Air Fryer Nachos w/ Ground Beef: Ultimate Game Day Snack!

Nachos are the perfect game day snack because they’re crispy, salty, snackable, and totally customizable for a crowd! These air fryer nachos are loaded with seasoned ground beef, melty cheese, and all sorts of toppings. Plus, this method takes just a few minutes to cook! Yum!

air fryer nachos with ground beef recipe dinners done quick featured image

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

I love making nachos for game day (and the Super Bowl of course) because they’re just the perfect snack food. Crispy chips are covered in melted cheese, and you can add all sorts of toppings to make it your own!

I’m using seasoned ground beef (leftover taco meat) on mine, but you can use all sorts of different proteins based on what you have. You also don’t need to add meat at all, keeping it vegetarian!

The best part is just making the base nachos with tortilla chips and cheese, and then setting out all the different topping options in bowls for a nacho bar. This allows your guests to make their own plate, adding toppings to suit their specific tastes.

holding up an air fryer nacho chip with ground beef, jalapeno, sour cream, and black olives

If you want to try something different and ditch the chips, then learn how to make my Air Fryer Irish Nachos with potatoes instead!

Ingredient List

ingredients to make air fryer nachos with ground beef

For the Nachos:

  • 4 cups tortilla chips
  • 8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend

For the Ground Beef:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 ounce packet taco seasoning mix 

Toppings (all optional):

  • Sliced black olives
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole
  • Jalapeno slices
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Ingredient Tips and Substitutions

  • I like the yellow corn triangular tortilla chips, but you can also use round shapes and white or blue corn varieties. Substitute Doritos for even more flavor!
  • You can use cheddar cheese instead of the four cheese Mexican blend if preferred, or split it with a 50/50 mix of liquid nacho cheese plus shredded
  • The ground beef can be swapped for cooked and diced chicken, steak, pulled pork, pulled chicken, burnt ends, or refried beans for a vegetarian option. Use leftovers you have on hand to save yourself the cooking steps!
  • All the toppings are optional and to taste. Some other topping ideas I’m not putting on mine would be: cubed avocado, pico de gallo or a diced fresh tomato, corn salsa, beans, or diced onion

Step By Step Instructions

  1. Heat a pan over medium high heat, then add the ground beef and cook until it’s mostly brown (around 4-5 minutes)
partially brown ground beef in skillet
  1. Drain the grease, then add your packet of taco seasoning and ¼ cup water, stirring to mix it well
add taco seasoning to the ground beef
  1. Cook until the liquid is evaporated and you’re left with just seasoned meat, approximately 1-2 more minutes
cook until you are left with seasoned ground beef
  1. Line the bottom of your air fryer’s basket or rack with nonstick foil or parchment paper, letting it come about halfway up the sides of the basket to form a “bowl”
line air fryer basket with foil to create a bowl
  1. Spread half the tortilla chips evenly across the lined basket
spread half tortilla chips across air fryer basket
  1. Top with half the shredded cheese and then the cooked, seasoned ground beef
add a layer of ground beef and cheese to the chips
  1. Repeat with a second layer of chips, cheese, and beef (just make sure not to go higher than about ⅔ fill of your basket, or else it may blow into the heating element)
top with another layer of chips, ground beef, and cheese
  1. Cook on the air fry setting at 350°F for about 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted (it will vary between different air fryers; start checking at 3 and add additional time in small increments)
  2. Use the edges of the parchment or foil to grab and slide the nachos out of the air fryer and transfer to a plate or serving platter. Top with your favorite toppings and serve!
overhead view of air fryer nachos with ground beef, guacamole, and sour cream

What to Serve With Nachos

  • Mexican rice
  • Rice and beans
  • Chili
  • Chicken tortilla soup
  • Pozole
  • Corn salad
  • Street corn
  • Avocado salad
  • Mexican slaw
  • Quesadillas
  • Taquitos
  • Tacos
  • Fajitas
  • Jalapeno poppers
  • Coke
  • Margaritas
  • Cerveza style beers

There are lots of great options to serve with air fryer nachos, whether they’re being served as a snack, appetizer, or part of a larger meal spread! Choose options that compliment the flavors of your toppings.

Try my Beef Taquitos in the Air Fryer, quick frozen Delimex Taquitos in the Air Fryer, or Reheat a Quesadilla in the Air Fryer for some heartier sides.

