This Frito pie recipe is easy to make and always satisfying, with a big bowl of your favorite chili smothered in crunchy Fritos corn chips and lots of cheese.
The Best Recipe for Frito Pie
It's time for a big pot of chili in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen, my friends. Would you care for some?
This is not some pot of regular chili we're making, though. Today we're making a classic American version of it called Frito Pie. If you haven't had frito pie yet, I think you're going to love this one.
What is Frito Pie?
Frito pie is basically a combination of your favorite chili smothered in crispy corn chips. It's usually topped with lots of cheese and fixings. You'll often find it famously served as a "walking taco", essentially heaping scoops of chili and cheese served in a small bag of corn chips, easy to enjoy while roaming.
The origins are disputed, with tales of its invention coming from Mexican, Texas or New Mexico. Regardless of where it came from, its popularity has undoubtedly spread, and you'll find it all over America.
You can serve it in slightly different ways - walking taco, a frito pie casserole, layered in a bowl - but the essence remains the same, a combination of chili and corn chips.
This particular recipe is an easy frito pie, with chili and corn chips layered into a serving bowl, then topped with shredded cheese and your favorite fixings. I love spicy red chili flakes with mine, along with sliced jalapenos, fresh chopped herbs, and hot sauce.
Use your favorites. You can serve frito pie with any chili recipe, so use your favorite for that as well. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Let's talk about how we make Frito Pie, shall we?
Frito Pie Ingredients
- FOR THE CHILI
- Olive Oil. For cooking.
- Ground Beef. You can also use ground turkey or other ground meats, or a meat substitute.
- Peppers. I use mild bell peppers for substance and flavor, jalapeno peppers for a touch of heat, and will often toss in a spicy chili pepper to really liven things up. Use peppers to your heat preference.
- Kidney Beans. You can use other beans, like pinto beans, black beans, or a combination.
- Chili Powder. I am using both ancho powder and guajillo powder, my favorites for chili.
- Seasonings. Cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
- FOR THE FRITO PIE
- Corn Chips. Get a bag of Fritos, my friends!
- Cheddar Cheese. You can use any melty cheese for this recipe.
- Fixins. Use your favorites!
How to Make Frito Pie - the Recipe Method
FOR THE CHILI
Ground Beef, Onion, Peppers. Heat the oil in a large pot to medium high heat and add the ground beef, onion and peppers. Cook them down about 10 minutes, or until the beef is cooked through and no longer pink, and the vegetables are softened.
Garlic. Add the garlic to the meat mixture and cook another minute, stirring.
Tomatoes. If using fresh tomatoes, chop them and add them to the pot. Cook about 10 minutes to let them break down. If using canned fire roasted tomatoes, just add them to the pot and go to the next step.
Simmer for Flavor. Add the remaining ingredients and give it all a good stir. Cook the chili on low for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors develop, stirring every now and then. I like to simmer a good hour or so. Adjust for seasonings if you wish.
FOR THE FRITO PIE
Divide the Chili. Divide the chili into 8 bowls.
Toppings. Top with corn chips, shredded cheese and the remainder of the fixin's. You can also serve the chili over the top of the corn chips or mix them in as desired.
Boom! Done! Your Frito pie is ready to serve! I am SO ready to dig into this bowl. Doesn't it look delicious? So inviting! And comforting. I love this recipe.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Use Your Favorite Chili Recipe. You can really make frito pie with any chili, so feel free to use your favorite recipe. I love a good beef chili, but I have made this recipe with turkey chili, vegetarian chili, Texas chili, you name it. It's always good! The perfect comfort food.
- Frito Pie Casserole. Another popular way to prepare Frito pie is in casserole form. To do so, add the cooked chili to a large baking dish. Top with corn chips and cheese, then bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F until the cheese is melted. Top with your favorite toppings and serve.
- Walking Tacos. This is a hugely popular way to serve Frito pie. Basically slice open a small bag of Frito corn chips, scoop in some hot chili, cheddar cheese and toppings. It's easy to walk around and still enjoy your walking tacos! You can use taco seasonings and enchilada sauce to give it more "taco flavor".
Frito Pie Toppings
The topping make the best frito pie! Here are some great toppings to make your frito pie really stand out over the rest:
- Sliced jalapeno peppers
- Green onion or diced white onion
- Diced tomatoes
- Spicy chili flakes
- Black olives
- Fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
- Sour cream or Mexican crema
- Hot sauce! Don't forget the hot sauce!
Storage & Leftovers
You can store any leftover chili in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I would not store the chili with with fritos on top, as they will get soggy.
To enjoy it again, simply reheat it over medium heat in a pot on the stovetop.
You can also freeze remaining chili in freezer proof containers for 3 months or longer. It freezes and reheats very nicely.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my Frito pie recipe. Let me know if you make it and what chili you used. So easy to customize! Keep it spicy!
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Chili con Carne
- Chili Colorado
- Chili Verde
- Cincinnati Chili
- Easy Black Bean Chili
- Chipotle Chili
- Carne Adovada
- Check out all of my chili recipes
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Frito Pie Recipe
FOR THE CHILI
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers chopped
- 1 small bell pepper or sweet pepper chopped
- 1 spicy chili pepper chopped (optional for a nice and extra spicy chili)
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 cans red kidney beans
- 3 cans fire roasted tomatoes 42 ounces, or use equivalent fresh
- 2 tablespoons ancho powder
- 2 tablespoons guajillo powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE FRITO PIE
- 8 cups corn chips
- 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- FOR SERVING: Sliced jalapeno peppers chopped onion, spicy chili flakes, fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
- Heat the oil in a large pot and add the ground beef, onion and peppers. Cook them down about 10 minutes, or until the beef is cooked through and the vegetables are softened.
- Add the garlic and cook another minute, stirring.
- If using fresh tomatoes, chop them and add them to the pot. Cook about 10 minutes to let them break down. If using canned fire roasted tomatoes, just add them to the pot and go to the next step.
- Add the remaining ingredients and give it all a good stir.
- Reduce the heat and cook the chili on low for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors develop, stirring every now and then. I usually simmer 1 hour. Adjust for seasonings if you wish.
FOR THE FRITO PIE
- Divide the chili into 8 bowls.
- Top with corn chips, cheddar cheese and the remainder of the fixin's. You can also serve the chili over the top of the corn chips or mix them in as desired.