The Ideal Plate of Nachos in Every U.S. State

A header image for a blog about how nacho preferences differ from state to state
A header image for a blog about how nacho preferences differ from state to state

Nachos are a simple yet endlessly customizable dish that has captured the hearts and taste buds of Americans everywhere. But of course, not all nachos are created equal; everyone has their own favorite flavor combos.

We know there are few better date nights than nacho night, and it’s undeniable that a perfectly curated platter can bring people together. We couldn’t resist digging into this cheesy subject, so we conducted an all-American survey to uncover how each state prefers to stack its nachos.

Every State Builds Its Perfect Plate of Nachos

A graphic showing what the most popular nacho plates look like across the U.S.

We didn’t just want to know who likes nachos — we wanted to dive into the delicious details. So we gave everyone the power to be their own nacho chef! We invited folks to craft their dream plate, picking from a scrumptious list of meats, beans, veggies, cheeses, and those all-important toppers. The ultimate nacho combos for each state are based on which ingredients got the most love for each category.

Overall, the most popular nacho combo featured ground beef for its hearty flavor, black beans for a protein punch, and cheddar cheese for that perfect melt. Adding freshness to this savory base is lettuce, onion, and tomato. And what’s a nacho plate without the finishing touches? Salsa adds a zesty kick, while sour cream provides a creamy balance. This winning combination dominates in 10 states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Mississippi.

A close second features a twist that’s as creamy as it is dreamy. It’s the same beloved mix of ground beef, black beans, onion, tomato, cheddar cheese, salsa, and sour cream, but with avocado adding a buttery smoothness that’s hard to resist. This combo is the reigning champion in Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Tennessee.

If you’re looking for a combo that brings the heat, the next nacho plate might be for you. This plate that swaps out black beans for the velvety texture of refried beans and turns up the heat with jalapeños is the top choice in Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

While most states opt for some combination of these ingredients, an honorable mention goes out to the unique choices across the nation. In Southern cuisine, corn is often featured in various forms — from cornbread to creamed corn — which may be why South Carolina was one of two states that consider corn a must on their nachos.

Similarly, Colorado was the only state to swap cheddar cheese for Monterey Jack. Colorado is known for its love of outdoor activities and fresh, natural ingredients, which may explain why they would opt for this milder, creamier cheese to top off their nachos.
While beans are often considered a nacho essential, Indiana stands alone in its choice to go bean-free. Indiana is letting other ingredients take center stage — a unique approach we didn’t see anywhere else in the country.

Nacho Commonalities Across the Country

When it comes to nachos, Americans have strong opinions not just about toppings but also about where to enjoy this beloved dish. The majority (57%) prefer to savor their nachos at a restaurant rather than make them at home. Interestingly, the same percentage of people, 57%, see nachos more as an appetizer than a full meal, highlighting the dish’s versatility.

The foundation of any good plate of nachos starts with the chip. Tostitos is the brand of choice for 42% of Americans, but regional tastes do come into play. While residents of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington go for Juanita’s, those in Arizona, Arkansas, and New Mexico prefer Mission chips. Regardless of brand, there’s national agreement on the type of chip: triangle-shaped corn tortilla chips win hands down.

Now, what goes on the chips?

  • The most popular meats for nachos are ground beef (50%), chicken (16%), and carne asada (13%).
  • When it comes to beans, Americans most prefer black beans (36%) and refried beans (33%). 20% prefer no secondary protein option.
  • The top vegetable choices for nachos are onions (67%), tomatoes (65%), avocados (55%), lettuce (53%), and jalapeños (51%).
  • Cheddar cheese (57%) was the top choice for Americans by a wide margin, followed by Monterey Jack (34%) and pepper jack (27%).
  • The most popular toppers for nachos in America are sour cream (54%), salsa (54%), and guacamole (36%).

Every State’s Nacho Plate

Interested to see the specifics of your state’s nacho plates? Sort through the interactive table below to find your state’s ideal dish.

Closing Thoughts

From preferred toppings to the ultimate dining experience, it’s clear that nachos hold a special place in America’s culinary heart. Just like the perfect nacho platter, love is all about finding the right combination that makes everything come together.

Building a life with the perfect partner can be even better than the perfect plate of nachos. It’s about finding that special someone who complements you in every way, adding the right flavors and textures to make life a truly fulfilling experience.

If you’ve found your perfect combination in a partner, why not celebrate it with a timeless piece from Shane Co.? From engagement rings to meaningful jewelry, we have something that will help you celebrate your unique blend of love.


To determine how every state takes its nachos, we surveyed people across the U.S. over a two-week period in October 2023 and asked them to build their ideal plate of nachos. Respondents were asked to select the chip styles, meats, beans, vegetables, cheese, and toppings that would go on their perfect plate of nachos. They were able to select multiple options for vegetables, cheese, and toppings.

Using the survey data, we were able to identify unique nacho ingredient combinations to see which states are most alike in their nacho tastes.

We did not analyze results in the following states due to limited survey respondents: Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. 

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