Cast Iron Skillet Nachos

These Cast Iron Skillet Nachos are the perfect snack to serve while watching buzzer beaters in the NCAA Tourney!

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These Cast Iron Skillet Nachos are the perfect snack to serve while watching buzzer beaters in the NCAA Tourney!There’s the pass to Laettner.  Puts it up.  YEEEESSSS!  And with that buzzer beater, Duke beat Kentucky in the 1992 regional finals of the NCAA tourney.  Duke would go on to win the title that year, but it’s this shot from the quarterfinals that everyone remembers.  In fact, this shot is often referred to as The Shot.   Sports Illustrated calls this game the greatest college basketball game of all time, and ESPN rated The Shot as #17 on its list of top 100 sports moments in the past 25 years.  It’s one of the most memorable shots in college basketball history, and I happen to remember watching it live.

These Cast Iron Skillet Nachos are the perfect snack to serve while watching buzzer beaters in the NCAA Tourney!I was a 12-year-old kid sitting in my bedroom in our house in downtown Charleston, SC.  I remember that I should have been sleeping, but I was up watching the Duke game on my tiny little tv.  (It was one of those old tv’s with an actual knob, and it only got 13 channels.  Fortunately, one of those channels was the Duke game!)  I don’t remember how I became a Duke fan, but I’ve just been a Duke fan for as long as I can remember.

Now at this point, I’m sure there’s more than one of you thinking, “man, I hate Duke.”  Duke basketball certainly has it’s haters.  I’m ok with that.  One of my best friends here in upstate New York is a huge Duke hater.  Again, I’m ok with that.  I just make sure to wear a Duke shirt every time I hang out with him!

I attended Duke for undergrad, and I went to every game that I could manage during those years.  I camped out for a month in a parking lot for tickets to the Duke-UNC game my freshman year.  We ended up sitting front row, center court for that game.  And Duke won.  Oh, and for you Duke fans out there, you’ll appreciate that one early morning I awoke to see Grant Hill pulling into a parking space next to us.  He just looked at me, shook his head and said, “Already camping for the game?”  I think the date was January 2.

Do you remember Cingular Wireless?  They were one of the big cell phone service providers back when I was in college, and they hosted a “Most Expressive College Basketball Fan in the Country” contest my senior year in college.  (For the record, Cingular Wireless rebranded to AT&T Wireless in 2007.  I just looked it up because I was curious what happened to them.)  I entered the contest on a whim and then promptly forgot about it.  Duke lost to Indiana in the regional semifinals that year, and at that point I just turned my focus towards finishing college and getting a job.  Then my phone rang about 5 days before the Final Four.

Fast forward 9 years: Laura and I got married at Duke and happened to bump into some Duke cheerleaders!

I had been named one of the top 10 finalists for Most Expressive College Basketball Fan of the Year.  I seriously thought it was a prank call at first.  But it was real.  And I won a trip down to the Final Four in Atlanta.  I remember sitting in one of the huge downtown Atlanta hotels writing a final policy paper for one of my classes.  (For the record, that paper was terrible.  And my professor graded it as such.)  While in Atlanta, 10 of us competed for the top spot, which included a year’s worth of wireless service and a stupidly heavy crystal trophy.

The day before the winner was announced, the contest organizer pulled me aside and showed me the online voting.  I was ahead…by a lot.  Sure enough, I ended up winning.  They recorded a short tv clip of me with Billy Packer that aired during halftime of the national championship game.  (I’ve actually never watched that clip.  #TrueStory)  My face was painted full-on Duke blue.  (For any Duke fans out there, you’ll appreciate the irony that Billy Packer was the announcer chosen to appear in this clip.  Billy hated Duke, and I remember how we’d groan whenever a Duke game was on tv with Billy Packer.  But I digress.)  I won!  I was the Most Expressive College Basketball Fan of the Year!

Fast forward 16 years.  Cingular Wireless is no more.  But I still have a crystal trophy in the shape of Cingular’s logo.  I might be a bit older now, but I’m still very much enthusiastic about Duke basketball.  In fact, I take vacation on the first Thursday and Friday of the NCAA tournament every year.  I watch all of the games religiously.  Laura had no idea what she was getting into when she married me!  This year, I’m bringing Robbie on-board my cheering squad.  I’ve currently got him yelling “Go Devils” whenever he sees basketball on tv…even if Duke isn’t playing.  I’ll take it!

