Simple ingredients, easy to make, and featuring loads of flavor and crunch, our crispy Frito pie is a family favorite dinner that only takes 20 minutes to get into the oven! Like any good pie, you’ll have to create a crust and tasty filling. This time, we’re going savory!

Overhead view of savory crispy Frito pie.

Savory pies are a fun dinner idea that we know and love. Classics like chicken pot pie and minced meat are great, but have you ever heard of Frito pie?! It’s an American recipe that uses beloved Frito chips as a crunchy crust. The meat-based filling is similar to chili, and when you put everything together, you’ve got yourself a giant, baked taco-inspired pie. It’s filling, hearty, and makes for an excellent weeknight dinner. It only takes about 30 minutes to bake up in the oven! We love how versatile this dish is, We like using ground beef as a base, but you can use whatever protein you like. Then, we add diced green chiles, plenty of beans, several herbs and spices, and some salsa. Paired with the crunchy Fritos, cheese, and the garnish of your choice, this Frito pie recipe is unique and tasty!

Frito Options:

We use classic Fritos for our Frito pie recipe, but there are tons of flavor variations out there today to choose from. You may want to try one of these:

  • Chili Cheese
  • Cheddar Ranch
  • Flamin’ Hot
  • Lime
  • Spicy Jalapeño

Meat Options:

The base of the savory filling for our Frito chili pie recipe is ground beef. You can also feel free to use ground turkey or chicken, or even your favorite plant-based protein.

Bean Options

We use black beans and pinto beans in our Frito pie recipe. If you prefer other types of beans you can use those instead. Some ideas include:

  • Navy
  • Kidney
  • Great Northern
  • Black Turtle
  • Chickpeas

Cheese Options

Our favorite cheese for Frito chili pie is a medium cheddar. You can also use:

  • Pepper Jack
  • Monterey Jack
  • Colby
  • Gouda
  • Muenster

Can I Make These Into Individually Sized Portions?

Absolutely! Our family calls these walking tacos or camping tacos. You’ll need the smaller-sized (individual portion) Frito bags to get started. Open them up, making sure to leave the chips inside. Be careful not to destroy the bags! They are the vessel that will hold the individual portions. Scoop out your Frito chili pie filling and place it directly into the bag. Then, garnish with whatever you like. We call them walking tacos as they are so easy to take on the go!

Is Frito Pie A New Mexico Thing?

We love learning more about the origins of the food we eat. This taco and chili-inspired pie is an American recipe that was first seen in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The original recipe was made in individually sized portions (like our walking tacos as explained above) in a humble general store called Five & Dime. Tourists still visit the store to this day to seek out the original Frito pie recipe! These days, this American dish is enjoyed all over the country, not just in the southwest corner. Chefs now also make large portions (like this one!) instead of the portable straight-from-the-bag version.

Garnish Suggestions:

Below are some ideas for a garnish. Use a few of your favorites, or you can use them all to make a generous meal that’s sure to fill you up:

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sliced jalapeño peppers
  • Extra cheese
  • Sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • Green onions
  • Cherry tomatoes 
  • Avocado
  • Black olives
Savory crispy frito pie in a frito bag.

Freezing and Make-Ahead Instructions:

You can make the chili filling for your Frito chili pie recipe in advance and freeze it for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to assemble your dish, let the meat filling thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, put everything together as instructed on the recipe card below. Freezing the meat is a great make-ahead trick and could help save time!

Storage and Reheating Instructions:

You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. They will keep for up to 3 days. You can reheat leftovers in the microwave at 30-second intervals until warmed through. It’s important to note that the Fritos may get soggy when stored. You can freshen it up by adding a few extra fresh chips on top after it’s been heated!

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious taco-inspired recipes: