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Frito Pie – One of my guilty pleasures

I almost didn’t want to share this with you. I am a grown woman, and I love, no I *LOVE* Frito Pies. My love for a Frito pie happened many years ago, it happened at a football game. Not only was I in love with the half back, well I loved this mysterious dish as well. I didn’t grow up in the South, I moved to Texas when I was 15 years old. Someone said to me, you want a Frito Pie? I had no clue. I know if you don’t live in the South, you may have never heard of one of these. And honestly not many places serve these, I know Jason’s Deli serves these, as well as Sonic if you ask very nicely.

I was making a batch of my Wendy’s Chili, and like anyone who has tasted this magic dish, my follow up thought was man, I wished I had a Frito Pie. What are they you ask? Thanks for asking… A Frito Pie is simply a dish of Frito’s splurge for the name brand here, cover them with chili, and top with cheese sauce, and a squirt of mustard. If you are lucky, someone has some chopped onions available. Yes, it may be a heart burn in the making, but the crisp saltiness of the Fritos smothered in chili, topped with cheese, almost makes me want to go back in the kitchen now.

My secret is out, I just outed myself. While that half back that I was in love with in high school is a long fading memory, Frito Pies are something you can make in your kitchen right now.

frito pie recipe

Frito Pie

Thanks to my friend Denise we have the Frito Bandito!

Frito Pie

  • Author:
  • Recipe Type: Main Dish, CopyKat Recipes
  • Prep time:10 minutes
  • Cook time:10 minutes
  • Serves: 1
Frito Pie

Frito pies are well known in the South. You can make this southern classic no matter where you live.


  • 1 cup Fritos
  • 3/4 cup chili (Wolf brand is a favorite on these, trust me)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onions
  • Yellow Mustard - optional
  • Jalapeno slices - optional


In a bowl, pour corn chips to cover the bottom of the dish. Ladle on hot chili, sprinkle with cheese and onions. Top with yellow mustard and jalapeno slices if you desire.

So do you live in the South? Have you tried Frito Pie's before? What do you top yours with? Better yet, share some of your guilty pleasures. I would never invite someone over for a Frito Pie, but I would sure make one if you hinted you wanted one ;)

Link to Wendy's Chili is perfect for Frito pie.

Print Recipe
  • Dawn

    The first one I ever had was in Texas at a school carnival. They took an individual bag of Fritos , cut it down the side, poured the chili and cheese and topped it with onions and we just ate them right out of the bag. They served them the same way at the high school football games. YUMMY!!!

  • Hank Hill

    Peggy Hill makes a damn fine Frito pie

  • Debra

    I live in Albuquerque, NM and this is similar to an authentic Frito pie. Anyone who uses canned items to make this dish is really lost. It is so easy to make without canned ingredients: First start with cooking pinto beans in water (stovetop on simmer for 4 hours, Crockpot 8 hours, pressure cooker 1.25 hours) Salt beans after they are cooked. Second item, cook real Hatch dried red chile (blend red chiles in water, garlic and salt to taste until smoothe; or buy frozen Bueno red chile and season as above). 3rd, Brown hamburger meat drain and add red chile to meat, salt to taste. once all items are cooked, serve into a bowl of Fritos, and top with cheese, tomatoes, onion, sour cream. That’s an authentic Frito Pie from Abq. NM.

    • stephaniemanley

      So when I called this my guilty pleasure part of that is the fact that when you get these out the majority of the time it canned chili. I personally love homemade chili.

  • [email protected]

    St. Louis twist… add sliced hot links. Savory, sweet, and spicy! Yum!

    • Stephanie

      That is an interesting suggestion. I never had hot links on a frito pie.

  • Tom

    I have made Frito Pie for years. Putting a can of chili on Fritos is NOT it. Too bad the chili recipe was not included.

    • stephaniemanley

      Tom, here was the recipe that I often use for chili. Here in Texas while it may not be the greatest, don’t ask me why, but 9 out of 10 times I see it served with canned chili.

  • John A. Grimes

    Sour cream and Banana peppers on top!!

    • Stephanie

      Sounds tasty!

  • Robert

    I actually use chili cheese fritos.!

  • Brenda

    This forgo pie is so good.

  • Lil_red_1821

    Love it so much, was one of my favorite things to get at lunch in elementary and middle school

  • Amandajones0213

    If you like Frito Pie you might like tamale pie too…. its basically the same concept as Frito Pie except you add a can of tamales. I layer the fritos, then chili and onions and then i put the cut up tamales on top and cover it with cheese and bake it in the oven for 45 minutes at 375 its awesome and my husband loves it!

