Nacho Topping Ideas

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Nachos can be topped with some of your favorite foods, taking them to the next level with a burst of flavor.

We’ve complied a list of cheeses, meats, protein, vegetables and fruits for nacho topping ideas for you to try out.

Some pairings work better than others, so you’ll have to make your own custom nachos at home to figure out your favorite nacho toppings.

Nacho Topping Ideas

Cheese for Nacho Toppings

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is a sharp, hard cheese that melts well in the oven over nachos. Since it has such a strong flavor, it’s best paired with mozzarella cheese to balance out the strong and mild flavors. Blending them together makes the nachos have more of a depth of cheese flavors.

Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella cheese has a mild flavor and melts well in the oven over nachos, giving it a creamy taste. Mozzarella cheese has a bit of a tangy, sour flavor, that pairs well with strong cheddar cheese over nachos.

Nacho Topping Ideas

Cotija Cheese

Cotija cheese is a specialty cheese to put on your nachos. It’s unique in that it doesn’t melt, it just softens. Therefore you get a burst of cheese on your nachos when you bite into it. It’s a salty and creamy cheese that is fairly mild and goes well as a nacho topping.

Meat or Protein for Nacho Toppings

Ground Beef

Ground beef can be flavored with your own version of taco seasoning (cumin, chili powder, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper). Once you’ve browned your ground beef and flavored it with taco seasoning, the beef should be drained. Then you can layer it on top of your nachos for a filling, satisfying, flavorful nachos.


Chicken can be marinated, BBQed or fried for nachos. There are a ton of different marinades you can make such as: Mexican grilled chicken, Sheet pan chicken nachos, BBQed chicken nachos. Chicken is a mild meat that you can flavor to make it spicy, sweet, or taco flavored.


Shrimp can be flavored with bit of garlic and chili powder for nachos. Shrimp have a dense, chewy texture to them, which is quite the contrast on top of nachos. If you’re wanting to try something a bit different on your nachos, add a few shrimp to your nacho toppings.

Black Beans

Black beans can be flavored with a simple taco seasoning using paprika, chili powder, and garlic. Fry them until they are fully coated, and then you can put them on top of your nachos. Black beans are soft when you bite into them and have a bit of a sweet flavor to them.

Vegetables for Nacho Toppings


A classic addition to the top of nachos are adding green onions. You can also use red onions which have a bit of a pungent flavor to them. Onions should be cut up into small pieces so you only get a little bit of flavor on top of your nachos.


Corn adds a ton of color, texture, and flavor to nachos. Corn goes well with beef, chicken, or black beans on top of nachos. Corn can also be paired with a little bit of chopped jalapeno and red onions for a flavor burst on top of your nachos.


Bell peppers that are sweet such as red or yellow peppers work well on top of nachos. Peppers add texture, color and a sweet flavor to the top of nachos.

Fruit for Nacho Toppings


Jalapenos add hot and spicy flavors to nachos. You can slice up jalapenos in rings for a nice look to your nachos but this adds a ton of heat to the nachos, so it can be overpowering. If you chop up the jalapeno into tiny pieces this adds the perfect amount of heat to the nachos so they will have a little bite to them.


Pineapple is sweet and tart flavor to add on top of nachos. It’s best to chop up the pineapple into small pieces and them use paper towel to remove the juices from the pineapple prior to putting them on top of nachos. The water can leak out of the pineapple pieces and make the nachos soggy! Pineapple can be paired with red pepper, red onions, and jalapenos for an incredible nacho topping flavor.


Tomatoes have a neutral flavor that add some tang to the nachos. Tomatoes should be cut up into small pieces for nachos so the juices don’t leak too much on the nachos. Tomatoes can be paired with green onions and jalapenos for classic nacho toppings.

Garnishes for Nachos


Cilantro can be added to nachos after it comes out the oven for an earthy citrusy flavor. Cilantro adds depth of tanginess to nachos. Salsas are typically made with cilantro, which in turn makes it pair well with nachos.