Crunchy, cheesy, slightly spicy, Frito Pie is a classic Southwestern dish that is both a super fun party food and a superbly easy dinner for any night of the week.
Can we go ahead and call this the summer of Fritos? You’ll almost always find corn chips in our pantry. I use them for toppings my salads all year long. But right now? We’re taking Frito consumption to new levels.
Have you tried the Spicy Frito Salad with Chicken? the Bacon and Egg Taco Salad? the Easiest Chili You’ll Ever Make? and last but definitely not least, please promise me you’ll try Frito Pie Huevos Rancheros. This is what breakfast dreams are made of.
(FYI Frito Lay, I’ll happily be your spokesperson for the awesomeness of the corn chip. That really should be a thing.) Frito recipes are life these days.
I have no idea why this is called a “pie”- it’s much more similar to a casserole or a layered dip you eat with a fork. I’ve eaten Frito Pie that was baked in the oven and also individual Frito Pies that are assembled and served on the fly.
However you choose to assemble it, this is one of my favorite ways to enjoy a homemade chili.
Frito Pie is a camping food for my family every summer and the beauty of it is that it can be prepped ahead of time and then assembled when you’re ready to eat. Eating a favorite snack food as part of dinner always feels extra fun so I make sure to incorporate Frito Pie into our meal rotation when we’re not camping, too!
This meal is so EASY – just layer the following: Fritos, Chili, Cheese, Tomato and Green Onions! (I never turn down an extra sprinkling of Fritos on top too.)
What are Walking Tacos? This variation on Frito Pie is served right in mini Frito bags so you can eat your Frito Pie on the go. It’s popular at fairs and festivals and can be made with chili or more traditional “taco” fillings like spiced ground beef, lettuce, and tomato.
Walking Tacos make great camping or outdoor food because you can make the fillings in advance, bring a few mini bags of Fritos and have a meal ready in an instant. Plus there are no extra bowls or dishes to carry around making it easy as (Frito) pie.
Another thing I love about this recipe is how easy it is to tweak it to suit different tastes or dietary needs.
When served in “Walking Taco” style, everyone can customize exactly how much of every ingredient they want in their Frito Pie. Cheese lovers can pile it on the shredded goodness while the lactose intolerant among you can omit it entirely.
Some prefer a chili-heavy pie with just a smattering of Fritos on top for crunch while others make a pie that’s more chip than chili. I like a balance of both along with plenty of cheese.
Even when you’re not serving Frito Pie in individual sized serving bags, you can make the dish similarly customizable by setting up all of the ingredients in a DIY “bar” and letting everyone assemble their own bowls.
Set out the chili, corn chips, shredded cheese, and your other favorite toppings and have fun.
This recipe is easy to make vegetarian by using a vegetarian chili, too!
I’ve seen walking tacos served with small bags of tortilla chips and Doritos too, but Fritos are my personal favorite. Whether you call it “Frito Pie” or “Walking Tacos”, this recipe is sure to be a hit.
It’s probably obvious by now that corn chips and I have a good thing going. I love them here, of course, and also just straight out of the bag as a snack food.
One of my favorite ways to use Fritos is as a salad topping, but there really are so many more ways you can enjoy them beyond salads and snacking.
Speaking of snacking though, this Frito Snack Mix looks right up my alley and I’m looking forward to giving it a try next time I want to mix up my snacking routine.
Frito Pie Recipe
Feel free to experiment with different chili recipes as the base for this recipe. Hearty tomato-based chilis with ground beef or turkey work best, in my opinion. (We LOVE Five Bean Steak and Sausage Chili for this!)
Avoid using soupy chilis or white chili for Frito Pie or Walking Tacos. The consistency just won’t be quite right and nobody likes soggy corn chips!
How To Make A Frito Pie
- Divide the corn chips between bowls or plates.
- Scoop the chili on top of chips.
- Sprinkle each serving generously with cheese.
- Top with tomatoes and onions.
- Serve immediately.
The recipe amounts provided in the recipe below will feed approximately four people. However, this is a “recipe” that easily feeds a crowd.
I typically make a big pot of chili and then set out all the other ingredients alongside the chili. Everyone builds their own meal with however much of each ingredient that they would like.
- 2 cups Fritos corn chips
- 3 cups hearty chili
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions
- Divide the corn chips between four bowls or plates. Scoop the chili on top of chips. Sprinkle each serving generously with cheese. Top with tomatoes and onions. Serve immediately and enjoy!