Frito Pie Taco Bake

Frito Pie Taco Bake is the stick-to-your-bones dinner that will warm the coldest of hearts this fall. Quick, super easy…and did I mention all that cheese?!

Try some other delicious taco-inspired recipes: Ground Beef Oven Baked Tacos, 20 Minute Taco Pasta and Cheesy Chicken Taco Bowls.

An overhead image of Frito Pie in a pan with scallions around it and a bag of Fritos on the side spilling out.

Frito Pie

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I was inspired to put my own spin on this classic Frito Pie Casserole when I came across a very bare bones version (I’m talking canned chili here, people!) in an old church cookbook from Kansas that I found at the rummage sale at our church. It’s simple and easy to make and while it’s not a particularly fancy recipe, it’s a total crowd pleaser that the whole family will love!

Tips for making Frito Pie Taco Bake Casserole

  • Draining the fat after browning the met with the veggies will cut down on the overall greasiness of the meat.
  • I baked this in a 10 inch pie plate (like this one!). You could also use a 9 Inch Baking Dish, as long as it has high sides.
  • The other option is to make it a one-pot meal by using an oven-safe pan and transfer it to the oven when the time comes.
  • Feel free to get crazy with toppings. Whatever you like on your tacos would taste fantastic on this as well! I topped it with plenty of shredded cheddar cheese before adding Fritos (which are dangerously addictive, by the way. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!) and a little more cheese on top of the Fritos, for good measure.

A spoon lifting a scoop of frito pie casserole

Ingredient information that’s helpful to know:

  • Ground beef: I use 80/20 ground beef for a little added flavor, but you can always go with a leaner fat ratio if you want to lighten this up. You could also substitute with ground turkey or ground chicken.
  • Peppers and onions: If you’re making this for kids, you can totally mince the peppers and onions nice and small. I did this and my kids ate it happily.
  • Seasonings: The flavorings in this are rounded out by salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin and smoked paprika. If you want it to have a little kick to it, use Ancho Chili powder instead of regular chili powder.
  • Beans: Kidney or Pinto beans work best for this- be sure to rinse and drain them well!
  • Cheese: I used sharp cheddar but a Mexican Blend cheese works well too!
  • Corn Chips: Fritos are my chips of choice, but generic brand works well too. I went with the smaller ones for easier eating.

A white bowl of Frito pie taco bake recipe with the pan of it in the background.

What is Frito Pie?

Frito Pie, also called Frito Casserole or sometimes even a taco bake recipe consists of chili, topped with cheese and finished off with Fritos corn chips and any other toppings that your hungry heart desires. Now for my version, I put together a super quick homemade chili in a skillet before  transferring to a baking dish.

Can you make this ahead?

Yes- prepare it up until it’s time to bake and then cover and chill until it’s time to cook and eat. Pull it out of the fridge 30 minute before cooking and keep an eye on the temperature- you may need to add a couple extra minutes to the baking time (you want it to be hot and bubbly throughout).

What goes well with this Frito pie recipe?

I added some chopped scallions after it came out of the oven because they look pretty and taste great too, but you can totally be creative with your toppings- lettuce, tomato, cilantro, salsa, sour cream, guacamole– truly the possibilities are endless!

Can you freeze this?

Yes! I would recommend preparing the dish up until it’s time to bake and then top it with the cheese and eventually corn chips once you’re ready to finish and eat it. Be sure to thaw completely before baking.

Leftovers and storage:

The leftovers will last up to 3 days covered in the refrigerator and reheat well in individual servings in the microwave.

A serving spoon with a scoop of Frito casserole in the pan with the rest of the casserole.

Ingredients you can prep ahead:

  • Chop onions
  • Chop peppers
  • Rinse and drain beans
  • Shred cheese
  • Wash scallions

Helpful tools:

  1. Large saute pan
  2. Wooden spoon
  3. Chef’s knife
  4. Cutting board
  5. Measuring cups
  6. Measuring spoons
  7. Deep Pie Plate or 9 Inch Baking Dish

If you tried this recipe please comment and rate it 🙂 I love hearing your feedback and answering your questions!

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5 from 1 vote
A square overhead image of Frito Pie in a pan with scallions around it and a bag of Fritos on the side spilling out.
Frito Pie Taco Bake
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

Frito Pie Taco Bake is the stick-to-your-bones dinner that will warm the coldest of hearts this fall. Quick, super easy and seriously delicious!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: taco bake
Author: Jessy Freimann, The Life Jolie
Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef, 80/20
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, you can substitute with cayenne pepper if you prefer the chili to be spicier
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 can kidney or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3-4 cups fritos corn chips
  • 1-2 scallions, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and spray well with cooking spray.

  2. Add onions, peppers and ground beef to the pan and saute for 5-7 minutes until the beef in browned and the vegetables have softened. Use the spoon to break up the ground beef and stir everything periodically. Drain the grease.

  3. Add chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, water and beans and stir well to combine.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes stirring often.

  5. Transfer to a deep dish pie plate or a 9 x 9 inch baking pan.

  6. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar.

  7. Top with Fritos and then sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheddar.

  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes
  • This will last up to 3 days covered in the refrigerator and reheats well in individual servings in the microwave.
  • Make this ahead up or freeze- prepare up until it's time to bake and fully that before baking.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    DeathBecomesHer
    August 25, 2018 at 11:23 pm Fritos are my ultimate weakness with chips, love this snack mix!
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      August 26, 2018 at 7:40 pm Mine too- this is pretty much my new favorite casserole!
  • Reply
    Nicole C
    June 4, 2021 at 8:02 pm Ths was a hit with my family. I did substitute corn for the beans (my kids won't eat beans) and that worked well. Will be making this one again.
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      June 8, 2021 at 9:05 pm YAY! So glad you all loved it, Nicole! I bet it tasted fantastic with the corn, what a great idea! <3

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