These Cast Iron Skillet Nachos are the perfect snack to serve while watching buzzer beaters in the NCAA Tourney!But enough blabbering about times gone past.  Let’s blabber about food for a hot minute or two.  Let’s blabber about these Cast Iron Skillet Nachos!  Nachos are a classic sports appetizer, and these Cast Iron Skillet Nachos have been a favorite NCAA tournament snack for years now.  Truthfully, you don’t really need a recipe for nachos, right?  Just put a bunch of chips down, load ’em up with your favorite toppings and then settle in to watch the game.  I did include my recipe for these Cast Iron Skillet Nachos below, but feel free to adapt it to your own tastes.  Want to add some black beans?  Go for it!  Not a chicken fan?  Leave it off!  Think cilantro tastes like lemon cleaner?  Use green onions instead!  Mix it up as you see fit, but most importantly…enjoy!

These Cast Iron Skillet Nachos are the perfect snack to serve while watching buzzer beaters in the NCAA Tourney!Whip up a batch of these Cast Iron Skillet Nachos and turn on the NCAA tournament this weekend!  You can bet I’ll be watching intently, and cheering like a maniac down in my basement man cave.  Cheers, friends!

These Cast Iron Skillet Nachos are the perfect snack to serve while watching buzzer beaters in the NCAA Tourney!

These Cast Iron Skillet Nachos are the perfect snack to serve while watching buzzer beaters in the NCAA Tourney!

Cast Iron Skillet Nachos

These Cast Iron Skillet Nachos are the perfect snack to serve while watching buzzer beaters in the NCAA Tourney!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 678kcal


For the Chicken

For the Nachos

  • 1 15-oz. bag tortilla chips
  • cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 cup pepperjack cheese shredded
  • 2 medium tomatoes diced
  • cup sliced tamed jalapenos
  • 1 cup white onion diced
  • ¼ cup cilantro chopped (alternate idea: diced green onions)
  • {optional toppings} sour cream limes, diced avocado


For the Chicken

  • Drizzle olive oil over both sides of chicken breasts and then sprinkle evenly with Italian seasonings, salt and black pepper.
  • Using a large skillet, cook chicken over medium-high heat until fully cooked; let cool before dicing.

For the Nachos

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Layer tortilla chips in cast iron skillet or on sheet pan. Sprinkle diced chicken evenly across chips.
  • Using a small bowl, combine the cheddar and pepperjack cheeses until well combined. Sprinkle cheese evenly on top of chips and chicken.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese has fully melted.
  • Sprinkle tomatoes, jalapenos, onion and cilantro evenly on top of chips.
  • {Optional} Before serving, top with sour cream, a squeeze of lime and/or diced avocados.

These Cast Iron Skillet Nachos are the perfect snack to serve while watching buzzer beaters in the NCAA Tourney!

Looking for more nacho love?  How about these Buffalo Chicken Nachos?These Buffalo Chicken Nachos are an epic appetizer to serve while watching football!

Or this Classic Nacho Cheese Dip?
This Classic Nacho Cheese Dip is a favorite come kickoff (or tipoff) in our house!

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    1. I am indeed a huge basketball fan, Dawn! I grew up in the Carolinas, so I think it was a requirement to love college basketball…and it’s just stuck with me over time. 🙂 These nachos are perfect for watching the game (whatever game you happen to like!), and I’m thinking about making another batch for the games tonight. Thanks so much, my friend!

  1. Hmmmm. Thanks for reminding me that my Ducks are not doing so well this bball season. My parents were in town over the weekend and we actually spent all day Saturday watching basketball–the men might not be playing well but the women won the Pac-12 tournament. I just wish I’d had this recipe so we could’ve enjoyed some nachos with our sports. They look delish! I’ll join Robbie in cheering for Duke. But only this year. I have high hopes for the Ducks for next year!

    1. Wow, congrats to the Oregon women then! And I had to go look up the Oregon men as I was curious. A 6 seed in the Pac-12 tourney, so not awful. Plus, they won their game last night! Win and advance. That’s what this time of the year is all about. 🙂 So I’ll take the extra support for Duke here. You can just start yelling “Go Devils” whenever you see basketball on tv. That’s what Robbie does! Haha! And the Ducks’ season isn’t over yet…you can still make nachos and watch the game. (Granted, that game is at 11:30pm my time tonight, so I’ll just have to find the score in the morning…hah.)

  2. I am not a fan of basketball but my daughter is a big fan of basketball. Every week she plays basketball in School. BTW my hubby has got one more way to have chicken and that one thing is Nachos. Hahaha 🙂

    1. Well tell your hubby that nachos are a great way to enjoy chicken! I know cricket is super popular over there in India, so maybe make a batch of these nachos for the next game? 🙂 Thanks, Puja!!

