Frito Pie

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!

We love childhood favorite recipes like Tater Tot CasseroleUltimate Sloppy Joes and Cheesy Taco Pasta.

Frito Pie
 Frito Pie

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.

Frito Pie Casserole

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
  • salsa
  • diced tomatoes
  • sour cream
  • guacamole or diced avocado
  • jalapenos
  • rice
  • refried beans

Crispy Frito Pie

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.

Frito Pie

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Frito Pie

Cheesy Crunchy Frito Pie with ground beef, ranch style beans, cheese and enchilada sauce baked with crispy Fritos on top is a childhood favorite!
Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 613kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 1068mg | Potassium: 511mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 755IU | Vitamin C: 2.5mg | Calcium: 308mg | Iron: 3.8mg
Keyword: beef, casserole, Frito Pie, fritos

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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Comments

  1. I’ve made this recipe a couple of times now and have enjoyed it each time.

    The first time I made it, I read the recipe wrong, using only 1 15-oz can of Ranch Style Pinto Beans with jalapeño and 1 10-oz can of medium Red Enchilada Sauce and baked it all in a 10”x10” casserole. After realizing my error when I went to make it the second time, I think two cans of beans and two cans of enchilada sauce would be just too much for the 1 pound of beef the recipe calls for and would have made it too loose.

    So, the second time I made it, I opted to go with just 1 can of enchilada sauce and 1 can of beans again and used Frito Chili Cheese chips … it was even better than the first time.

    My “mistake” actually made for a more stable dish. I think to balance the dish if 20 ounces of beans and 20 ounces of enchilada sauce were used, you’d need at least a pound and a half to two pounds of beef.

    I will definitely be making this again, with my modifications, which easily serves 6 as a main entree with a side salad.

  2. Love love love this recipe! Adding the enchilada sauce is brilliant and adds amazing flavor. I make this for company all the time and they love it. I don’t think there’s ever been leftovers no matter how much I make:). Thank you!!!

    1. I’d probably suggest Mexican rice and make a fun toppings bar for everyone to load up on top of their Frito pie. Enjoy!

  3. You guys are making this harder than it has to be, and grosser with the ranch style beans.

    Put some regular ol’ pinto beans to cook.

    Cook some ground beef, and make red chile with it.
    Chop up some lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cheese.
    Put the Fritos on the bottom of the bowl, put the pinto beans you put to cook (some like to drain the bean juice and others like it with the juice), and garnish with the rest.

    Then you have an authentic New Mexican style Frito Pie, not whatever this is.

    1. That’s certainly one way to make it more like a New Mexican version. I love recipes like this because you can make it like you are used to growing up or you can alter it to how you like. Thanks for sharing your version!

  4. I schmered a can of refried beans on the bottom of the pan. I used venison burger and added a 4 oz. can of green chiles and a packet of taco seasoning with 1/4 cup of water to the onion and meat. I drained 2 cans of the Ranch beans and only used about 3/4 of the 20 enchilada sauce. Then I cubed 16 oz. of Velveeta with 1/2 cup of shredded Mexican bland cheese. It came out thick, cheesy, well seasoned and very tasty.

  5. This recipe is our go to meal, my husband loves it. I did add a few variations. I use 1 1/2 pounds of hamburger, and 3 cans of ranch beans (15 oz) I also use hot enchilada sauce, and add black olives. Then we have enough for leftovers.

    1. They are basically a type of baked beans just jazzed up with flavorings. You can find them in your grocery store in the bean aisle. I hope you enjoy it!

  6. I made this last night and added that
    He
    I made this last night and added the Fritos today. I used jalapeno corn chips. It was fabulous!!! We like this anyway but I have always used left over chili. This had a Mexican flair and we liked it a lot. Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Made the dish as per instructions and it was OK. My wife said let’s have frito pie and I searched and saw your recipe. It’s pretty basic but the enchilada sauce addition is not the best. The sauce is bland and it overpowered everything else. A true frito pie was adapted from left over chili. I would probably not make this again.

    1. Please make it your own, it is basically a taco using Fritos instead of corn taco shells. I agree with you that the enchilada sauce is too much, we use our favorite salsa!! We modify the ingredients to satisfy our taste. This is a throwback item that when I was a kid, was only available at the Sonic Drive In……….nostalgia. Happy eating!!!

  8. O-M-G was this a YUMMY recipe! Thank you so much for sharing! I made a few modifications. I swapped ground beef out for ground turkey instead. I also added chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper and a couple of pinches of Lawry’s seasoning salt to my ground turkey & onions. I could not find any “ranch style beans” at my local grocery stores so I ended up using Bush’s Southwestern Style Pinto Beans.
    Lastly instead of using fritos as they can sometimes be too salty…I had some restaurant style corn tortilla chips on hand. I put several handfuls into a ziploc baggie and smashed the baggie up a little bit (not to the point where the chips turned to crumbs). The finished product was AMAZING. I included a dollop of sour cream on top of each of my servings. When my son stopped by to grab a bite to eat as he usually does each evening…he was initially disappointed when he saw what I had cooked for dinner that was UNTIL he tasted it. I stopped counting how many bowls he ate after his 4th :-)! Thanks AGAIN for sharing such a simple yet delicious recipe! This is most certainly a KEEPER!

  9. OMG!!!! This looks delicious! I love frito’s and I NEED to make this for dinner next week! 🙂

  10. I made this for my daughter’s swim party and it was a huge hit. So easy to make and loved by everyone!

  11. Just a note. I’ve always heard that Frito Pie started in Woolworth’s in Santa Fe, NM. It’s on the “Square” in Santa Fe. I’m originally from NM, so don’t know if true or not. Will make recipe later!