Frito Chili Pie Recipe (2024)

Home > Recipes > > Frito Pie

by Michelle
September 11, 2013 (updated Mar 18, 2020)

Jump to Recipe

4.59 (17 ratings)

Frito Chili Pie Recipe (1)

First, apple dumplings. Now, Frito pie. I’m definitely in a fall state of mind. On Sunday afternoon, I put a big pot of my favorite chili recipe on the stove to simmer while I watched football. While this is my go-to fall and winter chili, this time I made it with ulterior motives. Yes, it’s absolutely fabulous all on its own, but I had my sights on something I’ve been lusting after for quite some time – Frito Pie. I’ve seen this chili, Fritos and cheddar concoction on tons of blogs and have been waiting for the weather to cool ever so slightly so I could have an excuse to throw this together.

Frito Chili Pie Recipe (2)

Let’s talk about Fritos for a second. They have and will always remind me of high school gym class. Yes, gym class. Strange, right? Well, I went to a very small Catholic high school that did not have a gymnasium. During the warmer fall and spring months, we would hold gym class in the large field outside of the school, but during the winter we… bowled. As in, walked to the strip plaza adjacent to the school where there was a bowling alley, and spent an hour bowling. It sounds ridiculous, right? I’m so totally serious. For the most part, it was an hour of shenanigans, snacks and goofing off. For some reason, my group of friends and I always raided the vending machine for Fritos.

Frito Chili Pie Recipe (3)

I really haven’t eaten very many Fritos since those bowling days in high school, but man, aren’t they good?! When I realized that something existed that combined chili, Fritos and cheese, I was in heaven. Folks in the southwest certainly know how to eat!

Frito Chili Pie Recipe (4)

I have seen versions of Frito Pie that are simply chili mixed with the corn chips and cheddar cheese, but I was drawn to this version by Bev Cooks because, really, who can resist melted, gooey cheese? It ups the ante, that’s for sure! You can certainly use your own favorite chili recipe as the base, but I do highly recommend the recipe below; I tried countless chili recipes before discovering this one. It’s really the perfect quintessential chili.

Grab a spoon, an extra handful of Fritos and your favorite hoodie, and let’s dig in!

Frito Chili Pie Recipe (5)

One year ago: Baklava
Two years ago: How to Measure Butter
Four years ago: Pittsburgh Steelers Cookies

Frito Chili Pie Recipe (6)

Frito Pie

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes mins

Cook Time: 2 hours hrs 30 minutes mins

Total Time: 2 hours hrs 50 minutes mins

The famous Frito Pie - a generous serving of chili topped with Fritos corn chips and shredded cheddar cheese, then baked until melted and bubbling.

4.59 (17 ratings)

Print Pin Rate


For the Chili:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup (0.03 g) chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds (907.18 g) ground beef, 85-90% lean
  • 30 ounce (850.49 g) canned dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 28 ounce (793.79 g) canned diced tomatoes
  • 28 ounce (793.79 g) canned tomato puree

For the Frito Pie:

  • 10.25 ounce (290.58 g) bag Fritos corn chips
  • 16 ounces (453.59 g) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced


  • Make the Chili: Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until it is shimmering. Add the onions, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, cayenne and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

  • Add the beef and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Stir in the beans, diced tomatoes (with their juice), tomato puree and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat so it maintains a slow simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.

  • Remove the lid and continue to simmer for an additional 45 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

  • Assemble the Frito Pie: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Transfer some or all of the chili to a baking dish or individual ramekins. Top with Fritos, pressing them lightly into the chili. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top and bake until the cheese is melted and the chili is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with sliced green onions and serve immediately.


