Why Limit Your Nachos to a Plate? Serve Them Right on the Table

Yes, you can dedicate a whole table to nachos. It’s easy and glorious.

Published Feb. 10, 2023.

A nacho table is exactly as wonderful as it sounds: a long table, covered with butcher paper and layered with tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole, pickled jalapeños, and plenty of molten gooey queso. 

A nacho table is such a fun party trick, especially for the Super Bowl. It looks exciting and feeds a ton of people relatively affordably, and it's easy to prep most of it in advance. 

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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1. Cover Your Nacho Table

Cover a sturdy table with butcher paper (you can use a disposable table cloth, parchment, or food-safe craft paper). I use a standard 6-foot folding table that I keep around for barbecues and parties, but you can use your kitchen table or a coffee table. The butcher paper keeps most of the mess contained (you can just compost it at the end of the night), but there is still some risk of queso drippage so I would avoid a fancy table.

And have fun decorating it; if different portions of the nachos have different toppings, you can label those portions by writing right on the butcher paper. 

Butcher paper

Step 2. Add Tortilla Chips

Spread tortilla chips evenly over the table, leaving roughly a 1-foot border. For my 6-foot folding table, I use five 12-ounce bags of tortilla chips. There is a little philosophy here; for me this is enough to give a solid but not highly stacked layer of chips, meaning you can evenly disperse toppings and you don’t have the dreaded untopped tortilla chip. But you can use more or less based on how big your table is and how stacked you want your nachos. 

Step 3. Add Your Nacho Toppings

I like to do a mix of store-bought and homemade toppings for combined ease and wow-factor. 

Here are some ideas of things to buy or make.

  • Salsa or pico de gallo 
  • Guacamole
  • Pulled pork or chicken (if you don’t want to make it, order a quart from a local barbecue spot)
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Seasoned ground beef
  • Pickled or fresh jalapeños
  • Drained black beans or pinto beans
  • Fresh corn kernels or thawed frozen corn
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Pickled red onions
  • Shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • Sour cream or crema
  • Lime wedges

If you want to divide your table into portions (for example: vegetarian and meat-topped, pulled pork and ground beef, or Chiefs versus Eagles themed), do it now so that you have a strategy of which toppings to add where. Then layer them on.  

Step 4. Drizzle on Queso 

Right before serving, make your queso. You want to do this last minute so it’s ultrahot. You can use your own recipe, but here’s one I love that makes a spicy, magma-like queso that comes together quickly in the microwave. 

Big Batch Green Chili Queso 

Serves 10 to 12

  • 16 ounces American cheese, shredded (4 cups)
  • 16 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded (4 cups)
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar salsa verde
  • 2 cups whole milk


Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Microwave until cheeses begin to melt around edges of dish, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir and continue to microwave until cheeses are completely melted and just beginning to bubble around edges of dish, 4 to 7 minutes longer, whisking often. Serve immediately.

Drizzle this queso over your assembled table as your guests ooh and aah. Then kick back and enjoy the game. Even if the team you’re rooting for doesn’t win, you’re still going to have a great night.



With hardly any work, you can do much better than the bland and monotonously smooth store-bought versions.
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