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Cheese/ Finger Food/ Summer Lovin'/ Tex Mex

Delicious No Bake Nachos

August 14, 2020 (Last Updated: June 11, 2022) by Chris Collins

These Nachos are made with a homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce and topped with an easy Black Bean Salsa. They’re great to prep ahead of time and perfect to feed a crowd!

side view of double layer nachos with guac blurred in background

Black Bean Salsa

There’s a fair few things that go nicely with nachos – ground beef, chicken and pulled pork to name a few. To keep in line with the ‘easy’ aspect of these nachos I love whipping up a quick and easy black bean salsa. Salsa already goes hand in hand with nachos, but by adding the black beans you bulk it out and make the salsa more hearty. It elevates the salsa from being a side to being the main event!

Good Quality Tomatoes

The tomatoes make up a good chunk of the salsa, and as such it’s important to really invest in some quality tomatoes. Here I use vine-ripened tomatoes. Plum tomatoes also work nicely. The difference between old/cheap and fresh/quality tomatoes is huge! Especially in this context as they’re not cooked.

Fresh Ingredients

Again, we want this salsa to shine, so it’s important to use fresh ingredients. That means fresh jalapeños over pickled, fresh coriander/cilantro over dried, fresh lime juice over bottled and fresh garlic over jarred. Canned black beans however are fine, that’s my limit 😂

Make Ahead: Tightly cover in the fridge until needed. I recommend leaving out the salt and lime juice and adding just before serving, otherwise it’ll extract the moisture from the tomatoes and leave it soupy.

3 step by step photos showing How to make Black Bean Salsa

Nacho Cheese Sauce

Now here’s where the fun begins. Because we’re not baking the nachos we don’t want to use fresh cheese, for the obvious reason it won’t melt. And the thought of un-melted grated cheese on nachos is making me queasy. So, we’re gonna whip up some homemade cheese sauce.

How do you make Nacho Cheese Sauce?

It’s actually incredibly easy, all you need to do is make a roux. Put simply, this is a sauce made from butter, flour and milk. By stirring flour into melted butter and whisking in milk you create a thickened sauce which is a great base for many dishes. From there just stir through your cheese and Bob’s your uncle!

What cheese to use for Nacho Cheese Sauce?

In reality you can use any cheese you fancy. Traditionally it’s processed American style cheese that is used, but cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack and Mexican style cheese all work great. Just stay away from mozzarella or it’ll go stringy instead of nice and oozy. Also stay away from pre grated cheese, it’ll make the sauce go grainy.

Make Ahead: Allow to completely cool, then tightly cover and store in the fridge. It will thicken quite considerably as it cools.

Process shots: melt butter (photo 1), stir in flour (photo 2), gradually whisk in milk and add seasoning (photo 3) stir in cheese (photo 4).

4 step by step photos showing How to make Nacho Cheese Sauce

close up shot of wooden spoon scooping nacho cheese sauce out of pan

How to make Nachos

Alrighty, now the easy part. To stack nachos I hope it goes without saying they’ve gotta be double decker. Hey, I don’t make the rules. When choosing what tortilla chips to use just make sure they’re quite chunky/sturdy or they’ll go mushy.

What to serve with nachos?

For these I usually go for a pot of sour cream on the side. Guac if I’m feeling wild.

Can I prep these ahead of time?

Absolutely! Because you don’t need an oven these are perfect for trips away, scorching hot days when you don’t want the oven on and even things like camping! As I mentioned earlier you can make the salsa and cheese sauce ahead of time, so you just need to stack before serving. The cheese sauce will need heating up either on the stove or in the microwave (more on that in the recipe notes).

Process shots: spread tortilla chips (photo 1), drizzle with cheese sauce (photo 2), top with salsa and more chips (photo 3), pour over more sauce (photo 4), top with the rest of the salsa (photo 5), tuck in! (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing How to make Nachos

And there we have it! All my top tips for the perfect no bake nachos.

For more nacho recipes check out my Gnocchi Nachos, BBQ Chicken Nachos, Irish Nachos and Chicken Fajita Nachos!

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for these no bake nachos shall we?!

dunking a tortilla chip into a small pot of sour cream

How to make Nachos (Full Recipe & Video)

close up shot of cheese drippings of tortilla chip

Delicious No Bake Nachos

These Nachos are made with a homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce and topped with an easy Black Bean Salsa. They're great to prep ahead of time and perfect to feed a crowd!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings (click & slide): 6
Course: Appetizer / Finger Food
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Calories per serving: 554kcal
Cost per serving: £1.50 / $2


  • Large Serving Plate/Dish
  • Medium Sized Pan/Pot & Whisk (for cheese sauce)
  • Medium Sized Mixing Bowl & Spatula (for salsa)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Cheese Grater

Ingredients (check list):

