Life is too short to be eating subpar nachos. But more often than we'd like to admit, we've choked down a none-too-pleasant plate at a tailgating party or restaurant, simply because it was there.
In honor of National Nachos Day, however, we scoured the Internet to find some of the best tips for ensuring a tasty batch of this beloved snack-food staple, like choosing the right crunch, or making sure to monitor your topping-to-chip ratio.
Here are five tips and tricks for a perfect nacho experience.
Start with thicker chips.
While you may be thinking that any ol' tortilla chip will do, this is not the case. Making your own chip is ideal, but not always practical. So, when deciding which store bought variation is best, Dawn Perry, a digital food editor for Bon Appétit, warns against going too thin. "A thin chip may be crunchy and crisp, but it can't take the weight of all of the toppings," she says. Make sure your chip can support the weight of whatever toppings you choose.
Don't overload each chip.
Genaro Silva, a Dallas-based Tex-Mex chef, tells Thrillist that each nacho should be its own "nice mouthful," though not too loaded with toppings. "Make absolutely sure that you can fit a whole nacho into your mouth. That's part of the fun of these morsels."
Choose your cheese wisely.
Cheese is, arguably, the most essential ingredient in nachos after the chips. And the key to great nachos, at least according to Real Simple, is using both a cheese sauce and shredded cheese, divided between the layers of your chips. They also note that some restaurants add spice to their cheese sauces by adding peppers or hot sauce for an extra kick.
Don’t mix hot and cold.
Mashed suggests baking only the ingredients you want to be warm — beans, cheese, chips, meat — and keeping your cold ingredients separate. Then, just before you serve, slap on the guac, pico de gallo, sour cream or fresh cilantro or scallion. Not only will this ensure a more flavorful dish, but it also goes a long way toward keeping the nachos from getting soggy and saggy during cooking.
Use aluminum foil.
Do you know what ruins the entire nacho experience? Scraping off dried cheese from your baking sheets. Ensure easy clean-up by lining your pan with aluminum foil before constructing your layers of cheesy goodness.