Why You Need To Build Your Nachos With A Hole In The Center

When you order nachos in a restaurant, you never know exactly what you're going to get in terms of the way the dish is composed. You may be presented with a gooey, messy pile of soggy chips with watery, melting sour cream that has you reaching for a fork and requesting extra napkins. On the other hand, on rare occasions, you may get perfectly built nachos with evenly distributed toppings and delightfully crunchy chips that don't dissolve under sloppy toppings.

Building your own nachos requires a little planning. For example, The Stay at Home Chef lists plenty of options for toppings and instructions for layering together all the elements. A fresh pico de gallo can add freshness and heat, while a zesty queso dip provides molten cheesy goodness, along with a spicy kick. Also, fresh mango guacamole gives your nachos rich avocado flavor and texture, paired with sweet, fresh mango for a point of difference. But really, building the nachos holds the key to making this food a pleasure to eat rather than wear. What's the solution?

Think like an architect

Serious Eats has the perfect approach to assembling nachos so that each chip has flavorful toppings without turning into a soggy mess. There's a simple goal: The perfect plate of loaded nachos has a good amount of toppings on each tortilla chip, but not so many that you have to dig for them.

The solution: build your nachos with a hole in the center. Better said, think like an architect. When you distribute your chips on the baking sheet, leave a space in the middle of the sheet. Then, top your chips with all the toppings that should be heated, like meat, cheese, and pickled jalapeños, leaving the center empty.

When you pull your piping hot nachos out of the oven, you'll have a chip-free space, and that's where you place any cold ingredients, like pico de gallo and sour cream. Since you don't have chips underneath, everything around the cold, wet toppings stays hot and crisp. It's a simple and brilliant fix! Another way to avoid soggy nachos is to serve cold ingredients on the side. You may end up with a few more dishes to wash, but whether you build your nachos with a hole in the center or serve some elements on the side, you can banish soggy, messy nachos forever.