Our Easy Frito Pie is a Lone Star legend that everyone in your family will LOVE! Meaty, a little spicy, crunchy and of course, Cheesy!
In the mood for some salty goodness, topped with a tangy cheesy surprise? Described as “beachy” and “refreshing” by one loyal eater, Frito Pie is a terrific and quick main course! The dish is layered with just as many flavors as your pallet can appreciate in one sitting. Asked what he liked best about the meal, a friend’s reply was, “It confused me! I didn’t know what to taste!” Torn between savoring the trademark Frito crunch and relishing the rousing meat and spices, his dinner disappeared before it had properly cooled! If you have some similarly voracious diners on your hands today, give this easy cheesy recipe a try.
What I love most about this recipe:
- The dish can easily be adjusted to feed a small family or a large crowd.
- The bold, hearty flavor and rich, crunchy texture never get old.
- Everybody LOVES Fritos!
What is Frito Pie?
Known in some circles as Frito Chili Pie or Texas Frito Pie, this recipe starts with an easy Texas Style—no beans—homemade chili. For a less authentic but faster and every bit as delicious version, use the meat from our Easy Turkey Tacos recipe (complete with seasoning made from scratch!)
The “Frito” portion of this pie gets its name from the obvious source. The taco or chili meat is poured over a bed of everyone’s favorite salty snack! Don’t be fooled by this pie’s modest, inexpensive ingredients—it has a fun and full flavor that will keep diners coming back for more.
SAVE THIS FRITO PIE
TO YOUR DINNER BOARD FOR LATER
WE’D LOVE TO BE FRIENDS ON PINTEREST! WE’RE ALWAYS PINNING TASTY RECIPES!
What Ingredients Will You Need To Make Frito Pie:
My Frito Chili Pie Recipe is made with either one recipe of our Texas Chili or doubles our Easy Turkey Tacos recipe. You will also need a bag of Fritos corn chips, cheddar cheese, red onion, sour cream, an avocado, and a jalapeno pepper.
How to make Frito Pie:
Spread a layer of Fritos in a baking dish, covering the bottom. Pour in your chili or taco meat, cover with shredded cheese, and broil to perfection! Serve in a “frito boat” or individual bowls after topping with chopped onion, a dollop of sour cream, sliced jalapeno, and either avocado or guacamole. Yum!
Step By Step Overview: How To Make Frito Pie:
- Set oven to broil. Spread the bag of Fritos over the bottom of the baking dish.
- Spoon chili over the layer of Fritos.
- Spread chili evenly.
- Sprinkle red onions.
- Top with cheddar. Place baking dish under the broiler and let the cheese melt.
- 1 (9.25 Ounce) Bag Frito Corn Chips
- 1 Recipe Texas Chili
- 1 Cup Red Onion, Finely Chopped
- 2 Cups Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
- 1 Cup Sour Cream
- 1 Jalapeno, Sliced
Prepare Texas Chili or Taco Meat:
- If made ahead, heat to hot.
- Set oven to broil.
- Spread the bag of Fritos over the bottom of a 9X13 inch baking dish. Spoon chili over the layer of Fritos. Sprinkle the red onion over chili. Sprinkle top evenly with cheddar.
- Place baking dish under the broiler and cook until cheese is melty, about 5-7 minutes. Watch closely so topping doesn't burn.
- Spoon into individual plates or shallow bowls. Top with red onions, a dollop of sour cream, and sliced jalapenos. Serve!
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Recipe Notes For Frito Pie:
Browning the meat: This is a very important step in the meat preparation. Do not try to brown all of the meat in the pan all at once! Your pan will be overfull and may spill, for starters. It will also be difficult to brown the meat consistently on all sides because there will be meat clumped together. You will likely end up with some burned meat, and some pink meat. Solution, brown in stages, removing browned meat to a separate plate.
Broiling: Traditionally cooks have always advised keeping the door slightly ajar when broiling in an electric oven to reduce the risk of fire. Ovens have changed quite a bit since their invention, however, and many operate just fine with the door closed. Some oven doors will not even stay open while the oven is operating! Check your manual to see the best practices for your oven model.
Reheating the chili: If your chili is made in advance, reheat slowly on medium-low, stirring occasionally, and adding additional seasoning to taste.
Frito substitutes: Feel free to use any small-ish, crunchy corn chip on hand. For a healthier option, you can even make your own chips slicing your tortillas into triangles (no overlaps), squeeze lime juice over them, salt and bake!
Slicing jalapeños: Remove the stem from the pepper, then slice it longwise. Pull out the white innards and seeds (you may want to use gloves!) Then, press the halves flat on your cutting surface, and continue to slice lengthwise to the desired width. Wash your hands, gloves, and cutting utensils carefully before putting to other uses!
Can you make Frito Pie with canned chili?
You sure can! For the best, most authentic results, use a Texas-style chili without beans. Frito Pie with Wolf Brand Chili is always a treat. They offer a “no beans” variety for Texas-style hardliners. In Depth Guide recommends the brand for its ease of use, “hearty beef” flavor, and “unique blend of seasonings.” No Meal No Health also recommends it for its bold flavor, authentic taste, and nutritious value.
These recommendations bear out in the consumer market! Wolf Brand is the second most commonly purchased brand of chili. However, Hormel Chili takes the first prize.
How to make Crockpot Frito Pie:
The authentic Texas Chili or Easy Turkey Tacos meat base can be prepared in a crockpot in advance. At the bottom of my Texas Chili post, I give instructions for making it in the Crockpot. Scroll way down below the recipe, it’s one of the last things on the page.
- Follow instructions for making Texas Chili in a Slow Cooker.
- Roughly 30 minutes before the chili is finished, sprinkle the red onions evenly over the top of the chili then add the cheese in an even layer over the top. Place the lid back on the crockpot and turn the heat to high.
- When the cheese is melted, add the Fritos to the top and serve in individual bowls.
Can you make Frito Pie ahead of time?
You can make the most labor intensive part of this recipe ahead of time! Prepare the chili or taco meat hours in advance, or make days in advance and refrigerate or freeze in an airtight container. The chili or meat will keep a few days in the fridge and up to a few months in the freezer.
The entire Frito Pie assembly will not store well because the chips will become soggy and the toppings will lose their freshness. But remember, preparing, broiling, and assembling the pie only takes a few minutes!
Can you freeze Frito Pie?
You can certainly freeze the base of this recipe. Pour the taco meat or chili into a resealable gallon bag or an airtight, freezer proof container. The meat or chili will keep for months in the freezer.
To reheat frozen meat or chili, warm slowly in a large saucepan, stirring frequently. Place in the refrigerator the night before for a faster reheat time.
Again, do not try to freeze the assembled Frito Pie, because you will run into the texture and freshness issues mentioned above.
More Texas Favorites:
If Chili Pie was a hit in your household, and your diners are itching for some more Southern cuisine, give our Texas Sheet Cake and Cowboy Caviar a try. And stay tuned for my Frito Pie Casserole recipe!
More Southern Recipes…