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Frito Pie

Today for ground beef Thursday we are talking pie, Frito pie that is.

Frito Pie is something that I had never heard of until moving to Oklahoma, seventeen years ago. It is definitely not something that we grew up eating in Oregon.

I remember mentioning to someone that I had never had my chili served with Fritos and they looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Chili is not chili without Fritos.”

So, I quickly learned that Fritos and chili do indeed go together. And once I tried it, I actually thought it was very good.

Frito Pie seems to be a regional thing, at least from what I can tell it is mainly in the Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas area that it is popular. (But feel free to let me know if I am wrong on that. )

The wonderful thing about the internet though is that regional food is really not that regional anymore. Through the internet people all over the US,  now know and love dishes like frito pie. That is the beauty of the internet and cookbook world of today.

There are a lot of recipes out there for Frito pie, but most people I know in Oklahoma do not really make a special recipe. They take a basic ground beef chili recipe and just serve it with Fritos.

Technically Frito pie is where you take a bowl and line the bottom of it with fritos. Then you pile chili and shredded cheese on top. Often though, I just serve chili with Fritos on the side and let everyone layer it how they want.

Frito Pie is a great meal to serve a crowd since it is basically just Fritos and chili. Chili is always a popular dish and fritos are an easy side thing to pair with it.

Here is my version of frito pie. I like to cook chili in the crock pot. Cooking it low and slow really help the flavors blend together, so plan ahead for this recipe.

Have you ever heard of or eaten Frito pie?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. We like ours with diced onion and jalapenos on top…and yes, we live in OKC…lol

  2. Loooooove Frito Pie!!! I agree that Chili is NOT Chili without Fritos!!! 🙂

  3. In Girl Scouts we made Frito Pie by cutting open individual sized bags of Fritos and pouring the chili, onion, and cheese inside. Yum!

  4. Don’t forget to top your chili with a dollop of sour cream too! Yummy!

  5. As a Texan, I can say Frito Pie is a must. While I love beans in my chili, I’m sure there will be some Texas Chili purists that swear that it’s not chili if it has beans in it. lol. Great recipe, can’t wait to try your version!

  6. When I was a kid my mom would buy the little bags of Fritos. We would then cut the long edge off and that was our bowl. Spoon in your chili and cheese and some lettuce and you were good to go. It was great fun.
    I just served something similar to the youth group only it’s called Walking Tacos and you use Doritos and fill the “bowl” with taco fixings. I grew up in AZ but my parents were from Iowa so I’m not sure about the regional thing.

  7. We eat Frito Pie in LA to!! We love it. Chili just isn’t the same without some Fritos!!

  8. I live in AR and love frito pies! I can hardly eat chili without fritos! And I love my chili with sour cream too 🙂

  9. We have found frito pie all over. Chopped onions are a requirement though

  10. Texas born and raised and grew up on Frito Pie, baked with onion and also like yours, served it to our kiddos and their kiddos and had it for supper last night and taking it to work for lunch today. It’s a Texas tradition. Thanks for your blog.

  11. When I was a kid in SW Ohio, having Fritos with our chili was a treat. I think it got started when we found how good Fritos tasted in a taco salad recipe we had. If it wasn’t Fritos with chili, we had Johnny cake (sweet cornbread — from the Jiffy mix).
    It wasn’t until I went to college that I even heard of the Cincinnati Chili with spaghetti thing. (Chili Mac in Toledo I learned later even though it was still spaghetti as the pasta.)
    Now I am pretty diverse in how I serve chili — with chips, pasta or cornbread.

  12. cornmeal, eh? mixed in with the chili? i love all things corny, including cornbread with chili, so i bet the cornmeal will be good.

  13. Have certainly never heard of Frito pie! Are “Frito’s” corn chips? If so we do similar here in NZ and is a family favourite.

  14. Born and raised in Oregon and you are correct. No one here has never heard of it, except for my family. Must be because my Grandpa is from Wisconsin. I will eat this at lunch time and my co workers think it is the funniest thing they’ve ever seen.

    • I am not sure I could even get any of my Oregon family members to try it. 🙂 So, I know what you mean, they think it is quite strange, but I have learned to really enjoy it.

  15. I live in Tennessee and we love Frito pie! It is also well known as a “Petro” because around here we have a popular chain resturaunt called “Petros” and that’s pretty much all they serve. Delicious!

  16. I grew up in Southern Louisiana and learned to eat Frito Pie but we also topped it with rice, lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, olives, onions, chopped pecans and shredded coconut. I know the last 2 items sounds nuts (no pum intended) but it is awesome. Adds a touch of sweet and crunchy. It’s the huge bar lined up on the counter. Now we live in Nashville, TN and I serve Frito Pie for company all the time, especially for large families like ours (8 people). We’ve never found a friend who’s eaten chili the way we do. It always seems to be a big hit though. Maybe I can make the trend head east. 🙂

  17. I am a native Texan and grew up with Fritos in my sack lunch at school and Frito Pie when we had chili. I love Fritos and cheese and onions and I always add some ketchup to my chili too. I have never had it with chopped pecans (or coconut) but pecans are good in everything so I’ll have to try it! Makes me want some Frito Pie for dinner.

  18. Karin Goodman says

    Being born, raised and still living in Oregon I’ve never heard of Frito Pie. Interesting, sounds good. With my girls first going to public school a year ago the lunch menu included “haystack bar”. I did not know what that was, but was told by the girls it’s basically what you call Frito Pie. We will have to try it at home. All of us love fritos for a snack.

    • I think your family would really enjoy this and it is a normal, yet gluten free meal, which is always nice. Here people make what they call haystacks, but it is more of a taco type meal piled on corn chips, not chili, but it is good.

  19. Karen Osmon says

    I’m from central Missouri and I grew up eating Frito Pie. Now live in southern OK and it’s a favorite of my family.

  20. I’ve been looking for a new chili recipe and this sounds perfect! It looks like it makes a lot though…could you freeze half of it? After it is all put together (without the fritos, of course)?

  21. This summer was the first taste of walking tacos I had & enjoyed. We live in the frozen Tundra of Wi. & have chili quite often in winter months. Yes, spagetti goes in the bottom of the bowl before the chili goes in, then chopped onion, sour cream & shredded cheese. I’m willing to try anything once maybe I’ll start with Scoopers on the side for the first taste test. Thanks for a new chili idea for this week to try.

  22. I worked at a snack bar for a couple of years. One of our most popular items was a frito pie. You would not believe how many instructor pilots and their students, would have this for lunch. Some would eat them 5 days a week. Wouldn’t want to be in a closed helicopter with them.

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