Nutritional values are based on one serving

Calories: 814kcal, Carbohydrates: 65g, Protein: 53g, Fat: 39g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Cholesterol: 129mg, Sodium: 1091mg, Potassium: 1649mg, Fiber: 13g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 1745IU, Vitamin C: 43.3mg, Calcium: 577mg, Iron: 10.1mg

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Author: Michelle

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Originally published September 11, 2013 — (last updated March 18, 2020)

« Previous Post115 Recipes for Football Parties

Next Post »Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

64 Comments on “Frito Pie”

  1. Matrix Reply

    Serve with an R-O-C Co-cola (outside of the South, known as RC Cola, or any cola) and a Mooooon Pie. Now that’s larrupin’!

  2. Melinda Pounds Reply

    My husband has stage 4 kidney cancer. His appetite has not been good. He has lost 50 lbs in 9 weeks. I made this recipe for him using all organic ingredients from Walmart, including the meat. I only used half the cayenne pepper and left out the bell pepper because his palate has been so sensitive. It was awesome! He ate a good portion! Our kiddos loved it too.

    • Michelle Reply

      I’m so happy to hear that you all enjoyed this recipe, and sending you tons of hugs and good thoughts for what you’re going through, xo.

  3. Lacemaker427 Reply

    I haven’t tried this “Frito Pie” recipe yet, but I have plans to surprise my family with it very soon. It looks and sounds amazing. (When will the scratch-n-sniff computers be on the market?!)

    I noticed that your chili recipe is lacking the one ingredient that made my chili-craving husband’s eyes open wide as he took notice — being a chemist, he rarely uses superlatives, but that day, he said, “That’s the best chili I’ve ever eaten in my entire life!” (and he would gladly admit that he’s put away quite a lot in 42 years of marriage). Want the same comment from your family? Add 2-3 tablespoons of excellent quality Smoked Paprika to your favorite chili recipe. The quantity you use depends on how big a pot of chili you usually make and if you use Simply Organic Smoked Paprika. Don’t bother wasting your money on smoke-scented paprika from the grocery store (like Durkee, McCormick, etc), because you’ll need way yonder too much to even notice the smokiness. I only buy Simply Organic Smoked Paprika; it comes in a large 2.7 ounce glass jar that will last quite a while. Simply Organic Smoked Paprika is a sweet (not fiery) spice that is one of two America’s Test Kitchen top choices. If you can’t find it locally, , the best price I found online today for 1 bottle was from (6/2019, $6.48 with free shipping).

    Go ahead and try it — I guarantee that your family will enjoy the most delicious chili they’ve ever eaten in their lives!

    By the way, I do NOT own stock in Simply Organic, nor do they reimburse me for sharing my love of their products. (Hmm, there’s an idea,…naw, just kidding!)

  4. Sally K Reply

    I love Frito Pie. Sometimes for a change of pace I make this Cheesy Hash Brown Bake from Martha Stewart.

  5. Tracey Spencer Reply

    This was spectacular, some had 3 even 4 bowls, no leftovers, nothing left to say!

  6. Ann Lynch Reply

    Did you go to St Joe’s in Natrona Heights? One of my very best friends, Theresa Melnick taught French & Spanish there. She’s gone now but your Steeker comment and the bowling alley made me think if St Joe’s. I’m going to make this on a rainy day here in The Burgh!

  7. Lauren Reply

    Was really looking forward to eating the Fritos chilli pie. Very disappointing. Will have to make lots of alterations to make it tasty.

  8. Victoria Moore Reply

    I made this frito chili pie yesterday, and it was so delicious I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Whew!

  9. Melissa Reply

    This was the worst chili I have ever made. I followed the recipe to the letter. I can’t believe all of the rave reviews. Despite the 1/4 cup of chili powder, it was actually bland. Total waste of $10 of ground beef. Even my hubby, who is not a picky eater, asked me to never make this recipe again.

    • kristyreal Reply

      You do realize that blandness is the best way for a recipe to go wrong. If it’s too spicy or salty, it can be challenging to fix, but bland can be fixed in a few minutes with some very easy tweaks. Try adding more cumin, dried ancho chilies, sriracha sauce, pickled jalapenos or saute’d fresh hot peppers, more cayenne pepper, more chili powder, roasted peppers from a jar, smoked paprika…..any of those would spice it up. As with any recipe, you should adjust it to your preferences. That’s what I’ll do with it.

