Let’s do dinner!

20-Minute Turkey Taco Nachos I howsweeteats.com

This is, like, the easiest thing in the universe and will take you less than half an hour to throw together. And even less time than that if you can be all domestic and prepared and have some chicken or ground turkey or beef prepped ahead of time.

Look at you. Just like Martha.

So. This is one of my favorite meals. I’m sure it comes as no surprise since I love all things nacho-y, but this is so simple, so customizable, so complex in flavor but so easy at the same time. It’s so easy, I hate it.

20-Minute Turkey Taco Nachos I howsweeteats.com

And yeah. I realize this is in the same… flavor family (?) as those burritos on Monday, but who doesn’t love a super quick, delicious meal on the weeknights? Or as I still refer to them… on school nights. I didn’t want to wait another second to share. PLUS. Maybe you have some leftovers or something from that meal… and they can work here. Or vice versa. Or you can plan your week and include both of these meals a few days apart and already have all the goods.

Wow. I need to take my own advice.

20-Minute Turkey Taco Nachos I howsweeteats.com

I’ve gone on and on about how one of my go-to snacks as a kid was tortilla chips microwaved (yes, mi.cro.waved.) with shredded cheese on top. Well – who are we kidding –  it’s still a snack I sometimes nostalgically frequent. It’s just that now I add more sophisticated ingredients on top, like crumbled gorgonzola or bone suckin’ bbq sauce. But anyway, when I came home from school it was often the microwaved chips or a little quesadilla. Then I’d settle in to watch one of those wacky after school specials (please tell me you remember those) that would freak me out and make me so nervous about something that I wouldn’t be able to sleep for days.

Seriously. I can’t imagine the freaking out I’d be doing these days if I watched what is currently on television. I’d need to be either permanently sedated or locked out of most cable channels.

Occasionally though, way back when, I’d find some leftover taco meat in the fridge and add it to those makeshift nachos. So clever.

The love for that stuff stuck.

20-Minute Turkey Taco Nachos I howsweeteats.com

I know. I know. Cilantro haters, advert your eyes.

I, however, adore it… in all it’s delicious, soapy glory. In fact, I could probably just bite a few leaves off a bunch and eat them like that.

How grossed out are you right now? Heart you.

20-Minute Turkey Taco Nachos I howsweeteats.com


20-Minute Turkey Taco Nachos

Yield: serves 2-4

Total Time: 20 minutes


1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound 94% lean ground turkey (or whatever you choose)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 (8 ounce) bag of your favorite tortilla chips
1 cup black beans (if canned, then drained and rinsed)
6 ounces white cheddar cheese, freshly grated

4 green onions, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups lettuce, shredded
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 cup freshly torn cilantro
2 tablespoons snipped chives
plain greek yogurt or sour cream for serving


Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions and garlic, stirring well and cook for 2 minutes. Add in ground turkey, breaking up with a large wooden spoon. Cook until browned, about 6-8 minutes.

While turkey is cooking, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spread tortilla chips out. You can also chop the tomatoes, lettuce, onions and avocado at this time. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Add it to the turkey and stir well (continuing to break up the pieces of turkey with the spoon) until combined, then stir in chicken stock. Toss well to combine.

Heat the broiler on your oven. Add half of the cheese over top of the chips. Evenly spread turkey over the cheese and chips, then cover with the black beans and remaining cheese. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, just until cheese is melty and gooey and the chips are warm. Remove from the oven and immediately cover with tomatoes, lettuce, onions, avocado and cilantro. Serve with yogurt/sour cream and chives. (AND BEER.)

20-Minute Turkey Taco Nachos I howsweeteats.com

PS: I wrote this at 10PM and had to immediately go microwave some nachos. Not even kidding.

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113 Responses to “20-Minute Turkey Taco Nachos.”

  1. #
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — April 18, 2013 @ 6:59 am

    I’m a sucker for nachos… Well, that and a big tall strong margarita. Oh, is it too early for one? I’m kinda thirsty


    • Jessica — April 18th, 2013 @ 7:01 am

      never. you bring the margs!


  2. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 18, 2013 @ 7:03 am

    I used to come home from school and slice colby cheese and put it on Doritos and nuke them until it was bubbling (and of course, some semi hard pieces b/c of the microwave). I watched Brady Bunch re-runs and the like. Now, my 6 yr old has an iPad and is better on it than I am…and has all her books loaded onto it and is so fast on that thing. Kids these days.

    Nachos for dinner sounds about right, too!


  3. #
    Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion — April 18, 2013 @ 7:08 am

    Always on the look out for quick dinners. There are quit a few veggies here and it still looks yummy!


  4. #
    Jenn from Much to My Delight — April 18, 2013 @ 7:13 am

    That’s still my go-to snack. Sophisticated eaters think alike.


  5. #
    ashley - baker by nature — April 18, 2013 @ 7:13 am

    Thursday should officially become nacho and tequila night.


