Kimchi Nachos

Nachos have to be one of my favorite game-day or hosting appetizers because they’re great for sharing and incredibly versatile. My version of nachos includes a secret ingredient that turns this classic favorite into a delicious Mexican-Korean fusion – kimchi. The spicy and tangy zest of kimchi elevates this indulgent treat, bringing the best of both cultures in the most delicious way. 

This unconventional nacho is great for anyone looking for a tasty, unconventional snack that’s perfect for game day, gatherings, potlucks, or a treat-yourself day. 

Nachos are typically served with plain tortilla chips however, I like using seasoned tortilla chips like Doritos for maximum flavor. I specifically used Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili but you can use any flavor or swap them out for regular tortilla chips. 

Why you’ll love this recipe

Whether it’s game day, parties, or movie night, my kimchi nachos are guaranteed a crowd pleaser. The taste of kimchi pairs deliciously with the bold and familiar flavors of your classic nachos. 

Nachos are great because they’re not only easy to make, but they are customizable based on toppings and ingredients that you like. For these nachos, they’re loaded with refried beans, kimchi, lots of cheese, guac, pickled jalapenos, and cilantro but feel free to use anything you desire!

This recipe takes 20 minutes to make, and every second of it will be worth it once you take a bite out of this delicious treat!

Kimchi Nachos Ingredients & Substitutions

Doritos: Doritos add a ton of flavor to the nachos since it is well-seasoned. I used the Spicy Sweet Chili flavor for this recipe, but feel free to use any variation you prefer. You can also use plain nachos as a substitute.

Refried beans: refried beans add an earthy flavor and rich and creamy texture to the nachos. If you don’t like refried beans, you can substitute them with hummus which adds richness and creaminess or just make extra guac!

Kimchi: our secret ingredient kimchi adds spicy and tangy flavors to the nachos. You can use store-bought kimchi or make my Cabbage Kimchi recipe in advance.

Shredded cheese: when melted, shredded cheese adds a gooey texture essential to nachos. Feel free to use your favorite cheese like sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Colby cheese, or a combination of cheeses for a unique flavor profile. 

Guacamole: guacamole adds a rich flavor and creamy texture to the nachos. Feel free to use store-bought guacamole or make it from scratch.

Pickled jalapenos: pickled jalapenos add sweetness and a subtle hint of spice to the kimchi nachos. 

Cilantro: cilantro adds freshness and a subtle peppery taste to round out the flavors of the kimchi nachos. You can omit it if you don’t like cilantro. 

Kimchi Nacho Ingredient Additions/ Variations

If you want to elevate the flavors with kimchi nachos, here are a few ingredients you can experiment with:

  1. Shredded chicken – for some extra protein, you can add shredded chicken to make the kimchi nachos more filling. Leftover rotisserie chicken would work best, since it’s one less thing you’d need to prepare however if you wanted to make the chicken at home, season the chicken with flavors that complement the nachos, like cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder, before pan-frying and shredding.
  1. Pickled red onions – pickled red onions are a delicious addition to the nachos. They add tangy and sweet flavors that complement the flavors of the kimchi. Check out my Asian Pickled Red Onions recipe!
  1. Pulled pork – pulled pork will add a ton of savory and umami flavors to the kimchi nachos. Their tender and juicy texture is just what you need to make the dish irresistibly good. 
  1. Olives – olives are a classic ingredient on regular nachos, and their salty and briny flavors taste just as good on this dish! Slice the olives thinly and spread them evenly on your kimchi nachos.
  1. Corn – corn kernels add a subtle sweet taste to balance out the flavors of the kimchi nachos. Canned corn or fresh corn both work!

Kimchi Nachos Dipping Sauces

Although kimchi nachos are phenomenally flavorful on their own, you can also serve dipping sauces on the side for more variation:

  1. Salsa – salsa is a classic dipping sauce and topping for nachos and it will taste just as good with this dish. Feel free to use store-bought or homemade salsa.
  1. Sour cream – sour cream provides a tangy and tart flavor with a rich and creamy consistency that will complement well with the crunchiness of the nachos.
  1. Spicy mayo – spicy mayo is not a traditional dipping sauce for nachos but it’s damn delicious! Simply combine 1 part Sriracha with 2 parts mayo and mix well. 

How do I prepare Kimchi Nachos?

To prepare this loaded kimchi nachos recipe, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). 

Step 2: Layer the ingredients in the sheet tray

In a small sheet tray (6.5″x 9.5″), spread out half the Doritos or tortilla chips. Layer half the refried beans, kimchi, and cheese.

Step 3: Add the second layer

Place the remaining Doritos or tortilla chips on top for the second layer. Followed by the remaining half of the refried beans, kimchi, and cheese.

Step 4: Bake the nachos

Bake in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted. 

Step 5: Remove from the oven and add the rest of the ingredients

Once the nachos are done, remove them from the oven. Next, add guacamole, pickled jalapenos, and cilantro on top of the nachos.

Step 6: Serve

Serve warm and enjoy!

Cooking Tips for Kimchi Nachos

Here are a few tips you can keep in mind to make the most delicious kimchi nachos every time!

