Looking for a simple way to kick dinner up a notch on your next camping trip? Gather round the fire for these crowd-friendly nachos.

In my group of friends, it’s not a party unless there’s green chile queso dip, so it’s not surprising that I found a way to incorporate this into our camping trips as well. I mean, is there anything better than a night spent with friends around a campfire surrounded by millions of stars and the possibility of being eaten by bears? Not in my book.

I love these nachos because it’s super easy to prep everything at home and then throw them together in 5 minutes once we get the fire going so I don’t miss out on any of the evening’s festivities while I’m cooking. Plus, you can make a small amount or feed a bunch of people so it’s flexible for the group size and how hungry everyone is.

Here’s what you’ll want to prep at home:

Green Chile Queso

  • Velveeta – Yep, it’s just about the only time we ever eat processed cheese but it’s perfect for this dish.
  • Green Chile – Fresh roasted chilies are amazing when in-season, but if not I prefer the frozen Bueno brand chopped green chile.
  • Sour Cream
  • Canned RO-TEL Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Cut up the Velveeta into cubes and toss it into a microwave safe bowl. For a group of 4 adults I generally use the small block of Velveeta, but you’ll want to judge for yourself how much queso dip you’re trying to end up with.

Add about 6oz of sour cream and a half cup of shredded cheddar to the bowl. Drain the RO-TEL and add about half a can – give or take how much you like tomatoes.

Fresh roasted green chilies with seeds will generally be spicier than frozen so you might want to play around with the amount depending on your love of spicy foods, but I generally thaw, drain and use about 8oz of the “Hot” version of Bueno Green Chile. If you can’t find them around you, feel free to substitute canned chilies or jalapeños.

Microwave the queso ingredients just until you can combine everything nicely. You’re going to be cooling this again so it doesn’t need to be bubbling (unless you’re like me and tend to “taste test”/snack as you cook). Pack this in a plastic container for easy transport in a cooler.

The rest of the ingredients:

  • Rotisserie Chicken – Pull about 2 cups apart with your hands and pack into a ziplock bag. If you like spicy, I add a 1/2 packet of taco seasoning in the ziplock and toss it around to give the chicken extra flavor.
  • Black Beans – Drain and rinse then pack into a ziplock or plastic container.
  • Shredded Cheddar – 1-1.5 cups or so (generally just the rest of the bag from when I made the queso)
  • Diced jalapeños, tomatoes, cilantro, green onions, etc – whatever you like on your nachos
  • Sour cream, guacamole, salsa, etc – never too many things to dip chips into
  • Tortilla Chips (obviously – but I guess you could get creative with some healthy veggie chips or something)

Pro Tip: Ziplocks aren’t as water tight as you’d hope. If you’re going to store your food in a cooler with ice for a while before you eat, I always throw my ziplocks of individual ingredients into one bigger freezer bag or into a plastic container so I don’t end up with water seeping into my food.

Utensils and Cookware:

  • Dutch Oven or large cast-iron skillet (even better if it has a lid – you can use aluminum foil if it doesn’t)

Part of what I love about these nachos is that you can make them in a Dutch Oven or a big cast-iron skillet with a lid on it so they work either over a fire or with charcoal.

When it’s time for dinner:

Layer your tortilla chips, spoonfulls of green chile queso, chicken, black beans and shredded cheese in a cold dutch oven. Put the dutch oven on the grate above the fire with the lid or aluminum foil covering.

Depending on the size of your fire, how close the grate is, etc. it should take about 10 minutes to heat everything to a delicious bubbling temperature. When it’s melty, add your jalapeños, tomatoes, cilantro, etc. and ring the dinner bell!