Frito Pie

This Frito Pie has a hearty Beef Chili that’s made with simple ingredients. Toppings include melted cheese, Fritos, green onions, and sour cream. This is an easy casserole to prepare ahead of time and is also freezer-friendly!

A white pie pan filled with Cheesy Chili topped with Fritos with a spoon in it for Frito Pie.

Frito Pie

This Frito Pie recipe is the ultimate comfort food. Serve this with a side of sour cream and corn casserole and your family will be satisfied.

I love making this when I am in a pinch for dinner. The ingredients are so pantry-friendly and it’s easy to make simple substitutions based on what you have.

As for the toppings, you can use a variety of different cheeses, sour cream, Avocado, guacamole, salsa, shredded lettuce, black olives, and even Velveeta Queso Dip!

You could even add a layer of refried beans or rice to the bottom of the casserole dish!

Ingredients

See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full written instructions

  • Olive Oil
  • Yellow Onions
  • Green Bell Peppers– You can also use 2 Jalapenos, seeded and diced.
  • Garlic– Freshly minced at home from fresh cloves for best results.
  • Ground Beef– I use 85% lean
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Smoked Paprika- Can also use regular
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Cayenne Pepper-Optional
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Chicken Broth
  • Masa Harina– This is Corn Flour that is commonly found in most grocery stores. You can use white or yellow. It’s a great secret weapon used to thicken up the chili and add a hint of corn flavor to it. If you don’t have it, you can use 1-2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste to thicken up the chili instead.
  • Kidney Beans- You can also use pinto beans or black beans.
  • Softened Cream Cheese– Another clever trick that adds a hint of creaminess and a nice cool offset to the seasonings.
  • Cheddar Cheese– Shredded from a block at home for best results. Monterey Jack work well too.
  • Fritos

For Serving: This goes well with a garnish of green onions, sour cream, and a side of Corn Casserole.


How to Make It

Saute diced onions, peppers, and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add ground beef and cook and crumble until cooked through. Drain any grease as needed.

Showing how to make Frito Pie in a skillet with onions, pepper, garlic, and ground beef.

Stir in seasonings. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Combine chicken broth with Masa Harina, add to the chili. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid has thickened and reduced, 10-15 minutes.

Showing how to make Frito Pie with Chili thickening in a skillet.

Transfer to a pie plate or 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top with Cheese.

Showing how to make Frito Pie with Chili in a Skillet Topped with Cheese.

Top with Fritos, bake uncovered at 350° for 13 minutes. Garnish with green onions. Serve with sour cream if desired. A side of Corn Casserole is great with this recipe.

Chili in a pie plate and topped with cheese and Fritos for Frito Pie.

Eating it from a Frito Bag

Frito Pie is often eaten directly from the bag! Instead of transferring to a casserole dish, you can top the skillet with cheese and place the lid on until melted. Then scoop the chili directly into a snack-sized bag of Fritos and eat with a fork! This is especially helpful if you’re camping. 😉

Crock Pot Method

  • Prepare the onions, peppers, garlic, and beef in a skillet on the stove top per instructions.
  • Transfer to a Crock Pot and add seasonings, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. Combine the Masa Harina and chicken broth. Add to chili and stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5.
  • Top with Cheese and cover until cheese is melted. Add Fritos just before serving.

PRO TIP: Reserve the juice from the diced tomatoes and set aside. Use only if you prefer to thin out the chili at any point.

Make Ahead Method

Refrigerator

  • Assemble the casserole and top with cheese, but don’t add the Fritos until ready to bake. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • Keep covered and bake at 350° for 10 minutes without Fritos. Remove cover, add Fritos, and bake for 13 more minutes uncovered.

Freezer

  • Assemble the casserole and top with cheese, but don’t add the Fritos until ready to bake. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Let it defrost in the fridge overnight.  Keep covered and bake at 350° for 10 minutes without Fritos. Remove cover, add Fritos, and bake for 13 more minutes uncovered.
  • Alternatively, you can cover and bake from a frozen state at 350° for 1 hour. Remove cover, add Fritos and bake for 13 more minutes.

Storage

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. If desired, you can remove the Fritos prior to freezing or refrigerating.

A white plate with Frito Pie and a fork pulling up the cheesy ground beef and beans.

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A pie pan filled with Frito Pie with a spoon scooping it up.

Frito Pie

5 from 2 votes
This Frito Pie has a hearty Beef Chili that's made with simple ingredients. Toppings include melted cheese, Fritos, green onions, and sour cream. This is an easy casserole to prepare ahead of time and is also freezer-friendly!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 lb. ground beef, 85% lean
  • ¾ Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, or regular
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon Pinch Cayenne pepper, optional
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/8 cup masa harina, (corn flour)
  • 1 16 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon softened cream cheese
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Fritos

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the jalapeno pepper and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  • Add the ground beef and cook and crumble until browned and cooked through. Drain any grease if needed.
  • Add the seasonings and stir to combine.
  • Add the tomato sauce and drained diced tomatoes.
  • Combine the Masa Harina and the chicken broth until well-combined. Add to the chili, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Gently stir in beans and heat uncovered for 10-15 minutes, until the liquid has thickened and reduced.
  • Swirl in the softened cream cheese. This adds a hint of creaminess that offsets the seasonings nicely.
  • Transfer to a pie pan or a 9x13 baking dish. Top with cheddar cheese and Fritos.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 13 minutes. Let it sit 5 minutes prior to serving.
  • Serving Suggestion: Garnish with green onions if desired and serve with sour cream. This also goes great with Corn Casserole.

Notes

If you don’t have Masa Harina: You can omit it, but it helps thicken the sauce and adds a hint of corn flavoring, it’s a great secret weapon in chili. If needed, you can use 1-2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste to thicken up the chili instead.

Crock Pot Method

  • Prepare the onions, peppers, garlic, and beef in a skillet on the stove top per instructions.
  • Transfer to a Crock Pot and add seasonings, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. Combine the Masa Harina and chicken broth. Add to chili and stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5.
  • Top with Cheese and cover until cheese is melted. Add Fritos just before serving.
PRO TIP: Reserve the juice from the diced tomatoes and set aside. Use only if you prefer to thin out the chili at any point.

Nutrition

Calories: 645kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 40g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 96mg, Sodium: 1298mg, Potassium: 864mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 1151IU, Vitamin C: 23mg, Calcium: 405mg, Iron: 5mg