Yes, it IS it possible to enjoy tasty nachos on the keto diet! Simply replace the high-carb tortilla chips with crunchy pork rinds.
The result is comparable to the real thing, and it's also very easy to make - this tasty appetizer is ready in less than 30 minutes.
Many of us sorely miss our old favorites when we transition to a keto diet. But happily, many of those favorites have excellent keto versions that are just as (or almost as) good as the original.
So yes, you can still enjoy nachos on the keto diet! In this recipe, I simply replace the tortilla chips with crunchy pork rinds. Then add cheesy toppings and bake the dish until warm and bubbly. So delicious!
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make low-carb nachos. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Olive oil: I love cooking with this delicious oil. But if you'd rather use an oil with a higher smoke point, you can use avocado oil instead.
Ground beef: I use lean ground beef in this recipe (85% lean and 15% fat). Leaner than that is not as flavorful, in my opinion.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Spices: I use chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, and cayenne pepper. Make sure they are fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
Plain pork rinds: I prefer to use plain pork rinds in this recipe. And while these homemade pork rinds are lovely, in this recipe, I prefer the commercial ones, which are large, puffy, and dry.
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese: Other good cheeses to use in this recipe are sharp cheddar and provolone.
Pickled sliced jalapenos: If you like your food spicy, you can use raw seeded jalapenos and cook them with the beef. Just remember to handle them with gloves so that they don't burn your skin (or your eyes!)
Making keto nachos is so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
First, you cook the ground beef until no longer raw. Drain, then mix in the spices.
Next, you spread the pork rinds in a greased baking dish. Top with the ground beef, then the cheese, and finally the jalapeños.
Bake briefly to melt the cheese, about 5 minutes at 400°F. Serve the dish with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.
It's best to use large puffy pork rinds in this recipe. Make sure to use pork rinds and not pork crackling. You want large, puffy pieces for scooping out the meat and cheese. I like El Mexicano Chicharrones, which I get on Amazon.
Frequently asked questions
The original dish is simply tortilla chips topped with melted cheese. It originates in Mexico and is served as a snack. Variations like mine, which include ground beef, are often served as a main course.
Pork rinds work beautifully as a replacement. They're crunchy, savory, and make the perfect vehicles for scooping up the beef mixture.
Almost. I would say that the only downside to using pork rinds is that they get soggy faster than tortilla chips.
In my experience, though, this hasn't been an issue. Because unless you're trying to keep leftovers, the pork rinds remain crunchy for the time it takes to finish this meal.
Variations and substitutions
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- You can use ground pork or ground poultry (chicken or turkey) instead of ground beef.
- Provolone is a good substitute for cheddar.
- Rather than use onion powder, you can finely chop a small onion and cook it with the meat.
These nachos are obviously a great appetizer or party snack. But I often serve them as our main course at dinner. The kids love it, and so do we! As a main course, this recipe feeds four. As an appetizer, it can easily feed eight people.
You can keep leftovers of the meat mixture for 3-4 days in the fridge, in an airtight container. But I don't recommend trying to keep leftovers of the whole dish. The pork rinds will become soggy.
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Pork Rind Keto Nachos
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ½ teaspoon fine salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil plus extra for the baking dish
- 1 lb. lean ground beef (85/15)
- 4 oz plain pork rinds
- 8 oz shredded cheddar (2 cups)
- ½ cup pickled sliced jalapenos
- Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a rimmed casserole dish with olive oil. A 9 X 13-inch baking dish works well, as shown in the video. In the photos, I made half the recipe so used a smaller baking dish.
- Mix the salt, pepper and spices in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until no longer raw, about 5 minutes. Drain well. It's important to drain really well or the meat juices will make the pork rinds soggy.
- Return the drained beef to the skillet. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the spice mixture. Cook, stirring, for about 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
- Spread the pork rinds in a single layer on the prepared pan. Top with the cooked ground beef, then sprinkle the shredded cheese evenly on top. Arrange the jalapenos on top of the cheese.
- Bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, with your choice of toppings such as hot sauce, sour cream, guacamole, and/or salsa.