  • Aheyer

    we make this with sloppy joe sauce w/ ground beef instead of chili. the mustard was a nice touch I thought.

    • Stephanie Manley

      I am so glad someone liked my mustard 😉

  • Rene

    I was born and raised in the south and was surprised at how many people have never heard of Frito pies! YUM!!! I’ve never put mustard on one but will definitely give your version a try. I love to eat Wendy’s chili on a baked potato so I’ll be trying that too. 😀 Also, top some home made fries with chili and cheese. YUM!!! As for the onions, grilled or sauteed!!!! I’m not much for the raw version. I love your website and have followed it for years!

  • Catred80

    frito pie with 1 lb of ground beef,cut sliced tomato’s,lettuce,chili(wolf brand)american shredded cheese and corn chips..

    • Stephanie Manley

      I have never done the sliced tomatoes.

  • Catred80

    frito pie with 1 lb of ground beef,cut sliced tomato’s,lettuce,chili(wolf brand)american shredded cheese and corn chips..

  • http://Website(optional) A petro’s employee

    These are awesome. We started at the Knoxville World’s Fair. Check out their site for a location near you!

  • Maria Maese

    At our house, it’s fritos, fresh pinto beans, home made chili, cheese, onions, maybe some chopped tomato. No mustard. That’s a new one on me.

    • Stephanie

      I got the squeeze of yellow mustard when I lived in Timpson, Texas. It was pretty popular there.

    • Frann

      In reading through this string – up in the NW – a bag of Fritos, chili, grated cheddar cheese and onions is call a “Belly Buster” – great for camping . . .

      • Stephanie

        I think this is known all around with different names.

  • Kim

    I’m from West Texas and have never heard of mustard on Frito Pie. However, it sounds good.

    Try putting your frito pie in a flour tortilla and roll it up. I know it sounds really weird, but Sonic sells them like that (called Frito Wraps). They are very good!

  • Pat Stanley

    This is almost like a Petro and is Soooo Good. BUT – you have to have a BIG spoonfull of sour cream on top!!!

  • Betty Clark

    Have had something similar to this in Jedburgh, Scotland but having no onion or mustard.
    There was a dollop of sour cream on top.
    It is called Pub Food and is DELICIOUS!!!
    Up until last year the hotel was the longest running pub in Scotland!!!

  • Jaye

    Mustard doesn’t go with it. That’s an Okie thing – that I just learned about yesterday actually, and I’m a Texan (Houston, Austin). I’m assuming the author moved to a part of Texas that was very close to the Oklahoma border then.

    See comment below

    • Stephanie

      Actually I am the author 😉 I have never lived in Oklahoma, nor am I an Okie. I did drive through there once. I live in Houston, Texas. The mustard on the Frito Pie was introduced to me by a native Texan, and you know I just love Frito Pies with mustard, but if you come to my house for a Frito Pie, I won’t make you eat it with mustard!

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  • Rebecca

    I LOVE Frito pie ….. sometimes I change it up and make Cheeto pie … :)

  • Erin

    We add a scoop of rice between fritos and chili and call them ‘haystacks’.

  • Tina

    Wow that sounds good!!! I have made it with browned hamburger and onion, then mix in the taco seasoning, according to pkg. directions, and a can of drained kidney beans. Top the Fritos with the mixture, shredded cheddar, lettuce and tomato.

  • Tina

    I’m gonna make Frito Pie this weekend for a picnic and i hadn’t made it for awhile, so i was just checking the internet for different recipes, but i have had it with browned hamburger and onion, then mix in the taco seasoning (mix according to pkg. directions) and a can of drained kidney beans. Then top the Fritos with the mixture, cheese, lettuce and tomato.

  • Nancy

    WOW We have been eating this for years but somehow we had the name wrong. We called it Texas Straw Hats, but we had the recipe like yours except for the mustard. My “kids” are now feeding their kids this wonderful easy meal!

  • Kay

    In Ohio, this is served in the bag of Fritos and called a ‘walking taco’ because you can walk around with it. I like your version better though!

  • david

    tinamarie hit the nail on the head. that is the traditional way to make it. not gonna tell anyone how to enjoy something, but that is the “authentic” recipe.