      I’m going to make frito chili pie for supper tonight. BTW, we got this from Sonic growing up where we also ate foot-long chili cheese coneys (with mustard and raw onions). I had almost forgotten about that and those cute little tinted acrylic animals that sat on the rim of Sonic’s drinks. Everyone collected those. :)

  10. Sharon Reply

    My Husband called from work and asked me to find a frito pie recipe, wa la… yours sounds like just the one I can’t wait to try it

  11. Kristen Reply

    Wowzerz! This is definatly an uprgrade from highschool frito chili pie…which wasnt all that great, i guess that is why i havent ate it since…untill one night me and my hubby were watching king of the hill, revenge of the lutefisk episode my fav one, and peggy makes a frito chili being pregnant immediatly started craving it! I found this recipe and my chili is on the stove as i type smells AMAZING and i snuck a taste and it tastes even better than it smells! Cant wait until its done ..thank you for posting this delicious recipe

    • Cat Reply

      Kristen, you’re so cute! Love King of the Hill too. I will be making Frito chili pie for the first time tonight and, since it’s officially Fall and there’s a chill in the air here in the mountains of Southern California, it’s the perfect time. I will be using my own chili recipe with a smokey flavor, but will use parts of this recipe as well. Hope it tastes as good as everyone says it does.

  12. Bethany Jackson Reply

    It’s insane to me that everyone didn’t grow up with Frito Pie. It was always a tradition at my house to serve this on Christmas Eve, along with tamales. I’m actually making some chili to construct a pie today ! :)

  13. Susan Reply

    What size baking dish for the entire amount? Making this tomorrow!

    • Michelle Reply

      Hi Susan, It all depends on how thick you want the chili layer. You could probably pack it all into a 9×13, but a slightly larger lasagna pan (they’re usually 10×15) might be better.

  14. Stephanie Reply


    just had to leave a comment:) since I have cooked this yesterday!!!
    What can I say….it was delicious!!! Didnt have no Fritos though since I am in germany but got a different kind I thought it was similar Fritos!
    We will definatly have that again:)

    Thank you for the sharing!


  15. Marcia Pederson Reply

    I was thinking about adding corn to the chili, to get another veggie in there. Would that be good?

    • Michelle Reply


  16. Kat A. Reply

    So you cook/simmer for 45 minutes and simmer with no lid for an additional 45 minutes? Thanks…

    • Michelle Reply

      Yes, correct. Enjoy!

  17. Laura Dembowski Reply

    Where was that gym class all my life? Gym class was THE WORST for me. I exercise a lot now, but I am not the least bit athletic. I have also rediscovered my love of Fritos recently. So good!

  18. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious Reply

    Love the crunchy Frito topping – it may just be my favorite pie yet!

  19. Kim Reply

    I used my own chili recipe, but made the rest as directed. It was delicious! My friend and I both loved it, and will make it again. Thank you for a simple yet yummy dish!

  20. Margaret Reply

    Boy! This brings back memories. I wonder if I can fit all of that in a Frito Bag?

  21. Colleen Reply

    We never cook the onions for Frito Pie here in Okla. and we don’t add the other veg either–our Frito Pie is chili, chopped raw onions, and Fritos. Add cheese if it’s handy!

  22. Dawn Reply

    How long do you steam the pepper for?

    • Michelle Reply

      Hi Dawn, No steaming of the pepper; it’s added to the pan with the onion. See step #1.

  23. kaye bearden Reply

    Michelle, the long winded old granny again, just had to let you know, our chili is made with way more chili powder, cumin and garlic, no bell peppers, no kidney beans. We cook a pot of pinto beans for those who want to add beans, no tomatoes, guess it’s more like an enchilada sauce to you, but it’s mostly cooked like that in south Texas I think.(I have a son and daughter-in-law who participate in chili cookoffs and participate in the Terlingua chili championship every year. you have to win points in local cookoffs to be able to go to Terlingua.) I think chili can be whatever suits your taste! Keep up your wonderful site, never miss checkiing it out.