  • For best results, you want to use sour and well-fermented kimchi because it is more flavorful and tangy. If you don’t have sour kimchi and you only have fresh kimchi, add a splash of white vinegar and mix it into the kimchi. The addition of the vinegar will mimic the flavor profile of sour kimchi. 
  • For the shredded cheese, feel free to use your favorite type or combination of cheeses. 
  • Layering is key for nachos. By layering the ingredients, you’ll get a piece of the toppings in every bite. 
  • To prevent the nachos from getting soggy, assemble just before serving. You can prepare the ingredients ahead of time so you can easily layer them when it’s go time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How spicy are kimchi nachos?

Kimchi nachos are as spicy as the kimchi and the great thing about this recipe is you can adjust how spicy you want it to be based on the amount of kimchi added. By adjusting the amount of kimchi added, you can control the spice level. Every kimchi is unique, and the spice levels will differ from each brand. To be sure, just give your kimchi a quick taste before adding it to the nachos. 

Can I make kimchi nachos not spicy?

Yes, absolutely! A trick to toning down the spiciness completely, while still using kimchi is to rinse the kimchi in cold water. You can either rinse all the kimchi or rinse half. The water will wash away the gochugaru (Korean red chili flake), which will reduce the spiciness significantly. What you’ll be left with is mild and tangy kimchi. Just make sure to squeeze the kimchi well to drain any excess water before using. 

Can I make kimchi nachos in advance?

Kimchi nachos are best enjoyed fresh so I do not recommend assembling them ahead of time. To save time, you can prepare the toppings in advance but assemble and bake just before serving to prevent the chips from getting soggy. 

What are refried beans?

Refried beans are mashed and pan-fried pinto beans. They’re also seasoned with cumin, garlic powder, chili pepper, salt, and pepper to maximize their flavor. Refried beans are often served as side dishes in Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisines, but they’re also added to various dishes, like tostada and chimichangas.

How can I make guacamole?

Guacamole can be prepared with just a few ingredients like avocados, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, garlic, lime, salt, and cilantro or you can use pre-made guacamole from the store.  If you want to take your guacamole game up a notch, you can try making my easy Pineapple Guacamole recipe. It’s a game-changer!

What are pickled jalapenos made of?

As its name suggests, pickled jalapenos are made with jalapeno peppers that were pickled in vinegar, garlic cloves, and sugar. Depending on the brand you’re using, some may add additional seasonings like bay leaf, oregano, or black pepper. As a result, pickled jalapenos have a medley of spicy, salty, and sweet flavors that pair well with the tanginess of the kimchi.

What’s the best way to reheat leftovers?

Reheat in the oven at 350°F for about 5-10 minutes to re-crisp the chips, though they’re best enjoyed fresh.

Can you refrigerate Kimchi Nachos?

Kimchi nachos are best enjoyed fresh since the chips will eventually turn soggy over time. If you have leftovers or if you must refrigerate them, cover them with plastic wrap and store them in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. 

What is the best way to reheat Kimchi Nachos?

Kimchi nachos can be reheated in the oven at 350F (175C) for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chips have crisped up and the cheese has melted. 

Looking for more easy and delicious indulgent recipes?

1. Kimchi Grilled Cheese Sandwichthis kimchi grilled cheese sandwich is an example of East meets West fusion done right. The addition of kimchi in this American classic is fusion comfort food at its finest. The combination of the rich melted cheese with the sweet and salty kimchi sandwiched in between two buttered toasts creates the most delectable flavor and texture!

2. Strawberry Cream Donutif you love strawberries and donuts, this dessert is for you! These soft and fluffy donuts are filled with luscious cream, fresh strawberries, and a sweet and tart strawberry sauce for an addicting delectable treat!

3. Pepsi Chicken Wingschicken wings are another game-day staple that’s a certified crowd-pleaser. These glazed wings are sticky, sweet, savory, and finger-licking good!

4. Homemade Breakfast Crunchwrapskip the fast food line and make these loaded breakfast crunchwraps at home, and even better. It’s jam-packed with kimchi, sausage, jalapeno pickle sauce, and parmesan crisp for the ultimate breakfast.

5. Mushroom Steak Burger looking for a delicious meatless yet indulgent burger option? This mushroom steak burger is the one! The mushroom steak is glazed in a smoky BBQ-like flavor that’s packed with a ton of flavor. Once you’ve taken a bite out of this mushroom burger, you’ll wonder if you’ll ever go back to beef burgers again.

Kimchi Nachos

Servings 4 people
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 5 oz Doritos or regular tortilla chips
  • 1/2(14 oz) can refried beans reheated
  • 1/4 cup kimchi chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese plus more if needed
  • 1/2 cup guacamole
  • 3 tbsp pickled jalapenos
  • 2 tbsp cilantro chopped


  • Preheat oven to 400F / 205C.
  • In a small sheet tray (6.5"x9.5"), spread out half the Doritos or tortilla chips. Layer half the refried beans, kimchi, and cheese.
  • For the second layer, place the remaining Doritos or tortilla chips on top. Followed by the remaining half of the refried beans, kimchi, and cheese.
  • Place in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese has fully melted.
  • After removing from the oven, top with guacamole, pickled jalapenos, and cilantro
  • Serve and enjoy!
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American

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