Loaded BBQ Chicken Nugget Nachos

If you want to make a dinner out of nachos, this is how.

They’re loaded with avocado chunks, juicy tomatoes and corn, and bbq sauce-smothered chicken nuggets.

Loaded BBQ Chicken Nugget Nachos (with vegan/GF options) - Chicken nuggets coated in BBQ sauce on top of cheesy nachos. Perfect party food!

Or in my case, chicken-less chicken nuggets, and you can use vegan cheese to keep them vegan.

They’ll be a guaranteed hit with who ever is lucky enough to indulge in this melty cheese fest, and they’re ready in 30 minutes.

Loaded BBQ Chicken Nugget Nachos (with vegan/GF options) - Chicken nuggets coated in BBQ sauce on top of cheesy nachos. Perfect party food!

Begin by dicing the nuggets and tossing them with bbq sauce. I used Trader Joe’s chicken-less nuggets, or try Morningstar, real chicken nuggets, or leftover shredded chicken. Whatever chicken option used, it needs a healthy soak in a bbq sauce bath for flavor, and so nuggets stay juicy and saucy during baking.

I used TJ’s Carolina Gold bbq sauce, which is new to me. There’s a touch of molasses, and it’s a little sweet with a slight kick. My not quite 7-year old doesn’t like sauces that are too hot and this one wasn’t.

Loaded BBQ Chicken Nugget Nachos (with vegan/GF options) - Chicken nuggets coated in BBQ sauce on top of cheesy nachos. Perfect party food!

After the nuggets are marinating, add corn tortilla chips in a pie dish, cover with shredded (vegan) cheese, top with tomato, avocado, corn, and then add the sauced up nuggets.

Sprinkle with a little more cheese and bake until the cheese is melted. So easy.

Loaded BBQ Chicken Nugget Nachos (with vegan/GF options) - Chicken nuggets coated in BBQ sauce on top of cheesy nachos. Perfect party food!

The recipe is highly adaptable and if you want to add a handful of black beans, refried beans, jalepenos, bell peppers, bean and corn salsa, or anything else you love on your nachos, go for it. Don’t like avocado? Omit.

I don’t think they need sour cream, salsa, pico de gallo, guac, or other dippers because there’s already so many great flavors, but it can’t hurt if you hoard condiments like I do and have any or all on hand.

Loaded BBQ Chicken Nugget Nachos (with vegan/GF options) - Chicken nuggets coated in BBQ sauce on top of cheesy nachos. Perfect party food!

Some of the chips stayed perfectly crisp, while others softened from the melted cheese, juicy tomatoes and corn, and the saucy nuggets. The balance of crispy and crunchy, tempered with soft and chewy, is just perfect. Every bite is total comfort food, and I’ll happily skip dinner for these.

I love eating food that’s rich in color, and the pops of green, orange, and red draw me in. And the subtle texture from the avocado, corn, and tomato are welcome against the soft, gooey cheese.

Loaded BBQ Chicken Nugget Nachos (with vegan/GF options) - Chicken nuggets coated in BBQ sauce on top of cheesy nachos. Perfect party food!

Having some ‘vegetables’ at every meal is a good thing, too. That is, if you can call corn a vegetable. And avocado and tomatoes are really fruits, but who’s counting. Especially when you’re having nachos for dinner.

The flavor from the bbq sauce gently permeates the dish, and everything takes on a smoky yet slightly sweet with heat quality. Make sure you like the bbq you choose and I loved this one.

Loaded BBQ Chicken Nugget Nachos (with vegan/GF options) - Chicken nuggets coated in BBQ sauce on top of cheesy nachos. Perfect party food!

My daughter’s favorite part was picking off the chicken-less nuggets. I’ve never met a kid who didn’t like nuggets.

Or most adults. Especially ones who watch games. This is perfect Superbowl food.

Loaded BBQ Chicken Nugget Nachos (with vegan/GF options) - Chicken nuggets coated in BBQ sauce on top of cheesy nachos. Perfect party food!

Loaded BBQ Chicken Nugget Nachos (with vegan/GF options) - Chicken nuggets coated in BBQ sauce on top of cheesy nachos. Perfect party food!

