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These loaded Carnitas Nachos are piled high with pork carnitas, refried beans, melted cheese, salsa verde, and so much more. It’s a perfect party snack you have to serve with a big batch of paloma’s!
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Want to know the secret to making a platter of nachos even better? Layer juicy, moist, and tender pork carnitas on top!
It’s hard not to be obsessed with these Carnitas Nachos. Each tortilla chip is layered with pulled pork carnitas, melted cheese, salsa verde, refried beans, and a medley of refreshing cold toppings. The carnitas, chips, and cheese can be rich and decadent, but the fresh tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and cilantro help balance it out!
Carnitas are one of my favorite Mexican dishes. They’re my go-to when ordering tacos, but I could eat them in practically anything! Believe me when I say that you won’t regret layering a big batch on top of your nachos.
What are carnitas?
Just think of carnitas as Mexican pulled pork. They’re traditionally made from pork shoulder, which is a fatty cut of meat, which means so much flavor! The pork is cooked low and slow (braised) to ensure it turns out tender, juicy, and shreddable, making it easy to layer on top of nachos, in tacos, and more!
Ingredients you need
Do your best not to skip any of these ingredients so you can indulge in the best nacho experience:
You should be able to buy pre-packed or freshly made carnitas in the prepared food section at major grocery stores. If you want to go all out, make them yourself in the slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Monterey jack cheese is my favorite on nachos because it melts really well, but any shreddable melting cheese will do. Make sure you buy a cheese block and shred it yourself to avoid the anti-caking agents in the pre-shredded stuff!
Refried beans are made from mashed pinto beans, spices, and herbs. You can buy canned or pre-made refried beans from almost any grocery store or Mexican specialty store, although they’re quite easy to make yourself. They’re a delicious filling that are great to have on hand when you want to add flavor and protein to nachos, dips, burritos, quesadillas, and more.
We’re all familiar with red salsa made from tomatoes but what about salsa verde? This green salsa is made from boiled and blended tomatillos, jalapenos, onions, garlic, and cilantro rather than tomatoes.
It’s tangy, a little spicy, and vibrant! I recommend making homemade salsa verde for the best flavors but the storebought stuff is easy to find in a pinch.
Because it just wouldn’t be a loaded nachos recipe without deliciously salty and crunchy tortilla chips. My current favorite tortilla chips are Chicas. They're super crunchy and great for nachos.
Once the carnitas nachos are out of the oven, you can add to the deliciousness with a few cold toppings. My favorites are avocado, tomatoes, jalapeno, red onion, and cilantro to help balance the rich carnitas and cheese.
Feel free to really get creative and add even more, like lime juice, crema (or sour cream), guacamole, pico de gallo, and crumbled cotija cheese.
How to make carnitas nachos
Have fun with this easy sheet pan nachos recipe! Load them in any order you like or follow these steps to a tee:
Step 1: Spread the chips in an even layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle half of the cheese on top.
Step 2: Add dollops of beans and the pork carnitas on the chips.
Step 3: Finish by sprinkling the rest of the cheese on top, then bake the nachos.
Step 4: Once the cheese is melted and bubbly, take the nachos out of the oven.
Step 5: Finish by adding the cold toppings on top, then serve!
What to serve with carnitas nachos
Nachos are a fun meal to enjoy on their own or with a loaded salad on the side. If you’re having a party, serve them next to more Mexican-inspired dishes, like jalapeno Greek yogurt dip and spicy queso dip. Wash them all down with a refreshing batch of paloma cocktails!
Make ahead tips
While I don’t recommend making nachos more than a few minutes ahead of serving, you can save a little time by preparing the toppings:
- Make the carnitas: If you’re making your own carnitas, keep the finished batch in the fridge for a few days or feel free to freeze them for 4-6 months.
- Chop the vegetables: Feel free to chop the vegetables and cold toppings 1 or 2 days ahead of time. Keep them in separate airtight containers in the fridge.
- Shred the cheese: And keep it in a sealed container or bag in the fridge until you’re ready to layer it on the nachos.
Frequently asked questions
The best cheese for nachos is any type of cheese that melts well and goes well flavor wise with the other toppings.
In general my favorite type of cheese for nachos is Monterey Jack. It has a mild flavor and melts so well!
The best way to layer nachos is chips, cheese, beans and or meat, then the remaining cheese. Once cooked, layer the rest of the toppings like salsa, tomatoes, cilantro, etc.
You can bake or broil nachos! I perfer to broil them because the cheese gets super melty and browned and they cook quickly when broiled.
🎉 It's time to cook! 🎉
Alright, friend! It's your turn to make this delish recipe for your next get-together.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ When you do, please leave a comment and star rating below so we can hear what you think! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 8 ounces carnitas shredded and warmed - about 2 cups
- 1 cup refried beans
- ⅓ cup salsa verde
- 12 ounces Monterey jack cheese grated - about 4 cups
- 10 ounces tortilla chips
- 2-3 small jalapenos thinly sliced
- 2 roma tomatoes chopped - about 1 cup
- 1 avocado chopped
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Set oven to broil and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Spread chips in an even layer on the baking sheet.
- Evenly sprinkle with half of the cheese.
- Evenly dollop beans on top of the first layer of cheese.
- Top with shredded carnitas and remaining cheese.
- Broil until the cheese is melty, bubbly, and browned around the edges, about 8 minutes.
- Once the nachos are done top with salsa, avocado, tomatoes, jalapenos, red onion and cilantro. Serve immediately.
Cindy Nelson says
Made these for my kids for Saturday game night and it was a big hit!! The pork carnitas was a great change to the typical chicken and beef. This is going to be regular from now on!!