Campfire Nachos are a super easy camping meal that the whole family loves!!! You may not of thought of nachos as a make-ahead camping meal, but I’m going to show you how to make this seasoned enchilada chicken ahead of time at home and then just warm everything up at the campsite over an open fire, on a barbecue grill, or when using a camp stove.
On any camping trip, you need versatile recipes and food ideas. This nachos recipe is one of our family favorites with shredded chicken cooked in green enchilada sauce, pinto or black beans, corn, and mounds of cheese. It’s a make-ahead meal that just makes camp cooking easier and tastes great. What’s not to love about that?
Campfire Nachos – Two Ways
When I plan out my camp menu, I look for camping trip food ideas that can be cooked using different equipment and heating methods. There have been times that an unexpected area burn ban and an empty propane canister (luckily not on the same trip) sent me scrambling for cooking solutions. Nachos can be cooked in several different ways. Plus if we ever go camping with picky eaters, these are easily customized and can be made into small heavy-duty foil packets for one or two people.
When you are looking for camping recipes, you need recipes that can be cooked using different equipment/heating methods. I really like to make these campfire nachos over an open fire with a foil pocket or pan, but they can also be made in a pan using a camp stove or canister/rocket stove.
Make Ahead Camping Meal
Opting to pre-cook your chicken will save you time at the campsite and allow you to make quick work of cooking outdoors. I cook chicken breasts with a small can of green enchilada sauce, extra garlic, cumin, and onion powder. Once cooked, I shred the chicken and reduce the sauce a bit to thicken it up. After cooking, I let it cool completely and freeze in plastic storage bags. I like to use Foodsaver bags because they are more durable than ordinary bags and they do much better if I want to boil in a bag to reheat the chicken at the campsite.
Grilled Nachos in Foil Pan
My preferred way to cook nachos is over a fire using a camping grate. They get that smokey flavor that I just love from cooking over an open flame.
I start by heating up my pre cooked chicken in a pan or by placing the sealed bag in a pot of hot water (not boiling). Next I’ll lightly spray a 9×13 foil pan with cooking spray to prevent cheese from sticking. Next, I will layer chips on the bottom, followed by chicken, beans, corn, and cheese in layers. I find it best to do thinner layers and repeat so the cheese melts over everything. Add a sheet of heavy duty foil to the pan and seal tightly. Place the foil pan over indirect medium-high heat and rotate the pan every 3-4 minutes to prevent food from burning.
Cooking time will vary depending on the fire/cooking temperature. But I carefully lift the foil with long handled tongs and check after 10 minutes to see if the cheese is melted. If not, I check again every 4-5 minutes after that. Once the cheese is melted and everything is heated thru, remove from the heat and uncover completely. Top nachos with diced tomatoes, pickled jalapenos and carrots, guacamole, salsa, black olives, sour cream, or other nacho accompaniments.
How Do You Cook When You Can’t Start a Campfire?
There are times when you can’t cook over a campfire. It could be raining, too windy, or in a high fire danger situation where making a campfire is not an option. It pays to have a backup cooking solution like a propane cook stove or pocket stove. A few years ago, we were camping just outside Rocky Mountain National Park and there was a county wide burn ban in effect during our entire trip. Wood or charcoal fires were NOT allowed, but we had our propane fueled camp stove with us luckily. We cooked all of our hot meals on the stove’s two burners.
Cast Iron Skillet Nachos Camping
A cast iron skillet is a handy tool in your camp kitchen. It cooks evenly and retains heat exceptionally well. You can use it over a fire with a cooking grate or on a camp stove. Only downside is it is HEAVY and is not a great option beyond car camping or RVing.
If you can’t cook with an open fire, using a camp stove with a cast iron skillet is a good option for this camp recipe. To make cooking easier, I’ll combine the chicken, beans, and corn into the same pot and heat it through on top of the camp stove. On the other stove burner, I will heat up a cast-iron skillet over a medium flame and lightly spray it with cooking spray so things don’t stick. Once the chicken is hot, I’ll add a thick layer of tortilla chips onto the skillet, followed by the chicken and bean mixture, and lastly the cheese. After I add everything I will turn off the heat and place a metal plate, pot lid, or aluminum foil over nachos and allow the heat from the chicken and skillet to melt the cheese. It usually takes 3-4 minutes for the cheese to melt. Once it does I’ll uncover it and top with guacamole, tomatoes, chopped green onions, salsa, etc.
- 2 large chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
- 14oz can of green enchilada sauce
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1- 14oz can beans, black or pinto (drained)
- 1- 14oz can corn (drained)
- 16 oz shredded cheddar or colby cheese
- 1 bag tortilla chips (16 oz)
- Chopped tomatoes (optional)
- Sliced Jalapenos (optional)
- Cooking spray
Green Enchilada Chicken (premade at home)
Campfire Nachos (Onsite)
Using Foil Pan over Campfire
Using Camp Stove
- Heat up a cast-iron skillet on the other camp stove burner over a medium flame. Spray with cooking spray so things don't stick.
- Once the chicken is hot, add a thick layer of chips onto the skillet. Follow with chicken, beans, and corn.
- Finish by topping nachos with shredded cheese.
- Place a metal plate, pot lid, or aluminum foil over nachos and a cast iron skillet. Turn off the heat and allow the heat from the chicken and skillet to melt the cheese. Allow to 3-4 minutes for the cheese to melt.
- Uncover carefully and top with guacamole, tomatoes, salsa, etc.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 490Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 960mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 6gSugar: 7gProtein: 28g
Whichever way you choose to make these grilled chicken nachos, they are always delicious. For a twist on this recipe, you can swap out the enchilada sauce and chicken for tomato salsa and taco seasoned ground turkey or beef. Experiment and see what you like and let us know what combination of flavors becomes your family’s favorite.