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Frito Pie

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I rely on my slow cooker A LOT. The Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook has become a kitchen standard as I search for ways to to get hot meals to the table at a reasonable hour, especially on busy weeknights.

Frito Pie, a tasty Texas treat, is nothing if not versatile. It’s equally at-home as snack, party appetizer or kid-friendly meal. This slow cooker version simplifies preparation and makes it a great choice for a weeknight dinner or a weekend snack.

I’ve experimented quite a bit with the spices in this dish. The original recipe called for 3 tablespoons of ground hot red chili peppers and 2 tablespoons of ground mild red chili peppers. Probably a little too much heat to be palatable to children.

Initially, I replaced most of the spice with chili powder and a little cayenne pepper. While I like chili powder, I prefer it in small doses; not because it’s too hot, but because the flavor itself can be overwhelming. I ultimately settled on a mixture of paprika, chili powder and cayenne, which I’ve found to be the ideal combination for my family’s tastes. The recipe below includes those substitutions.

Frito Pie:
Adapted from the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook
(Makes 6 servings)

1 large onion, chopped
3 lbs. ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 1/2 teaspoons paprika
4 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups water
Corn chips
Shredded Cojack cheese
Sour cream (optional)

  1. Combine onion, ground beef, garlic, spices and water in slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.
  3. Drain.
  4. Serve over corn chips, topped with cheese (and sour cream if desired).
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