These Air Fryer Mini Stuffed Peppers are a good appetizer accompaniment, and you can even sub extra taco meat for the sausage! Wash it down with my Sour Green Apple Margarita or a Black Cherry Margarita for the perfect pairing.

Recipe FAQs

What Ingredients Do I Need for Air Fryer Nachos?

Air fryer nachos really only require tortilla chips and shredded cheese.

However, it is common to include toppings like diced tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, olives, or cooked meat to customize them.

How Do I Layer Nachos in the Air Fryer?

Begin by layering tortilla chips at the bottom, then add toppings evenly, and repeat the layers until the desired quantity is achieved.

Ensure the top layer has enough cheese to bind the ingredients.

What Temperature and Time Should I Use for Cooking Nachos in the Air Fryer?

Set the air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and cook the nachos for approximately 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the toppings are heated through.

You just want the cheese melted; beyond that and you may start to overbrown any meat or the chips themselves.

Can I Use Different Types of Cheese for Air Fryer Nachos?

Absolutely! Mix various cheeses such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mexican blend for diverse flavors.

Feel free to create your own mix of cheeses instead of just sticking to store bought options.

How Do I Prevent the Nachos from Becoming Soggy in the Air Fryer?

To prevent sogginess, avoid overloading the nachos with wet ingredients.

Add moist ingredients like salsa or sour cream after cooking to retain crunchiness.

What Are Some Popular Toppings for Air Fryer Nachos?

Apart from classic toppings like diced tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and olives, you can add cooked meat (such as seasoned ground beef or shredded chicken), guacamole, and cilantro.

For variations, try pulled pork with cheddar, red onions, jalapenos, and barbecue sauce, or steak with chimichurri. The possibilities are endless!

Can I Make Air Fryer Nachos in Advance?

You can prep the ingredients in advance and cook any meat you plan to use in advance.

However, it’s recommended to assemble and cook the nachos just before serving to maintain their crispiness.

Are Air Fryer Nachos Suitable for Dietary Restrictions?

Certainly! Most tortilla chips are naturally gluten free, and you can choose toppings according to dietary needs (or provide them on the side so guests can build their own).

Use a dairy-free cheese for lactose intolerance or a vegan alternative.

Recipe Pro Tips

  • Always put your meat or other toppings on top of the shredded cheese, which helps to weight it down and keep your air fryer from blowing it around
  • I do not recommend that you preheat your air fryer for this recipe. It isn’t needed, and trying to layer nachos in a hot air fryer basket is just a burnt hand waiting to happen
  • While I never recommend blocking air flow at the bottom in recipes with foil or parchment, this recipe is an exception. Since I’m only melting the cheese from the top, air flow isn’t as important, so it’s OK to block it off (and a LOT easier to get out later)!
  • If you do not have a stove for cooking the meat, you can also air fry it! Use an oven safe dish and air fry the beef for about 10 minutes at 400°F, stopping halfway to break it up, drain it, and add the taco seasoning
closeup of air fryer nachos topped with beef, jalapenos, olives, guacamole, and sour cream

Storage and Reheating Tips

  • Store any leftover nachos in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. For best results, remove cold toppings and sauces for separate storage
  • To reheat, remove any remaining cold toppings and sauces as best you can. Place the nachos on some foil or parchment and air fry at 350°F for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is re-melted and the meat is warmed. Add cold toppings back in, and enjoy!

More Air Fryer Recipes Using Taco Meat

Final Thoughts

Air fryer nachos are the perfect snack for game day, and so easy to make! Once your meat is cooked, it’s just some quick assembly and they’re ready to eat in 5 minutes or less thanks to the air fryer.

I love to just create a basic nacho recipe and then lay out all the different toppings so people can make their own to taste. Some of my family’s favorites are jalapeno slices, sour cream, salsa, black olives, and green onions, but you can use whatever you like.

