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Do you put cheese on top or bottom of nachos?

Nachos are a popular appetizer or snack consisting of tortilla chips topped with melted cheese and various other ingredients like meat, beans, salsa, guacamole, and more. One of the most debated aspects of assembling nachos is whether the cheese should go on top of the chips or underneath them. Both approaches have their merits, so let’s take a detailed look at the pros and cons of putting cheese on top vs. bottom of nachos.

Putting Cheese on Top

Placing the cheese on top of the tortilla chips is perhaps the more common and traditional way to make nachos. Here are some of the main benefits of putting cheese on top:

  • Allows the cheese to melt evenly over chips – Sprinkling shredded cheese over the chips means it can melt smoothly across the surface, binding ingredients together.
  • Creates appealing presentation – Having the melted cheese visible on top makes for an appetizing, restaurant-style presentation.
  • Cheese doesn’t stick to baking sheet – If you bake nachos with cheese on top, it won’t stick to the baking sheet as much as cheese on the bottom would.
  • Adjust amount of cheese per chip – You can control how much cheese each chip gets by how much you sprinkle over it.
  • Keeps chips crispy – With no cheese underneath, chips stay super crispy instead of getting soggy.
  • Easier to add extra toppings – You can keep adding more ingredients on top without disturbing any cheese at the bottom.

Overall, placing the cheese on top of the chips makes for great presentation and allows you to achieve that perfect gooey, melty cheese experience with maximum crispy chips. It’s the easiest assembling method as well.

Putting Cheese on Bottom

While less common, some nacho aficionados swear by putting the cheese underneath the chips. Here are some benefits this method can offer:

  • Prevents soggy chips – Cheese protects bottom layer of chips from moisture better than just a baking sheet.
  • Anchors ingredients – Melted cheese binds ingredients together and prevents toppings from sliding off chips.
  • Cheese cooks evenly – Cheese melts more evenly when already spread out on bottom.
  • Easier to pick up – Chips stick into cheese making loaded nachos easier to pick up.
  • Maximizes cheese flavor – More cheese touches more chips, putting cheese flavor directly on each bite.

Putting cheese on the bottom can help optimize cheese coverage and moisture protection. The downside is you don’t get that photogenic gooey cheese layer on top.

Cheese Layering Tips

If you just can’t decide between top or bottom cheese, you can always do both! Try these cheese layering tricks:

  • Half and half – Spread some cheese on bottom of baking dish, arrange chips on top, then sprinkle on more cheese so you get it both under and over chips.
  • Double decker – Make two layers of chips and cheese stacked on each other like a lasagna.
  • Per chip – Put small amounts of cheese on the bottom of each chip before loading on toppings.

Getting creative with cheese layers gives you the benefits of cheese protection on the bottom and gooey cheese coverage up top. The only limit is your imagination!

Factors to Consider

When deciding where to put the cheese, here are some factors to think about:

  • What other ingredients are you putting on top? More toppings may benefit from cheese underneath.
  • Are you baking or microwaving the nachos? Baking works better with cheese on top.
  • Do you want a tidy presentation or maximum coverage? Top is prettier while bottom coats more chips.
  • How crispy do you want the chips? Bottom cheese can soften chips.
  • How gooey and melty do you want the cheese? Top cheese gets gooiest.

Keep these considerations in mind when choosing the best cheese placement for your needs.


While nacho traditionalists argue passionately on each side of the cheese placement debate, there’s no objectively “right” way to assemble them. Both top and bottom cheese have their own advantages.

In general, placing cheese on top of the chips makes for picture-perfect presentation and keeps chips ultra-crispy. But putting cheese underneath has its benefits too in terms of flavor coverage and holding nachos together.

Get creative with your cheese layering or try out both methods to discover your personal preference. No matter which way you cheese them, homemade nachos always make for a crowd-pleasing appetizer! The most important thing is enjoying this delicious and customizable Tex-Mex snack.

Nacho Cheese Pros and Cons Table

Cheese on Top Pros Cons
Allows even melting Can let chips get soggy
Appealing presentation Less cheese adheres to chips
Crispy chips Toppings can slide off
Control cheese amount Less cheese flavor
Easy to add toppings
Cheese on Bottom Pros Cons
Anchors ingredients Can burn cheese
Protects from moisture No visible cheese layer
Coats more chips Hard to add toppings
Sticks chips together Chips lose crispiness
Maximizes flavor Uneven melting