Rich and hearty beef mixed with tomatoes, green chilies, Ranch beans, and taco seasoning, topped with crunchy Frito corn chips and gooey cheese. This Frito Pie Casserole is a family favorite for sure!
Frito Pie Casserole just took your ordinary bag of Fritos to the land of deeply delicious, where everyone who asks “What’s for dinner” walks away with a smile on their face.
I guess you could sort of also describe it as a taco casserole, but that does not do it justice. Because those Fritos make it more like a party in a casserole dish.
Easy and quick Frito casserole
With easy Frito Pie Casserole, you essentially prepare a super easy chili to layer in with the Fritos, and of course add a layer of cheese to melt in too. The dish is mostly cooked in a pan, then baked just long enough to set everything up and melt that cheese layer.
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- ground beef (you can sub ground turkey)
- sweet onion
- minced garlic
- ranch style beans (or chili beans)
- tomato paste (substitute a small amount of tomato sauce or enchilada sauce)
- diced tomatoes & green chilies
- Frito corn chips – If you want to get some more seasoning in there then using the chili flavored Fritos is ok too.
- shredded Mexican cheese (or you favorite blend)
- chicken broth
- sour cream
- spices, salt and pepper to taste
For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to make Frito Pie Casserole
- Preheat oven to 350F. Cook onions and brown ground beef in a large skillet with the oil. Drain fat.
- Add the garlic, tomatoes, beans, spices, and broth to the ground beef and onions. Bring to a simmer and stir in sour cream.
- Transfer the beef mixture to a 9×13 casserole dish. Top with cheese and corn chips.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and corn chips are starting to brown.
- Remove and serve with your favorite toppings.
Can I make it ahead of time?
If you want to make a Frito casserole ahead of time, then no problem. Go ahead and make all the layers except for the last top layer of cheese and Fritos. Adding those right before going into the oven keeps your Fritos on top nice and crunchy.
Can I freeze a Frito pie casserole?
Storing Frito casserole in the freezer to serve later is ok. You can store it for up to 30 days like that. However, I recommend adding a layer of fresh Fritos and more shredded cheese on top when you reheat it.
How to reheat
You can reheat the frito pie casserole from the fridge or if it is frozen a few ways.
- Use a microwave safe dish and heat on a medium setting for about a minute and half if not frozen. For frozen, you need about five minutes depending on the size of the piece, but make sure to give a half turn to it about halfway through.
- Reheating it in the oven is best. That helps restore the crunch to the Fritos, but you can also add fresh Fritos and more cheese too.
- You can use a frying pan to heat up your leftovers too. Another way to sneak in more cheese and Fritos too.
What are ranch style beans?
Ranch style beans are beans that are typically seasoned with taco seasoning blends. Those seasonings include cumin, some chili powder, smoky paprika, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.
If you don’t have seasoned ranch style beans handy, then you can season some pinto beans (and even seasoned black beans) as well.
For the refrigerator or the freezer, store in an airtight container. In the fridge, you can store it up to a few days, and in the freezer you can store it for about a month.
My only recommendation is to use some fresh Fritos and a bit more shredded cheese for the top when you reheat it. That way you capture all the fun of when it was first served.
Best Casserole Tips
- You can easily make this ahead of time but save adding the last layer of Fritos and cheese for just before it goes in the oven. That keeps the crunch in the chips best.
- If the meat is too soupy after you cook it and and the other ingredients, then drain a bit more of the liquid first. Baking the frito pie casserole tightens everything up though, so don’t take out too much liquid, just a quarter or half cup at most.
- Let the melted cheese on top be your guide to doneness. Since all the ingredients are cooked ahead of adding it into the casserole dish, you are just looking for the cheese to melt and slightly brown those Fritos on top.
- Use a proper casserole dish, glass or enamel ones are best but tin will do too. The larger the casserole dish, the more quickly it cooks.
- Spraying some cooking oil on the inside of the baking dish makes clean up after serving a lot easier. Just a light coat to prevent sticking. You don’t need to deep fry it in lots of extra oil.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, pin this to your favorite casserole Pinterest board and share it on your favorite social media channels!
Craving More Casseroles?
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (15oz) can Ranch Style beans
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 (3.5oz) bags Fritos corn chips
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 (10oz) can diced chilies & tomatoes (Rotel)
- 2 cups Mexican cheese, shredded
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- avocado, green onions, shredded lettuce, jalapenos, cherry tomatoes (optional garnishes)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13 dish with nonstick spray.
- Add the oil to a large skillet. Heat over medium heat and add the diced onions. Cook until until they soften and then add the ground beef.
- Cook until no longer pink and drain the fat if desired.
- Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant (1-2 minutes).
- Add the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the Ranch Style Beans (with the juice), diced green chilies and tomatoes (with the juice), and the broth.
- Stir in the spices and continue to cook on medium-low simmer for 15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper as preferred.
- Stir in the sour cream and transfer to the prepared dish.
- Top with the shredded cheese and Fritos corn chips last.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and the chips are a light golden brown.
- Remove from oven and top with your favorite garnishes. Serve warm.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 520Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 571mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 36g
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