Simple to make campfire nachos

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Ready for another simple campfire recipe? Campfire nachos are just about as easy as it comes! Most of the prep work is done at home, so assembling at the campsite is a breeze!

The Heat

Generally I just start a fire with wood, and use the coals from there. For this trip, I wanted to save space though, charcoal is the answer. The best, and easiest way to light charcoal is a chimney. If you haven’t used a chimney before, this is a great article. Also, I switched recently from my traditional lighters to these mini torches. I love them so much!! The flame is so much better, they are

Here are the basics of how I like to start the chimney when camping. I build a small base for a fire in the fire pit. I mean, just a piece of paper and a few twigs. Now, set the chimney on top. Add paper to the bottom of the chimney and add charcoal. I used a full chimney for this recipe as we were hungry and wanted it to cook quickly. So light that fire and get going!

woman lighting chimney with small torch

Anyone else totally fascinated with fire and smoke? I just think it is so cool!

chimney heating charcoal for cooking

Once the fire is lit and heating the charcoal, start on the nachos.

charcoal heating in chimney for dutch oven cooking

Putting together the Campfire Nachos

I love to line my dutch oven with parchment. Did you know you could do this? It makes clean up so much easier! It doesn’t need to fit perfectly. just set it in the pan.

woman placing parchment paper in a dutch oven

Add in your corn chips, or whatever chips you are using.

woman pouring chips into parchment lined dutch oven

To save time, fuel and extra dish washing, I always make my taco meat at home. You can also buy any taco meat you want, if you want to simplify. I will include my recipe for ground beef taco meat below. If you want to go vegetarian, skip this step and head to the bean below.

woman pouring mexican style ground beef onto chips in dutch oven.

Black bean are always included in our Mexican recipes!

woman pouring black beans over meat and chips in dutch oven

Next, sprinkle on your grated cheese.

woman sprinkling grated cheese over meat and black beans in dutch oven

Cooking the nachos

They are ready for heating. So place that lid on top. I used my Camp Chef Dutch oven for this one as it is large than my Lodge. I always buy my cast iron off season and wait for sales. It can be pretty expensive to buy them outright.

woman adding lid to dutch oven for cooking campfire nachos

Your coals should be ready to go. I like to wait until mine start to turn a grayish color. You don’t want it to be completely gray, just starting to be.

charcoal in chimney ready to use

Pour half the coals in your fire pit and spread. Place the dutch oven over the coals.

placing dutch oven over coals in fire ring

Pour the remaining coals over the top. Now, again, I used a lot more coals than someone else might, but it was only because we were hungry and ready to eat. I don’t generally count my briquettes, but this had about 12 on bottom and at least 20 on top.

man pouring charcoal over dutch oven for cooking

Now, just sit back and relax.

charcoal on top of dutch oven

I love using a lid lifter. It is so much easier than using hot pads or anything else.

woman lifting dutch oven lid with a lid lifter

Topping the nachos

Once it is heated and the cheese is melted, let’s start topping. This will be a done by personal preference, depending on what you like. We started with tomatoes.

woman adding sliced tomatoes to nachos

Red onions. Again, I chop and prep everything at home for simplicity’s sake.

woman adding red onions to nachos

Avocados are life here…so they always make an appearance. Then chopped olives and salsa to top it all.

woman adding avocados to nachos in dutch oven

See, how simple is this?? It is already to go!

woman scooping out campfire nachos with metal spatula

It isn’t my usual perfect photo op, but I still love the look of this dish! Plus, it is so perfect after a good day of exploring and hiking. Just the right amount of carbs, protein and veggies.

woman holding plate of campfire nachos

Are you looking for a breakfast idea with the dutch oven? How about this simple Breakfast Skillet?

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Mexican ground beef for campfire nachos

I love to make this ahead of time for a quick meal at the campsite. The meat is so flavorful and simple to make.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword beef for nachos, ground beef mexican recipes, mexican ground beef
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Amy- A Red Spatula


  • 2 pounds ground beef I like to use a 93/7, but use whatever beef you like best!
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper The amount of cayenne pepper you choose to use will depend on spicy you like your food. We tend to like it a little spicy, so we use a fair amount:)
  • 3/4 cup salsa of choice
  • 1 cup water


  • Add ground beef, salt, garlic salt and ground beef to a skillet. Brown over medium heat. Towards the end of cooking, add in remaining spices. Do not add the salsa and water yet though. Cook until no pink remains. Last is the salsa and water. Add and cook over medium heat. You will want to cook until almost all the water is gone. You still want some juices, but not really watery. Taste and adjust salt and pepper once the water is reduced.
    Now, cool on the counter, place in an airtight container or ziplock bag and place in fridge.
    It will be ready to go on your camping trip!
    Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!

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