Easy as Frito Pie

"Ay-yi-yi-yi, I am the Frito Bandito..." It's hard to be sure whether the Frito pie was invented in Texas or New Mexico, but c'mon guys, CHILI IS THE STATE FOOD OF TEXAS. My “Easy as Frito Pie” recipe is a highlight of the “Texas Hayride” chapter of The Infinite Feast.


From "The Infinite Feast: How to Host the Ones You Love—Recipes from the Big Easy . . . and Beyond" by Brian Theis, 2020 Click here for more on my best-selling cookbook!

Easy as Frito Pie

Makes 4 servings


1 tablespoon canola oil

1 small onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground chuck

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

4 bags (1-ounce each) Frito chips

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (do it yourself at home)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup scallions, white and green parts, in 1/4-inch slices


In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, heat oil, add onion and garlic, cook till softened, about 4 minutes.


Add meat, breaking it up with wooden spoon. Add chili powder, paprika, salt, cumin, stir. When meat is no longer pink, add tomato sauce. Simmer over medium heat till most liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Makes 3 cups chili.


With scissors, cut open center of each Frito bag, lay each on own plate. Spoon a good helping of chili into bag on top of Fritos. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, and a generous sprinkle of scallions. For maximum authenticity, eat with a white plastic fork. Enjoy any leftover chili for lunch tomorrow!

If you don't believe me, take it from the Frito Bandito! (Well, actually he wants to take your tasty Fritos corn chips from you, so you better keep an eye on 'em!)


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