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Southwest Frito Pie

I got a real culture shock when we moved to New Mexico several years ago, but we grew to love the food. Now, back in South Carolina, we still crave New Mexican dishes, and this is one of my go-to favorites.—Janet Scoggins, North Augusta, South Carolina
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Cook: 25 min.
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained, optional
  • 4-1/2 cups Fritos corn chips
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • Sour cream and minced fresh cilantro, optional


  • In a 6-qt. stockpot, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles; drain. Stir in chili powder, flour, salt and garlic powder until blended. Gradually stir in water and, if desired, beans.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 12-15 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  • To serve, divide chips among 6 serving bowls. Top with beef mixture, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and onion. If desired, top with sour cream and cilantro.
Nutrition Facts
1 serving: 615 calories, 38g fat (16g saturated fat), 143mg cholesterol, 915mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 3g fiber), 43g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • Kyle
    Jan 31, 2021

    In response to Adele from 7/2020 - this ain't yo chili you get in Texas or wherever garbage. This is a frito pie recipe for those of us from NM who wish for the "Taste of Home" - feel free to make your "beef chili" tacos but just know who this recipe is truly for ; )

  • Adele
    Jul 1, 2020

    As I am only cooking for two, I would divide this in half. I'd skip the tortilla chips and make the meat filling for tacos. As well as chilli powder, I would be inclined to add cumin, oregano and coriander, as I usually do when I make chili. It looks like a great base recipe. This one does it for me!

  • darlyn29
    Dec 27, 2019

    This is a great weeknight recipe. It's got a lot of flavor, the only addition I made was to add jalapenos. We have made this more than once and it's always a hit around our home.

  • angela32
    Jul 15, 2019

    This was a good basic recipe. It didn't have any zip for us, so I needed to add a lot more spice. I also halved this recipe and added some guacamole.

  • MarineMom_texas
    Jun 23, 2019

    I halved the recipe for the two of us and put out some spicy salsas. I thought the dish was perfect but for those who prefer more spice, feel free to add jalapenos, cayenne pepper, or your favorite spicy condiments. In other words you control the heat in this dish. We will be having this again. Volunteer Field Editor

  • bicktasw
    Jun 23, 2019

    My husband and I loved this dish! I made a couple of changes.... instead of using chili powder, flour, salt and garlic powder, I used 2 envelopes of taco seasoning mix with 1 3/4 pounds of ground beef , 1 1/2 cups of water and pinto beans (undrained). This is my new "go to" taco salad ...... much tastier than my old standard! 5 stars for sure!

  • acedecade3
    Aug 31, 2015

    My family has loved this recipe for years and I always serve it to guests and they always rave about it and ask for the recipe! Good job!

  • preachermom
    Aug 10, 2015

    I am a New Mexico native.....this recipe is incredible! A nice taste of home.

  • peachkay
    Mar 25, 2014

    I read all the reviews about its blandness and, though I hate when people tweak a recipe and talk endlessly about it in their review, I thought it was warranted. I made sure to cook the onion in with the ground beef, as well as two crushed garlic cloves. I replaced one cup of the water with beef broth and added a bit of taco seasoning to the meat mixture before I cooked off the liquid. (Decreased the chili powder, so it was a trade-off.) That was the ticket--not bland in the slightest. :)

  • rmb0715
    Nov 27, 2013

    I made this tonight. Very good! I made mine with the pinto beans (I had a 30 oz can that I used). I let the recipe simmer most of the liquid off of it before serving. It was a make again for us!