A fun option for Taco Tuesday, this Frito Pie Casserole is a cheesy, crunchy, salty and savory meal that will leave a smile on everyone’s face. (Plus it’s easier to prep and less messy than tacos with kids.)
Frito Pie Casserole Recipe
Frito Pie is traditionally served in little bags of individual Fritos with chili, cheese and other toppings added in. There is a lot of contention about where it originated, but personally, I’m tempted to believe that the original (non-Frito) version originated in Mexico (where it is known as “tostilocos” – crazy chips) and then was adapted in Texas to include Fritos by the inventor of Frito’s mother.
The Frito Corporation was an early investor in Disneyland and they introduced their Frito Pie to the rest of America by including it on the menu at Casa de Fritos. (You can see some really fun images of the original location here.) Since then, it’s become a staple at everything from tailgates to Little League games, and has even been given gourmet re-invention at restaurants.
The Frito Pie Casserole is a fun and easy way to take this childhood favorite and make it meal-sized. While I’m all for the fun of the “walking tacos” version, I tend to save that for camping and prefer this “taco bake” for when we’re at home.
This Frito Pie Casserole features a base layer of crunchy, salty Frito chips topped with a quick and hearty homemade chili spiced with cajun and taco seasonings, and finished off with a layer of melted cheese mixed with even more Fritos.
Everyone makes their Frito Pie a bit differently. I use enchilada sauce for the chili and incorporate taco-inspired veggies (corn, beans and tomatoes). Feel free to make swaps or additions however you see fit.
Frito Pie Variations:
- You can serve your Frito Pies in the “traditional” way by cooking up the chili and then serving it alongside individual mini bags of Fritos for everyone to scoop chili and sprinkle cheese into their bags.
- You can prepare this dish completely on the stovetop by just adding shredded cheese and Fritos to the top of your skillet after you are done preparing the chili. Allow the cheese to melt completely before serving.
- Incorporate 4 oz of cream cheese to the chili for a twist
- Swap out the Fritos for another favorite chip or tortilla
Can Frito Pie Casserole be frozen? Frito Pie Casserole is a great prep-ahead meal. You can just freeze the chili (up to three months) and then thaw and assemble and bake your Frito Pie Casserole as directed, or you can layer the chili and cheese in a casserole dish before covering and freezing. Allow to thaw completely before topping with Fritos and then proceeding with baking as directed.
What Side Dishes Go with Frito Pie?
- Rice or Cauliflower Rice
- Guacamole or Sliced Avocados
- Taco Toppings (sour cream, lettuce, pickled jalapenos, sliced black olives, salsa, pico de galo, etc.)
- Refried Beans
- Creamy Avocado Cucumber Salad
Check out our quick recipe video to see how to make your own frito chili pie and then don’t forget to scroll down to grab your free printable recipe card:
Frito Pie Casserole Ingredients
- Olive Oil
- Small Onion, diced
- Garlic Cloves, smashed and sliced
- Taco Seasoning <– grab our recipe for homemade taco seasoning here
- Cajun Seasoning <– grab our recipe for homemade cajun seasoning here
- Red Enchilada Sauce
- Black Beans
- Diced Tomatoes <– can use Rotel tomatoes for more flavor
- Shredded Cheese
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: for a healthier take on this recipe, you can reduce the amount of Fritos used and double the amount of veggies called for.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Sharp Kitchen Knife
- Cutting Board
- 9″ x 13″ Casserole Dish <– I love these Pyrex dishes with fitted lids for easy transportation to parties or leftover storage
- Cast Iron Skillet <– I love the versatility of a good cast-iron pan – you can make everything from eggs to dessert in them and they transition easily from the stove to the oven. This one is pre-seasoned and great for even heating
- Clean Bowl
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula <– I like these spatulas because they are one solid piece and don’t have removable heads for bacteria to get trapped underneath. Plus they are heat-resistant and have a lifetime warranty.
- Cheese Grater
How to Make Frito Pie Casserole
Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat.
Scoop the ground beef into a clean bowl and add the olive oil to the pan.
Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute before adding the ground beef back into the pan.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Add the seasoning to the skillet, along with the enchilada sauce, corn, black beans and diced tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile, spread half the bag of Fritos along the bottom of a 9”x13” casserole dish.
Top with 1 cup of shredded cheese.
Scoop the skillet mixture overtop of the cheese layer, then top with remaining Fritos and shredded cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Pin this Fun Frito Pie Casserole for a Meal the Whole Family Will Love:
Grab your free printable recipe card for our Frito Pie Casserole recipe:
- 1lb beef
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and sliced
- 1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- 1 cup red enchilada sauce
- 1 cup corn
- 1 cup black beans
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 bag Fritos
- 3 cups shredded cheese
- Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat.
- Scoop the ground beef into a clean bowl and add the olive oil to the pan.
- Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute before adding the ground beef back into the pan.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Add the seasoning to the skillet, along with the enchilada sauce, corn, black beans and diced tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, spread half the bag of Fritos along the bottom of a 9”x13” casserole dish.
- Top with 1 cup of shredded cheese.
- Scoop the skillet mixture overtop of the cheese layer, then top with remaining Fritos and shredded cheese.
- Bake for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 442Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 838mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 28g
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
This Frito Chili Pie Recipe is a fun and delicious meal the whole family will love – easier and way less mess than tacos with kids! I hope your kids love it as much as mine does!
For more ways to serve beef, check out our full beef recipe collection here: