A nanodiagnostic method using nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) and gold nanoparticle probes (AuNP probes) was developed for colorimetric detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The primers targeting 16S rRNA were used for the amplification of mycobacterial RNA by the isothermal NASBA process. The amplicons were hybridized with specific gold nanoparticle probes. The RNA–DNA hybrids were colorimetrically detected by the accumulation of gold nanoparticles. Using this method, 10 CFU ml−1 of M. tuberculosis was detected within less than 1 h. Results obtained from the clinical specimens showed 94.7% and 96% sensitivity and specificity, respectively. No interference was encountered in the amplification and detection of M. tuberculosis in the presence of non-target bacteria, confirming the specificity of the method.