    • Stephanie

      Why didn’t my 3 high schools (I moved a lot) serve these with shredded cheese? Mine served them with the liquid cheese 😉

  • Karen

    Do you use a spoon to eat the Frito pie out of the bag or your fingers? I have never heard of this but it sure sounds fun! ( I’m from NY) :)

    • Stephanie

      Even in the South, we use utencils whenever possible, I would guess some would eat this with their fingers, most of us use a spoon or fork though 😉

  • tatterSalad

    Ohhh! yea I also didn’t know what this was until I got into the trucking industry.I have not met an over the road driver that does not rave about Frito pie. I have received at least 10 different variations including the truck driver 7-11 version. 1 bag of fritos heat Hormel singles chilli in m-wave dump into frito bag add cheese and onions and eat straight outa da bag. now that is a guilty pleasure, especially when you’re doing this at home.

  • txgal

    Growing up in West Texas, I can’t ever remember NOT eating Frito pie. We ate them all year long. Always made with Wolf Brand chili (unless mom broke down and made homemade), grated longhorn colby, grated Texas 1015 sweet onions….my mouth is watering right now. I know what I’ll be having for lunch tomorrow. We always ate them at the football games in the Frito bag. I’d rather have a Frito Pie rather than nachos with peppers. My dad is the Frito Pie King. He always ate his pie with dried chili petines (the little round pepper…very hot) crumbled on top. He ate at least two a week when he was working and still eats at least one a week now. He is pushing 80 and his cholesrerol is still 130.

    • Will

      Grew up in Houston myself; we did the same thing. Make up some chili, grate some longhorn colby and onions, pour it right into those little Frito snack bags. Sour cream tops it like a champ.

      • Stephanie

        This is the second time today, I have heard to top a frito pie with sour cream. I am going to have to try it next time with sour cream.

  • Flea

    People in Oklahoma introduced us to Frito Chili Pie, but we’d been making it for years before we knew what it was. I make my chili from scratch, and in addition to the cheese, we serve with sour cream. I’ll have to try the mustard!

  • Stephanie

    I too, have had frito pie served in bags, but you know, I couldn’t really take a nice picture of that. I couldn’t hold the camera, and a handful of frito pie!

  • Sarah

    I had Frito Pie for the first time last year (in Las Vegas of all places) and it was just as delicious as I thought it was going to be. I can never go back to my beloved Chili Cheese Fritos again.

  • Susan

    I top my Frito Pies with cheddar and sour cream…YUMM. Now I want one of these too.

  • http://garyalan gary baugh

    My wife and I have always loved Frito pies. You just can’t beat them for a quick and satisfying meal. Thanks for the mustard tip, I’ll try that. I agree with tinamarie on using Wolf Brand Chili, but in the past I have also found Iron Kettle Chili to be a winner. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen Iron Kettle in my supermarket lately. Is it still available?

  • tinamarie

    I grew up in Texas and we would have a version of this in my elementary school cafeteria. It was heaven! Wolf Brand Chili (<only one to use), cheddar cheese, onions and fritos. Bake until onions are tender. Yummy. I also had it at many football games. Like the other post said they would split open the bag and pour on the chili over the fritos and top with shredded cheese. That's the way to do it…it's a Texas tradition. Oh and NEVER use liquid nacho cheese, that is just wrong.

  • Big Mama45405

    Our high school sold bags of Fritos with a dip of chili and a hand full of shredded cheese at basketball games. They always sold out fast!

    My grandmother made a similar pie, but baked it in the over to melt the cheese – GOD I miss her and her hot tamale pies!

  • Kathy

    A hundred years ago when I was a carhop( in the southwest of course) we made the chili pie right in the individual serving size Frito bag. We would cut the bag open along the side edge, and pour on the chili and mustard.

  • Ann

    I just have to share this story with you about Frito Pie…our youngest daughter had to have braces and when the orthodontist told her all the things she couldn’t eat Frito Pie was one of them..she broke down and cried in the dentist chair..she didn’t care that he would be pulling some of her teeth and all the other painful things to come–just DON”T tell her she can’t have Frito Pie for 3 or 4 years..Needless to say, I told her we would figure out someway to get around this. She simply had to let the chili sit on the Fritos a little longer than usual and they were soft enough to eat, even with braces. Long live the Friito Pie !!

  • Fran

    Wow, mustard? I had no idea. Ok, so maybe I’ve never actually had a Frito Pie to know that mustard goes in it. I would never have guessed.