Frito Pie: The Official Food for Friday Night Lights

August 21, 2013

A few weeks ago, Gabby asked me about Frito Pie. I can’t remember her specific question, but it was basically something like ‘Um, what?’

And here I thought Frito Pie was a universal thing…I do know that it’s definitely a Texas thing. Most specifically, it’s a Friday Night Football Game thing. In fact, I spent most of my formative years at my brother’s football/baseball/soccer games eating up some FFA Concession Stand FP. For sure. And throughout the decades, a Concession Stand Frito P recipe simply consisted of a bag of Fritos, chili from a crock pot, shredded cheese (or worse, nacho cheese), onions and jalapenos. Piled up, in that order. Perfection.

(I must add, this dish does go best with a bottle of RC Cola or Big Red…and please know, if you don’t know, that Big Red is basically liquid crack chock full of Red #40 and Sugar. I don’t recommend it for your health. But it sure is good with Frito Pie.)

Now, a Frito Pie recipe is kind of like a taco recipe…grab a tortilla and whatever goes. In this case, as long as you have some Fritos to pile things upon, you’re good. So start with Fritos and on top of that just add anything. Bison? Sure. Goat cheese and cilantro? Why not. Tofu? Well, maybe not anything.

My latest favorite Frito Pie: This great BBQ restaurant in Kyle called Milts (they will be on my developing Underrated Restaurants in Central Texas list…watch for it) makes something called “The Haystack,” which is really just a Frito Pie on overdrive. A ginornous pile of Fritos topped with chopped beef, Lockhart sausage, beans, cheese, onions, and the list goes on. It’s basically ridiculous…and so good. You should go there.

So how should you make a Frito Pie? Well, any way you’d like, really.

But let’s not overcomplicate this.

What I’d do is make Gabby’s Chili Recipe. And then pile that award winning chili con beans concoction on Fritos, add shredded cheese, chopped onions and jalapenos and call it a day. But I’m old school.

In fact, I’m real old school, y’all. I’d just cut a bag of Fritos open, length-wise, and pile the goods in straight there. Add a plastic fork and you’re done. Easy, portable, great for Tailgates and other outdoor casual things.

So good. So easy. And trust me. You won’t be disappointed.


Frito Pie is one of 10 Tips to a Great Tailgate over at Babble today. Check out the rest of them there. Cheers!

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  • Reply Lise August 22, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Our concession stand calls them “Walking Tacos”

    • Laura Harrison Mayes
      Reply Laura August 22, 2013 at 8:41 am

      Lise, Walking Tacos! I love that.

  • Reply Kelaine August 22, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    In Canada or at least Alberta (the Texas of the north), these are called Taco in a Bag. Doritos seem to be the preferred chip.

  • Reply Cindy August 23, 2013 at 9:04 am

    FP is also an Oklahoma thing. There are few restaurants in OKC that offer vegetarian options. One of my favorite places is Picasso on the Pesao because they have a good vegetarian section. All the options on that menu and I get the vegetarian FP every dang time even though I know I could make it at home. It’s delicious.

  • Reply Gabrielle - Design Mom August 23, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    This sounds so good! I love Fritos. They are the first chips we bought when we arrived back in the U.S.!

    Did I ever tell you that my parents owned a fast food restaurant called The Hungry Hut when we lived in California? Of course they did. They served something called the Walking Tostada that was similar to this. It’s making me hungry thinking about it!

  • Reply Barchbo August 26, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Milts is now the number-one destination for Central Texas dining for my husband.

  • Reply Denise August 28, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Here in Michigan we call them walking tacos, but they are definitely a nationwide treat. Frito-Lay actually recently introduced a line of products called “Top N Go”. They are bags of Frito Scoops, Nacho Cheese Doritos, Tostitos Bite Size Rounds, and a few others in certain areas, that are designed to open lengthwise for exactly this purpose!

  • Reply maria September 1, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Ah, the Frito Pie. Living in San Antonio, we get a lot of military folks from different parts of the US who are introduced to this portable bag of goodness. And to Big Red. Any unhealthy food is immediately better with Big Red.

  • Reply Marchbanks September 2, 2013 at 8:58 am

    But to truly enjoy a Frito pie, it must be eaten while sitting on splintery wooden bleachers on a Friday night in October. To complete the experience, part of it must be spilled down either the front of your white shirt, or over your date’s Homecoming Mum(tm).

  • Reply The Hook September 2, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Clever and tasty!

  • Reply Tailgating Time....Great Suggestions! - Flavor Infusion September 7, 2013 at 7:44 am

    […] 25. Set up a frito pie station. […]

  • Reply Dee September 12, 2013 at 11:43 am

    My mom used to make this in a form of a casserole. She layered it lasagna sytle! It was soo good. I had forgotten all about it!

  • Reply Tips For Your Next Tailgate August 29, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    […] Keep It Portable.  Good food is key to any party.  However, keep your menu portable and conducive to a tailgating environment.  Choose menu items that work well for a picnic.  Food options that are easy to eat using your hands (sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, chicken, etc.) or with a fork or spoon are ideal.  Following food safety guidelines for picnics will ensure your friends and family will avoid any food related illnesses.  Also, don’t forget to bring enough covered plastic containers to properly store leftovers.  BONUS TIP:  Have you heard of a Frito Pie?  The recipe starts with an individual size bag of Frito Lay chips. Open the bag and add your favorite chili or taco toppings, and voila!  You have the ultimate portable meal.  Click for Frito Pie details. […]

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