Cheesy Crunchy Frito Pie Recipe with ground beef, ranch style beans, cheese and enchilada sauce baked with crispy Fritos on top is a childhood favorite!
Frito Pie is certainly not going to win any creativity awards for me, but it is a quick and easy childhood classic we enjoy once in a while as a treat.
Plus, parties. YES, this is one of the first side dishes that disappears during gameday parties.
The origins of this dish is pretty murky, but it likely came from Texas where an old recipe for a Texas Frito Pie was published in the 1940s which included Fritos chips being served with chili. The beans and beef in this recipe make a slight approximation to chili, but without the effort of making a delicious chili.
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This is an easy frito pie.
You could also make this Frito Pie with canned chili, but I prefer to make recipes with mostly homemade ingredients (ignore the obvious Fritos in this recipe for a moment) and making the beef and bean mixture from scratch takes just minutes.
If you’re thinking back to your childhood you may remember a version of this recipe called “walking tacos” which is a frito pie in a bag made with a small bag of fritos topped with chili, cheese and onions.
In college we served these walking tacos with topping bars and felt fancy. We topped them (and these are great toppings for your frito pie too) with:
- shredded lettuce
- diced tomatoes
- sour cream
- guacamole or diced avocado
- refried beans
The dish doesn’t have to be too complicated and you can adjust flavors as you’d like. Sometimes we make these flavors more like a traditional taco and use taco seasoning in the mix, top with salsa instead of enchilada sauce and serve with sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes.
We’ve also made the recipe with ground chicken and ground turkey, added sautéed fajita peppers and roasted corn. You can go as fancy as you’d like, but for this recipe we are sticking with the classics.
Easy cooking variations:
Slow Cooker Frito Pie:
Add all the ingredients except the fritos to a slow cooker in the same order and cook on high for 2 hours, top with chips and cheese and cook for another 30 minutes on high, uncovered.
Meal Prep Frito Pie:
Assemble all the ingredients except for the chips ahead and refrigerate. When ready to bake top with the chips and cook for an additional five minutes to account for temperature difference.
Individual Frito Pie:
Cut open mini bags of Fritos on their side. Bake the Frito Pie without the fritos, then scoop a portion and spoon on top of the bag of fritos. Top with sour cream and cheese.
- Yield: 8 servings
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Course: Main Course
- Cuisine: American
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 20 ounces Ranch Style beans drained
- 4 cups Fritos chips
- 20 ounces enchilada sauce
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- green onions sliced, optional
Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put the ground beef and onions in a large skillet on medium high heat.
Cook the beef and onions for 6-8 minutes or until cooked through then layer the meat in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan.
Add the beans on top followed by the enchilada sauce, cheese and chips.
Bake for 20 minutes uncovered and garnish with green onions if desired.
Yield: 8 servings, Amount per serving: 613 calories, Calories: 613g, Carbohydrates: 52g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 69mg, Sodium: 1068mg, Potassium: 511mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 15.1g, Vitamin C: 3g, Calcium: 30.8g, Iron: 21.2g
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