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BBQ Chicken Nachos Recipe

This BBQ Chicken Nachos is a deliciously fun way to kick up Nachos Night. Boldly flavored chicken, melted cheese, and all the fixings make this recipe great for parties, gamedays, or a fun family meal!

A plate of BBQ chicken nachos topped with diced vegetables, pineapple chunks, cheese, and fresh cilantro.
BBQ Chicken Nachos features perfectly tender, marinated chicken with Hawaiian-style salsa.

Why This Recipe Stands Out

We love a good BBQ recipe! Here’s why this is our top pick:

  • Marinated Chicken: The secret to the amazingness of these nachos is the flavorful chicken! Our pineapple-based marinade takes it to the next level, like in our Maui Chicken Tacos recipe.
  • Savory and Sweet: The marinade for this chicken is one of the best we’ve ever tasted. It’s a perfect blend of savory and sweet.
  • Perfect for Entertaining: BBQ Chicken Nachos are the ideal party food. They’re easy to make, customizable, and pair beautifully with summer cocktails.
  • Fresh and Healthy: It’s super fresh, ultra-healthy, and delicious, just like our Fresh Fruit Salsa.

Key Recipe Ingredients

  • Skinless, Boneless Chicken Thighs – We use this cut of chicken as it is the most tender and juicy. However, chicken tenderloins can also work.
  • Pineapple Juice – The pineapple juice not only tenderizes the chicken but also infuses it with a sweet and tangy flavor that is characteristic of Hawaiian cuisine.
  • Asian Sesame Oil – Adding a touch of this oil gives the chicken a nutty, aromatic flavor that sets it apart from traditional BBQ chicken.
  • Pineapple – The pineapple in the salsa adds a refreshing, sweet-tart flavor that pairs perfectly with the savory chicken and cheese.
  • Avocado – It provides a creamy contrast in the salsa to the crunchy, cheesy nachos.


Here are a few of our favorite substitutions variations:

  • Protein: While we love using thighs since they’re the most tender, you can also use other proteins like turkey or even ground beef as we do in this Mexican Taco Salad.
  • Cheese: Feel free to get creative with the cheese. Try using pepper jack, a sprinkle of crumbled queso fresco, or even some Mexican cheese blend which adds a ton of flavor to our Cheesy Mexican Bean Dip.
  • Salsa: This fresh pineapple salsa is what makes these nachos really special, but you can switch it up by using Mango Salsa, Corn Salsa, or even Black Bean Corn Salsa on top.


  1. Whisk together onion, garlic, ginger, pineapple juice, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil.
  2. Pat dry chicken pieces thoroughly and pound them to an even thickness. Pierce the pieces with a fork and season lightly with salt.
  3. Toss chicken pieces in the marinade. Cover and chill overnight, or for up to 2 nights. Turn it over halfway during marinating.
  4. Combine all salsa ingredients except avocado in a bowl and let chill. Dice and add the avocado just before using it.
  5. Grill the chicken on medium-high heat, basting with the marinade. Let it rest for 5 minutes and then dice it.
  6. Line plates with tortilla chips. Top with chicken and salsa. Sprinkle on cheese and microwave in 30-second increments to melt. Garnish and serve.

For full list of ingredients and instructions, see recipe card below.


Take a look at our best prep-ahead strategies for this recipe:

  • Make the Chicken: The chicken can be marinated and chilled in the fridge for up to 2 days before grilling. This is a great make-ahead option that lets you get the prep out of the way early.
  • Prepare the Salsa: You can also make the Hawaiian salsa up to a day in advance. Dice and add the avocado just before using it to keep it fresh.
  • Assemble Ahead: Have a party in the evening? You can fully assemble your nachos and store it in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, simply microwave in 30-second increments until the cheese melts and garnish as desired.
Overhead shot of freshly made BBQ Chicken Nachos with lime wedges on the side.
When the weather heats up, it’s time for big platefuls of BBQ Chicken Nachos.

What to serve with BBQ chicken Nachos

Mexican Sides and Dips

  • We love serving these BBQ Chicken Nachos with a big bowl of our Blender Salsa. It’s fresh, flavorful, and perfect for scooping up with those crispy tortilla chips.
  • Pico de Gallo and Guacamole are also great side options. They’re both light, and fresh and compliment the flavors of the nachos so well.
  • If you love a good fish taco, you will love our Crispy Fish Taco Recipe. That creamy lime sauce is a must-try!