  3. Dude!!!! What a well deserved win!!! Though, not surprising! Today, I’d vote for you being the most “Most Expressive College Basketball (food blogging)Fan of the Year”! Hands down! Especially after that opening para (gah – would you believe it that I didn’t realize you were talking about basketball till the last sentence!) While I am not a huge basketball fan – I used to be a Cingular Wireless fan for quite a bit – had them in my early years of cell phone usage!
    Getting back to today though, wow – I am not lying when I say I could eat this whole skillet of scrumdiliumptious nachos! Happy Wednesday, David!

    1. Haha! I’m not sure how many expressive college basketball fans out there also write food blogs…so I’m thinking the competition might be a bit weighted in my favor. But I’ll take it! 🙂 I totally used Cingular Wireless, too…back in the day. Funny how big companies come and go. Anyhoo, nachos this weekend in Athens??

  4. I used to cook in a cast iron skillet all the time but I haven’t in years. Maybe it’s time to dust the ole skillet off. I wish I was into basketball, I’m just not. It might be because a few professional basketball players have asked me out, nobody famous, and the fact that they are sooooo tall really freaked me out, I felt unsafe. Totally off subject but I wanted to share that anyways lol. OMG you sat in the front row, center court? That’s crazy exciting. I was just thinking about Cingular Wireless, they got eaten up but I remember them well. I can’t believe you got married at Duke, I would totally get married on a football field but my boyfriend and I love different teams soooo that will never work. These nachos look delicious.

    1. It is always a good time to dust that skillet off, Mary! A cast iron skillet really is one of a chef’s best tools. I use that bad boy for everything! Granted, these nachos don’t require a cast iron skillet, but it sure is a fun way to serve ’em up. Now as far as basketball players, I can see where you’re coming from. It wasn’t hard to spot the Duke players on campus…they were literally a foot (at least) above everyone else. Crazy! And this comes from a guy with short genes in his family. I’m 5’7″ on a good day. Haha! Thanks so much, my friend!

  5. What a lovely wedding picture with the Duke cheerleaders and you must love the shot of Laura in her wedding dress on the basketball court. I am not into basketball but I can appreciate the excitement about watching sports and following a team as my husband is very much into football and what better snack than nachos – love your iron skillet version and I know who else would love it 🙂

    1. Oh gosh, that photo with the Duke cheerleaders was totally by chance! We were leaving the chapel, and they were coming back from a football game on campus. On the spur of the moment, I just said, “hey, can we get a picture with you??” And there it was! 🙂 So football games would be a totally great way to enjoy these nachos, too! Is your hubby watching the Champion’s League games? I’ve been watching bits and pieces…we have finally started getting coverage of European football (soccer) here in the States! Thanks, Miriam!!

  6. Such fun pictures, David! The one with Laura with the basketball is particularly cute! Whenever we have nachos we always enjoy them on a sheet pan or skillet. Truth be told, I would always go for the skillet (cause I loves me some cast iron), but sometimes there’s just too many nachos so I have to spread ’em out. P.S. I love nachos…couldn’t ya tell?! This makes me want to have some this weekend…twist my arm, lol. All those jalapenos are right up my alley too! Hope you have an awesome weekend, my friend 🙂

    1. I absolutely love that photo with Laura shooting the basketball. In fact, it’s the background on my laptop…and it’s been there pretty much since we got married. 🙂 Alright. I’m twisting your arm right now. You totally need to have nachos this weekend! Nachos and Netflix?? Or nachos and Nintendo?? They all work together quite well in my opinion!

  7. Really!? It all seems straight out of a sports movie, with some romance thrown in as well ;)!! Didn’t know you were so crazy for basketball!! That’s a memory for a lifetime! And those loaded nachos are perfect for all kinds of gaming events.. Love the yummy toppings!

    1. Hahaha…I love that description, Deepika. A sports movie with some romance thrown in. That sounds awesome! So I really am a huge college basketball fan, and I really do take the days off to watch the national tournament. (It starts next week!) I mean 68 teams playing…and only 1 team can come out on top. Gotta love that! Also, it’s a great excuse to make nachos. 🙂

  8. “Think cilantro tastes like lemon cleaner”? I was howling at that! Well you’ve enlightened me when it comes to Basketball and just how mad you guys are for it. Still if you’ve got a passion then I say go for it! Just as well Laura does too. Lynne’s kind of got into mine like long walks and hiking now. Anyway as for these Cast Iron Skillet Nachos. I love them! And I know Lynne would love them too. I’m pinning it and I’m sending her the link right away. 🙂

    1. Hey, I’ve heard some people claim that cilantro tastes like Lemon Pledge cleaner…the same stuff you put on your floors! I actually think it might be one of these genetic things where you’re predisposed to dislike cilantro. Kinda nuts, huh? I personally love the flavor! Anyways, I am indeed nuts about college basketball. And with the national tournament coming up next week, it’s the perfect time to curl up and watch some awesome games! Definitely put nachos on the list this weekend…they’re an excellent weekend food in my opinion! Thanks, Neil! 🙂

