5 Ways To Take Your Nachos To The Next Level

Photo: Courtesy of Food52.
By Samantha Weiss Hills

Nachos need a makeover. No, not a head-to-toe closet purge (because we're never not going to be obsessed with avocados), but the kind that freshens up even the most familiar chip-to-cheese-to-salsa ratio. The pull-apart, layered apparatus of the dish makes it prime for marrying flavors and tossing in something just a bit novel. So make yourself a margarita, grab a bag of chips, and try these five ways to give your next pile of nachos something extra.
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Photo: Courtesy of James Ransom/Food52.
Ditch the canned beans and make your own.
Refried beans get a bad rap, but they don't have to be mucky or heavy if you use The Splendid Table's recipe. You can whip these into shape in just 20 minutes — and, with the soulful combination of cinnamon and cloves mingling with zippy jalapeño and garlic, your nachos will be blanketed in a coat of many (delicious) beans.

Related: Why You Shouldn't Pair Cheese With Wine (Plus 10 Tips for Building A Better Cheese Plate)
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Photo: Courtesy of Food52.
Try an unconventional cheese for maximum melt.
The corner grocery dairy aisle is a daunting and cold place. It's normal to dip in, grab a bag of Monterey Jack, and call it a day. But if you're looking to change up your nacho cheese, try Muenster and Gouda for new flavor and texture; they melt like champs and and are found in most stores.

If you've got a local cheese shop, try Gruyère or Fontina — both have a nuttiness and earthy flavors that melt with ease.

Tip: Don't forget to build multiple layers of chips, beans, and cheese — that way, there's more surface area — before you top your nachos off.
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Photo: Courtesy of Food52.
Pickle some things, and then pile 'em on.
Forgo regular jalapeño pickles (unless you're really craving them) and try pickled red onions, pickled ramps, or even mango pickle on your next batch of nachos. And if you want to try your hand at pickled watermelon rind, we'll be right there with you, cheering you on.

Next: Pretzels & Beer Cheese: A Match Made In Heaven
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Photo: Courtesy of Alexandra Stafford/Food52.
Go wild with market veggies.
Nachos needn't be covered in gobs of gooey meat and sauce (but if you're into that, this is a safe space). Take cues from your farmers' market and add spring onions, radishes, corn, and a dusting of fresh herbs.
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Photo: Courtesy of Food52.
Spice up your sour cream.
Cool, creamy sour cream is a favorite condiment around here, and it complements crunchy, savory chips like frosting does cake. Try taking yours a level up with these additions:

Sriracha sour cream:
Stir in your desired amount for some extra spice.
Tequila-lime sour cream:
Fold in a teaspoon or two of each for a bit of citrus booziness.
Caramelized-onion sour cream:
Try mixing in 1/4 cup of caramelized onions.
Mashed-avocado sour cream:
For those who just can't do it without the green stuff.
Vegan sour cream:
Try dollops of cashew cheese.
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Photo: Courtesy of Food52.
A word on baking:
While classic vessels include cast iron or baking sheets (on which you can broil nachos at 500°F), we used a paella pan at 475°F for 10 minutes, and it worked like a charm (and looked good during the oven-to-table transfer).

Next: Drool-Worthy Homemade Mascarpone Cheese

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