  24. kaye bearden Reply

    Just wanted you to know , I am probably old enough to be your grandmother, born, raised Texan, die hard Dallas Cowboy fan. I read your blog always, your photos are outstanding, recipes wonderful! Now, what in the world could we have in common? I had a pot of chili on Sunday night as we watched the Cowboys, like you with the intention of eating frito pie. Grew up eating it, probably the original way from concession stands at football games and home. slit a bag of fritos (think the small bag was a nickel) add chili cheese and onions..Think they originated in San Antonio made from masa. Just a long note to let you know how truly small this world can be when it comes to food!

  25. Becca @ Crumbs Reply

    We don’t have Fritos in England but I’ll look for an alternative here! I also made a batch of chilli yesterday so this might be on tonight’s menu

  26. Karen - Cinnamon Freud Reply

    Love frito pie- I remember buying it for lunch at the school cafeteria. So many good memories- although none of bowling. Jealous that you all go to bowl, while we got to run laps around the gym for PE

  27. Tracey Reply

    This has fall comfort food written all over it!! I love Fritos, they’re a total guilty pleasure (along with Cheetos!) :)

  28. Kathleen Reply

    Never heard of this combination before–looks delicious!!! I’m really looking forward to cooler days too, good days for pots of chili or chowder,

  29. Mary Reply

    I love Fritos. I am making this dish this weekend. It is supposed to drop to 60 degrees here in Michigan. This will be perfect for watching the Lions! Sorry about the Steelers. They are my second favorite team.

  30. Mary Ann Reply

    Here’s what I like about this recipe… I could cut it in half, and it would work for my husband and me, and in fact, I see you made it in a small baking dish… so many recipes call for such huge amounts…and this looks like something I can scale down easily for a cold autumn night (if they ever come!)

  31. Meagan Reply

    Yes! Frito pie! Such a classic! I love your version – it just looks like the perfect thing to serve for dinner tonight!!

  32. 2 Sisters Recipes Reply

    OH MY goodness! My Son would go CRAZY for this frito pie! Never heard of it and maybe that’s because we are new-bies in the blog world!

  33. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes Reply

    I. Want. That. Frito pie is one of those things I’ve always wanted to to make!

  34. Christine Dalessio Reply

    I love knowing I’m not the only woman in the world who often went bowling for gym because the very small gymnasium/all purpose room was being used for some other purpose! Small Catholic schools, indeed :)
    Continuing to love your blog and this recipe is on my calendar to create!

  35. Annie @ Annie's Noms Reply

    :O :O :O This looks AMAZING!! Making me so hungry!

  36. Trish Reply

    I love Frito Pie. It’s actually been around for a long time. It was served at the Woolworth’s counter–cut a small bag of fritos open down the front but leave the fritos inside, add chili, top with cheese and whatever other toppings you like, and eat straight out of the bag! But yours is more elegant!

  37. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet Reply

    Fritos in a pie! Great idea!

  38. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl Reply

    Frito pie is up on there on my list of things but never have yet, so thanks for the reminder!

  39. marie @ little kitchie Reply

    Well, holy cow, I think I need this immediately!

  40. Pieliekamais Reply

    Ha ha hhahh, sorry, but laughing about your winter guym clas :)))

  41. Neal Reply

    I’ve heard many a friend from Texas rave about the Frito Pie and I’ve always wanted to try it. I can’t wait to make this one!

  42. Marty Reply

    I was wondering what I would be making for dinner tonight and this is it. Thanks for the recipe!

  43. Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion Reply

    I’ve seen something similar to this bouncing around the internet… I need to try it… THanks for sharing

  44. Allison Reply

    Frito pie is quite possibly my favorite meal, could be that I’m a native New Mexican and the fact that it’s easily made vegetarian. I like to load mine with chunks of chopped white onion for an extra crunch, shredded lettuce, tomato and avocado. I’ve never tried baking it, I just might have to have this for dinner tonight!

