-burning fire in a cast iron Dutch Oven, they’re a crowd-pleaser for camping trips or backyard gatherings.
Campfire Nacho Ingredients
This is a very loosey goosey recipe, measure most things by feeling. Feel free to add any toppings you might have on hand – I opted for just a few that are easy to bring along without needing much cooler space.
- Tortilla Chips: The foundation of the nachos, providing a crunchy and savory base for the toppings!
- Shredded Mexican Cheese: Melts beautifully and adds that classic cheesy goodness to the nachos. Look for pre-shredded Mexican cheese blends in the dairy section of your supermarket, which usually include a mix of cheddar, Monterey Jack, and sometimes other cheeses.
- Black Beans: A protein-packed addition that adds texture and a nutty flavor to the nachos. Canned black beans are convenient and readily available in most grocery stores. Be sure to drain them well before using to prevent excess moisture.
- Rotel Tomatoes (or Pico de Gallo): Adds a burst of zesty and tangy flavor with a hint of heat. Rotel tomatoes are canned tomatoes with green chilis, providing a convenient option. Alternatively, you can use fresh Pico de Gallo for a more vibrant and fresh flavor (it just takes up more room in the cooler!)
What’s the best cheese for nachos?
We’re using shredded Mexican cheese here, which is always a crowd-favorite. For more ideas, check out our definitive guide to the best cheese for nachos!
How to make Campfire Nachos
Step 1: Prep The Nachos
Start by adding a generous layer of tortilla chips to the bottom of the Dutch Oven. Make sure to arrange them evenly to create a sturdy base for the toppings. Sprinkle generously with a handful of cheese. Then, to ensure every chip is covered in cheesy goodness, repeat the process by adding another layer of tortilla chips and another layer of cheese. Cook with the lid on until cheese melts
Step 2: Add Toppings
Now that we have our cheesy base, let’s add a delightful twist with some toppings. First, sprinkle a can of well-drained black beans over the nacho layers. The black beans provide a hearty protein boost and a nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with the other toppings. Next, add the zesty kick by incorporating a can of well-drained Rotel tomatoes with green chilis.
Leave the Dutch Oven uncovered and continue cooking for about a minute, just enough to heat the toppings.
Step 3: Serve!
Once the nachos are ready, serve them immediately while they are hot and gooey. The tomatoes may make the chips soggy if left on for too long, so if you don’t plan on digging in immediately, consider adding the tomatoes right before serving.
Enjoy these campfire nachos topped with your favorite optional additions like fresh cilantro, creamy sour cream, and a refreshing squeeze of lime juice. It’s a crowd-pleasing and satisfying treat that will make your outdoor adventure even more delightful!
Recipe variations, substitutions, storage tips, cooking tips (how to cook pasta just right, how to air fry so everything cooks evenly, what rack to put pan in the oven etc)
Nacho Tips & Tricks
- Aluminum Foil Lining: Consider lining the Dutch Oven with aluminum foil before adding the nacho layers. This will make cleanup a breeze and prevent the cheese from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Individual Foil Packets: If you prefer, you can make individual foil packets for each serving of nachos. This way, everyone can customize their toppings, and it simplifies serving and cleanup.
- Campfire Safety: Always practice campfire safety when cooking outdoors. Ensure your fire is well-contained, and the Dutch Oven is stable and placed on a safe, heat-resistant surface.
How can I prevent the nachos from becoming soggy?
To prevent the nachos from becoming soggy, it’s essential to drain the canned black beans and Rotel tomatoes well before layering them onto the nachos. Also, serve the nachos immediately after adding the toppings to maintain the crispy texture.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
While the best experience is to enjoy the nachos fresh and hot, you can pre-prepare the toppings and have them ready for assembly at your campsite. Assemble the nachos just before cooking to ensure the chips stay crispy.
What other toppings can I add to the nachos?
Get creative with your toppings! You can add sliced jalapeños, black olives, diced avocado, chopped green onions, or a dollop of sour cream to enhance the flavors and textures.
These camp nachos are perfect as a midday snack, or they can be paired with our other campfire recipes to make a full on campfire feast!
Pro-tip: Make these breakfast nachos by topping them with our Campfire Scrambled Eggs!
Not sure what to pack? Here’s our ultimate guide to campfire cooking.
- 6 big handfuls tortilla chips
- 2 big handfuls shredded Mexican cheese
- 1 15-oz can black beans drained well
- 1 10-oz can Rotel tomatoes with green chilis drained well, can also use Pico de Gallo
- Optional toppings: cilantro, sour cream, lime juice
- Nachos: Set a cast iron Dutch Oven over hot coals or elevated over a low-burning fire. Layer in chips > cheese > chips > cheese. Set the lid on it and cook until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.
- Toppings: Sprinkle on well-drained beans and Rotel tomatoes. Keep the lid off and continue cooking for about a minute, just to heat the toppings up*.
- Serve immediately, topped with your favorites (the tomatoes will make the chips soggy if left on too long, so you can add those right before serving if you don't plan on digging in immediately).