Ground Beef Nachos

These Ground Beef Nachos are a classic sports food!  Grab a plate, turn on the game and enjoy!

This post may contain paid links. For more information, please see our disclosure policy.

These Ground Beef Nachos are a classic sports food!  Grab a plate, turn on the game and enjoy!Why is root beer called beer?  It’s not a beer.  It’s a soft drink.  Or as we Southerners like to say, a coke.  All soft drinks are called coke in the South.  Forget ‘pop,’ I call all soft drinks either ‘soda’ or ‘coke.’  It drives Laura nuts.  But back to the root beer.  It’s not alcoholic, so why the beer name?  (To be fair, there are alcoholic root beers out there now, but the traditional root beer is non-alcoholic.)

These Ground Beef Nachos are a classic sports food!  Grab a plate, turn on the game and enjoy!To answer this question, we have to go way, way back (or just go to the fountain of all knowledge) to the late 1800’s.  A Philadelphia pharmacist by the name of Charles Hires invented a tea brewed with sassafras roots and other spices.  He initially sold the powdered mixture as ‘root tea,’ but Hires was a smart man.  He wanted to tap into the Pennsylvania coal mining community, so he started marketing his creation as ‘root beer.’  The name change worked, and the rest is history.

As an interesting side note, the US Food & Drug Administration actually banned sassafras in 1960 as a suspected carcinogen.  Today’s root beers keep with the tradition of sassafras flavors, but they rely on artificially produced sassafras instead.

These Ground Beef Nachos are a classic sports food!  Grab a plate, turn on the game and enjoy!When we moved up here to upstate New York back in January 2011, we spent the first year exploring the area…and most of our explorations involved stops at local breweries.  After all, we were in a new part of the country…we needed to support the local economy!  (Or maybe we just needed to sample all of the local beers.  Haha.)  Either way, we soon discovered that a lot of smaller breweries make non-alcoholic root beer in addition to their lineup of regular beers.  Now we often keep a 6-pack of good root beer in our little beer fridge in the basement.

Last weekend, I was craving nachos.  Hey, it happens.  So I decided to whip up a batch of Ground Beef Nachos for dinner.  While I was cooking, I opened up a Saranac root beer and poured it into a frosty mug.  (I often keep 1-2 mugs in the freezer for occasions like this.)  As I sipped on that ice cold, foamy root beer, I got to thinking about the origins of root beer.  And then I got hungry for some nachos!

These Ground Beef Nachos are a classic sports food!  Grab a plate, turn on the game and enjoy!Ground Beef Nachos

These Ground Beef Nachos are a classic.  Aside from the spice mixture for the beef, there really isn’t a recipe needed for nachos.  Sure, I guess you might need some general idea of proportions, but it’s really hard to screw up nachos.  Well, unless you put too many jalapenos on there.  That would screw up nachos.

These Ground Beef Nachos start with a bed of tortilla chips and melted cheese.  From there, add in some black beans, tomatoes, tamed jalapenos, green onions and an easy sour cream sauce.  (Fun nacho hack: instead of putting a plain spoonful of sour cream on the nachos, mix the sour cream with a bit of the same spice mixture that you use to cook the beef.  Talk about a fun flavor boost!)

These Ground Beef Nachos are a classic sports food!  Grab a plate, turn on the game and enjoy!Even though football season wraps up with the Super Bowl soon, college basketball season is picking up steam.  That means there will be plenty of opportunities over the next couple of months to enjoy a batch of these Ground Beef Nachos with a root beer or two.  Cheers, friends!

If you make these Ground Beef Nachos, come back and leave a comment!  Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).

Looking for more tasty game day foods?  Check out these other favorites:

Muffin Tin Garlic Knots
Baked Chicken Chimichangas
Meatball Parm Grilled Cheese
Cajun Fried Shrimp
Maple Glazed Mixed Nuts with Candied Bacon

These Ground Beef Nachos are a classic sports food!  Grab a plate, turn on the game and enjoy!

Ground Beef Nachos

These Ground Beef Nachos are a classic sports food!  Grab a plate, turn on the game and enjoy!
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 316kcal


For the Beef

For the Nachos


For the Beef

  • Using a small bowl, whisk together all spices. (See note.)
  • Using a large skillet, add ground beef and onions. Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is fully browned; drain any excess fat from the pan.
  • Add water and half of the Taco Seasoning to the pan; stir until well combined. Increase heat and simmer for 6-8 minutes, or until liquid has mostly evaporated; set beef aside.