  9. Duke…basketball…game…final..trophy…college baseball…There are too many new/boring words to me. You know me David. After all, no one is perfect (e.x. you don’t like lavender). So this time I basically scrolled down to the pictures and recipe (btw, wedding pictures are pretty hilarious). Love this skillet! Indeed, I like the recipes you’ve been posting lately (For the record, I do like all your recipes). But all these hearty (but simple) foods look like you’re trying to embrace winter before switching to lighter ideas (for you that would be grilled food haha) as much as possible. I don’t mind. Please bring in more!

    1. Haha! I actually thought about you for a moment when I wrote this post, Ben. I was like “Ben isn’t going to get my obsession with basketball at all.” That’s ok, though. You can still eat nachos! You pretty much have it nailed with what we eat around here. Simple, comfort foods in the winter. Grilled comfort foods in the summer. 🙂 Thanks so much, my friend!

  10. Whoa! You are quite the fan! Little Robby has no choice, but to follow in your footsteps! I have no idea where Duke is in the playoffs right now – I don’t watch the games until the Final Four. I wish them luck – unless they are up against Gonzaga! Then I gotta root for The Zags. These nachos look great and would be fantastic anytime!

    1. So the tournament hasn’t started yet…well, the national one. The conference tourneys wrap up this weekend, and then it’s off to the madness! Gonzaga is having a pretty good season, too, so if they meet Duke it will likely be a couple of weeks away…when the stakes are higher! Until then, nachos. And even then, more nachos. 🙂 Thanks, Kathy!

  11. Great post, David! I love the wedding photos, especially the one on the court. Laura looks beautiful! Who knew that basketball could be so romantic? 😉

    Unfortunately, I can’t support your choice in teams since both my parents went to UNC (please don’t hate me!) Truthfully though, I don’t watch too much basketball, so we can still be friends. haha 🙂

    Team rivalries aside, your nachos look amazing!! I love that you used italian seasoning on the chicken instead of taco seasoning to mix things up! I’m also a huge fan of anything in a cast iron skillet. Can’t wait to try these out!

    1. Haha! I was so lucky to get those photos from the wedding. I mean Laura loves our formal wedding shots from the chapel, and they’re great photos…but my favorites are the ones from the stadium!

      Also, what a small world. Both of your parents went to UNC!? I guess we can still be friends, but only because you don’t watch too much basketball. I mean Duke and UNC play tonight in the ACC tourney…3rd time this season! I’m thinking another batch of these nachos is going to have to happen for tonight’s game. Thanks so much, my friend, and may the best team win! 🙂

  12. OK, no offense to the restaurant where I ate nachos last night but your nachos look a BILLION times better. I mean, who can justify serving nachos without avocado and jalapeno? Blasphemy!

    And dude, what a cool story about winning the contest! I just entered a contest to win a trip to Iceland. Do you have any contest winning mojo to spare? I could use some 🙂

    Seriously though, I’m about to become best friends with your nachos, they look like they belong all up in my face. Have a great weekend!

    1. Haha! Why thank you so much, Christina! I’m a sucker for nachos, and I’ve totally ordered nachos from the appetizer menu as my dinner. I’m not ashamed of that, either! 🙂 So I’m sending you all sorts of mojo for the Iceland contest…I mean how awesome does Iceland sound?? I’ve always wanted to visit! Can I send you some snow along with that mojo? We’ve got a little bit to spare on this side of the country… Hope you and Kieran had an awesome weekend, my friend!

  13. Haha you reay are a die-hard fan! I can appreciate that! You’ll be sad to know I’m not the hugest sport fan but I totally get it about half the rest of my family is! And for that most expressive fan, you deserved two of those awards!

    And these nachos…boy do they look delicious! I just love the presentation of a cast iron skillet too, always a crowd pleaser! I could just dive in right now!

    1. I am indeed a die-hard college sports fan. Pro sports? Eh, not so much. But I grew up in the Carolinas, so college basketball was a way of life. You couldn’t help but become a fan! So I say invite the sports-crazy half of your family over and make a huge skillet of nachos. Everyone will be happy! You’ll have nachos, and the rest of the family can watch basketball. 🙂 Thanks, Matt!

  14. After seeing that picture- from which I have yet to recover – I’ll expect to see nothing but blue food from you once the brackets come out in the next few weeks.

    1. Hahaha…blue food is kinda hard, Jeff. I mean I have some blue food coloring. I guess I could make a blue cake? Or blue cheese…but that’s only vaguely blue. Let me ponder this a bit longer.

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