Frito Pie

group #1
2 lb very lean ground beef, browned
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 habanero chile, minced
3 serrano chiles, minced
15 oz canned dark red kidney beans, drained
15 oz canned fire roasted tomatoes
15 oz canned fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles
1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon hot Mexican chili powder
1 teaspoon ground ancho chile
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon ground chipotle
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

group #2
3-4 cups Fritos
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1 white onion, chopped

Place all ingredients from group #1 in a 4 quart slow cooker and cook for 8 hours*. Add some masa if the chili needs thickening.

Preheat oven to 350. Cover the bottom of a 9×13 inch casserole with a single layer of Fritos. Top with chili. Sprinkle with onion, then cheddar. Arrange additional Fritos around the edge of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

*If you’d rather use the stove top, saute the vegetables and chiles until soft. Add the meat, cook thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 1 hour.

Note: This serves a lot of people. One can halve the recipe and bake it in a 8×8 inch pan instead.

My thoughts:

Fritos date back to 1932 and Frito pie is said to have followed not long afterward, making it the perfect addition to our 1930s meal. There really isn’t a definitive recipe so I created this one with a slightly spicy chili. This is the classic version of Frito Pie, for a “walk-around” version, skip the baking and serve the chili directly in individual sized bags of Fritos and top with onion and cheese.


  1. This delight is rumored to have first been served at the Woolworth's on the Plaza in Santa Fe, in the Fritos package. A marvelous little store. That's a legend I would like to believe.

  2. Frito Pie is rumored to have first been served at the Woolworth's counter in Santa Fe, right on the Plaza. That's a legend I want to believe.

  3. I always loved when we would have high school basketball games at certain schools because they always had Frito chili pie served in the bag at the concession stands…

  4. That onion first looked like marshmallows to me! Ha!