  6. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — April 18, 2013 @ 7:19 am

    I used to do that with my nacho chips too!! And after school specials… oh my, those were the days. I was all about Full House when I was under the age of 10, but then it became all about Blossom, Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World. Can we teleport back to the 90s? ;)


  7. #
    dorothy — April 18, 2013 @ 7:26 am

    cilantro haters can’t help it, its a genetic phenomena – cilantro tastes like soap to us! even a little cilantro can make an entire plate taste like its been squirt with dish soap :( i always use basil whenever something calls for cilantro, its a really good substitute :)


  8. #
    dorothy — April 18, 2013 @ 7:29 am

    OMG, Jessica, PS I found maple vinegar -made from maple syrup – in the deli the other day, i thought of your blog immediately. I’m getting some this weekend, i’ll let you know if its good :)


  9. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — April 18, 2013 @ 7:29 am

    LOVE nachos! I am loving these nachos too! They look delish!!!!!!!!


  10. #
    Marie @ Little Kitchie — April 18, 2013 @ 7:51 am

    This looks like dinner!


  11. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — April 18, 2013 @ 7:53 am

    ummmmm I microwave shredded cheese over chips pretty much on the hour every hour.

    and I have an idea! feed me these.


    • Rebecca — April 18th, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

      me too!! I was like, uhh…yeah, still do that. And yep, sometimes I get all fancy and add leftover taco meat or chicken or whatever. And i always eat my “nachos” with loads of store-bought salsa.


      • Courtney — April 18th, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

        Hahaha thank you for mentioning store bought salsa, because that is totally part of my microwave nacho um, “recipe”?

  12. #
    Tieghan — April 18, 2013 @ 7:54 am

    Nachos for dinner sound good to me! After school I would come home and make perogies and then cover them in cheddar cheese! So good!

    I have now made the same set of nachos three times and taken three sets of photos and am still not happy with them!! Yes, three!! It is insame! How did you take such awesome photos of nachos! I am jealous!


  13. #
    SaltySweetSour — April 18, 2013 @ 8:00 am

    I think nachos for dinner sounds pretty perfect. Now I’ll have to get Mexican tonight…


  14. #
    Julie — April 18, 2013 @ 8:06 am

    Ha, I posted nachos today too! Great minds :)


  15. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — April 18, 2013 @ 8:14 am

    Oh how I want these today, Jessica!!! Mmmm Mmmm!!!


  16. #
    Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen — April 18, 2013 @ 8:33 am

    I love any excuse to eat nachos for dinner! And I still eat microwaved chips and cheese and have the audacity to call them nachos. Its just so good!


  17. #
    Erin | The Law Student's Wife — April 18, 2013 @ 8:41 am

    Nachos are just an appetizer any more! Also, save me some of that cilantro twig. Way to rock the spice on these. I’m a suckerrrr for smoked paprika!


  18. #
    Tracy — April 18, 2013 @ 8:49 am

    Um, cilantro rocks!


  19. #
    Belinda @themoonblushbaker — April 18, 2013 @ 9:04 am

    Nothing better than some good odd tex mex to finish off a stressful day. Turkey is a great meat and is so much more flavourful than chicken. You can not have mexican with out cilantro in my opinion, so bad luck to those who hate it! They are missing out


  20. #
    Evelyn — April 18, 2013 @ 9:07 am

    Yesssss to the microwaved-nacho-cheese phenomenon! That was a staple for my sis and I for snacks. That, and making popcorn, dousing it with melted butter, and covering it in ranch-dip powder. Once, we were out of popcorn, and my sis covered cornflakes in that magical powder. She was also known to take saltines, put pizza sauce on them, and top it with processed cheese slices and nuke that sucker. I never partook in that delicacy…. :D


  21. #
    Ashley — April 18, 2013 @ 9:10 am

    Nachos for dinner are a weekly occurrence over here! I have no clue what after school TV specials you’re talking about but I most definitely used to make nachos in the microwave.


  22. #
    Kristin — April 18, 2013 @ 9:13 am

    What do you do with the other half of the cheese? Goes on top? Thanks!


    • Jessica — April 18th, 2013 @ 9:15 am

      ahhh yep – sorry, goes on after the black beans!


  23. #
    Meg @ Peaches and Cake — April 18, 2013 @ 9:28 am

    hahahahha LOL “Cilantro haters, avert your eyes” I hear ya. It’s such an essential ingredient! I always just chop it up really fine for the cilantro-eaters at my table.


  24. #
    Jenna — April 18, 2013 @ 9:30 am

    Darn these look good! Is this an acceptable breakfast?


  25. #
    Faith — April 18, 2013 @ 9:32 am

    I used to do the same thing with the nachos and cheese! That was always my “midnight snack” in middle school.


  26. #
    Ali @ Peaches and Football — April 18, 2013 @ 9:33 am

    I absolutely adore nachos. They are great year-round and you can be so creative with the toppings. I’ve never tried them with turkey but yours look delicious so I need to give that a try. Plus, who can beat a dinner in less than 30 minutes! Love that!


