Cheesy Carne Asada Nachos Recipe

picking up a nacho from platter
picking up a nacho from platter - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

The invention of nachos is, we dare to say, one of the greatest food feats of all time. Why fill a bowl with meat and cheeses when you could simply pile those on top of tortilla chips? At their core, nachos are a simple cheesy delight, not far off from a quesadilla. They consistently fall into game day menus for being easy crowd-pleasers no matter the guests, and at the same time, reign supreme as the best midnight snack. Who among us hasn't microwaved cheddar over a pile of tortilla chips?

While nothing really beats a good ground beef-and-cheddar nacho combo, this recipe developed by Michelle McGlinn helps kick it up a notch. Citrusy marinated skirt steak is seared quickly then tossed over a savory duo of cheeses and a crispy bed of chips. The tender steak is reminiscent of your favorite tacos, especially paired with a quick pico de Gallo and a simple guacamole. Game day at your house this week? You might just be hosting every week after serving this appetizer.

Read more: The Biggest Mistakes You're Making With Steak

Gather The Ingredients For Cheesy Carne Asada Nachos

ingredients for carne asada nachos
ingredients for carne asada nachos - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

For the carne asada, you'll want to pick out a thin cut of steak that can cook quickly with just a sear. Thin, ribbony skirt steak is perfect for asada, but you can also try strip steak or flank steak instead. To marinate the steak, grab an orange, a lime, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. You'll reuse the lime, salt, and pepper for other toppings.

For the toppings, you'll just need tomatoes (we like Roma), cilantro, white onion, pepper Jack and Monterey Jack cheeses, a couple of avocados, sour cream, jalapeños, and a big bag of tortilla chips. Look for thick, homestyle tortilla chips, which will better hold the weight of all the toppings.

Marinate The Steak

marinating steak in bowl
marinating steak in bowl - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

An important part of making carne asada is marinating the steak. This develops flavor and tenderizes the meat before searing. If you're short on time, toss the steak in the marinade and let rest while you make the toppings and prep the cheese. Ideally, marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours ahead of time. If making in advance, transfer the steak to a sealable plastic bag and marinate in the refrigerator.

Make The Pico De Gallo And Guacamole

stirring pico de gallo in bowl
stirring pico de gallo in bowl - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Toss together the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper to make a pico, then set aside while cooking the steak. The pico can be made several days in advance. The guacamole, on the other hand, should be made last, right before serving the nachos. If you have a helpful spouse that can serve as your sous chef, even better; have them break open and mash the avocados while you sear the steak. For a more loaded guacamole, add some of the pico ingredients to the guac and stir to combine.

Sear The Steak

searing steak in skillet
searing steak in skillet - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

If you have a grill and would rather save a skillet, feel free to sear the skirt steak on medium heat and over direct flame. Otherwise, heat a skillet with a thin layer of oil over medium heat and, once barely smoking, add the steak. Sear quickly, forming a browned crust on either side. Remove from the skillet and place on a carving board, letting cool slightly (now's a good time to arrange the chips and cheese on a sheet pan). Once cool to touch, slice or dice the steak into bite sized pieces — it will be very pink in the middle, but that's okay. It will cook to medium in the oven.

Build The Nachos

nachos on a sheet pan
nachos on a sheet pan - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Pop the chips, cheese, and steak into the oven and bake until cheese is melty, about 5 minutes. In the meantime, gather all the toppings and get ready to put it all together. Once the cheese is melted, quickly remove the nachos from the oven and add the pico, guac, jalapeños, and sour cream. Want that polished nacho look? Put the sour cream in a squeeze bottle first.

There's nothing wrong with nachos for dinner any night of the week (seriously, no judgement here), but these make a great appetizer for game day and casual parties. To keep a Latin American theme going with your snacks, serve alongside empanadas, tostones, and a pitcher of sangria. Your friends won't want to have game day anywhere else again.

Cheesy Carne Asada Nachos Recipe

steak and toppings on chips
steak and toppings on chips - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Prep Time: 45mCook Time: 11mYield: 4 ServingsIngredients

  • 1 pound skirt steak

  • Juice from ½ orange

  • juice from 2 limes, divided, plus wedges

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 1 tablespoon oregano

  • salt, to taste

  • pepper, to taste

  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion

  • 1 (12-ounce) bag tortilla chips

  • 8 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded

  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

  • 2 avocados

  • ¼ cup sour cream

  • 1 jalapeño, sliced


  1. Place the steak in a large bowl and cover with orange juice, juice from ½ a lime, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix the marinade into the steak, coating well. Let rest in the marinade for at least 30 minutes.

  2. In the meantime, prepare the pico de Gallo. Combine the tomato, cilantro, and white onion in a bowl. Add juice from ½ a lime and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then set aside.

  3. When ready to make the nachos, preheat the oven to 350 F. Arrange tortilla chips on a baking sheet and sprinkle with both shredded cheeses.

  4. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add the steaks and sear on either side until a crust forms, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and slice into strips or 1-inch cubes. Steaks should be pink in the middle.

  5. Arrange the steaks on the prepared nachos and place in the oven. Bake until cheese has melted, about 5 minutes.

  6. While the nachos are in the oven, mash the avocado and juice from ½ a lime together in a small bowl. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper.

  7. Remove the nachos from the oven and top with pico de Gallo and mashed avocado. Add the sour cream over top, then sprinkle with jalapeño. Serve with lime wedges from the remaining lime half.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.