For the Nachos

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Spread chips evenly across a standard 9”x13” baking pan. Sprinkle both cheeses across top of chips. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce by whisking together the sour cream, milk and remaining half of the spice mixture from above; set sauce aside.
  • Top chips with ground beef, sliced onions, black beans, tomatoes and jalapenos. Drizzle sauce on top and then garnish with cilantro and/or green onions. Serve immediately.


To make this recipe even faster, feel free to use ~3 Tbsp of store-bought taco seasoning. I just happen to like mixing up my own spice blends!

These Ground Beef Nachos are a classic sports food!  Grab a plate, turn on the game and enjoy!

Spiced® is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that receives a small commission by linking to and other sites at no cost to the readers.


  1. 5 stars
    So interesting about the origins of root beer. I always assumed it used to be alcoholic or something. And nachos are my FAVORITE game day food! But I haven’t had root beer since I was a kid. I think I’m going to whip up a batch of nachos and pair it with a cold root beer to relive my youth 🙂

    1. Not at all! Root beer got it’s name as a gimmick to increase sales…and it apparently worked since root beer is pretty prevalent these days. I’m thinking you should totally relive your youth this coming weekend, Kelsie. Make a batch of nachos. Open a cold root beer. Have fun! Oh, and a frosted mug is a requirement for said root beer. 🙂 Cheers!

  2. Sorry about your Saints yesterday — whew, that was a tough loss! That non-call was a biggie. I was rooting for the Rams but would have been fine with either. The Patriots, however, I did NOT want to win… UGH. So close KC!! I totally made football food yesterday watching the games, including a Mexican 7 layer dip with tortilla chips that included a lot of the same ingredients as these nachos!

    1. Umph. I’m still ticked at that game, Nicole! I get that refs have a hard job, and it’s impossible to make every call correctly. But there are some calls that just can’t be missed…and that was one of them. It literally changed who is playing in the Super Bowl this year. Bah.

      Anyways, nachos make everything better, right? And it’s been a while since we’ve had a good 7-layer dip. I might need to make that happen for some of the college basketball games this weekend! And maybe again for the Super Bowl, although I am SO not excited about the teams playing in the game this year. I’ll probably watch for the commercials and maybe halftime, and then I’ll go to bed. Haha!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve always wondered why it was called root ‘beer’ but I never did inquire at the fountain of all knowledge! 🙂 We love root beer around, especially the good ones. Cool to know that other places are making it.

    Nachos are a big hit in our house and it’s awesome that they’re so easy to whip up. Love the ground beef on yours!

    1. Haha! Sometimes you just have to go to that fountain of knowledge to settle matters. 🙂 And a good root beer really is hard to beat! I love that most breweries (at least here in the States) also brew nonalcoholic root beer. They’re delicious!

      And as far as nachos? We save those for a good comfort food “cheater” night in our house! But a cold Saturday night in January? That’s totally nacho night! Thanks, Kelly!!

    1. A good frosty mug of root beer is hard to beat! I love how so many little breweries are also making root beer. Those ‘craft root beers’ have so much flavor! Perfect for eating nachos and watching sports…which is pretty much the definition of our winter weekends! (Well, that and chasing a certain little boy around the house. Haha.) Thanks, Kathy!

  4. Hi David! Most root beers are too sweet for me. However the ones that contain alcohol taste like old fashioned root beer. They aren’t too sweet and have just a bit of a bite. Back when people made their own it was fermented and therefore contained alcohol. Gary remembers his grandpa had an old open water cooled tank in the barn where he kept beer and root beer and after a long day of haying he would get to have one root beer provided he didn’t tell his mother! Now, as for these nachos YES! Nachos are always a welcome dish and you can vary them depending on what you load on. Have you ever had pulled pork nachos? If not, you should try them!

    1. Hey there, Dorothy! I totally know what you mean about most root beers being too sweet. The alcoholic ones are dangerously good, though! That’s a fun story about Gary and the root beer in the barn. Those are the memories that really do last a lifetime!

      Now as far as pulled pork nachos? I think those need to happen this weekend! I actually found a pack of pulled pork in the freezer this past weekend…and now I know how to use it! 🙂 Hope you’re back up on your feet here soon, my friend!