  45. Candace @ Cabot Reply

    We were just talking about how much we love Frito pie in our office. Your recipe looks amazing. This is definitely going on the rotation…can’t wait to share it!

  46. Cate @ Chez CateyLou Reply

    I think my husband would go crazy for this! Perfect football food!!

  47. Belinda @themoonblushbaker Reply

    What a fun pie! I would love to try this but we do not get fritos down here. What texture are they? like corn chips?
    Oh that cheese is drool worhty

    • Michelle Reply

      Yes, corn chips! :)

  48. Jamie @lifelovelemons Reply

    I’ve never had Frito Pie, but this is certainly making me want to try it, like, yesterday! Looks awesome!!

  49. Jamie@Milk 'n' Cookies Reply

    Yum! My grandmother used to make a similar dish, but in dip form, and she would serve it with fritos. But I can’t wait to try this version with the fritos baked right in. I can just imagine all the savory goodness!

  50. Mary Reply

    Being a transplanted Texan, we eat this year round. We do it the easy way, Wolf brand canned chili, Fritos & shredded cheddar cheese. I remember eating Frito Pie at numerous fundraisers: church,little league, school… Take a single serving bag of Fritos, cut a slit on the side, add the chili and top with cheese and add a fork!

  51. Terri Reply

    I also went to Catholic High School and we actually had bowling lanes in the basem*nt of the gym. One session is gym during the year was bowling and we were graded on knowing how to score the games!

    I too am so ready for fall comfort food and the pie looks great. I love Fritos!

  52. Leeann Reply

    Ah I miss Fritos!! It’s the one remaining thing I crave that I can’t get in the UK. It wouldn’t be the same with tortilla chips would it. :-(

  53. Linda Reply

    I love Frito pie with made with homemade chili. No beans and I use Rotel tomatoes in mine. Have lived in Texas all of my 64 years.
    We are still having 90 degree weather.

  54. Ellen Reply

    God I love Fritos. I am vegetarian, so I’d maybe make this with mushrooms. Looks scrumdiddilyumptious.

  55. Averie @ Averie Cooks Reply

    What a fun use of Fritos. I love those salty things :) I have a couple baked chips-n-dip type recipes, casseroles, etc. that use them and have salmon cakes with a Frito crust rather than breadcrumbs! They’re pretty darn versatile!

  56. Tieghan Reply

    I love fall foods! So comforting and cheesy and just plain awesome! This frito pie has my name written all over it! Can’t wait to make it!

Frito Chili Pie Recipe (2024)


Is Frito chili pie a Texas thing? ›

(NEXSTAR) — It may be a Texas classic and you may like to consider it a Texas creation, but the origin of the Frito Pie — the cheesy, crunchy county fair treat — is not so cut-and-dry. In fact, Texas is in a long-standing rivalry with another state for birthplace bragging rights.

What are the ingredients in chili Fritos? ›

Corn, vegetable oil (corn and/or canola oil), whey, salt, spices, maltodextrin (made from corn), cheddar cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), potassium salt, tomato powder, monosodium glutamate, onion powder, natural flavors, romano cheese (cow's milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), dextrose, sugar, ...

Is Frito pie a New Mexico thing? ›

Another story claims that true frito pie originated only in the 1960s with Teresa Hernández, who worked at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her frito pie used homemade red chili con carne with cheddar cheese and onions, and was served in the bag, which was thicker in the 1960s than it is now.

Is Frito chili pie a Southern thing? ›

FritoPie has a unique history rooted in southwestern American cuisine. It's believed to have originated in the 1930s in Texas or New Mexico. The dish typically consists of Fritos corn chips topped with chili, cheese, onions, and other optional ingredients like sour cream or jalapeños.

Do Fritos only have 3 ingredients? ›

Ingredients. Corn, vegetable oil (corn and/or canola oil), and salt.

