To make a very simple nacho recipe, simply spread tortilla chips out on a baking sheet and top with an even layer of beans and shredded cheese. Place in a preheated oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Top the nachos with salsa and sliced jalapeños or black olives.
To make quality nachos, whether simple or complex, start with thick, restaurant-quality nachos that can hold a lot of toppings without breaking or getting soggy too quickly. Choose a combination of cheeses that offer a mix of strong favor and easy melting, such as sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack. Shred the cheese yourself for the freshest flavor.
Layering the tortilla chips and toppings ensures the most even distribution of the toppings. To layer, top a single layer of tortilla chips with beans. While refried beans are common, other options include homemade pinto bean dip or mashed and seasoned black beans. Add an optional layer of shredded meats as well, such as shredded chicken, pulled pork and ground beef. Cover the layer generously with the shredded cheese, then top with another layer of tortilla chips and toppings. Repeat once or twice more, depending on how large and deep the baking tray is.
Bake the nachos in an oven preheated to 350 F until the cheese is fully melted and the edges of the tortilla chips are slightly browned. Before serving, top the nachos with garnishes that don't need heating, including sliced jalapeños, black olives, salsa, sour cream and guacamole.