EASY Nacho Fries BellGrande: Taco Bell Copycat Recipe
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- So. Easy. From baking the fries in the oven to microwaving the homemade cheese sauce, the recipe could not be easier. Even the spice blend comes in a ready-to-use packet. It’s so simple to throw together and is the perfect kids-in-the-kitchen recipe.
- Quick. While your fries are baking, you have time to brown your taco meat, melt the cheese sauce and gather your favorite toppings. You’re done in 30 minutes, start to finish.
- Delicious. Taco Bell Nacho Fries are a hit for an easy dinner that your whole family will devour. Or serve these loaded nacho fries for the ultimate game-day snack.
- Healthier than Taco Bell. You are already a step ahead by using baked fries rather than deep-fried French fries. You can modify the recipe to make them even more nutritious. Use ground turkey, add black beans, sprinkle a little shredded cheese in lieu of nacho cheese sauce, load up on fresh ingredients like veggies, or serve your nacho fries on a bed of spinach for an indulgent but vitamin-rich nacho-fries-salad.
- Never discontinued. Taco Bell introduces Nacho Fries intermittently as a temporary offering. You can make these copycat Taco Bell Nacho Fries whenever you want them!
- Always gluten-free. As a celiac, Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries BellGrande are off limits for me. The fries are made in a shared fryer, the Taco Bell cheese sauce is not gluten-free, and Taco Bell does not have cross-contamination prevention methods. Taco Bell is not on my list of safe fast food chains for eating gluten-free. But these homemade nacho fries are gluten-free!
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- 1 lb Ore Ida Fries are labeled gluten-free. Ore-Ida Golden Fries work very well in this recipe. Ore-Ide Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries taste even better, thanks to extra vegetable oil that makes them, well, “extra crispy” and a bit higher in fat. It’s a trade-off and either is delicious.
- 1 lb ground hamburger. You can substitute ground turkey for a leaner protein. Or simply use black beans for a vegetarian option.
- 4 tsp taco seasoning. I highly recommend Riega Organic Taco Seasoning. The company notes on the package that it is tested gluten-free, and the flavor is perfect… all seasoning and no fillers.
- 16 slices of American cheese. Do not substitute. This nacho cheese sauce recipe will not work with cheddar cheese.
- ½ cup milk. Whole milk is a bit richer, but any milk you have on hand will work just fine in a pinch.
- 2 tbsp brine from a jar of jalapeño slices helps create the distinct flavor of Taco Bell’s cheese sauce.
Optional Toppings for Loaded Nacho Fries
At Taco Bell, Nacho Fries BellGrande are topped with:
- nacho cheese
- taco meat
- sour cream
- diced fresh tomatoes
At home, you can have whatever you want on your loaded fries!
Here are some more topping ideas for inspiration:
- Sliced avocado
- Diced or sliced jalapeños
- Black beans
- Refried beans
- Diced yellow onion
- Green onion
- Diced yellow/red/orange/green bell pepper
- Pico de Gallo
Mix and match Taco Bell’s toppings and your favorite nacho ingredients to make the perfect Nacho Fries for you.
Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Place fries in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake 22-24 minutes.
If using a different brand of fries, follow the package instructions on your fries.
The silicone baking mat or parchment paper will make cleanup a breeze. I have well-loved silicone baking mats that I’ve been using for years. I simply put them in the top rack of the dishwasher for easy clean-up.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brown ground beef until fully cooked. Drain grease and return ground beef to skillet. Stir in 2 tsp of taco seasoning. Set aside.
Note, if you are looking for a quick snack of just nacho fries and cheese, you may omit the ground beef and other optional toppings. Simply jump ahead to the next step, making the cheese sauce.
While the fries are baking, you’ll get to work on browning the hamburger, melting the cheese sauce, and gathering toppings for your ready-in-30-minutes dinner.
Use a heat-resistant turner spatula to break up the meat while browning.
Make sure to drain the grease to get rid of excess fat before storing in the seasoning.
If using a packet of Riega Organic Taco Seasoning, the package contains 4 tsp of seasonings. Measure out two teaspoons for the meat and save two teaspoons for the fries. Or simply approximate and add half the bag (or slightly less) to the ground beef.
Set aside the beef mixture until you are ready to assemble your nacho fries. If setting up a nacho fries bar, move the ground beef to a medium bowl for serving.
Cheese Sauce: Cut or tear American cheese slices into smaller pieces. Place in a microwave-safe bowl with milk and jalapeño brine.
Microwave in 30-second intervals and stir between intervals, until the cheese melts into a smooth sauce.
It’s important to stir the mixture every thirty-second interval. Stirring will combine all of the ingredients. It also helps to melt the remaining tiny pieces of cheese as they are stirred into the warm mixture.
Microwave ovens can vary, and once the cheese starts to melt, it will be ready quickly.
Remove fries from oven when they are a light golden brown and toss with remaining 2 tsp of taco seasoning.
Sprinkle the remaining seasoning over the fries while they are still fresh out of the oven. Toss quickly with tongs to coat completely.
Assemble nacho fries and serve.
There are two great options.
- Serve family style with everything on top of the fries on a large serving plate.
- Set up a nacho fries bar for everyone to build their own.
Doubling the Recipe
You can easily double or even triple this simple recipe to feed hungry teens or make the perfect appetizer for a Super Bowl Sunday crowd.
Cook the ground beef in batches. And use multiple baking sheets for the fries so they have enough space to arrange in a single layer.
Storing & Using Leftovers
You probably won’t have leftovers, but if you do, store items separately in airtight containers in the fridge for three-four days.
All of the hot items, except for the fries, can be reheated in the microwave. To maintain texture, reheat the fries in the oven. If you have a small enough quantity of fries to fit in a single layer. reheat them in an air fryer, for optimally crispy fries.
Nacho Fries BellGrande (Taco Bell Copycat Recipe)
- 1 lb Ore Ida Fries
- 1 lb ground hamburger (or ground turkey)
- 4 tsp taco seasoning (Riega Organic Taco Seasoning is gluten-free)
- 16 slices American cheese
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tbsp brine from a jar of jalapeño slices
Optional Toppings (choose your favorite nacho toppings)
- sour cream
- diced tomatoes or salsa
- diced or sliced jalapeño
- green onions
- Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper for easy clean up. Place fries in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake 22-24 minutes.
- While the fries are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brown ground beef until fully cooked (no longer pink), breaking it up with a spatula while cooking.
- Drain grease and return ground beef to skillet. Stir in 2 tsp of taco seasoning. Set aside.
- Cut or tear American cheese slices into smaller pieces. Place in a microwave safe bowl with milk and jalapeño brine. Microwave in 30 second intervals and stir between intervals, until the cheese melts into a smooth sauce.
- Remove fries from oven when they are a light golden color and toss with remaining 2 tsp of taco seasoning.
- Assemble nacho fries and serve family-style on a large platter or set up a bar for everyone to assemble their own: fries, cheese sauce, cooked ground beef, and optional toppings.
Want more Taco Bell at home? Try this healthy version of a taco bell bean burrito!