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A cozy chili cheese casserole topped with crunchy corn chips! This one-skillet Frito Pie comes together with about 15 minutes of prep for a family-friendly, easy dinner recipe any night of the week. Serve it with corn muffins or 3-ingredient biscuits, a simple green salad, or roasted broccoli for a delicious meal!

Overhead shot of hands holding a Frito pie.

Frito Chili Pie

You’ll love the ease of this hearty dish, which takes advantage of ground beef and just a handful of other pantry staples. You can prep the Frito Pie in advance, or throw it together in minutes when you need a meal quickly. The delicious combination of zesty meat, creamy cheese, and crunchy chips makes this chili pie with Fritos an appealing dinner for everyone at the table!

Browning ground beef onion and garlic in a cast iron skillet.

What is Frito Pie? Is it a Texas thing?!

Frito Pie is a dish that typically consists of chili, cheese, and corn chips (such as Fritos). It’s often prepared as a casserole like I’ve shown here, but sometimes you’ll also see the recipe served in mini Fritos bags with a variety of toppings added. The mini Fritos bags are also sometimes called “walking tacos.”

The recipe is popular in parts of the Southwestern, South, and Midwestern United States, but the origin of Frito Pie is unknown (source). Texas might make a claim to this tasty combo, though — the oldest known recipe using Fritos corn chips with chili was published in Texas in 1949. Texans do love beef, beans, and chili, after all!

Pouring chili beans into a skillet.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a classic Frito pie. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Ground beef: the hearty meat base of the casserole. You can substitute with ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer.
  • Onion and garlic: add great savory flavor.
  • Chili powder: for zesty, smoky kick that gives the frito chili pie its name!
  • Chili beans: a large can really bulks up the dish and adds great chili flavor. These beans are just pinto beans, red beans, or kidney beans in a mild chili sauce.
  • Petite diced tomatoes: the perfect size for a casserole. You can substitute with a can of regular diced tomatoes, if necessary.
  • Salt and pepper: enhance the other flavors in the dish.
  • Fritos corn chips: the perfect salty crunch on top!
  • Grated cheddar cheese: because every good casserole and every bowl of chili needs plenty of gooey, melty cheese!
Sprinkling fritos on top of a casserole.

How to Make Frito Pie

This easy dish comes together with just a few minutes of prep! You can even assemble the dish in advance for quick last-minute meals.

  1. Brown the ground beef, onion and garlic in an oven-proof skillet. Drain off the excess fat.
  2. Add chili powder, chili beans, and diced tomatoes. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Stir, and then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Top with grated cheese and Fritos.
  5. Bake in a 350°F oven for about 15-20 minutes, or just until the casserole is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
Frito chili pie in a cast iron skillet with serving spoon.

What goes on Frito Pie?

Frito Pie (or walking taco) toppings are the best part of the meal! Here are a few options that go well with the dish:

  • Sour cream
  • Diced avocado or guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Sliced green onions
  • Finely chopped red onion
  • Jalapeños
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sliced black olives
Bowl of chili pie with fritos on top on a dinner table.

What to Serve with Frito Pie Casserole

Here are a few easy sides that go well with the ground beef casserole:

Overhead shot of a pan of Frito pie with sliced green onions on top.

Preparation and Storage

  • This is a great make-ahead dinner. You can assemble the casserole up to 24 hours in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Wait to add the Fritos until just before baking so that they don’t get soggy. When ready to bake, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30-60 minutes.
  • You can freeze the casserole before baking (minus the corn chips on top). Wrapped tightly, the assembled casserole will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • How to Reheat: If reheating an entire casserole, cover the dish loosely with foil and bake in a 350°F oven until warmed through (about 20-30 minutes). Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of chili powder, flavor the ground beef mixture with taco seasoning.
  • Add extra seasonings for even more flavor. Good options include cumin, oregano, and smoked paprika.
  • Serve the Frito Pie with Rice: for a heartier dish, layer cooked white rice or Mexican rice in a serving bowl before topping with the chili, cheese, and corn chips.
  • This is a Frito Pie with ground beef, but you can substitute with ground chicken or ground turkey, if you prefer.
  • Any good melting cheese will work in this recipe. In lieu of the cheddar, try mozzarella, white cheddar, Colby, cheddar Jack, or Pepper Jack.
  • This Frito Pie with canned chili beans requires the BIG (27 ounce) can of beans. If you can’t find the big can, you can substitute with two smaller 15-ounce cans.
Serving spoon in a Frito Pie.

