Frito Pie Recipe: A Delicious Tex-Mex Pie Extravaganza

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Best Frito Pie Recipe
Frito Pie: A Tex-Mex delight featuring a crunchy base of Fritos, smothered in savory chili, topped with melted cheese, and garnished with fresh toppings for a flavorful and satisfying Southwestern dish.

Embark on a culinary journey with our sensational Frito Pie recipe, where the heartiness of Tex-Mex flavors meets the satisfying crunch of Fritos. Picture a symphony of textures and tastes as you dive into layers of crispy Fritos, rich chili, and melted cheese, creating a harmony that will transport your taste buds straight to the Southwest. It’s a dish that not only tantalizes the senses but also brings the comfort of home-cooked goodness to a whole new level.

In this Frito Pie adventure, we unveil the secrets to crafting a masterpiece that goes beyond the ordinary. The art lies in the careful layering of each ingredient, ensuring that every bite delivers a perfect balance of crunch, spice, and savory satisfaction. Whether you’re hosting a gathering with friends or seeking a delightful family dinner, our Frito Pie recipe promises to be a showstopper that captures the essence of Texan cuisine with a unique twist.

Elevate your comfort food experience with the fusion of Southwest-inspired elements, transforming a simple dish into a flavorful fiesta. From the initial crunch to the last savory bite, our Frito Pie creation is a testament to the joy that comes from combining humble ingredients in a way that’s truly magical. Get ready to savor the essence of Tex-Mex delight as you embark on this Frito Pie journey that promises to make every meal a celebration of taste and tradition.

What is Frito Pie?

Frito Pie, popularly known as Walking Taco, is a popular American dish that typically consists of a base layer of Fritos corn chips, topped with chili, and then garnished with various toppings. It’s a comfort food classic, especially in the Southwestern United States, and variations of the recipe can be found across the country. The dish is known for its hearty and satisfying combination of textures and flavors.

Frito Pie is often served in individual portions, making it a popular option at casual gatherings, sports events, and outdoor activities. It’s a customizable and comforting dish that has become a beloved part of American cuisine. Despite its name, the dish is NOT a pie, unlike Salted Caramel Apple Pie or Chocolate Pecan Pie.

The exact origin of Frito Pie remains unclear, but it is widely believed to have emerged in the 1930s or 1940s, with roots in the Southwestern United States, particularly Texas and New Mexico. One popular account attributes its creation to Teresa Hernandez in the 1960s at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Santa Fe, where she served chili on a bed of Fritos. Another story links it to a Fritos company promotion in the 1950s, featuring a recipe for “Fritos Chili Pie” on their bags.

Regardless of its origin, Frito Pie quickly gained popularity for its simple yet satisfying combination of Fritos, chili, cheese, and toppings, becoming a beloved comfort food at events and gatherings, showcasing the enduring appeal of Southwestern cuisine.

Overview: How to make Frito Pie?

How to make Frito Pie - An Overview

To craft a delectable Frito Pie, start with a foundation of crispy Fritos corn chips, forming a hearty base in a serving dish.

Next, prepare a savory chili, combining ground beef, beans, tomatoes, and a medley of spices in a simmering pot. Once the chili reaches a flavorful consistency, generously ladle it over the bed of Fritos. Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded cheddar or a Mexican cheese blend atop the chili, allowing it to melt into a creamy, gooey layer.

For the finishing touch, adorn your Frito Pie with a selection of fresh toppings; diced tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, sour cream, guacamole, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro add a burst of color, flavor, and freshness. Serve your creation immediately, allowing guests to scoop up the layers of delight, savoring the satisfying crunch of Fritos combined with the rich warmth of chili and the vibrant medley of toppings.

This Frito Pie recipe, like the zesty Chicken Fajitas, promises a culinary journey into Southwestern comfort, offering a perfect blend of textures and flavors in every mouthful.

Best Frito Pie Recipe

Frito Pie: A Tex-Mex delight featuring a crunchy base of Fritos, smothered in savory chili, topped with melted cheese, and garnished with fresh toppings for a flavorful and satisfying Southwestern dish.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Calories: 500kcal
Author: Austin Carter
Servings: 1


  • Large Skillet
  • Baking Dish
  • Oven and Oven Mitts
  • Cutting Board and Knife
  • Cheese Grater
  • Cooking Spoon or Spatula
  • Serving Dish
  • Microwave


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can chili
  • 1 bag Fritos corn chips
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 cup tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 cup onions diced
  • 1/4 cup sliced jalapeños optional
  • 1/2 cup sour cream optional
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish optional


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain excess fat if needed.
  • Pour in the chili (canned or homemade) into the skillet with the cooked beef. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  • In a baking dish, spread a layer of Fritos to cover the bottom. Spoon the chili and beef mixture over the Fritos. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese evenly over the chili.
  • Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle diced tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños over the melted cheese. Add dollops of sour cream if desired.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve the Frito Pie immediately. Scoop portions onto plates or into bowls.


  1. Balance Ingredients: Ensure a harmonious mix of Fritos, chili, and toppings for a well-rounded flavor.
  2. Texture Matters: Aim for the perfect combination of the Frito crunch, gooey melted cheese, and savory chili.
  3. Customize Toppings: Personalize with fresh toppings like tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños to enhance freshness and taste.
  4. Serve Promptly: Frito Pie is best enjoyed immediately after baking to maintain its ideal texture and temperature.


