Air-Fryer Nachos Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 20 min. Cook: 5 min./batch
Air-fryer nachos are "nach-your" average nachos. In less than 30 minutes, you can have crunchy, cheesy nachos on the table with all your favorite fixings.

Updated: May 06, 2024

Can you think of an occasion that wouldn’t be improved by nachos? We sure can’t. Whether you’re looking for a party appetizer to share while watching the big game or something quick and easy to serve up on busy worknights, nachos are always a good answer. And air-fryer nachos may just be an even better answer.

A standard oven typically takes 15 to 20 minutes to preheat, but most air fryers preheat in under five minutes. Hello, speed! Plus, air-fryer nachos are totally scalable. Feeding one? No problem. Feeding eight hungry teenagers? Also no problem. Just work in batches until everyone has had their fill.

Best of all, cleanup is a breeze when you make air-fryer nachos. The meat is cooked in a single skillet, then the nachos are assembled directly on foil in the air-fryer basket. When you’ve got a huge pile of nachos and only one pan to clean, it doesn’t get much better than that!

Ingredients for Air-Fryer Nachos

Ingredients for Air Fryer NachosTMB Studio

  • Ground beef: Ground beef makes this air-fryer nachos recipe taste just like those you order at the ballgame. You’ll need to cook the ground beef before you add it to the nachos.
  • Onion: A little onion gets cooked right in with the ground beef to add moisture and flavor.
  • Refried beans: You can use either classic refried beans made with pinto beans or a can of your favorite refried black beans. And don’t be afraid to make your own home-style refried beans for your nachos.
  • Cheese: We love sharp cheddar cheese for our air-fryer nachos, but you can use any melting cheese you like. Go for a shredded blend of Mexican cheeses, pepper jack, Monterey Jack, Oaxaca or Chihuahua cheese.
  • Salsa: Choose your favorite store-bought brand of salsa, or make any one of these salsa recipes from scratch.
  • Black olives: Sliced black olives are a classic nacho topping. We like to stir them into the beef, but you can add them later or omit them entirely if you’re not a fan of black olives.
  • Seasoning: A healthy amount of chili powder and a bit of salt adds extra heat and flavor to the beef. Keep in mind that some brands of chili powder are spicier than others, so you can scale the amount accordingly to suit your tastes.
  • Tortilla chips: For the best air-fryer nachos, choose slightly thicker tortilla chips. Thicker chips will hold up better to the layers of heavy toppings and will be less prone to burning in the air fryer. Use any chips you have left over with one of our favorite recipes to make with a bag of tortilla chips.
  • Toppings: Here’s where you can get creative. Choose any nacho toppings you enjoy, or try one of some unconventional taco toppings like pickled veggies or potatoes. From tomatoes, onions, cilantro, or sliced jalapenos to a scoop of guacamole, sour cream or homemade restaurant-style salsa, you can’t go wrong here. Have fun pulling inspiration from other nacho recipes.


Step 1: Cook the beef

In a large skillet, cook the beef and onions over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink, five to seven minutes, breaking the beef into crumbles. Drain.

Editor’s Tip: Have extra beef? Put it to use in some of our other favorite ground beef recipes.

Step 2: Season the meat

Cooking Ingredients for Air Fryer Nachos in Large SkilletTMB Studio

Stir in the refried beans, cheese, salsa, olives, chili powder and salt. Heat through, then set aside.

Step 3: Assemble and cook

Nachos dressed and topped with cheese on foil layer in air fryerTMB Studio

Meanwhile, preheat the air fryer to 350°F. Then, working in batches, arrange the tortilla chips in a single layer on a foil-lined tray in the air-fryer basket. Top the chips with the beef mixture and additional cheese.

Air Fried Nachos in Air FryerTMB Studio

Air-fry the nachos until the cheese is melted, about three to four minutes.

Step 4: Add the toppings, and serve

Top Shot of Air Fryer Nachos served with dips and saucesTMB Studio

To serve, add your desired toppings, like sliced olives, green onions, sour cream and tomatoes.

Someone picking up Air Fried NachosTMB Studio

Air-Fryer Nachos Variations

  • Change up the protein: If you don’t enjoy beef, you can swap it for another protein. Try grilled shrimp, lime chicken or pulled pork.
  • Fry your own chips: Store-bought tortilla chips keep this recipe quick, easy and convenient, but homemade air-fryer tortilla chips would be a fun project to try at least once (fair warning, you’re going to get hooked).
  • Make vegetarian air-fryer nachos: You can omit the meat from this air-fryer nacho recipe for a vegetarian version—just make sure to buy vegetarian refried beans, too. To add plant-based protein, swap the ground beef for black beans, pinto beans or taco-seasoned crumbled tofu. Plant-based meat substitutes may also be used.

Can you make air-fryer nachos ahead of time?

No, we don’t recommend making air-fryer nachos ahead of time. If you’re looking to save some time, you can make the seasoned beef up to two to three days ahead of time, and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Air-Fryer Nacho Tips

Air Fryer Nachos served in paper small basketTMB Studio

Why are my air-fry nachos soggy?

Soggy nachos are a tragedy nobody should experience. For best results, drain your meat after cooking to remove any excess water or fat that may have been released from the beef. If you don’t, this liquid will soak into your chips while in the air fryer and may cause them to become sad and soggy.

What do you serve with air-fryer nachos?

Pair this air-fryer recipe with other party food ideas at your next game-day extravaganza. Or serve nachos as an appetizer with a vat of homemade guacamole and spicy salsa ahead of your favorite Mexican dinner recipe for your next taco nacho Tuesday feast.

Air-Fryer Nachos

Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 5 min
Yield 10 servings.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) salsa
  • 1 can (6-1/2 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages (11 ounces each) tortilla chips
  • Optional: Sliced ripe olives, chopped green onions, sour cream and diced tomatoes


  1. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, 5-7 minutes, breaking beef into crumbles; drain. Stir in refried beans, salsa, olives, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar, chili powder and salt; heat through.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat air fryer to 350°. In batches, arrange tortillas in a single layer on foil-lined tray in air-fryer basket. Top with beef mixture and remaining cheese. Cook until cheese is melted, about 3-4 minutes. If desired, top with additional olives, onions, sour cream and tomatoes.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 587 calories, 31g fat (10g saturated fat), 56mg cholesterol, 1232mg sodium, 54g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 5g fiber), 22g protein.

Savory ground beef mixed with hearty refried beans and refreshing salsa top tortilla chips before getting a sprinkle of rich cheddar cheese. These nachos then get cooked in the air fryer for a crunchy, gooey and all-around delicious outcome. It's an easy, fulfilling snack to prepare for kids' sleepovers, game-day parties and more. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin