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Frito Pie Recipe

The classic Frito pie is a treasured dish that combines the perfect balance of crunch, spice, and cheese. It is a convenient and hearty meal, ideal for those who seek comfort in a dish that is easy to whip up and satisfying to the taste buds.

Frito Pie Recipe
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Some of the ingredients for this recipe might not be readily available in your pantry. The ranch-style beans, a type of canned beans that are popular in the southern United States, are a key component of this dish. If these aren't available at your nearest supermarket, a good substitute would be pinto beans with a dash of chili powder. Fritos chips, another vital ingredient, can be replaced with any corn chips if not available.

Classic Frito Pie Ingredients

Ground beef: Ground beef is the protein base of this classic dish. It adds a savory depth to the overall flavor.

Yellow onion: Yellow onion adds a touch of sweetness and tanginess to the dish.

Ranch style beans: These beans give the dish its distinctive southern taste. If unavailable, you can substitute with pinto beans and chili powder.

Fritos chips: Fritos chips provide a crunchy texture to the dish. Any corn chips can be used as a substitute.

Enchilada sauce: This sauce imparts a robust, spicy, and slightly tangy flavor to the pie.

Cheddar cheese: Cheddar cheese is used for its creamy texture and sharp, distinct flavor.

Green onions: Green onions are used as a garnish and add a splash of color and a bite of freshness to the dish.

One reader, Chrystel Way says:

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This classic Frito pie recipe is a game-changer! The combination of savory beef, creamy beans, and crunchy Fritos is simply irresistible. The enchilada sauce adds a delightful kick, and the melted cheese takes it to the next level. It's a crowd-pleaser and a definite must-try for any comfort food enthusiast!

Chrystel Way

Techniques Required for Making Classic Frito Pie

How to cook ground beef and onions: Cook the ground beef and onions in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until the beef is cooked through and the onions are translucent.

How to layer the Frito pie: After cooking the beef and onions, layer the meat in the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan, then add the ranch-style beans, enchilada sauce, cheddar cheese, and Fritos chips on top.

How to bake the Frito pie: Bake the assembled Frito pie in the preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

How to garnish with green onions: After baking, garnish the Frito pie with chopped green onions for added flavor and color.

How To Make Frito Pie

Turn your favorite childhood snack into a delicious pie dish. This Frito pie recipe is packed with flavors and texture from the Fritos, beans, and chili!

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes



  • 1lbGround Beef
  • 1yellow onionchopped
  • 20ozRanch Style beansdrained
  • 4cupsFritos chips
  • 20ozenchilada sauce
  • 2cupscheddar cheeseshredded
  • green onionssliced, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Put the ground beef and onions in a large skillet on medium high heat.

  3. Cook the beef and onions for 6 to 8 minutes or until cooked through then layer the meat in the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan.

  4. Add the beans on top followed by the enchilada sauce, cheese, and chips.

  5. Bake for 20 minutes uncovered and garnish with green onions if desired.


  • Calories: 334.57kcal
  • Fat: 22.67g
  • Saturated Fat: 10.73g
  • Trans Fat: 1.06g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 7.81g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.85g
  • Carbohydrates: 12.74g
  • Fiber: 3.38g
  • Sugar: 7.79g
  • Protein: 20.32g
  • Cholesterol: 73.92mg
  • Sodium: 869.29mg
  • Calcium: 262.77mg
  • Potassium: 350.52mg
  • Iron: 2.34mg
  • Vitamin A: 113.86µg
  • Vitamin C: 11.22mg

Crucial Technique for Perfecting Frito Pie

When preparing your Frito pie, it's important to properly brown your ground beef. This not only enhances the flavor but also ensures that the meat is cooked thoroughly. To do this, make sure your skillet is hot before adding the beef. Break it up into small pieces with a spatula and let it cook without stirring for a few minutes. This allows the meat to sear and develop a deep, savory flavor. Once it's browned, you can then stir and continue cooking until it's fully cooked. This technique will add an extra layer of flavor to your Frito pie.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Frito Pie

Prep ahead: Chop and prepare ingredients in advance to streamline the cooking process.

One-pot wonder: Opt for recipes that can be cooked in a single pot or pan to minimize cleanup.

Use kitchen tools: Utilize kitchen gadgets like food processors and mandolines to speed up prep work.

Follow the recipe: Stick to the recipe to avoid making unnecessary adjustments and save time.

Substitute Ingredients For Frito Pie Recipe

  • ground beef – Substitute with ground turkey: Ground turkey is a leaner alternative to ground beef, offering a healthier option with similar texture and flavor.

  • yellow onion – Substitute with white onion: White onions have a slightly milder flavor compared to yellow onions, making them a suitable substitute in this recipe.