Calories: 500kcal
Keyword best frito pie recipe, frito pie, frito pie recipe, frito pie recipes, how to make frito pie, what is frito pie


NutrientAmount Per Serving
Total Fat30g
– Saturated Fat12g
Total Carbohydrates40g
– Dietary Fiber5g
– Sugars2g

Tips for Best Results

  1. Fresh Ingredients: Use high-quality, fresh ingredients for optimal flavor. Fresh tomatoes, onions, and cilantro will enhance the overall taste.
  2. Homemade Chili: If possible, prepare homemade chili for a richer and more personalized flavor. Adjust spice levels to suit your preferences.
  3. Layering Technique: Ensure even distribution when layering Fritos, chili, and cheese for a balanced bite in every scoop.
  4. Toppings Variety: Experiment with a variety of toppings like diced avocado, green onions, or black olives for added texture and flavor complexity.
  5. Preheating Fritos: Consider briefly preheating Fritos in the oven before assembling to enhance their crunchiness in the final dish.
  6. Serve Immediately: Frito Pie is best enjoyed fresh out of the oven. Serve promptly to maintain the ideal temperature and texture.
  7. Customization: Encourage diners to customize their individual servings with additional toppings to suit their taste preferences.
  8. Batch Cooking: If hosting an event, consider preparing components in advance and assembling just before serving to maintain maximum freshness.
  9. Frito Preheating Hack: For an extra crispiness, preheat the Fritos in the oven for a few minutes before layering them in the dish. This enhances their crunch in the final Frito Pie.
  10. Flavor Layering: Create distinct layers of flavor by adding a sprinkle of your favorite taco seasoning to the ground beef while cooking. This adds depth and enhances the overall taste of the dish.

Remember, Frito Pie is a versatile dish, so feel free to get creative and adapt these tips to your liking!

Creative Variations and Substitutions

  1. Vegetarian Option:
    • Substitute ground beef with plant-based alternatives like crumbled tofu, lentils, or a meat substitute for a vegetarian version.
  2. Different Chips:
    • Experiment with different types of chips like tortilla chips, corn tortilla strips, or even sweet potato chips for a unique twist.
  3. Spice Variations:
    • Adjust the level of heat by adding more or less chili powder, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce to suit your spice preferences.
  4. Cheese Options:
    • Explore different cheeses such as Monterey Jack, pepper jack, or a Mexican cheese blend for diverse flavor profiles.
  5. Healthier Ingredients:
    • Opt for lean ground turkey or chicken for a lighter version. Use reduced-fat cheese and add more veggies for a healthier twist.
  6. Salsa Fresca Topping:
    • Instead of diced tomatoes, use a fresh salsa fresca for a burst of vibrant flavors and added freshness.
  7. Guacamole Layer:
    • Include a layer of guacamole for a creamy and rich addition to the Frito Pie.
  8. Buffalo Chicken Frito Pie:
    • Replace traditional chili with shredded buffalo chicken and add blue cheese crumbles for a spicy kick.
  9. Breakfast Frito Pie:
    • Create a breakfast version by layering Fritos with scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, cheese, and your favorite breakfast toppings.
  10. Custom Toppings Bar:
    • Set up a toppings bar with various options like pickled jalapeños, black olives, diced bell peppers, or even pineapple for a build-your-own Frito Pie experience.

Feel free to mix and match these variations to create a Frito Pie tailored to your taste preferences or to suit the occasion.

Dishes Best Served with Frito Pie

  1. Matcha Lime Fizz
  2. Sazerac Cocktail
  3. Shrimp Tacos
  4. Whipped Feta Dip

Storing and Handling Leftovers!

Tips to store Frito Pie

To store and handle leftovers of Frito Pie:

  1. Refrigeration:
    • Refrigerate any leftover Frito Pie promptly, preferably within 2 hours of serving, to prevent bacterial growth.
  2. Storage Container:
    • Transfer leftovers to an airtight container or cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  3. Labeling:
    • Label the container with the date to keep track of freshness.
  4. Reheating:
    • When reheating, it’s best to use an oven or toaster oven for a few minutes to maintain the crispness of the Fritos. Microwaving may make them soggy.
  5. Toppings Separation:
    • Store any fresh toppings (like tomatoes, cilantro, or sour cream) separately to retain their freshness. Add them after reheating.
  6. Consumption Time:
    • Consume leftover Frito Pie within 2-3 days for the best quality.
  7. Freezing (Optional):
    • While Frito Pie can be frozen, keep in mind that the texture of the Fritos may change. Freeze in airtight containers for up to 1-2 months.
  8. Thawing:
    • Thaw frozen Frito Pie in the refrigerator before reheating to ensure even heating.
  9. Quality Check:
    • Before consuming, check for any signs of spoilage, like off odors or unusual colors. Discard if in doubt.

By following these guidelines, you can maximize the freshness and flavor of leftover Frito Pie while ensuring food safety.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I make Frito Pie in advance for a party?

A: Yes, you can prepare components in advance, but assemble and bake the Frito Pie just before serving for the best texture.

Q2: What other cheese options can I use for Frito Pie?

A: Besides cheddar, consider Monterey Jack, pepper jack, or a Mexican cheese blend for varied and rich flavors.

Q3: Are there healthier alternatives for Frito Pie?

A: You can make Frito Pie healthier by using lean ground meat, reduced-fat cheese, and incorporating more vegetables.

Q4: Can I make a vegetarian version of Frito Pie?

A: Certainly! Replace ground beef with plant-based alternatives like crumbled tofu or lentils for a vegetarian option.

Q5: Can I customize Frito Pie for breakfast?

A: Absolutely! Try layering Fritos with scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, cheese, and breakfast toppings for a morning twist.

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