Stovetop Nachos

Perfect as an app or even a meal, these nachos are simple to make in the galley.

June 7, 2018
Stovetop nachos
Nachos, simple and sublime Lynda Morris Childress

While cruising on Sasha, our Island Packet 40, my husband, Radd, and I always welcome guests. We were in the Bahamas, having made our fourth crossing from Ponce Inlet, Florida, our home port. Our nephew, Logan, and his fiancee, Lindsay, had just joined us for a week of cruising in the Abacos. It was their first Bahamas visit, and their first sailing cruise; they were eager to participate in the sailing and learn about both. When cocktail-and-appetizer time came, we wanted to serve something substantial. Before long, frying-pan nachos were born!

Our creation was a hit with our young guests. In the Bahamas, ingredients were a cinch: We could find large blocks of cheese at reasonable prices, even in remote grocery stores. Chicken and tortilla chips could be found in most places. These easy nachos can be made very simply, even with just tortilla chips and cheese, or made heartier using a variety of toppings, depending on what you have on board or can find in local markets (see “Nachos Sublime” below for suggestions). From the simple to the sublime, frying-pan nachos are quick, easy, use only one pan to prepare and serve, and can be made even in a very basic galley.

Simple Frying-Pan Nachos Note: You will need a large saute or frying pan with lid.

  • 1 7- to 8-ounce bag tortilla chips
  • 1 jar prepared salsa (11 to 16 ounces)
  • 1-2 cups cheddar or Jack cheese, grated coarsely Mild jarred or canned jalapeños or green chili peppers, sliced or diced (to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded (fresh or canned) (optional)
  • 1 cup romaine lettuce leaves, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 – 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup sour cream (or to taste)

Very lightly oil a large saute/frying pan. Spread chips in even layers in bottom of pan, overlapping to ensure coverage. Drizzle salsa evenly over chips, then spread chicken over chips. Add peppers, a bit of shredded lettuce and diced tomato. Top all with grated cheese. Cover and heat over medium to medium-low heat until cheese begins to melt. Turn off heat. Leave pan covered until cheese is completely melted. Remove cover, and garnish with remaining lettuce, tomato and a healthy portion of sour cream. Serve straight from the pan (with plenty of napkins!).


  • Can be made: At anchor and underway
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

To Make Frying-Pan Nachos Sublime

Add or substitute the following: Instead of (or in addition to) chicken, add dollops of canned refried or black beans. Replace chicken with ground beef, browned, with packaged taco seasoning mix added. For other toppings, in addition to those listed above, add sliced green onion, sliced canned black olives, sliced avocados, guacamole or whatever strikes your fancy!


More How To