Cast Iron Camping Nachos

As you might have guessed by now, Tex-Mex food is one of my favorite cuisines and camping nachos are easy to make.

nachos baked in a dutch oven over the campfire

I’m lucky my husband and child are willing to eat it as often as they do. I could eat it pretty much every week, if not every day. So, even when we are camping, something in this flavor profile is bound to show up. Luckily camping nachos are delicious to eat whenever I have a craving.

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These tasty treats can be made in a cast iron skillet, in a Dutch oven, even in a large pie iron or tin foil pie pan. If we are hungry and they will be the sole item for dinner we tend to make them in our large cast iron skillet. If they are a snack or being served alongside something else, these camping nachos will be made in a pie pan or pie iron.

One of the best parts of nachos is they can be made basic (chips with melted cheese), kitchen sink variety (clean out your refrigerator of anything even slightly appropriate), or anywhere in-between. We love the kitchen sink variety. How does that go? Well, as we are doing our last bit of packing food for the trip, we scour the refrigerator for anything that needs to be used up. Leftover bean dip=sure, those about to be bad green onions= yes please, some olives from last night’s salad=why not, jalapenos=definitely! You get the picture.

Who doesn’t love food cooked over a campfire? Actually, we know a lot of people who don’t and we just have to feel sorry for them. Because we love to cook over a campfire, especially in cast iron. There is just something so delightful about the smoky aroma and taste cooking anything over a fire creates. These camping nachos showcase that beautifully.

What we love about Camping Nachos:

  • We can clean out the refrigerator with these
  • All that ooey gooey melted cheese
  • They can be as mild or as spicy as we want

The Ingredients for Camping Nachos:

  • Oil (we don’t want to burn the bottom layer)
  • Chips (thicker, cheaper ones work well in this recipe)
  • Cheese (it always makes me mad to order “nachos with cheese” – they can’t be nachos without the cheese!)
  • Toppings (onions, beans, meat, what do you like?)
  • Guacamole, Salsa, and Sour Cream (pretty please)
chips over foil
nachos covered in foil for cooking
nacho toppings on chips
Dutch Oven over coals for cooking

The Process for Camping Nachos:

  1. Start your campfire or heat up your grill so that your heat source is ready. If using wood or charcoal, let the flames die out prior to cooking your food.
  2. We like to swirl a little oil in the bottom of our cast iron prior to beginning. If we are using a tin foil dish, we would spray it with cooking spray.
  3. Place a layer of chips, trying to cover every inch so you can’t see the skillet base at all.
  4. Scatter one cup cheese over the chips.
  5. Distribute one third of your toppings over the cheese.
  6. Proceed with a second layer of chips, cheese, and toppings.
  7. If you have room, go for a third layer of everything.
  8. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and place sprayed side down over your nachos. You want an oven effect, and you don’t want your foil to stick to your melted cheese.
  9. Place skillet on a grate over your coals and allow everything to cook through.
  10. Cook until cheese is melted, maybe 15 minutes depending on how hot your fire is. Check every five minutes or so, starting at ten.

FAQ and How to Customize:

Q. Why do you recommend the cheap chips?

A. While they don’t have to be cheap, we do recommend the thicker chips because they are better equipped to handle the cooking process without becoming total mush. If thin chips are all we have, we use those and know that this will be a fork meal, not a finger meal.

Q. What sort of cheese should I use?

A. We almost always have a shredded Mexican cheese blend in the house, and I grab some of that. However, if we were to be out of this, we would use any shredded cheese we have available. While we understand how much better it is to shred our own from a block, I’m not going to take the time to do that while camping. And, to be honest, I am often not going to take the time to do that at home either. It is what it is.

Q. Have you ever had any toppings that were bad?

A. I don’t recall any toppings we have ever tried that were not good. But I have been making nachos since I was a kid so I’ve had lots of practice. I wouldn’t put raw vegetables on mine, at least not prior to the fire. Any avocado or onions I would add after the fact. But that is personal preference.

Equipment needed

  • Cast iron skillet OR Dutch oven OR Tin foil pan: We choose our cooking vessel based on how many people we are serving.      
  • Tongs: In case you need to move coals around to create a more even temperature
  • Heat resistant gloves: If you are going to be working around a fire, at some point you will probably get burned. These gloves can help prevent that.

More Skillet Recipes to Enjoy:

Camping Nachos

Enjoy these easy camping nachos for a snack or even a meal as you choose.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: camping, cast iron, cheese, tex mex
Servings: 4 people

Equipment

  • cast iron skillet OR Dutch oven OR tin foil pie pan

Ingredients

  • oil or cooking spray
  • 18 oz bag of tortilla chips
  • 3 cups shredded cheese
  • onions, beans, meat, etc.
  • guacamole, salsa, sour cream

Instructions

  • Start your campfire or heat up your grill so that your heat source is ready. If using wood or charcoal, let the flames die out prior to cooking your food.
  • We like to swirl a little oil in the bottom of our cast iron prior to beginning. If we are using a tin foil dish, we would spray it with cooking spray.
  • Place a layer of chips, trying to cover every inch so you can’t see the skillet base at all.
  • Scatter one cup of cheese over the chips.
  • Distribute one third of your toppings over the cheese.
  • Proceed with a second layer of chips, cheese, and toppings.
  • If you have room, go for a third layer of everything.
  • Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and place sprayed side down over your nachos. You want an oven effect, and you don’t want your foil to stick to your melted cheese.
  • Place skillet on a grate over your coals and allow everything to cook through.
  • Cook until cheese is melted, maybe 15 minutes depending on how hot your fire is. Check every five minutes or so, starting at ten.

Tag us on Instagram @campinganswer and show us your versions of nachos made while camping. Any topping suggestions we need to try?

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