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While tortillas have been around for thousands of years, nachos are a much more recent invention. Learn more about and celebrate the fun of this Mexican food by participating in International Day of the Nacho!

History of International Day of the Nacho

The inspired idea of slicing up corn tortillas and frying them in oil, then piling salsa, meat, cheese and other goodies on top seems to have occurred in the early 1940s.

The story goes that Ignacia “Nacho” Anaya was the chef in a restaurant along the northern border of Mexico. When some American soldiers came in late at night, the chef was low on ingredients. So he tossed some tortilla chips in with shredded cheese and pickled jalapenos, and the dish was a hit. Of course, it was named after his nickname and it wasn’t long before “nachos” became a household term.

Nachos gained popularity in the 1970s, along with a variety of other foods of the Mexican and Tex-Mex influences. Moving beyond just Mexican-style restaurants, a quick version of nachos began appearing at concession stands in places like state fairs, sports stadiums and more, topped with hot, melted cheese.

When famous sports announcer Howard Cosell talked about nachos on the air during a Dallas Cowboys game in 1978, the media bump caused nachos to go wild. Nachos expanded to movie theaters, convenience stores and even school cafeterias.

International Day of the Nacho embraces and promotes everything to do with this simple and tasty food that now brings joy and delight to people all over the world!

International Day of the Nacho Timeline

7000 BC

Corn tortillas are invented

During prehistoric times, corn tortillas are a staple food in what is now Mexico. [1]

16th Century AD

Salsa is invented

Prior to this time, Aztecs may have invented salsa by mixing tomatoes with chilies, but it doesn’t make history until the Spaniards conquer Mexico during this time.


Nachos are invented

Nachos are credited as the brainchild of Ignacia “Nacho” Anaya, who was a restaurant owner in Mexico. [2]


Salsa makes its way to American homes

Creating a now common condiment for nachos, David and Margaret Pace begin making salsa in Texas, calling it “picante sauce” at the time.[3]


First Chipotle restaurant opens

In Denver, Colorado, Chipotle opens and begins serving their famous burritos as well as nachos, which are on their “secret menu”.[4]

How to Celebrate International Day of the Nacho

Get on board with the fun of International Day of the Nacho with tons of different clever ideas about how to celebrate! Start with some of these ways to get inspired, and then create some that are uniquely yours:

Go Out for Nachos

Depending on the location, nachos are often an easy-to-access, readily available menu item served at loads of different restaurants. Try out a fast and fresh restaurant like Baja Fresh or Del Taco. Or choose a sit down place like Chili’s or Applebee’s for a full-on pile of nachos to share as an appetizer or enjoy as a main dish for one person.

Host a Nacho Party

Grab a few friends, family members or neighbors and get ready to host a party in honor of the International Day of the Nacho! Not only are nachos an easy to make dish that can serve a crowd, they are also a great party dish because it’s easy to ask each person to bring a different part to contribute!

Have one guest bring the tortilla chips, another one bring the jalapeno peppers and a different person can bring the beans. The bigger the guest list, the greater the options for the different recipe items to be brought to the dinner party!

Don’t forget to decorate with various Mexican and Tex-Mex themes, and guests can even be invited to wear a sombrero or serape in honor of the day. For dessert, feel free to serve a Mexican dessert such as churros, sopapillas or individual dishes of flan.

Learn Some Fun Facts About Nachos

In an effort to raise awareness for International Day of the Nacho, remember some bits of trivia about nachos that can be shared with friends or coworkers. Start out with some of these fun facts:

  • In Mexico, “Nacho” is actually a nickname for the male name Ignacio. The dish that Americans call nachos is actually referred to as “totopos”.

  • The first recorded appearance of the word “nachos” in English is dated from 1949 when it appeared in a book called The Taste of Texas by Jane Trahey.

  • Nachos are truly “Tex-Mex” because they were invented just right over the border from Texas in Piedras Negras, Mexico.

Create a Music Playlist for International Day of the Nacho

Take International Day of the Nacho to the next level by making a list of music that goes along with the theme of the day. It can even be played at the previously mentioned party!

Of course, considering the dish’s origins in Mexico, perhaps choose some culturally themed music – perhaps by a Mariachi band or another Latin American group.

Get started with some of these popular, classic songs:

  • La Bamba by Ritchie Valens (1959). One of the most well-known Mexican songs in the US, this one only went to number 22 on the charts when it was originally released, but the film related cover by Los Lobos in 1989 was super popular and went number 1 for three weeks.
  • Historia de un Amor by Carlos Eleta Almaran (1956). Part of the soundtrack of a film of the same name, this song, “The History of Love”, was written to encourage the musician’s brother after his wife died.
  • La Cucaracha by many different artists. Originally recorded in 1934, this song, written as an ode to the cockroach, is a classic folk song whose true origins are actually unknown.
  • Oye Como Va by Tito Puente (1963). Another one of the most recognizable Latin American songs the world over, the most well-known version was recorded by Carlos Santana in 1970, which stayed at the top of the charts for six weeks.

Compete for the Largest Plate of Nachos

The record for the world’s largest plate of nachos was set by the University of Kansas in Kansas City in 2012. The dish consisted of a pile of chips that were 80 feet long, two feet wide and ten inches deep, weighing more than 4600 pounds! Toppings included 860 pounds of ground beef, 860 pounds of nacho cheese, 1200 pounds of beans, 315 pounds of jalapenos and more.

Don’t worry that this much food went to waste, though! Portions of nachos were dished out and sold to people attending a track and field event, in an attempt to raise money for charity.

Those who are interested in competing to top this massive amount of nachos might want to consider creating an event and accomplishing this goal in honor of International Day of the Nacho!

International Day of the Nacho FAQs

Are nachos Mexican?

Yes. Nachos seem to have originated in Northern Mexico, just over the border from Texas. [1]

Do nachos have gluten?

Nachos are almost always gluten free, as long as they are made with corn tortilla chips and the spices used in the meat do not contain gluten.[2]

Does Chipotle have nachos?

Although they are not necessarily listed on the menu, it’s easy to ask Chipotle to make nachos instead of a burrito or bowl. They’ll happily comply! [3]

Are nachos healthy?

Most of the ingredients in nachos are highly processed, making them less healthy than some foods. But if fresh vegetables are added, as well as beans as a source of protein, they can be made healthier. [4]

How to make nachos?

A super easy snack or meal, nachos are made by piling toppings, such as cooked meat, cheese, salsa or beans, on top of tortilla chips and then baking them.

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