How to Make the Most Delicious Totopos Con Chile (AKA Loaded Nachos)

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As San Franciscans, we love our Mexican food. And with taquerias and taco trucks on practically every corner, there’s no shortage of it. One of our absolute favorite spots is Nopalito. And while you won’t find a burrito on the menu here, Nopalito serves up plenty of other crave-worthy dishes—like their famous totopos con chile (AKA the best loaded nachos you’ve ever had). They’re spicy, creamy, tangy, cheesy and bursting with flavor.

You’ll find them at Nopalito’s brand-new takeout window in the Mission, and their Broderick location even offers takeout totopos kits. But if you’re anything like us, you love a good recipe challenge, and chef-owner Gonzalo Guzman has delivered. Here’s how to make the famous dish at home.

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  • 1 bag Nopalito chips* (or ½ pound homemade corn tortilla chips)
  • 4 ounces grated cotija cheese (or queso fresco)
  • 1 ounces chopped cilantro
  • 1 ounces chopped white onion
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup dried arbol chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 ½ cup (12 ounces) canned diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 small tomatillo
  • 2 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 4 ounces Kefir or Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon lime juice

* You can buy Nopalito chips at Falletti's, Bi-Rite, and Epicurean Trader locations and online through Good Eggs.


1) In a small pot, heat the oil over high heat, then add the chiles; let cook, continuously tossing to avoid burning, about 10 seconds. As soon as the chiles turn bright orange, remove them from the oil.

2) Add three-quarters of the chiles to a blender and reserve the rest. Add the tomatoes, tomatillo, vinegar, garlic, salt and 2 tablespoons of water and blend until smooth. Taste and blend in some of the reserved chiles if you want more heat.

3) Pour the blended salsa into a small pot, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

4) Combine yogurt and lime juice to make the crema. Salt to taste. If necessary, thin with water.

5) Place the chips into a large bowl, add the salsa and toss to coat.

6) Top with crema, grated cheese, cilantro and onions.

7) Finish with a squeeze of lime and garnish with lime wedges.

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allison mccarthy
Allison McCarthy

San Francisco Editor

Allison McCarthy is a writer and editor with 15 years of experience in the industry. She's currently the San Francisco editor at PureWow, where she covers the best of what's...
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