Why Are Nachos So Expensive? How Much Do They Cost?

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One of America’s favorite snacks and comfort food has become nachos; with Mexican restaurants all over supplying the ever-increase demand for nachos, there has also been an increase in other restaurants adding the popular nachos to their menu, even if it does stray from the traditional ingredients.

Many factors influence the price of ingredients, such as drought, COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruption, and supply and demand, leading to a significant increase in the cost of a plate of nachos. Even in its simplest form, the increase in cheese and oil alone plays a major factor in its price.

So why exactly have nachos become so expensive? We look at what ingredients make up nachos and why they have recently increased. We also compare some top restaurants and their take on the ever-increasing popular nacho.

Why Are Nachos So Expensive?

First and foremost, nachos have become so popular over the last few years that they have become one of the three American favorite snacks to serve on Super Bowl Sunday. With the popularity of 29%, it has crept into our hands and occupied our stomachs while we enthusiastically cheer on.

The tortilla chip forming the base of the nachos dish has also seen a price increase, contributed by the increasing demand for these comfort snacks.

According to surveys and research, 79% of Americans consume tortilla chips, which amounts to over 16 million pounds yearly, with the numbers increasing and no sign of slowing down.

For Mexico, it means that the tortilla chip market is their fourth largest industry, using 40% of their maize supply to produce tortillas.

What Has Contributed To The Increase In Nachos?

Various factors have affected the price of tortilla chips and nacho dishes. Droughts affecting a large portion of the country with climate crises looming, the increase in inflation costs, the impact of the pandemic, and ever-increasing demand for the product are but a few factors that lend to the increasing prices of our favorite snack.

Nachos, as a compiled dish of tortilla chips and the addition of cheese, guacamole, and sour cream, have their reasons as to why the prices have left us a few dollars less than normal.

Keeping the dish in its simplest form, let’s break it down and explain how each item has influenced the price of a plate of nachos.

The Cheese Factor

Recently we have seen an increase in the price of milk which filters down into the by-products that you get from it, namely cheese.

Some of the factors that have influenced the cost of milk,

  • Decreased number of dairy cows
  • Grain shortages due to drought
  • Climate crisis
  • Reduction of water supplies
  • Wildfires
  • Environmental regulations
  • Supply and demand
  • Farm labor

The pandemic has done the prices of products no favors when it hit the country with full force, shutting down restaurants and putting many people out of work. This filtered through to the farmers, and with a large percentage of sales dependent on direct supply to restaurants left the farmers with a surplus of dairy cows.

Farming dairy cows is a costly business, and an average cow can drink about 12 gallons a day; for a dairy cow, that amount rises to between 30 to 40 gallons of water a day. So with the climate crisis throwing drought into the mix, with 43 states experiencing some or other level of drought, it has created a massive water shortage for farmers.

Buying and transporting water from the east, south, and northern areas has become necessary to quench the thirst of their dairy cows, not to mention the petrol that is needed to transport the water over long distances; all these costs are added to the cost of producing a gallon of milk which is passed onto the consumer.

With wildfires eradicating fields of grazing due to dry climate conditions, it has increased the demand for grains as extra feed for the cows; unfortunate for the consumer, that also comes as an extra cost.

Then to add insult to injury, the grain cost increases due to limited supply thanks to the drought conditions that are being experienced.

All these conditions have added to the increasing milk and dairy prices, with milk increasing by almost 16% in the last twelve months.

Then, the increasing demand for cheese products from consumers creates a massive supply and demand chain that ultimately pushes prices northward.

The Guacamole Factor

The simple addition of cheese to tortilla chips makes the nachos, but the addition of creamy guacamole is always in high demand as an added topping.

Some of the reasons why avocados are expensive,

  • Water intensive crop
  • Supply chain disruption
  • Majority are imported
  • Economic consequences of COVID-19

Avocados have become a staple in many dishes and have risen in popularity for different reasons, the health addict that uses them for better skin and stronger nails, the increasing desire for a delicious avocado base for toasted bread, or the diet fanatic that supplements with good fats.

Whatever the reason is, there is no doubt that avocado sales have increased and once again have created a supply and demand factor in the market.