    1. You nailed it, Jeff. Have fun with those spices. Make it spicy (no pun intended) with cayenne. Or make it smoky with some smoked paprika. The sky is the limit here. And then just save some of the connection to mix with sour cream for a quick and easy sauce on top of the nachos. Dig in!

  5. 5 stars
    David, your root beer story brought bake memories from my childhood of hunting for sassafras root (for tea) with my grandmother in the forest of East Texas. Hires rootbeer, man, you’re talking the xxx Rootbeer Drive Inn. The one with the big barrel sign with xxx Rootbeet on it. The home of the frosty. As a kid, it was a great treat to go to Hires for a tall rootbeer in a frosted mug and if we were lucky a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Rootbeer and Nachos, Now I have a big craving. Thanks for the blast from the past and a great nacho recipe.

    1. You actually went out hunting for sassafras root? That’s crazy! You should tell that story on the blog sometime. 🙂 I still have an uncle and aunt in East Texas. Maybe I’ll go out hunting for sassafras root next time I visit them!

      Oh, and I totally know the big barrel sign you speak of. It’s a classic! I can’t believe I didn’t think about root beer floats, though. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s about 0°F here right now, so ice cream isn’t calling to me. But now that we’ve had this conversation, I’m thinking root beer floats by the fire need to happen this weekend!

  6. 5 stars
    So interesting about root beer! And ground beef nachos on a sheet pan is a favourite treat meal for hubby and I on the weekends. Though, I was just saying the other day that I haven’t had in a little while. Now, like you, totally craving! Extra hot peppers for me please…and maybe a root beer to go with 😉 Pinned!

    1. Sheet pan nachos are one of my favorite comfort foods, Dawn! They’re so easy to make…and clean up is a cinch, too. I hear ya on the hot peppers! In fact, I might need another batch of these this weekend! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    We sometimes just make a huge tray of nachos for dinner in our house! Naturally, a family favorite! But you’re making me want to serve it with Root Beer! It sounds like a great pairing. I love the old-fashioned types, they have a much more complex and deep flavor. Ok, my mouth is watering. Thanks for the inspiration and the lesson on RB!

    1. It’s hard to beat nachos! It really is. But nachos with a good root beer? Now that was a fun night! (Sometimes nachos involve regular beer…and I’m ok with that, too!) Hope your week is going well so far, Laura!!

  8. 5 stars
    Love your linguistic lectures, (former) professor David! And while I don’t like beer at all (Just don’t like the smell), I don’t mind having a glass once in a while (On a side note, I’ve tried once root beer ice cream float, and it was delish!) Even though I’m not a huge fan of sport games and nachos either (Ain’t it too many “no” today haha?), this recipe sounds and looks delicious. Pass me a little plate please.

    1. Hey, what can I say? Once a professor, always a professor. 🙂 Now beer and root beer are two entirely different things. They do make alcoholic root beer now, but root beer is traditionally non-alcoholic. If you can find root beer from a small craft brewery, try it out! It’s usually really, really good…and it tastes nothing like traditional beer. And don’t worry about the nachos. I’ll eat yours!

  9. 5 stars
    Now that I have a man in the house things like Queso dip and nachos have magically appeared in my kitchen. He actually requested nachos for super bowl sunday and these fit the bill. simple, delicious with a little twist. I had no idea sassafras was banned in the 1960s. Have a great week David

    1. Haha! It’s funny how kitchen habits change over time. Ours have definitely changed now that Robbie is around. Nachos are a timeless classic, though! I highly recommend these for the Super Bowl this year, my friend. Although, to be honest, I’m not sure I’m even watching the game this year thanks to that refereeing debacle in New Orleans. But we’ll still have delicious football food either way! 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    Love the things I learn on your blog, David. I had no idea about root beer lore and definitely didn’t know about sassafras being banned!

    We do love nachos in our house and your chip to goodie ratio looks just right! Must try!

    1. Haha! Why thank you very much, Marissa. I like to share the random facts and factoids that I stumble across (along with an occasional Robbie story), and I appreciate that you follow along with me! 🙂

      As far as nachos? Those are one of my all-time favorites when it comes to sports food! You should make a batch this weekend!

    1. Thanks so much for the kind comment, Gerlinde! I like putting a fun story into these posts, and I’m glad you appreciate that. 🙂 It makes ’em more fun for me to write if nothing else! Hope your week is off to a great start!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating