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Food & Recipes

Irish Nachos Are a Delicious Potato Twist on Nachos That’ll Wow Your Crowd — Here’s the Easy Recipe

They're ready in 30 minutes — and so simple to customize with your favorite toppings!

Nachos are an appetizer practically everyone can agree on. After all, who doesn’t love a loaded bite of melted cheese, crunchy chips and savory toppings? While there are endless variations of this crowd-favorite appetizer, we think this one will be your new party staple: potato nachos! Also known as “Irish nachos,” this lighter version using fresh potatoes is so easy to make at home! You’ll love this simple recipe that’s ready in 30 minutes as well as a quickie version for when you’re in a pinch. Keep reading for pro tricks on making the perfect Irish nachos plus creative topping ideas.

What are Irish nachos?

Sliced baked potatoes on tray

Irish nachos aren’t just regular nachos topped with potato (though that would also taste great). Instead of using tortilla chips, this dish is made by thinly slicing potatoes, cooking them until golden with layers of gooey cheese and crispy bacon, then and topping with the usual nacho fixings. Think of it as a cross between scalloped potatoes and loaded fries. It may look a bit different than your typical nachos at a restaurant, but the flavors are all there.

What’s Irish about them?

You may be wondering if Irish nachos are actually Irish. Not traditionally, but there’s still a fun story to tell. The dish first appeared in 1980 at J. Gilligan’s Bar and Grill in Arlington, Texas. After running out of fry baskets, owner Randy Ford was left with ceramic skillets for serving up cottage fries (potato rounds), which he assembled just like regular nachos.

As it turns out, Ireland served as the inspiration behind this clever name due to its abundance of potatoes since the 1700s. Today, potatoes are part of many traditional Irish dishes like boxty, a potato pancake, and colcannon, a mixture of mashed potato with cabbage. (For more Irish dishes, click through for Irish Stew and Irish Soda Bread.)

Using potatoes versus tortilla chips

One benefit of using fresh potatoes in your nachos is the added nutrition. Fried tortilla chips or pre-packaged flavored varieties, while deliciously crunchy, can be high in sodium and unhealthy fats. Potatoes, however, “are a good source of vitamins and minerals as compared to the traditional corn or flour tortilla chips,” says Catherine Gervacio, registered dietitian and certified exercise nutrition coach at E-Health Project. “Particularly, potatoes have more fiber, vitamins C and B6, and potassium,” she explains.

When baked with low amounts of salt or oil, potatoes make for a healthy alternative base in nachos. You can also use other potatoes, including the even more nutritious sweet and red varieties.

Simple potato nachos recipe

Kettle Cooked Potato Chip Nachos with toppings

Potato nachos are a great creative appetizer that will have your guests begging for another batch. Amy Rains at Wholesomelicious shares this easy recipe that takes only 30 minutes to make! Even better, it uses a sheet pan method for easy serving and clean-up.

Sheet Pan Potato Nachos with Ground Beef


  • 3 large white potatoes (russet or Yukon gold work well)
  • 1 Tbs. avocado oil or olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp, cumin
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese (or preferred cheese)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cherry tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup diced green onion
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • Guacamole and salsa, for garnish


Yield: 4 Servings

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray sheet pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare potatoes by thinly slicing using a mandoline slicer or knife. If using a mandoline, potatoes will be thinner and cook faster. If using a knife, they may take longer.
  3. Spread potato slices across two baking sheets, brush with oil, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes (this will depend on potato thickness). Remove once crispy.
  4. Meanwhile, brown ground beef in a pan over medium-high heat with 1-2 tsp. oil.
  5. In a small bowl, combine paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt. Mix into the cooked ground beef and set aside.
  6. Layer cooked potatoes onto one sheet pan. Evenly spread cheese and ground beef and bake for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  7. Garnish with tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and guacamole or salsa if using. Serve immediately!

Note: If you can’t find large potatoes, 5 medium potatoes should work

Quickie version with potato chips

If you’re short on time or just want some nacho goodness without the work, we have an even faster (and just as tasty) recipe using potato chips. Similar to tortilla chips, this crunchy and salty substitute bakes in the oven and is ready to serve in only 10 minutes. You can use any potato chips you like; we recommend kettle cooked for sturdier handling and extra crunch. Check out this quick video below from AllreStecipes for how to make potato chip nachos:

Pro tricks for making great potato nachos

If you’ve never made potato nachos before, don’t worry. We’re sharing some pro tricks to make this dish extra flavorful. And since we’re talking about potatoes, it’s good to start with how to slice them. If you’re using a knife, “try to aim for uniformity in thickness for each slice,” says Lydia Sims, Procurement Director at Pearl Lemon Catering. “They should each be around ¼” thick to make sure they get an even cooking.”

Getting perfectly crispy potato slices is also surprisingly easy! “The key … lies in not overcrowding them on your baking sheet,” adds Sims. Using two baking sheets allows for even spacing and better air circulation. And if you want them crunchy, Sims suggests broiling for the last few minutes (remember to watch them so they don’t burn!).

Customizing your potato nachos

Like any other plate of nachos, potato nachos are infinitely customizable. Take inspiration from Gervacio: “You can do a Mediterranean-style nacho using feta cheese crumbles, Kalamata olives, Tzatziki sauce drizzle, chopped cucumber and tomatoes.” Read on for more nach-o average topping ideas.

1. Breakfast nachos

Bring the party to the A.M. using scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and sliced avocado!

2. Full Irish nachos

Celebrate Ireland with traditional toppings including corned beef, leeks and Irish cheddar.

3. BBQ Chicken nachos

Add a little smokey n’ sweet flair by adding BBQ marinated shredded chicken.

4. Veggie nachos

For vegetarians out there, pile on black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, avocado and lime.

For more tasty potato recipes, click through these stories:

Your New Entertaining Secret Weapon: A Baked Potato Bar — It’s Delicious, Easy and Makes Everyone Happy

Rachel Ray’s Secrets to the Best Ever Smashed Potatoes — Crispy, Lemony + So Easy

Wow Your Guests (Without the Work!) With a Trendy Mashed Potato Bar

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