Hawaiian and BBQ Dishes

Summer Cocktails

Commonly Asked Questions

What type of chicken should I use for this recipe?

We recommend using skinless, boneless chicken thighs for this recipe. Thighs are the most tender, but tenderloins can also work if you prefer.

Can I use the marinade as a sauce after grilling?

It’s best to discard the marinade after grilling the chicken. To use it as a sauce, cook it to a safe temperature to kill any bacteria from the raw chicken.

How long should I marinate the chicken?

You can marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours, but for the best flavor, we recommend marinating it overnight, or up to 2 nights.

How do I prevent the avocado in the salsa from browning?

To prevent the avocado from browning, dice and add it to the salsa just before using. The lime juice in the salsa also helps to keep the avocado fresh.

How long do the BBQ chicken nachos keep?

They’re best enjoyed fresh. If you have any leftovers, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. However, the tortilla chips may lose their crunchiness over time.

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

Overhead shot of freshly made BBQ Chicken Nachos with lime wedges on the side.

BBQ Chicken Nachos

5 from 2 ratings
This BBQ Chicken Nachos Recipe is a deliciously fun way to kick up Nachos Night. Gather your people around these boldly flavored chicken nachos for parties, game days, or a fun family meal.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Amy Dong


For the Chicken:

  • 2-3 lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs, thighs are most tender, but tenderloins can work
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, about 1-inch, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • ½ cup soy sauce, regular strength
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 5 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TB Asian sesame oil
  • table salt


  • 1 large vine-ripened tomato, seeded and diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 can diced pineapple, 20 oz, or crushed pineapple, drained
  • ¼ cup cilantro, freshly chopped
  • 1 fresh lime, juiced
  • 2 tsp pure honey
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 large avocado, semi-firm, diced


  • tortilla chips
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, or Jack cheese
  • lime slices, and/or hot sauce, for garnish


Make the Chicken

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the onion, garlic, ginger, pineapple juice, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and Asian sesame oil. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and marinade is well incorporated.
  • Use paper towels to thoroughly pat-dry the chicken pieces. Place chicken in a single layer on a cutting board, place a sheet of cling wrap over the chicken, and pound to an even thickness. Throw out cling wrap. Use a fork to pierce chicken pieces throughout.
  • Lightly sprinkle chicken thighs on both sides with table salt. Toss chicken in bowl of marinade to coat well. Cover and chill overnight, or up to 2 nights. Turn chicken over halfway during marinating.

Make the Hawaiian Salsa

  • Combine all salsa ingredients except for avocado in a bowl, toss well, and let chill until ready to use – dice and add the avocado just before using, to prevent browning.

To Cook

  • Grease and heat outdoor or indoor grill to medium-high. Remove chicken from marinade and grill, basting with marinade as desired, just until center is no longer pink. Do not over-cook. Discard marinade. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then dice.
  • Line 4-6 plates with tortilla chips. Top with chicken and salsa. Sprinkle on cheese and microwave in 30 second increments just to melt. Garnish as desired.


  • Make sure to pat-dry the chicken and pound it to an even thickness. This helps the marinade to be absorbed evenly and also ensures that the chicken cooks uniformly on the grill.
  • Don’t skip the step of piercing the chicken with a fork. This allows the marinade to penetrate the meat, making it more flavorful.
  • Chill the marinated chicken for at least overnight, or up to 2 nights. This not only helps the flavors to meld but also makes the chicken extra tender.
  • When making the Hawaiian salsa, add the diced avocado just before using to prevent browning. This will keep your salsa looking fresh and vibrant.
  • Grease and heat your grill properly before cooking the chicken. This will prevent the chicken from sticking and also give it those beautiful grill marks.
  • Line your plates with tortilla chips first, then top with chicken and salsa. This helps to keep the chips crispy and prevents them from getting soggy too quickly.
  • Microwave the assembled nachos in 30-second increments just to melt the cheese. This way, your nachos will be hot and gooey, but the chips will still maintain their crunch.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating. We ❤️ hearing from you! 
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Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 1455mg | Potassium: 851mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 527IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: appetizers, Main Dish
Cuisine: Hawaiian, Mexican, Tex-Mex
Diet: Gluten Free
Method: asemble, Grill

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