Monday, August 19, 2013

Frito Chili Pie

I didn't become familiar with this particular way of eating chili until we moved to Texas. There were a lot of things I did not know until I moved to Texas, really. Texas is almost like a whole other country unto itself. The culture varies throughout the state and so does the food.  And boy, did I fall in love with the food!  And the Dublin Dr. Pepper. I miss me some Dublin Dr. Pepper.  So anyhow, I was introduced to Frito Chili Pie while we lived there. Now, I'm still not sure exactly why it's called a Pie. Maybe because of the layers it comes in on your plate? Maybe someone with some knowledge on the history of this meal can explain it to me. It is such a fun and different way to eat chili and I was immediately hooked.
 Now, what a lot of folks out there like to do (and I noticed this quite a bit at football games) was to take smaller single-serving packs of Fritos and then slice them open on the side, then serve the chili right inside the packets of Fritos. Then add in additional toppings of cheese, diced onions and minced jalapeños. You just hand everyone a fork and they each have their own individual servings of Frito Chili. It makes for an easy cleanup too!

So, although we no longer live in Texas, I still have meals like this one and the memories that go along with it to remind me of our time there.
2 pounds ground beef
3 small cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1  (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1-2 tbsp. chili powder (to taste)
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup water (or beef broth)

for topping:
grated cheddar cheese
diced red onion 
minced jalapeño peppers

Note: This is a basic, thick chili recipe. If you like chili with beans, add in a can of drained and rinsed kidney beans. Also, if you have it on hand, try beef broth instead of water to give this chili and even "beefier" flavor.

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown and crumble ground beef along with onions and garlic.  Drain excess grease.
Add in tomato sauce, paste, seasonings and water (or beef broth).
Stir well until combined. Give it a taste, see if it needs a bit more salt and pepper.
Turn heat down to medium-low and allow mixture to simmer for at least 20 minutes.
Put a handful of Frito chips on a plate or in a bowl. Top with chili mixture.
Then add on any toppings your family enjoys like shredded cheese, diced red onions, and for some spicy heat, add minced jalapeños.

Like this recipe? Check out my Frito Corn Salad!


  1. Frito Chili Pie has been on my list of things to try since seeing it online a few years ago, but I still haven't gotten around to it. This looks super yummy, I must try soon!

  2. When I lived in San Antonio for a few years in the mid-80's, we called it a Walking Taco because we usually dumped in the chili, cheese, salsa, and lettuce if we had it. I worked 6 PM to 6 AM at the hospital at Lackland AFB, and those sure were tasty at 2 in the morning :)

  3. I learned this back in Girl Scouts and we also topped it with sour cream. I introduced it to my husband and usually when I make homemade chili we have left overs and this is the way we have our leftovers -I layer it in a bowl and eat with a spoon.

  4. This was a Girl Scout camp supper up here in Mn. Thanks for reminding me of fun times! Now - just what is a Dublin Dr Pepper? Barbara

    1. Barbara, it is Dr Pepper that is made with pure can sugar (out of Dublin, Texas). Not sure if they still make it but I thought it was the best version of Dr Pepper!

  5. This looks delicious and something I need to try.

  6. Will def. try ur homemade chili recipe!! As a born and raised Texan we ate "Frito Pie" at every Halloween Carnival or festival. Right out of the bag is the best!!! We don't call it Frito Chili Pie tho, just plain ole Frito Pie. Not sure why it's called that but Frito pie in a bag or in a bowl is comfort food all the time!!! ;)

  7. I have a vegetable/meat chili recipe that I make for my kids. I was visiting a friend and made it at her house. Her husband ate the chili with crackers. I ate mine with cheese and rice, and my friend at hers with corn chips. Chili is so versatile.

    But, what, pray tell, PLEASE :), is Dublin Dr. Pepper?????

    1. Oh goodness, it is the best version of Dr Pepper in my humble opinion. It is made with pure cane sugar. It's made in Dublin, Texas. :)

  8. This looks simply delicious! Who wouldn't love chili and Fritos? I am going to look in you recipe file for the Dublin Dr. Pepper! It is getting closer to chili weather!!

  9. Walking taco is what we call them and always get them at the festivals that we go to in the good!!

  10. Oh yeah! I grew up on FCP and used to dump it all in the little Frito bag and eat it straight out of there - they still do it at baseball games. Gonna' make yours now!

  11. Mrs. Reed served it out of the bag at our little "Dairy King" in the tiny Texas town I grew up in. We did call it Frito Chili Pie, and I still do. I really don't know any history on it; but I've been eating it for 50 plus!LOVE seeing these old recipes come up on the blogs!


    1. Such a special memory! I had never had the privilege of eating this until we lived in Texas. I am forever hooked now!

  12. I worked out of high school in 1963 at our A&W Drive Inn in Pauls Valley, Ok. We served the Frito Chili Pie in the sack. Every one enjoyed it, selling very high on the list. It was easy and fast to make for drive up serving. I still make them during the winter at my house for my grandkids and other family members.

    Anonymous August 20, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    1. I just love hearing special memories like yours! Thank you for sharing!

  13. Fantastic meal. I want to eat more.

  14. Thank you for the Recipes ...I wanted in enter the Gastrolux giveaway..I like the roasting pan .
    i also also like the Gastrolux page....Noreen Purk

  15. I have traced the origins of the drive-in style Frito Chili Pie to 1957 and a gentleman by the name of Claude Spradlin. He charged 15 cents -- a nickle for the Fritos and a dime for the chili -- and served it in a paper boat. Spradlin's Dairy Delight is still open in England, AR today, run by his son.


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