Frito Pie

Frito Pie Recipe by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

First, apple dumplings. Now, Frito pie. I’m definitely in a fall state of mind. On Sunday afternoon, I put a big pot of chili on the stove to simmer while I watched (and weeped at) the Steelers game. While this all-American beef chili has been my favorite for some 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 Pie Recipe by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

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 Pie Recipe by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

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 Pie Recipe by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

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 Pie Recipe by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

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

Frito Pie

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

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

Ingredients:

For the Chili:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
¼ cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ground beef (85-90% lean)
2 (15-ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree

For the Frito Pie:
1 (10.25-ounce) bag Fritos corn chips
16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Directions:

1. 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.

2. 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.

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

4. 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.

(Recipe inspired by Bev Cooks)

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52 Responses to “Frito Pie”

  1. Tieghan on September 11, 2013 at 12:40 am

    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!

    Reply

  2. Averie @ Averie Cooks on September 11, 2013 at 2:44 am

    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!

    Reply

  3. Ellen on September 11, 2013 at 3:54 am

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

    Reply

  4. Linda on September 11, 2013 at 4:09 am

    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.

    Reply

  5. Leeann on September 11, 2013 at 5:23 am

    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. :-(

    Reply

  6. Terri on September 11, 2013 at 6:03 am

    I also went to Catholic High School and we actually had bowling lanes in the basement 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!

    Reply

  7. Mary on September 11, 2013 at 6:38 am

    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!

    Reply

  8. Jamie@Milk 'n' Cookies on September 11, 2013 at 6:48 am

    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!

    Reply

  9. Jamie @lifelovelemons on September 11, 2013 at 7:39 am

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

    Reply

  10. Belinda @themoonblushbaker on September 11, 2013 at 9:47 am

    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

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 12th, 2013 at 10:42 am

      Yes, corn chips! :)

      Reply

  11. Cate @ Chez CateyLou on September 11, 2013 at 10:06 am

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

    Reply

  12. Candace @ Cabot on September 11, 2013 at 10:12 am

    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!

    Reply

  13. Allison on September 11, 2013 at 10:21 am

    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!

    Reply

  14. Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion on September 11, 2013 at 10:21 am

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

    Reply

  15. Marty on September 11, 2013 at 10:36 am

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

    Reply

  16. Neal on September 11, 2013 at 10:48 am

    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!

    Reply

  17. Pieliekamais on September 11, 2013 at 10:58 am

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

    Reply

  18. marie @ little kitchie on September 11, 2013 at 11:10 am

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

    Reply

  19. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl on September 11, 2013 at 11:12 am

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

    Reply

  20. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet on September 11, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Fritos in a pie! Great idea!

    Reply

  21. Trish on September 11, 2013 at 11:30 am

    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!

    Reply

  22. Annie @ Annie's Noms on September 11, 2013 at 11:36 am

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

    Reply

  23. Christine Dalessio on September 11, 2013 at 11:36 am

    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!

    Reply

  24. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on September 11, 2013 at 11:59 am

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

    Reply

  25. 2 Sisters Recipes on September 11, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    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!

    Reply

  26. Meagan on September 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm

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

    Reply

  27. Mary Ann on September 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    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!)

    Reply

  28. Mary on September 11, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    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.

    Reply

  29. Kathleen on September 11, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    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,

    Reply

  30. Tracey on September 11, 2013 at 8:30 pm

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

    Reply

  31. Karen - Cinnamon Freud on September 12, 2013 at 1:36 am

    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

    Reply

  32. Becca @ Crumbs on September 12, 2013 at 3:15 am

    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

    Reply

  33. kaye bearden on September 12, 2013 at 7:35 am

    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!

    Reply

  34. kaye bearden on September 12, 2013 at 7:45 am

    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.

    Reply

  35. Dawn on September 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    How long do you steam the pepper for?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 13th, 2013 at 11:02 am

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

      Reply

  36. Colleen on September 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    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!

    Reply

  37. Margaret on September 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm

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

    Reply

  38. Kim on September 14, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    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!

    Reply

  39. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious on September 15, 2013 at 3:08 am

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

    Reply

  40. Laura Dembowski on September 15, 2013 at 8:46 am

    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!

    Reply

  41. Kat A. on September 23, 2013 at 3:34 pm

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

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 23rd, 2013 at 10:13 pm

      Yes, correct. Enjoy!

      Reply

  42. Marcia Pederson on December 15, 2013 at 2:48 pm

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

    Reply

  43. Stephanie on January 2, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Hello,

    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!

    Stephanie

    Reply

  44. Susan on January 9, 2014 at 9:56 pm

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

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 11th, 2014 at 9:17 pm

      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.

      Reply

  45. Bethany Jackson on January 25, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    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 ! :)

    Reply

  46. Kristen on March 24, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    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 pie..me being pregnant immediatly started craving it! I found this recipe and my chili is on the stove as i type this..it 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

    Reply

  47. Sharon on March 26, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    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

    Reply

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