  27. #
    kulsum@journeykitchen.com — April 18, 2013 @ 9:40 am

    Love this.


  28. #
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — April 18, 2013 @ 9:50 am

    Soapy glory–hahaha. Well, I am one of those people that absolutely LOVES cilantro, so dump as much on there as you want. It’s so funny, I totally know why some people hate it so much (and can sort of detect that soapy taste in the background), but I also cannot even imagine mexican, asian, south american food without it.

    Annnnnd I totally did the nachos in the microwave thing as well. Except I would use dippy beans (my term for refried beans) and HAD to have extra sharp, white cheddar. Clearly, I was low maintenance.


  29. #
    Christina — April 18, 2013 @ 9:50 am

    Wow, i have only just discovered that Coriander is known as Cilantro in the States! Nachos look lovely, i’m having beef Tacos (and Beer) for dinner tonight, will try this next week :)


  30. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — April 18, 2013 @ 9:58 am



  31. #
    Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen — April 18, 2013 @ 10:02 am

    I swear, everything you make is basically everything I LOVE. These look so fantastic. And it’s pouring rain in Chicago so all I wanna do is make these nachos, put on pajamas and watch a movie.


  32. #
    nicole — April 18, 2013 @ 10:27 am

    My future mother in law still does the micorwaved “nachos” every time we have tacos at the house.


  33. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — April 18, 2013 @ 10:38 am

    Lately I haven’t wanted to spend any time on food. Being a food blogger thats bad I know. But 20 minutes for these delicious babies…. I’ve got time for that.


  34. #
    Julia — April 18, 2013 @ 10:39 am

    I love nachos..I am boring and usually just do chips with cheese melted but man do these look good!!


  35. #
    Jessica@stuckonsweet — April 18, 2013 @ 10:46 am

    I did the same thing as a kid, too funny! Microwave nachos were the best and still are every now and then! However I am a grown up now and these nachos look amazing and full of flavor! Yum!


  36. #
    Chels R. — April 18, 2013 @ 10:53 am

    yumyumYUM! These are so perfect.


  37. #
    Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog — April 18, 2013 @ 11:06 am

    I love nachos for dinner! They’re quick, easy and delicious. I agree – perfect for using up leftovers and can take so many different forms. One of my favorite restaurants by us puts pulled pork on their nachos. It’s heavenly, just heavenly.


  38. #
    Lacy — April 18, 2013 @ 11:32 am

    slop pile nachos 4 life. none of those organized nachos that my mother pedals.


  39. #
    Lisa — April 18, 2013 @ 11:41 am

    I follow a lot of food blogs, and usually I end up finding a few recipes here and there that I really like and will try. How is it that EVERYTHING on your blog causes me to either
    a) rush out ASAP and buy the ingredients to make whatever ingenious thing you’ve created
    or b) sit in agony at school while my mouth waters and anticipate getting home so I can accomplish a)?

    There is literally not one recipe that you have where I’ve thought, nawwww, don’t think that’ll be good. I kid you not, you are a food genius!

    Thanks for what you do. You are awesome!


  40. #
    Tara — April 18, 2013 @ 11:52 am

    great now I want chipolte for lunch!


  41. #
    Emily Kaz — April 18, 2013 @ 11:54 am

    I did microwaved nachos too! My cheeses of choice were cheddar and Velveeta (not together, of course).

    These look delish, aside from the cilantro. Gross! :)


  42. #
    Amanda — April 18, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

    We’ve been into taco salad lately, so this is right up my alley these days! Looks great! :)


  43. #
    Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen — April 18, 2013 @ 1:32 pm

    I love nachos and I love turkey. Cilantro on top? Hell yes.


  44. #
    Rachel — April 18, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

    I love making turkey nachos! Sometimes I whip a little bit of chipotle into sour cream to give them an extra kick.


  45. #
    Emily @ Life on Food — April 18, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

    I am going on a road trip tonight and I know now I have to stop at Chipotle for dinner. These are some fab-u-lous nachos!


  46. #
    Rayna — April 18, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

    These look awesome! I’m always looking for easy delicious recipes to whip up after a long day at school.


  47. #
    Jess — April 18, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

    I have to thank you. I had a stomach flu for the past two days and NOTHING has sounded good to me since. But your post made me think of the “nachos” my dad used to make – tortilla chips drizzled with Ortega taco sauce and sprinkled with monterey jack and then microwaved – and suddenly I know what I want to eat tonight. So thank you for showing me the way to get protein back into my body. No more Saltines-only diet!


  48. #
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat — April 18, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

    I do love nachos and these sound fantastic!


  49. #
    Mara — April 18, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

    Now I know what’s for dinner tonight!!! Thank you!!!! ;) yummmmmm!


  50. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — April 18, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

    I wish this would magically appear in front of me right now!!



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