Nachos are also a great way to use up leftover meat from your dinner recipes throughout the week. Whether it’s ground beef from taco night, pulled pork from the slow cooker, or some smoky barbecue burnt ends, they all make a great base for nachos!

air fryer nachos with ground beef recipe dinners done quick featured image

Air Fryer Nachos With Ground Beef

These tasty air fryer nachos feature taco seasoned ground beef and a variety of toppings. They’re naturally low carb and perfect for game day, or a snack or appetizer anytime.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 4
Calories 692 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

For the Nachos

  • 4 Cups tortilla chips
  • 8 Ounces shredded Mexican four cheese blend

For the Ground Beef

  • 1 Pound lean ground beef
  • 1 Ounce package taco seasoning

Nacho Toppings (All Optional)

  • Sliced black olives
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Prepared guacamole
  • Jalapeno slices (fresh or pickled)
  • 1 Green onion (sliced)
  • Fresh cilantro (chopped)

Instructions
 

  • Heat a pan over medium high heat, then add the ground beef and cook until it’s mostly brown (around 4-5 minutes)
    1 Pound lean ground beef
  • Drain the grease, then add your packet of taco seasoning and ¼ cup water, stirring to mix it well
    1 Ounce package taco seasoning
  • Cook until the liquid is evaporated and you’re left with just seasoned meat, approximately 1-2 more minutes
  • Line the bottom of your air fryer’s basket or rack with nonstick foil or parchment paper, letting it come about halfway up the sides of the basket to form a “bowl”
  • Spread half the tortilla chips evenly across the lined basket
    4 Cups tortilla chips
  • Top with half the shredded cheese and then the cooked, seasoned ground beef
    8 Ounces shredded Mexican four cheese blend
  • Repeat with a second layer of chips, cheese, and beef (just make sure not to go higher than about ⅔ fill of your basket, or else it may blow into the heating element)
  • Cook on the air fry setting at 350°F for about 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted (it will vary between different air fryers; start checking at 3 and add additional time in small increments)
  • Use the edges of the parchment or foil to grab and slide the nachos out of the air fryer and transfer to a plate or serving platter. Top with your favorite toppings and serve!
    Sliced black olives, Salsa, Sour cream, Prepared guacamole, Jalapeno slices, 1 Green onion, Fresh cilantro

Notes

  • I have yellow corn triangular tortilla chips, but you can also use round shapes and white or blue corn varieties. Substitute Doritos for even more flavor!
  • Use cheddar cheese instead of the four cheese Mexican blend if preferred, or split it with a 50/50 mix of liquid nacho cheese plus shredded
  • The ground beef can be swapped for cooked and diced chicken, steak, pulled pork, pulled chicken, burnt ends, or refried beans for a vegetarian option. Use leftovers you have on hand to save yourself the cooking steps!
  • All the toppings are optional and to taste. Some other topping ideas I’m not putting on mine would be: cubed avocado, pico de gallo or a diced fresh tomato, corn salsa, beans, or diced onion
  • Always put your meat or other toppings on top of the shredded cheese, which helps to weigh it down and keep your air fryer from blowing it around
  • I do not recommend preheating your air fryer for this recipe. It isn’t needed, and trying to layer nachos in a hot air fryer basket is just a burn waiting to happen
  • While typically you should not block air flow at the bottom with foil or parchment, this recipe is an exception. Since I’m only melting the cheese from the top, air flow isn’t as important, so it’s OK to block it off (and a LOT easier to get out later)!
  • If you do not have a stove for cooking the meat, you can also air fry it! Use an oven safe dish and air fry the beef for about 10 minutes at 400°F, stopping halfway to break it up, drain it, and add the taco seasoning, until browned through
  • Store any leftover nachos in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days
  • To reheat, remove any remaining cold toppings and sauces as best you can. Place the nachos on some foil or parchment and air fry at 350°F for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is re-melted and the meat is warmed. Add cold toppings back in, and enjoy!
  • Exact nutritional values will vary based on brand and flavor of ingredients, any sauces, toppings, or sides added, and quantity consumed, so please consider this a guideline only

Nutrition

Serving: 236gCalories: 692kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 36gFat: 48gSaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 1132mgPotassium: 510mgFiber: 3.8gSugar: 1.8gVitamin A: 372.4IUVitamin C: 6.6mgCalcium: 429mgIron: 3.8mg
Keyword air fried nachos, air fryer appetizers, air fryer nachos, homemade nachos, nachos with ground beef, nachos with melted cheese, nachos with tortilla chips, ninja air fryer nachos, quick nachos recipe, tortilla chip recipes
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Katie Vine