Avocados are a water intense orchard crops that require 50 gallons of water per pound of fruit, and in today’s conditions, water is becoming a scarce commodity.

Although California is known for its delicious avocados, it only contributes 12% of the supply to the States. The largest producer of avocados is Mexico, contributing 80% to the market.

However, recent circumstances affected the supply chain when there was a temporary ban on Mexican imports, which in turn created an increase of 50% in avocado prices due to the drop in the industry supply.

To date, the increase of avocado has seen a hefty 81% increase, contributing to the price hikes in the much-loved nacho and its accompaniments.

Let’s Not Forget The Oil Factor

Oil has seen a steady increase in prices since the pandemic hit the world, but in recent times the continuous threat of war between Russia and Ukraine has set prices soaring with little hope of it coming down soon.

Some of the major factors that have contributed to the oil price increase are,

  • Russian & Ukraine war
  • Climate crises
  • Indonesia bands exports of oil
  • Increase in biofuel demands
  • Pandemic-related labor shortages

Tortilla chips are fried to give them their tasty flavors and that unmistakable crispiness, so whether it is mass produced or carefully fashioned in your favorite restaurant, the price of tortilla chips and nachos will inevitably be higher.

Ukraine’s supply of sunflower for oil production to the world has been interrupted due to the ongoing war with Russia. Ukraine is responsible for half of the world’s sunflower oil, and Russia supplies 25 percent extra making these two war-torn countries responsible for 75 percent of the world’s sunflower production.

The scarcity of sunflowers has created a massive supply and demand market and has pushed oil prices through the roof.

Two other countries that are big palm oil producers are Indonesia, accounting for 50 percent of the world supply of palm oil, and Malaysia. Indonesia bans the export of palm oil to the rest of the world in an attempt to protect the domestic supply. At the same time, Malaysia suffers from labor shortages due to masses of workers fleeing the country as borders closed to maintain the spread of the virus.

All these factors have had an unmistakable part in the price hikes of oil, which in turn leads to the cost of producing our favorite snacks, but in the end, all these increases are filtered down to the final product that makes the cost to the consumer considerably higher.

Price Of Nachos At Top Restaurants

Nachos are always a favorite when you head to your favorite restaurant; whether it’s an appetizer to share with friends or your main event of the evening that you order for yourself, nachos are always a delicious treat that satiates many different cravings at once.

So, we listed a few of the top restaurants serving delicious nachos as they were meant to be, with some of them adding their own take and putting a twist to the traditional nachos that might make you reconsider how you look at nachos.

Here is a list of exclusive restaurants that serve a decent portion of nachos that cater to your cravings and put a twist on the traditional nachos.

RestaurantNacho Dish NamePrice
Brewery VivantDuck Nachos$19
Gracias MadreNachos (vegan)$23
Point Break Poke HousePipeline nachos$12.25
TokoroaGogi Nachos$14
Nacho HippoSelection to choose from$12
TacoriaViva la Nachos$15

Brewery Vivant

This unique little restaurant was once a church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, now converted into a brewery that serves Belgian and other European styles of beers. As craft beers are made to enjoy with a good meal, their menu has a few delightful options, one of which is the duck nachos.

Brewery Vivant offers a lux portion of nachos served with shredded duck as the meat topping and quenched with brie cream topped with caramelized onions, diced tomatoes, chives, and a dash of lemon zest. This makes for a rich, decadent meal with a fresh zest for imaginative nachos.

Gracias Madre

Gracias Madre is a quaint little Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles that keeps traditional Mexican cuisine using only plant-based ingredients, the perfect spot for vegans looking to fill that craving for nachos the natural way.

They boost gluten-free nachos of soy chorizo with cauliflower, pico de gallo, nacho cheese made from cashew nuts, cream of cashew, cilantro, and jalapenos that will fill the spot.

Point Break Poke House

Found in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Point Break Poke House has a surprise waiting for you when you order the nachos. With a backdrop of beaches and blue skies, these nachos are sure to put a twist on tradition.

The pipeline nachos have a twist right from the basics, nachos are replaced with wonton chips, and customers can choose from salmon or spicy tuna as the protein of choice. The interpretation of the toppings adorns the chips with pico de gallo, sour cream, a delicate avocado mousse, and aji Amarilla, their yellow chili, to vide up the colorful end product.