What do they call chili in Texas? ›

Some historians cite Texas as the birthplace of chili con carne (chili with meat), the official state dish of Texas as designated by the legislature in 1977. Texans celebrate chili in grand style at the famous Terlingua International Chili Cook-off in far west Texas (57th annual scheduled in 2024).

What pie is Texas famous for? ›

Texas Declares “Pecan Pie” the Official State Pie

Whereas, though there are many ways to enjoy pecans, it is practically a given among Texans that they belong, first and foremost, in a pie.”

Who invented Frito chili pie? ›

New Mexicans say Teresa Hernandez invented it in the 1960s at the Santa Fe Woolworth's (now the Five & Dime), ladling her mother's homemade red chili into opened corn chip bags, adding no garnishes or additions.

What is the best canned chili for Frito pie? ›

What's the Best Canned Chili for Frito Pie? In my opinion, I think Wolf Brand Chili with chunks of Angus Beef and No Beans is the best chili for this Frito pie. I picked up a pack of this chili at Costco. However, any canned chili without beans will work just fine.

What is the Mexican version of Fritos? ›

Sabritas is the brand under which Pepsico brands the Frito-Lay products in Mexico, such as Cheetos, Fritos, Doritos and Ruffles. It is also the namesake for its own line of potato chips.

What is Mexican Fritos? ›

Fritos are made by deep-frying extruded whole cornmeal, unlike the similar tortilla chips, which are made from cornmeal and use the nixtamalization process (known as masa). It is one of two brands representing Frito-Lay along with Lay's.

What state were Fritos invented? ›

The Texas State Historical Association can confirm that Fritos were invented in San Antonio in 1932. Credit is given to the Doolin family, which owned the Highland Park Confectionary. Charles Elmer Doolin wanted to add a “salty snack” to the company's line of products and responded to an ad in the San Antonio Express.

What do you call a bag of Fritos and chili? ›

What is Frito Pie? Despite its name, Frito pie is not pie at all but rather a pile of Fritos with chili on top. The humblest version of the dish is served from the chip bag itself: The bag is typically placed in a paper boat and split down the middle, and the chili is poured right inside.

Are Fritos just tortilla chips? ›

Fritos are a brand of corn chips that are made from cornmeal, oil, and salt. They are a popular snack food and are known for their distinctive crunch and bold flavor.

What's the difference between a walking taco and a Frito pie? ›

Unlike a walking taco, a Frito pie is always made with, you guessed it, Fritos. But that's not even the main difference between the two foods—the thing that sets a Frito pie apart from a walking taco is that a Frito pie is topped with chili instead of taco meat.

Are Fritos vegan or vegetarian? ›

Since 1932, Fritos has provided snack-hungry Americans with a Texas twist on the tortilla chip. Fritos' unflavored deep-fried corn chips are gluten-free with no artificial flavors, preservatives, or MSG. These classics contain just three ingredients—corn, corn oil, and salt—making them vegan-friendly.

Why do they call it Frito pie? ›

Records of the name Frito pie date back to at least 1946. The name Frito pie is likely a reference to its most traditional version, which specifically uses Fritos corn chips. Despite the use of the word pie in its name, Frito pie when made in a dish more closely resembles a casserole.

What is Frito pie in Santa Fe? ›


Get the classic Frito Pie and eat it while you stroll the Santa Fe Plaza. The individual snack-size Fritos bag has become the standard size version of the dish. Simply slice open a long side of each bag, and layer in hot chile, and then add cheese and chopped onion.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lidia Grady

Last Updated:

Views: 6339

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (45 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lidia Grady

Birthday: 1992-01-22

Address: Suite 493 356 Dale Fall, New Wanda, RI 52485

Phone: +29914464387516

Job: Customer Engineer

Hobby: Cryptography, Writing, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Calligraphy, Web surfing, Ghost hunting

Introduction: My name is Lidia Grady, I am a thankful, fine, glamorous, lucky, lively, pleasant, shiny person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.