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Loaded BBQ Chicken Nugget Nachos (with vegan/GF options)

You can make a dinner out of these nachos. They're loaded with avocado chunks, juicy tomatoes and corn, and bbq sauce-smothered chicken(less) nuggets. Some of the chips stayed perfectly crisp, while others soften from the melted cheese, juicy tomatoes and corn, and saucy nuggets. The balance of crispy and crunchy, tempered with soft and chewy, is wonderful. The flavor from the bbq sauce gently permeates the nachos, and everything takes on a smoky yet slightly sweet with heat quality. The recipe is highly adaptable and if you want to add a handful of black beans, refried beans, jalepenos, bell peppers, or salsa, feel free. The recipe can be kept vegan by using chickenless/faux nuggets and vegan cheese. The recipe can be kept gluten-free by using a protein without breading provided corn chips are GF.

Yield: one 9-inch round pie dish, 4 meal-sized portions

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: about 18 minutes

Total Time: about 30 minutes

Ingredients:

8 ounces chicken(less) nuggets, thawed and diced into 1/2-inch pieces (shredded chicken may be substituted)
about 1 cup bbq sauce
4 to 5 cups corn tortilla chips, or enough to cover pie dish base with some overlapping
6 ounces shredded (vegan) cheese, divided
1 medium ripe tomato, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled, de-seeded, and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)
1/2 cup black beans, jalepenos, black olives, or diced bell peppers, all optional
cilantro, sour cream, salsa, guac, pico de gallo, all are optional for garnishing and serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly spray a 9-inch round pie dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Thaw and then dice the chicken nuggets into 1/2-inch pieces.
  3. Place nuggets in a medium bowl, cover with about 1 cup bbq sauce, and toss gently to evenly coat. Use enough bbq sauce so the nuggets are really juicy and well-coated. Set bowl aside while assembling the nachos; nuggets will soak up some of the bbq sauce.
  4. Add corn chips to prepared pie dish, arranging chips so the base of pie dish is completely covered. Chips need to overlap in places so there aren't gaps. I made a double-layer of chips.
  5. Evenly sprinkle about 4 ounces cheese over chips.
  6. Evenly sprinkle the tomato, avocado, corn, and any optional toppings.
  7. Evenly sprinkle with the chicken nuggets. My nuggets were very moist and drippy, and I drizzled on of the residual bbq sauce from the marinating bowl.
  8. Evenly sprinkle with the remaining cheese, about 2 ounces.
  9. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly, melted, and nachos are done. Baking times may vary widely based on brand and type of cheese used, juiciness of nuggets, moisture level in tomato, avo, corn, if optional ingredients were used, climate and oven variance, etc. Watch your nachos, not the clock.
  10. Optionally, garnish and serve nachos with cilantro, sour cream, salsa, guac, pico de gallo. Nachos are best fresh and warm.

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37 Responses to “Loaded BBQ Chicken Nugget Nachos”

  1. #
    1
    movita beaucoup — January 23, 2014 at 3:15 am

    WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME? The combination of chicken nuggets and nachos is completely overwhelming in the best of possible ways. (The avocado, corn and tomato? The perfect, fresh addition.) We’re just digging out from a (second) blizzard here. I believe nachos are recommended for healing muscles… right?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 23rd, 2014 at 4:00 am

      It was like…75F and sunny in San Diego yesterday. And the day before. And tomorrow. God I feel for you. And yes you NEED food like this for shoveling! Comfort food :)

      Reply

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    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles — January 23, 2014 at 3:25 am

    That is my favorite BBQ sauce right now and we always have those chickenless tenders in the house! They are so good and my son loves them!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 23rd, 2014 at 3:59 am

      I am totally sold now too on the bbq sauce!

      Reply

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    Paula — January 23, 2014 at 3:54 am

    This is a great twist on nachos! BBQ sauce is something I always try to have on hand because it jazzes up almost anything–even my steamed veggies manage to slide across my plate and pick up a swipe. This type of recipe reminds me that the Super Bowl is coming up–but I don’t need a football game to make this. A good movie would be a perfect pairing for me!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 23rd, 2014 at 3:59 am

      I avoid football like the plague. But am trying to show some gameday spirit :) I normally dont eat a ton of bbq b/c it’s sodium city (although totally agree w/ you about jazzing up anything) but this TJs stuff was so worth it!

      Reply

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    4
    Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! — January 23, 2014 at 5:02 am

    This IS perfect Superbowl food! Gosh, we may just need to make these next weekend. YUM.

    Reply

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    Madison — January 23, 2014 at 5:32 am

    Oh my gosh–these are TRULY loaded and that is amazing!

    Reply

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    Tieghan Gerard — January 23, 2014 at 5:45 am

    I love loaded nachos!! These look amazing, Averie! The BBQ twist sounds delicious!

