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The Best Way to Reheat Nachos: A Step-by-Step Guide

Who doesn’t love a heaping plateful of hot, cheesy, spicy nachos? Nachos — typically a pile of tortilla chips covered with melted cheese or cheese sauce and then layered with an abundance of toppings, ranging from refried beans to guacamole to sour cream — were actually invented in Mexico, according to Cauldron Foods.

As the legend goes, in 1943, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, the owner of a restaurant in the Mexican state of Coahuila, found himself working in the kitchen without his chef. Visited by a group of hungry U.S. military wives, Anaya grabbed what he could: fried tortillas, served warm with grated cheese and jalapeño peppers. Over time, the dish spread north into Texas and the Southwest, adding many more toppings in the typical if-a-lot-is-good, more-is-better American fashion.

Today, nachos can be found not only in Mexican and Tex-Mex joints, but in bars and cafés of all stripes. And if you find yourself toting home a doggie bag of leftover nachos, you may have wondered: What’s the best way to reheat them without everything turning into a soggy mess? Read on to find out.

In the oven

Nachos on baking sheet

The oven is the best method by far for reheating nachos, according to The Fork Bite. This method can ably restore the crispiness of the corn chips and the meltiness of the cheese without inducing sog. The No. 1 tip for reheating nachos successfully is to start by scraping off any cold toppings such as shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, or salsa; you can pop them back on top after reheating, so they don’t get warm. Toppings such as beans or ground beef can stay.

To reheat nachos in the oven, preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, or to 250 degrees if the nachos have beans, so that they don’t dry out. Place the nachos onto a baking sheet or baking dish, or on an oven-safe plate, and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for up to 15 minutes, per TheEatDown, until they’re warm and the cheese has melted, then remove them and replace the cold toppings.

In the toaster oven

Close-up of nachos

If you have a smaller portion of leftover nachos to reheat, you can use the toaster oven. Since a toaster oven is just a small version of a regular oven, the method here is exactly the same as reheating in a large oven, and will restore the crispiness of the chips and the meltiness of the cheese with the same level of success.

For leftover nachos, start by scraping off the cold toppings and setting these aside for after the reheating’s done (per The Fork Bite). Preheat your toaster oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit, place the nachos in an oven safe dish, and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake the nachos for up to 15 minutes, until they’re warm and the cheese has melted, then remove them and set them aside to cool for a few minutes. Replace the cold toppings, and you’re ready to eat your good-as-new nachos.

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Under the broiler

Nachos on baking sheet

Since reheating leftover nachos is mainly a question of re-crisping now-soggy tortilla chips, the concentrated heat of your oven’s broiler is a great way to heat things up quickly — albeit a method that demands a certain level of attention in order to avoid burning.

To reheat leftover nachos under the broiler, according to First for Women, start by heating your oven’s broiler. Scrape off any cold toppings such as shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, or salsa, then portion the leftover nachos onto an oven-safe baking dish, baking sheet, or plate. Place the pan of nachos under the broiler, watching them reheat closely to make sure they don’t burn, for 1 to 3 minutes. Remove the nachos from the broiler and let them cool for a few minutes to avoid burning your mouth. Replace the cold toppings, and you’re ready to dig in — into your perfectly reheated nachos.

On the stovetop

Nachos in a skillet

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While the concentrated heat of an oven, toaster oven, or broiler are among the best ways to re-crisp your leftover nachos, reheating them in a skillet on the stovetop is also a good choice, according to The Fork Bite. The method, while effective, requires some extra care in order to ensure that your leftover nachos crisp up instead of steaming.

To reheat leftover nachos on the stovetop, scrape off any cold toppings, then spread a portion of nachos evenly across a heavy-bottomed skillet or cast iron pan. Make sure your layer of nachos isn’t too thick, and be sure not to overcrowd the pan — two moves that can lead to soggy nachos. Place a layer of aluminum foil over the top of the pan, then replace the pan’s lid. Heat the pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the nachos are crisp and warm. Replace the cold toppings, then dig in.

In the air fryer

Bowl of nachos

Over the past few years, the air fryer has seen a surge in popularity as more and more home cooks turn to the convenience of this countertop gadget that promises hot, crispy food that’s “fried” in air instead of unhealthy vegetable oils. Because of its concentrated heat, the air fryer is a surprisingly effective way to reheat leftover nachos, as TheEatDown explains.

To do so, start by preheating your air fryer to 370 degrees Fahrenheit and spraying the fryer insert with a light mist of cooking spray. Scrape off any cold toppings, then place your portion of nachos into the fryer insert. Air fry the nachos for 6 to 7 minutes, making sure they’re hot and crispy, then replace the cold toppings and you’re ready to eat.

One reheating appliance that failed to make this list is the microwave, and for good reason: the steam heat facilitated by a microwave is almost always bound to make leftovers soggy, per First for Women. So when you’re reheating nachos, step away from the microwave and utilize one of the many methods listed above.

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