Black Bean Salsa

  • 1x 14oz/400g can of Black Beans, drained & rinsed
  • 10.5oz / 300g Good Quality Tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 medium Onion, finely diced
  • 1 small bunch of Coriander/Cilantro, finely diced (or to taste)
  • 1-4 Jalapeños, finely diced (depending on spice preference)
  • 1-2 Fresh Limes
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil,
  • 3/4 tsp Cumin
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Cheese Sauce

  • 3-4 cups / 300-400g Cheese (see notes)
  • 2 cups / 480ml Milk, at room temp
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 3 tbsp Flour
  • 1 tsp Hot Sauce, or to taste (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste



  • In a medium sized bowl, combine all of your ingredients apart from the Jalapeños and 1 lime. Taste test for seasoning, then little by little add in your preferred amount of Jalapeño, 1 being fairly mild and 4 being spicy. Add more lime juice to taste.

Cheese Sauce

  • Melt 3 tbsp butter into a pan over medium heat, then whisk in 3 tbsp flour until a paste forms. Very gradually begin pouring in the milk, whisking as you go to ensure no lumps form. Once the sauce has thickened, season to taste and add hot sauce (optional). Turn heat to low and start stirring in your cheese until thick and gloopy/cheesy. 4cups/400g will not only make the sauce more cheesy, but will make it slightly thicker. The sauce will thicken considerably as it rests.


  • Spread half the tortilla chips, top with cheese sauce then sprinkle over salsa. Repeat a second layer then tuck in!

Quick 1 min demo!


a) Tomatoes - As the tomatoes make up the bulk of the salsa, I recommend investing in some good quality tomatoes. Here I use vine-ripened tomatoes, but plum tomatoes also work nicely.
b) Cheese - In reality you can use any cheese you fancy. I usually go for a classic Cheddar, but Monterey Jack/Pepper Jack and Mexican Style Cheese all work nicely (or a combo of each). For a more traditional nacho cheese use processed American cheese! Stay away from pre grated stuff or the sauce will go grainy.
c) Can I prep these ahead of time? - Yes! For the salsa I recommend leaving out the salt and lime juice and adding before serving. Both of these will draw out moisture from the tomatoes and turn the salsa soupy. Just tightly seal and leave in the fridge until needed. For the sauce just allow it to completely cool, then tightly seal and pop in the fridge. To reheat I recommend popping it on the stove on a low heat, gently stirring as you reheat to ensure it doesn't split. Use a dash of milk to thin out if needed. You can also reheat in the microwave, just do lots of short blasts and stir in between to ensure it doesn't split. Again, use milk to thin out as needed.
d) To Serve - I usually serve with a pot of sour cream. Guac also goes nicely with this (which you can also make ahead of time).
e) Calories - based on using 2 jalapeños, 1 lime and 3.5cups Monterey Jack cheese. All shared between 6 people. 

Your Private Notes:


Nutrition Facts
Delicious No Bake Nachos
Amount Per Serving
Calories 554 Calories from Fat 269
% Daily Value*
Fat 29.94g46%
Saturated Fat 16.649g83%
Trans Fat 0.07g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.119g
Monounsaturated Fat 9.607g
Cholesterol 73mg24%
Sodium 790mg33%
Potassium 609mg17%
Carbohydrates 46.15g15%
Fiber 5.7g23%
Sugar 7.81g9%
Protein 26.46g53%
Vitamin A 1598IU32%
Vitamin C 49mg59%
Calcium 678mg68%
Iron 2.59mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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Recipe Rating


  • Reply
    July 24, 2023 at 1:52 am

    How long can these be made ahead without having soggy nacho scoop chip and to serve cold?

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      July 24, 2023 at 10:58 am

      I definitely wouldn’t make them ahead of time as they’ll go soggy, but you could make the sauce and salsa separately ahead of time. C.

  • Reply
    November 20, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    5 stars
    That cheese sauce is SO good I could basically drink it!! Thanks for a great recipe!!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 21, 2020 at 12:14 pm

      I usually do!!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    5 stars
    Yesss. Nachos are my favorite guilty pleasure. That cheese sauce is

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 21, 2020 at 12:14 pm

      Thanks Michelle 🙂

  • Reply
    Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
    November 20, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    5 stars
    These are just what I needed to see on a Friday evening when I am wondering what to make! These look so delicious, you just can’t beat nachos!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 21, 2020 at 12:13 pm

      You really can’t can you!? Thanks Bintu 🙂

  • Reply
    Marie-Charlotte Chatelain
    November 20, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    5 stars
    I always tend to singe the edges of nachos while the cheese is still cold so this recipe is perfect for me!Thanks

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 21, 2020 at 12:13 pm

      Amazing! Glad it’s useful!!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    5 stars
    I agree, nachos have got to be double decker! These look incredible!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 21, 2020 at 12:11 pm

      Double decker all the way!! 🙂