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Frito Pie (Walking Frito Pie)

Get ready to dig into the ultimate comfort food with this mouthwatering Frito pie recipe, featuring layers of crunchy Frito corn chips, hearty homemade chili, and gooey melted cheese!


Looking for a hearty and delicious comfort food recipe that’s easy to make? Look no further than this Frito Pie! Whether you’re feeding a crowd at a tailgate party or just looking for a quick and tasty weeknight dinner, this recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftover chili! So grab a bag of Fritos and get ready to dig in!

plated, chili on fritos on a white plate.


What is Frito Pie?

Frito pie is a popular dish typically made with Frito corn chips, chili, and cheese. It’s usually served in a single-serving container, such as a bowl or even the Frito bag itself (those are usually referred to as Frito Walking Tacos – see my photos below to see how to do that.)

Is Frito Pie a Texas thing?

Yes! I was first introduced to Frito Pie when I lived in Texas. The dish originated in Texas in the 1930s or 1940s and was served at football games or as a cheap and easy meal option. The Frito company later popularized the recipe in the 1960s by printing it on the back of their bags of corn chips.

Why do they call it Frito Pie?

There is a whole lot of guessing on this one. The dish is supposedly called Frito pie because of its layers like those of a pie. But we all know it’s not actually a pie by any stretch of the imagination. However, I suppose you could use a pie dish to stack all your layers for this meal!

What are some fun variations of Frito Pie?

There are countless ways to customize Frito pie to your liking! Some popular variations include adding extra toppings like sour cream, avocado, or jalapenos, or switching up the type of meat used in the chili, such as ground turkey or vegetarian meat substitutes.

What is a Frito Pie Bar?

I love this idea! You basically put all the different ingredients in bowls and you keep the chili in a crock pot. Then allow folks to go down the line and customize their own Frito pies. This is where the individual bags of Fritos come in handy. It makes for an easy clean up!

Can I make Frito Pie in advance?

Frito pie is best served fresh and hot, but you can certainly assemble the ingredients in advance and store them until you’re ready to serve. You can also store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat them in the oven or microwave.

A small round white plate topped with Frito corn chips and topped with chili with melted cheese and diced onion.


  • ground beef
  • garlic cloves
  • onion
  • tomato sauce
  • tomato paste
  • chili powder
  • ground cumin
  • salt
  • water (or beef broth)
  • Fritos corn chips
ground beef, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, onion, garlic, Frito corn chips.

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.

cooked ground beef and onions in a large skillet.

Add in tomato sauce, paste, seasonings and water (or beef broth.) 

seasonings, tomato sauce and tomato paste added to cooked ground beef in a skillet.

Stir well until combined. Give it a taste, see if it needs a bit more salt and pepper. 

chili with ground beef, no beans in a skillet with a spoon.

Turn heat down to medium-low and allow mixture to simmer for at least 20 minutes.

fully simmered chili in a large skillet.

Put a handful of Frito chips on a plate or in a bowl. Top with chili mixture. Then add on any toppings you enjoy like sour cream, shredded cheese, diced red onions, and for some spicy heat, add minced jalapeños.

a fork holding up a serving of Frito Chili Pie with a glass of iced tea in the background.

To make Walking Frito Chili Pie, just cut open the tops of single serving bags. Pour a little chili on top of the chips.

spoon pouring chili into a bag of Fritos corn chips.

At this point you can allow everyone to top them how they like (shredded cheese, sour cream and diced onions).

a hand holding a bag of Fritos corn chips that is topped with chili, cheese and diced onions.


Originally published August 2013
Updated and republished: April 2023

Frito Pie (Walking Frito Pie)

Frito Pie is a Texas favorite! Frito corn chips topped with an easy homemade chili, shredded cheese and diced onions!
4.87 from 38 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 cloves small garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1-2 Tablespoons chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¾ cup water (or beef broth)
  • 9.25 ounce bag Fritos corn chips (original or chili cheese flavor)

For topping:


  • In a large skillet over medium heat, brown and crumble 2 pounds ground beef along with 3 cloves small garlic, minced and 1 small onion, diced. Drain excess grease. Place back into skillet.
  • Add in 15 ounce can tomato sauce, 6 ounce can tomato paste, 1-2 Tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 cup water. Stir well until combined.
  • Turn heat down to medium-low and allow mixture to simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  • Put 9.25 ounce bag Fritos corn chips on a large plate or in a large bowl. Top with chili mixture. Or do this as individual servings.
  • Serve and add desired toppings (sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, diced red onion, minced jalapeño peppers)



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


Calories: 484kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 48g | Sodium: 1602mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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