    Reply

  7. #
    7
    Faith @ Pixie Dust Kitchen — January 23, 2014 at 6:35 am

    These wouldn’t last long around here, my boyfriends name is written all over this. He’d probably scarf down the entire pan by himself. This is a complete taste and sensory overload, and I love it!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 23rd, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      They’re super addictive & easy to scarf!

      Reply

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    Elaine @ Cooking to Perfection — January 23, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Your pictures are gorgeous, Averie! So colorful and bright. And the recipe tops the pictures. These loaded nachos sound out of this world.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 23rd, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      Thanks for the compliments, Elaine!

      Reply

  9. #
    9
    Kristin @ Tastefully Gluten Free — January 23, 2014 at 7:27 am

    I love how these nachos look with all of the different colors, plus it sounds like it would be totally delicious! I’m all about turning snacks into meals!

    Reply

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    10
    Happy Valley Chow — January 23, 2014 at 8:03 am

    I have always wanted to try those chickenless chicken tenders just to see what they taste like. These nachos look bangin! Great job Averie :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 23rd, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      They’re definitely a good meatless chicken nugget option!

      Reply

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    Kris — January 23, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I’m pretty sure my son won’t tolerate the barbeque sauce (darn it!)–if I bury the chicken under the cheese, will it be less likely to get dried out? Maybe I should do it chicken-less and we can add our chosen meat on top. I need to come up with meal plans that don’t involve soup or stew (my go-to’s with the kind of winter we’ve been having!). This would fit the bill.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 23rd, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Would he like sweet and sour sauce instead? Or you can just add the chicken on plain after you bake it. I fear if you don’t sauce it up first, yes, it would get a little dried out.

      Reply

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    12
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — January 23, 2014 at 11:58 am

    So perfect for game day, guys would go crazy for these!

    Reply

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    Julie — January 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Oh Averie…while your sweets and baked goods are always decadently stellar, I love when you switch it up with something savory and these nachos are mouthwatering! I will change nothing other than using real chicken chunks or shreds. Beautiful photos as always. Yum, thank you!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 23rd, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      Thanks for the compliments, Julie, and glad you like the savory recipes, too!

      Reply

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    Alyssa @ My Sequined Life — January 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    One of my guilty pleasures when we’re going out to eat is to share a plate nachos with chicken with my boyfriend as our dinner. I also dunk a whole lot of what I eat in BBQ sauce. This recipe is SO happening!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 23rd, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      Nachos for dinner is totally awesome :)

      Reply

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    Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine — January 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Ohhh yum! I love anything barbecue! These look WONDERFUL

    Reply

  16. #
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    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — January 23, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    This is epic, Averie! I’d be the first to pick up the nuggets too!

    Reply

  17. #
    17
    Trish - Mom On Timeout — January 23, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    These nachos look totally killer Averie! I want to dive right in :)

    Reply

  18. #
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    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — January 23, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I would have to make two batches of these nachos – they will go in a flash!! Pinned!

    Reply

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    19
    CakePants — January 23, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I think this is where New Year’s resolutions go to die (and I mean that in the best possible way!)…I love the combo of chicken nuggets and nachos!

    Reply

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    20
    Emily @ Life on Food — January 25, 2014 at 10:11 am

    I love love love nachos. It is my favorite snack, appetizer and dinner. These look fabulous!

    Reply

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    21
    Kevin @ Closet Cooking — January 26, 2014 at 7:21 am

    This looks so good!

    Reply

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    22
    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence — January 29, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Haha I am juicing right now, and it’s a bit torturous looking at your photos. I really want some nachos now :)!!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 30th, 2014 at 2:13 am

      You’re juicing? Like, a juice cleanse/fast? You go, Brandon! That is awesome & it’s sooooo hard to be a juicing food blogger. Been there, a few times. HANG IN THERE!!!!

      Reply

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    Nutmeg Nanny — February 1, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Oh my god! I am drooling over here, look at those photos! This looks amazing, I am dying to get a taste :)

    Reply

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    Jen — July 16, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Made these last night! My super picky husband had 3 platefuls! Needless to say, I will def. be making them again. I grilled chicken w BBQ seasoning. Then added BBQ sauce. I also added black beans and doubled the recipe too. Thanks so much :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 16th, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      Thanks for trying this, Jen, and so glad you liked it as did the picky husband! That’s wonderful! Black beans and doubling the recipe even, love to hear that!

      Reply

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    Julie Blanner — August 12, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Looks super easy and something I am sure my whole family will enjoy!

    Reply

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