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Can you make nachos in an air fryer? TikTok says so, and I tried it to find out

I tried making TikTok-famous air fryer nachos, and the results surprised me.

Baked Nachos Tortilla Chips with Salsa, Minced Meat and Jalapenos served with Sour Cream
I tried making nachos in my air fryer, and here's how it went. (Getty Images)

Air fryer recipes are among social media's most popular food trends because they're quick, easy, and practically mess-free to make. Among the many social media food trends, TikTok recently made air-fryer nachos famous as a quick and easy way to cook the game-day treat.

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I'm curious to see if this popular food trend really works, so I'm putting it to the test in my own kitchen.

How to make air fryer nachos

Food TikToker @theshabakitchen went viral for her take on quick and easy nachos, where she shares how to make them in an air fryer at home.

Since it was published in August 2023, the video has racked up more than 16 million views with TikTok users calling the technique "groundbreaking."

To get started, you'll start off with parchment paper liners and covers the bottom of two air fryer baskets with a layer of chips. For this recipe, the TikToker uses Nacho Cheese-flavoured Doritos and Cool Ranch Doritos.

Next, she sprinkles some cheddar cheese on top of each air fryer basket of Doritos. Since @theshabakitchen is making two different types of nachos — beef and veggie — she adds some cooked ground beef to one basket with the Nacho Cheese-flavoured Doritos, and black beans to the other basket featuring the Cool Ranch Doritos. Following this step, she adds a layer of Tex Mex cheese to both. For each set of nachos, she tops them off with a medley of bell peppers, green onions, diced tomatoes and shredded cheese.

She then cooks both sets of nacho baskets for 10 minutes at 400°F.

Hot Tip: Make sure the parchment paper has cooled down a bit before removing it from the air fryer and setting it onto a plate to enjoy the recipe.

What people are saying

Commenters from the video have been loving this food trend, with one user stating, "[This] looks good [not going to lie]."

Another user claims that these air fryer nachos are "revolutionary."

However, others were suspicious of how the TikToker got the nachos out of the air fryer as it seemed like grabbing hold of the parchment paper to remove the nachos wouldn't be an easy task.

"I wanted to see how you remove the nachos from the air fryer container," asks one user.

Some TikTok users also left some constructive criticism regarding how to make these air fryer nachos even better.

"You should’ve layered it throughout the chips so it wasn’t just on the top," says one user.

Trying the trend: I made air fryer nachos

This delicious food trend looked easy enough to recreate myself, so I decided to give it a go. Since I have the same Ninja Foodi 2-Basket Air Fryer, I wanted to give both nacho variations showcased in @theshabakitchen's video a try.

I took my two separate air fryer baskets and followed the steps outlined in the TikTok video. However, I decided to address one of the concerns from the comment section in my version of the air fryer nachos in order to make removing them a bit easier.

While prepping, I added a larger sheet of parchment paper to the bottom of both baskets to make removing the nachos from the air fryer easier once they were finished cooking. Other than that, I followed all of the original video's instructions.

(From L-R) Top: Beef Nachos, Bottom: Veggie Nachos (Samantha Vecchiarelli)
(From L-R) Top: Beef Nachos, Bottom: Veggie Nachos (Samantha Vecchiarelli)

I had all of the ingredients needed to recreate both nacho dishes, although I had to substitute the orange and yellow bell peppers with only red bell peppers because that's what I had on hand.

Hot Tip: Don't be afraid to modify the recipe slightly to suit your taste or use what you have readily available!

Following the assembly of ingredients, I popped both baskets into the air fryer for cooking. After 10 minutes at 400°F, this is what my air fryer nachos looked like:

Top: Beef Nachos, Bottom: Veggie Nachos (Samantha Vecchiarelli)
Top: Beef Nachos, Bottom: Veggie Nachos (Samantha Vecchiarelli)

They looked delicious at first glance, but it's worth noting that I needed an extra hand getting the nachos out of the air fryer. Although the larger sheet of parchment paper made it easier to lift the nachos and set them onto a plate, it's still a two-person job to avoid accidents.

I also noticed that some of the chips got a little burned — possibly due to being cooked at a high temperature — so next time I would set the temperature slightly lower to see if that helps.

Final verdict

All in all, I would say that making air fryer nachos was a success! They tasted amazing and were quick and easy to make. Plus, clean-up was a breeze since the nachos were cooked on parchment paper inside the air fryer. Total prep time was around 30 minutes and they only took 10 minutes to cook so it's a great snack to enjoy and share with others if you're in a pinch.

Top: Veggie Nachos, Bottom: Beef Nachos (Samantha Vecchiarelli)
Top: Veggie Nachos, Bottom: Beef Nachos (Samantha Vecchiarelli)

If you're planning on making these air fryer nachos yourself, try adding a larger sheet of parchment paper to the bottom before including your layers to make it easier for removal. I agree with the comment that recommended adding toppings throughout the nachos so that everything isn't sitting on top of just one layer of chips.

I will try this next time to ensure every chip layer gets an even amount of toppings. I might also try swapping out Doritos for regular tortilla chips next time because I typically prefer those types of chips when making nachos.

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