  • ranch style beans – Substitute with pinto beans: Pinto beans have a similar texture and flavor profile to ranch style beans, making them a great alternative in this recipe.

  • fritos chips – Substitute with tortilla chips: Tortilla chips can provide a similar crunchy texture and corn flavor as Fritos chips in the recipe.

  • enchilada sauce – Substitute with homemade enchilada sauce: Making your own enchilada sauce allows you to control the ingredients and customize the flavor to your preference.

  • cheddar cheese – Substitute with monterey jack cheese: Monterey jack cheese melts well and has a mild, creamy flavor, making it a good substitute for cheddar cheese in this recipe.

  • green onions – Substitute with chives: Chives have a mild onion flavor and can be used as a garnish in place of green onions.

Best Way to Serve Frito Pie

  1. Elevate the Fritos: Instead of using regular Fritos, consider making your own gourmet version by using homemade corn chips or truffle-infused potato chips for a more upscale touch.

  2. Layer with precision: Carefully layer the ingredients in individual serving dishes, ensuring each layer is evenly distributed for a visually appealing presentation.

  3. Garnish with finesse: Sprinkle the top with finely chopped fresh cilantro or microgreens to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

  4. Serve in elegant ramekins: Instead of a traditional baking dish, consider serving the Frito pie in individual ceramic ramekins for a more refined and personalized presentation.

  5. Drizzle with a reduction: Finish the dish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze or chipotle aioli for an added layer of flavor and sophistication.

  6. Accompany with a side salad: Serve the Frito pie alongside a baby kale salad or quinoa tabbouleh to balance out the richness of the dish and add a touch of elegance to the overall presentation.

Essential Tools for Making Frito Pie

  • Skillet: A flat-bottomed pan used for frying, searing, and sautéing ingredients.

  • 9×13-inch pan: A baking dish used for casseroles, lasagnas, and other baked dishes.

Storing and Freezing Tips for Classic Frito Pie

  • Let the classic frito pie cool completely before storing or freezing to prevent the chips from getting soggy.
  • To store leftovers, transfer the cooled frito pie to an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • When ready to reheat, place the desired portion in a microwave-safe dish and heat until warmed through, or reheat in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes.
  • For longer storage, you can freeze the frito pie:
    • Divide the cooled pie into individual portions and wrap each portion tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
    • Place the wrapped portions in a freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.
    • Label the container or bag with the date and contents for easy identification.
    • Freeze for up to 2-3 months for optimal flavor and texture.
  • To reheat frozen frito pie, remove the desired portion from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Once thawed, reheat the portion in a microwave-safe dish or in a preheated oven at 350°F until heated through, about 15-20 minutes.
  • For best results, add a fresh layer of fritos chips on top before reheating to restore the crunchy texture.

How To Reheat Leftover Frito Pie

  • To reheat leftover classic frito pie recipe, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the leftovers to an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the dish is heated through. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes to crisp up the fritos chips.

  • Another option is to use the microwave. Place a portion of the leftover frito pie on a microwave-safe plate and heat it in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until it's heated to your liking. Keep in mind that the chips may lose some of their crunch in the microwave.

  • For a crispy top layer, you can also reheat the frito pie in a skillet on the stovetop. Place a portion of the leftovers in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cover the skillet with a lid and heat for about 5-7 minutes or until the dish is warmed through. This method helps maintain the crispiness of the fritos.

  • If you have an air fryer, you can use it to reheat your leftover frito pie. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C), place a portion of the leftovers in the basket, and heat for 3-5 minutes or until warmed through. This method is great for maintaining the texture of the chips.

Interesting Trivia About Frito Pie

The classic Frito pie recipe is a beloved Tex-Mex dish that originated in the 1930s. It typically consists of a layer of Fritos corn chips topped with chili, cheese, and other ingredients. The dish is known for its simplicity and delicious flavors, making it a popular choice for casual gatherings and game day snacks. It's a versatile dish that can be customized with various toppings such as jalapeños, sour cream, or salsa, making it a favorite comfort food for many. Whether enjoyed at a local fair or homemade, the Frito pie continues to be a cherished dish in American cuisine.

Is Making Frito Pie at Home Cost-Effective?

This classic frito pie recipe is undeniably cost-effective for a household. With affordable ingredients like ground beef, beans, and fritos, it offers a satisfying and budget-friendly meal option. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $15. This hearty dish, with its flavorful combination of meat, beans, and cheese, offers great value for money. Its versatility and simplicity make it a practical choice for busy families. Rating: 8/10.

Is Frito Pie Healthy or Unhealthy?

