Frito Pie

Well good golly, it’s MAN-ic Monday already – where did my weekend go?  The weather out here in Idaho is definitely perfect football weather, so I’ve been whipping up football food for my man on Sunday’s and then chilling in front of the tv all afternoon.  I wanted to post this recipe for Frito Pie today since:

  1. It’s the perfect MAN food for MAN-ic Monday
  2. You have all week to buy the ingredients to make it for this coming Sunday!

Frito Pie

The entire recipe only takes 45 minutes to prepare from start to finish, and 30 minutes of that time is just spent simmering the chili, so you have lots and lots of time to relax!  Best part of this quick dinner, aside from the fact that it tastes SO DANG GOOD?  No messy plates and forks to clean up after the game!  Just toss it all into the trash – woot!

Second best part of this meal?  Every one gets to choose their own toppings, so every one is happy!

Frito Pie with Fixin's

If, like Tim, you’re not a fan of Frito’s *gasp*, you can use individual serving size bags of Dorito’s or any other tortilla chip.  Tim is partial to Cool Ranch Dorito’s.  In fact, if you have a large crowd to serve, why not set out several types of chips so every one can choose their faves?!

For this Frito Pie blog post I chose to keep it true to the original recipe, so poor Tim had to suffer through a whole bag of Frito’s.   Sorry Tim!

My chili recipe is the only thing that sets my  Frito Pie recipe apart from the rest of the pack.  This is my go to recipe when I need great tasting chili in a hurry.  If you’re dieting or just want to make it a bit healthier, substitute lean ground turkey for the ground beef.

Here’s what you’ll need for the chili:

Quick and Tasty Chili Ingredients

And here are some of the toppings you might want to set out for the “fixin’s”:

Frito Pie Toppings

So let’s get to making my Quick and Tasty Chili, eh?  First up, brown the ground beef over high heat just till it’s cooked through.  Drain off the fat before moving on to the next step:

These are some of my favorite kitchen helpers. They're Dang Good and I love 'em!


Once you’ve drained off the fat, add chopped onion, cover the pot and cook just till the onions are translucent – about 5 minutes.


Now it’s time to add the rest of the ingredients!  First up, the spices and Salsa.  Uh huh, the Salsa is a quick way to add a bit of tomatoe, plus green chilies to the chili.  I did mention that this is my QUICK version of chili right?  The most important thing for me is the taste of my chili, and adding Salsa gets the job done!

Quick and Tasty Chili Spices

Once you’ve added enough water to just cover the beef and onions, give it all a quick stir, then add the cornmeal and beans.  Cornmeal adds an authentic hint of corn flavor and also helps to thicken the chili so that it won’t make your Frito’s too soggy!  I love using black beans in my chili, and Tim is a huge fan of Ranch Style Beans, which contain Cumin, so they work perfectly in this dish.

Adding Cornmeal and Beans to the Chili

All that’s left to do is to bring it to a rolling boil, stir it once, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.  It will thicken on it’s own.  You may need to add a bit more water if it gets too thick.

While the chili is simmering and getting all yummy and flavorful, set up your Fixin’s bar.  Slit open bags of Frito’s (or Tortilla Chips) and set them into a large basket so that they don’t tip over.  Set out sour cream, salsa, jalapeno’s, avocado slices, guacamole and whatever else you’re in the mood for.  Add plenty of napkins and plastic forks and you’re ready to make a crowd of hungry eaters very happy!  Just set out the chili in the same big pot – after all, who wants to have to clean up an extra serving bowl, right?  Trust me, no one will care that’s it not fancy.  And if they do care?  Uh huh, send them to me and I’ll straighten them out in a big dang hurry!

Frito Pie

Frito Pie
Cook time
Total time
This is the recipe for traditional Frito Pie, but go ahead and use any tortilla or corn chip you like best. Add your favorite toppings too! You can also make it a healthier version using lean ground turkey, low fat cheeses, light sour cream, etc and it will still taste delicious!
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 8
  • For The Chili:
  • 2 pounds Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 large Onion - Chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin and Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (add more or less depending on your tastes)
  • ½ Cup Salsa
  • ¼ Cup Cornmeal
  • 2+ Cups Water
  • To Serve:
  • 8-10 Individual bags of Frito's or Tortilla Chips
  • Sour Cream
  • Sliced Jalapeno's
  • Salsa
  • Avocado
  • Plastic Forks
  1. Brown the ground beef. breaking it up with a wooden spoon, over high heat just till cooked through.
  2. Drain the fat off the beef, then add the chopped onion. Place a lid on the pot and cook for 5 minutes or till the onion is translucent.
  3. Add all of the spices, then the salsa and stir well. Pour in enough cold water to just cover the meat and onions.
  4. Add the cornmeal and stir well.
  5. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes.
  6. If the chili is too thick, add a bit more water to thin it.
  7. TO SERVE:
  8. Set out toppings in small bowls. Toppings can include sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, sliced jalapeno's, salsa, avocado slices, guacamole and whatever you like to eat with chili.
  9. Prior to serving time, slice open individual bags of Frito's, or your favorite corn or tortilla chip and place them in a basket to keep them from tipping over.
  10. Spoon chili into each bag, then top with your favorite fixin's. Plastic forks make this an easy dish to clean up.


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