Tips for the Best Frito Pie Recipe

  • Drain off some of the excess liquid from the top of the beans so that the meat filling isn’t too runny. You don’t want to drain off all of the liquid from the can because you want some of that left to moisten and flavor your chili!
  • It’s all about the toppings! Don’t forget to set out an array of tasty additions such as sour cream, avocado or guacamole, salsa, diced red onion, sliced green onion or extra Fritos!
  • If you don’t have a large oven-proof skillet, you can transfer the ground beef mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Then top with cheese and Fritos and bake the casserole in the oven as instructed.
  • Bake the casserole just until it’s heated through. All of the ingredients are already cooked, so you just want to warm it in the oven until bubbly.
Overhead shot of hands serving a chili cheese casserole from a cast iron skillet.

More Easy Ground Beef Casserole Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of hands holding a Frito pie.

Frito Pie

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 385.3 kcal
A cozy chili cheese casserole topped with crunchy corn chips! This Frito Pie comes together in one pan with about 15 minutes of prep.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (or 1 teaspoon dried garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 (27 ounce) can chili beans (drain just a little bit of the liquid off of the top of the can, but don’t fully drain off all of the liquid from the beans)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups Fritos corn chips (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, or more to taste
  • Optional garnish: sliced green onion; sour cream; diced avocado or guacamole

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Brown ground beef, onion and garlic in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium high heat until beef is no longer pink (about 5-7 minutes). Drain and return beef mixture to the skillet.
  • Stir in chili powder, beans and tomatoes. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together and the liquid to thicken slightly. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Sprinkle grated cheddar over top. Top with corn chips.
  • Bake, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes (or until the casserole is warm and the cheese is melted). Garnish with optional toppings and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Drain off some of the excess liquid from the top of the beans so that the meat filling isn’t too runny. You don’t want to drain off all of the liquid from the can because you want some of that left to moisten and flavor your chili!
  • It’s all about the toppings! Don’t forget to set out an array of tasty additions such as sour cream, avocado or guacamole, salsa, diced red onion, sliced green onion or extra Fritos!
  • If you don’t have a large oven-proof skillet, you can transfer the ground beef mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish before topping with cheese and chips.
  • Bake the casserole just until it’s heated through. All of the ingredients are already cooked, so you just want to warm it in the oven until bubbly.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the casseroleCalories: 385.3kcalCarbohydrates: 33.5gProtein: 27.3gFat: 17.8gSaturated Fat: 7.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 3.1gCholesterol: 66.6mgSodium: 972.4mgPotassium: 60.9mgFiber: 8.3gSugar: 3g
Keyword: frito pie, ground beef casserole
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This post was originally published in August, 2019. The photos were updated in January, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This sounds asssoooo delicious. I am going to have to try this recipe next week, for sure. My daughter was just asking me about this dish a few days ago, so I guess it’s that time again.

  2. When you’re looking for the best canned meat for chili dogs, it’s important to check on the ingredients used and the meat that you buy. If you can afford it, try to go for the higher quality meat and avoid some of the cheaper canned meats. When it comes to making a tasty meal, you don’t want to skimp on anything, especially when it comes to the taste of your chili dogs.

  3. Can you freeze leftover frito chili pie and then add fresh ingredients, ie chips, tomatoes sauce to freshen and serve to get the original goodness

  4. 5 stars
    This was such a tasty recipe! I loved it. We put a ton of different spices in it but followed the rest to a T. Such good leftovers too! Thanks so much for sharing this!