The classic Frito pie recipe, while undeniably delicious, is not particularly healthy. Here's why:

  • Ground beef is high in saturated fat, which can contribute to heart disease and other health issues when consumed in excess.
  • Fritos chips are deep-fried and high in calories, unhealthy fats, and sodium.
  • Enchilada sauce and cheddar cheese add additional saturated fat, calories, and sodium to the dish.
  • The recipe lacks vegetables, which are essential for a balanced and nutritious meal.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Swap ground beef for lean ground turkey or a plant-based alternative like crumbled tofu or lentils to reduce saturated fat and calories.
  • Use baked tortilla chips instead of Fritos to cut down on unhealthy fats and calories.
  • Opt for a low-sodium enchilada sauce or make your own using fresh tomatoes and spices to control the sodium content.
  • Reduce the amount of cheddar cheese or choose a low-fat variety to decrease saturated fat and calories.
  • Incorporate more vegetables into the dish, such as diced bell peppers, zucchini, or carrots, to boost fiber and nutrient intake.
  • Serve the Frito pie with a side salad or steamed vegetables to balance out the meal and add more vitamins and minerals.

Editor's Opinion on This Classic Frito Pie Recipe

This classic Frito pie recipe is a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The savory ground beef and onions create a rich and hearty base, while the ranch-style beans add a creamy and satisfying element. The crunchy Fritos chips provide a wonderful contrast, and the enchilada sauce and cheddar cheese bring a deliciously gooey and flavorful finish. The dish is simple to prepare and yields a comforting and indulgent result that is sure to please any crowd. It's a nostalgic and satisfying dish that is perfect for casual gatherings or cozy nights in. Enjoy!

Enhance Your Frito Pie Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic and chives, topped with melted butter.
Grilled Vegetables: Colorful assortment of grilled vegetables drizzled with balsamic glaze and sprinkled with fresh herbs.
Fruit Salad: Refreshing fruit salad with a mix of seasonal fruits, tossed in a light honey-lime dressing.
Chocolate Brownies: Decadent chocolate brownies with a gooey center and a crispy top, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Delicious Alternatives to Classic Frito Pie

Spicy Beef Tacos: These spicy beef tacos are a perfect weeknight dinner option. The combination of seasoned ground beef, fresh salsa, and creamy avocado is sure to satisfy your taco cravings.
Cheesy Broccoli Casserole: This cheesy broccoli casserole is a delicious and comforting side dish that pairs perfectly with any main course. The combination of tender broccoli, creamy cheese sauce, and crispy breadcrumbs is a crowd-pleaser.
Berry Cobbler: This berry cobbler is a delightful dessert that showcases the sweetness of fresh berries. The buttery, golden crust pairs perfectly with the juicy, tart berries for a perfect ending to any meal.

Appetizers and Desserts That Complement Frito Pie

Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: Delight your taste buds with these savory stuffed mushrooms, filled with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Perfect for a sophisticated appetizer or a delicious snack.
Crispy Zucchini Fritters: Indulge in these crispy zucchini fritters, packed with fresh zucchini, herbs, and a hint of parmesan cheese. A delightful way to start any meal or as a tasty finger food for your next gathering.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a decadent, velvety smooth chocolate mousse that will satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you craving for more. The rich and creamy texture of this dessert is the perfect way to end any meal.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm, comforting flavors of baked apples, cinnamon, and a crispy oat topping in this delightful apple crisp. The combination of sweet and tart apples with the crunchy topping creates a mouthwatering dessert that is sure to be a hit with everyone at the table.

Why trust this Frito Pie Recipe:

This classic Frito pie recipe is a beloved comfort food that has stood the test of time. With its hearty combination of ground beef, ranch style beans, and enchilada sauce, this recipe promises a satisfying and flavorful experience. The addition of cheddar cheese and Fritos chips provides a delightful crunch and gooey texture. By following these simple steps, you can create a dish that captures the essence of traditional American comfort food. Trust in the familiarity and popularity of this recipe to bring a taste of nostalgia and satisfaction to your table.

Share your thoughts on the Frito Pie Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know if you have any tips or variations to make this classic dish even better!
What kind of beans can I use for this recipe?
You can use any type of canned beans for this recipe, such as pinto beans, black beans, or kidney beans. Choose your favorite or use what you have on hand.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the Frito pie ahead of time and refrigerate it before baking. Just assemble the ingredients in the baking dish, cover it with plastic wrap, and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it.
Can I substitute the ground beef with another protein?
Absolutely! You can substitute the ground beef with ground turkey, ground chicken, or even crumbled tofu for a vegetarian option. Just cook the alternative protein in the same way as the ground beef.
How can I make this recipe spicier?
If you prefer a spicier Frito pie, you can add diced green chilies, jalapeños, or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper to the beef and bean mixture. You can also use a spicier enchilada sauce or add hot sauce to the layers.
Can I freeze the Frito pie?
Yes, you can freeze the Frito pie. After assembling the ingredients in the baking dish, cover it tightly with aluminum foil and freeze. When you’re ready to enjoy it, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking as directed.

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