How to Make Campfire Nachos with a Dutch Oven

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Campfire nachos are one of the easiest and most satisfying camp meals you can make! In this post, I’ll show you exactly how I make nachos when camping using my dutch oven over a campfire. These nachos are simple, and perfect for a quick camping dinner, or an appetizer.

The finished campfire nachos ready to be eaten with all the delicious toppings

Dutch Oven Nachos Video:

Prefer to watch? Join me at camp, and I’ll walk you through all the steps to making nachos when camping:

How to Make NACHOS WHEN CAMPING: Easy Dutch Oven Nachos Over the Campfire!

Ingredients for Campfire Nachos

The toppings for your campfire nachos are endlessly customizable, however, there are a few basic nacho ingredients I recommend:

The ingredients you need to make simple campfire nachos
  • Tortilla Chips: They’re the core of your nachos, and the vehicle for all that cheese! I’ve found that the thicker tortilla chips work best. Avoid the chips that advertise being thin, they will break much easier under the weight of toppings.
  • Cheese: A good sharp cheddar cheese is my favorite, but feel free to try pepper jack cheese for a little kick! To save some prep time at camp, I like to bring a bag of pre-shredded cheese. Shredding your own cheese it also an option, and it will melt better, but don’t forget to pack the cheese grater with your camp kitchen gear.
  • Beans: I love black beans on my nachos!
  • Toppings: My go-to toppings are tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, green onions, salsa, and sour cream. I love sour cream. When Nick and I first started dating, I learned what it really meant for someone to love sour cream. I couldn’t believe how much he dolloped on almost everything. Two years later, and I understand.
These camping nachos are cooked over a campfire in the dutch oven

Equipment Needed to Make Campfire Nachos

Luckily, campfire nachos don’t require a lot of camp kitchen equipment.

Here’s what you’re going to need:

1) Dutch Oven

The dutch oven is the main piece of kitchen gear that you will need to make nachos while camping. It’s possible to try and make them with a camp stove, but they just don’t turn out as good. If you’re really serious about campfire nachos, a dutch oven is a must. Plus, you can use the dutch oven for so many other recipes!

The dutch oven that I have and love is by the brand BareBones Living. They make great dutch ovens at a really affordable price. The one I have is a 4 Qt. which is the perfect size for me and Nick.

camp chef dutch oven

Lid lifters for the dutch oven are usually sold separately, but they’re great to have for lifting the lid of the dutch oven when it’s hot. You definitely don’t want to use your hands! Fire gloves would also work for handling hot cast iron.

2) Cutting Board and Knife

You’ll use this if you want to chop some tomato, cilantro, green onion, or avocado for topping the nachos!

3) Can Opener

If you bring a can of beans you might need this.

4) Metal Tongs

I use metal tongs for moving coals around on the fire to heat the dutch oven.

That’s it – so simple! Don’t forget to bring lots of napkins and maybe some plates to eat off of… or just dig in with your hands once the dutch oven has cooled a bit!

Layering tortilla chips and cheese for the dutch oven nachos
Adding layers of black beans and black olives to the nachos
Assembled nachos ready to be cooked over the campfire
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    Once the nachos are cooked, it’s all about adding the toppings

    Tips for Delicious Campfire Nachos:

    When I was a kid, my mom would make an epic tray of nachos every Christmas Eve. It was a weird family tradition, but I looked forward to it every year. Needless to say, I’ve become a tough nacho critic! Below are some tips for nacho success every time:

    • The key to campfire nacho success is all in the layers. You must have several layers of chips and cheese! Trust me, I learned from the best!
    • When cooking, you want to use campfire coals to create heat in the dutch oven. Don’t put the dutch oven directly on an open flame.

      That would be way too hot, create uneven heating in the dutch oven, and likely burn your nachos. When you use coals, you can easily use the metal tongs to take coals off and on, and you’ll have much more control over the dutch oven temperature that way.

    Adding coals to the top of the dutch oven to create heat inside to melt the cheese, not burn it
    The nachos cooking over the campfire in the dutch oven
    The final campfire nachos with all the toppings

    Easy Campfire Nachos

    These easy campfire nachos make the perfect camping dinner or appetizer.
    Print Recipe
    Prep Time:15 mins
    Cook Time:15 mins
    Total Time:30 mins

    Ingredients

    • 1 bag of tortilla chips 10-15 oz bag
    • 12 oz sharp cheddar cheese shredded
    • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained
    • 1 2 oz can sliced black olives (optional)
    • TOPPINGS:
    • tomato diced
    • avocado diced
    • cilantro chopped
    • green onion chopped
    • salsa
    • sour cream

    Instructions

    • Get a campfire going and let it burn down for about 10 minutes, or until you have some coals in the fire.
    • In the dutch oven layer chips, cheese, beans, and olives: Spread a layer of chips on the bottom of the cast iron. Top with 1/3 of the shredded cheese and a couple spoonfuls of the drained beans and olives. Repeat this layering at least 2 more times. If using a 4 Qt. cast iron, you can fit about 3 layers.
    • Put the lid on the dutch oven and place it near (but not on) the fire. Carefully put 1-2 coals under the dutch oven, and 4-5 coals on the lid. See video for a demonstration.
    • After 10 minutes, carefully use a fire glove or lid lifter to check on the nachos. The cheese should be melted. If not, add fresh coals to the lid and wait a few more minutes before checking again.
    • Once the cheese had melted, remove the dutch oven from the fire pit and carefully add your toppings. Serve immediately.

    Notes

    If you notice that one side of the dutch oven is hotter than another, simply rotate the dutch oven 180° to even things out.
    Servings: 4 servings
    Campfire nachos fresh off the campfire before toppings are added

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    More Easy Camping Dinner Ideas:

    If you have any questions about the recipe, ask me in the comments below! Have you tried it? Let me know what you think.

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