Tokorea in Atlanta is a vibrant restaurant that combines two very distinctive cuisines of Mexican dishes with a Korean flare. The two different menus in Hankook and Dunwoody offer a slight variation on the toppings, and it’s a nice twist to stirring things up.

Their plate of nachos generally consists of nacho chips with protein toppings of beef bulgogi, calamari, shrimp, fish, chicken, pork, tofu, or vegetables with queso, sesame soy salad, sour cream, jalapeno, and a spicy Korean BBQ sauce at the Hankook restaurant.

Dunwoody, serve similar protein topping with Jack cheese, taco salad, sweet and sour cream sauce, topped with jalapenos, and a gochujang sauce dribbled over the top. So when you are not quite sure what you feel like, try these nachos to fill more than one craving.

Nacho Hippo

South Carolina brings us Nacho Hippo, which offers the welcoming hospitality of southern charm with a decent portion of Mexican cuisine topped with that comfort food you are accustomed to.

With a wide range of nachos dishes to choose from and the option of creating your own, the sky is the limit in the variations you can make, keeping you coming back for more as you decide which craving to fulfill.

One favorite nacho, adding a coastal feel to its Mexican charm, is the bangin’ shrimp, which adds a delicious portion of fried shrimp with spicy soya, a mango pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, queso, and smothered with cheese.


New Jersey’s Tacoria prides itself on the freshest ingredients; to prove it, they don’t have freezers. Here you can double up on a dose of tacos and make sure you fill that craving with your savory nachos, finished with a portion of dessert nachos sprinkled with powdered sugar laced with decadent Nutella chocolate.

Putting love into their dishes, the base of the nachos starts with handmade cut tortilla chips, black beans, a bright salsa covered with cheese, crema with escabeche peppers, and topped off with your choice of protein, from grilled steak, pineapple pork, spicy citrus chicken, vegetables, and guacamole to top it all off.

What About Fast Casual Restaurant Nachos

Every now and then, we crave quick nachos, and the thought of going to a restaurant is just not appealing. Here is a list of four top-rated chain restaurants that offer nachos and what you can expect to pay.

#RestaurantNacho Dish NamePrice
1ChipolteOrder from the secret menu$7
2Moe’s Southwest GrillBilly Barou steak$8.50
3El Pollo LocoChicken Nachos$7
4Del TacoNacho’s with steak$5

Different Grocery Brands Of Nachos

A tortilla chip is a tortilla chip, right? Well, yes, they are all made of corn, but some critical qualities make ordinary tortillas great tortillas.

We put together a list of tortilla chips that are delicious with the delicate balance of salt with corn flavoring, tough enough to withstand some abuse from purchase to landing up in their ultimate resting place, in the bowl, and then tough enough to keep their shape when being used as a scoop for the lip-smacking salsa and creamy guac.

Here are the top brands you can find in the grocery stores that are perfect for dips and worthy of being the base for that splendid nacho.

1. Mission Rounds

Best all-round in taste and strength, they may not be triangular, but they are worthy as a nacho base.

2. Calidad

Best tasting, but compared to the rounds, they are slightly more fragile but still deliver as a tasty and delicious dip chip or as a nacho base.

3. Juanita

Tortilla chips offer the best crunch

4. Santos

On the salty side but offer great taste, don’t season your salsa too much with salt; the chip will do the rest.

5. On The Border

On the oily side, however, they offer a fill to those cravings.

6. Tostitos

On the thin side, they may not handle heavy scoops of salsa and guacamole.

The Point Of Order

Nachos have increased in price due to the increase in food products such as milk, avocados, and oil, just to name a few. Since nachos have become such a popular staple snack, the supply and demand have increased so much that some restaurants have dedicated staff that make the guacamole and the tortilla chips in an endeavor to keep food as authentic as possible.

There is no limit to the options for what you can add to a nachos dish, as we have seen with the many varieties of appealing recipes that restaurants offer the clients. But when you buy tortilla chips for making nachos at home, you want to know that you have the best tortillas worthy of being a delicious base for your plate of nachos.

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