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Easy Frito Pie (Stove Top & Walking Taco Versions)

This Frito Pie recipe makes things super simple by turning the baked casserole into a stove top version. It’s cheap, easy comfort food that won’t heat up your house during those hot summer days.

Easy Stove Top Frito Pie, aka, walking tacos chili version. A big bowl of fritos topped with chili and cheese. Jalapeños, olives, and chopped onions sprinkled on top.
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Stove Top Frito Pie

There are many ways to make a Frito Pie and man, people can really make things complicated. We’re going cheap and easy with this walking taco recipe.

I first came across the frito version of walking tacos in high school. Clubs would sell them as a fundraiser. There was always a fight to see who got to sell them because they made the most money for practically zero effort.

Back in high school they’d fill one crockpot with chili and one with nacho cheese. Then they’d open up a snack size bag of fritos, ladle on the chili and then the cheese, pop a spoon in, and you’d be on your way. It was simple and delicious.

It wasn’t until many years later that it even crossed my mind to make frito pie at home. Once I did, I realized what a quick, easy, yummy, and cheap meal it is.


  • LUNCH OR DINNER – Frito pie works for a quick lunch or dinner.
  • EASY TO MAKE – Pre-teen and up can make this recipe, it’s that simple. My eleven year old is learning how to cook more recipes for himself and these walking tacos are something he can do.
  • INEXPENSIVE – Grocery prices are on the rise and my grocery budget keeps going up. Frito pie is around $5 for the whole meal for a family of 4 -5.
  • SUMMER MEAL – This stove top version is great for summer because you don’t have to turn on the oven. Plus, the walking taco version (more on that in a minute) is great as a camping meal.
  • ADD TOPPINGS – You can make a Frito pie with just chili and cheese but you can also add toppings to make things extra yummy. I tend to go with the “plain” version most week nights when I need a quick meal. However, toppings take these from good to great. Try adding jalapeños, olives, onions, sour cream, or salsa.
  • SWITCH THINGS UP – Simple swaps actually make a big flavor change. We make these a lot in the summer so we change things up so we don’t get sick of them. One week we’ll use regular fritos and the next we’ll use chili cheese fritos. One week we’ll use shredded cheese, the next nacho cheese. Rotate through the swaps to find your favorite or to keep things fresh.
Stove Top Frito Pie, aka the chili version of the Walking Taco, is a quick summer meal that comes together in minutes for a cheap, simple, delicious dinner. | We Three Shanes

Walking Taco vs Frito Pie

Frito pie is usually made like a casserole and baked in the oven. The easier way to make them is to use a crockpot or a pan and stove top.

If you are going to be gone all day and want an easy meal to come home to then throw your chili in a crockpot and set it to low. Your chili will be ready to go on top of the fritos as soon as you get home.

You can also dump canned chili in a pan and heat them up on the stove top and have this meal on the table within minutes. This is what I do most of the time.

Walking tacos are basically tacos in a bag. I’ve seen them made with Doritos most of the time. You grab a snack bag of Doritos, open them up, and then top them with taco ingredients like: taco meat, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and more.

However, you can make a version that combines the two ideas. Some people call them Frito Pie Walking Tacos. In high school we called them Belly Busters. It’s the same concept as walking tacos but you use the same ingredients as a Frito pie.

Snack size bag of chili cheese fritos opened at the top with chili, shredded cheese, jalapeños, olive, and red onions on top.

Belly busters are great for campouts because you don’t need plates or bowls. Just heat the chili in a pot and then dump everything into a snack size bag of fritos.

Everyone can individualize their bag with toppings. It’s such a fun dinner and it’a easy to eat in a camp chair or while standing. Then when you’re done eating you just toss the fritos bags in the trash and you only have one pan to clean.

Frito Pie Ingredients

You only need a couple of ingredients to make a frito pie and then you can add more if you want toppings. The main dish calls for the basics.

Two cans of chili, two snack size bags of chili cheese fritos, and a can of nacho cheese all lined up side by side.
  • Fritos
  • Chili
  • Cheese

That’s the basic list. You can see exactly what I like to use when I’m making the quickest stove top version of these, except I grab one big bag of fritos instead of the snack bags.

Chili – Everyone has there own preferences when it comes to chili so just grab your favorite. Some people like to make frito pie with a thick chili but I like a little liquid in mine because it makes things a little less dry. A bit of liquid in your chili won’t make everything soggy. It softens the fritos up just enough to still have some crunch while making them easier to eat.

Homemade chili works great too. I’ll make a big pot of chili and then use the leftover to make frito pie. Most of the time I go with store bought chili to make things easy.

Cheese – You can use shredded cheddar or nacho cheese. Both are delicious. You can also spice things up with some pepper jack cheese. Again, I like to change up the cheese each time I make frito pie so my family doesn’t get bored.

Fritos – When I make the stove top version at home, I get one big bag os fritos or chili cheese fritos. I put the fritos in bowls and then top with the chili and cheese. Most nights that’s it.

If we’re making these while camping then we do the Fritos Pie Walking Tacos so we use the snack size fritos. The walking taco version is also great for when a bunch of kids are hanging out at the house. You can serve them up and kick the kids outside to eat them. It’s less mess that way.

I think it’s worth grabbing a box of the snack size fritos at the beginning of summer so you have them on hand all summer. You’ll be ready for a last minute crowd of friends or camping.

Frito Pie Add-ins

I’ve already mentioned add-ins but here’s a list of everything we’ve tried:

  • Green Onions
  • Red Onions
  • Sliced Olives
  • Jalapeños
  • Jalapeño Crisps
  • Diced Avocado
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa
  • Hot Sauce – I love Franks. It goes really well with chili.

Again, you don’t need topping for these to taste good but it’s fun to do them sometimes.

This easy stove top version of the frito pie is perfect for hot summer days when you need a quick meal and don't want to turn on the oven. | We Three Shanes

Frito Pie Walking Taco Recipe

If you’ve never made Frito Pie before you should definitely give it a try soon. Then you’ll see how easy it is to make that you’ll be making them all summer long.

Have you made Stove Top Frito Pie before? What’s your favorite combo? Let us know in the comments section below!

Other Easy Meals You Might Like:

Two Ingredient Crockpot Salsa Chicken

Creamy Mexican Chicken in the Crockpot

The Ultimate Vegetarian Chili

Frito Pie Walking Tacos are the perfect summer meal. Quick, easy, cheap and delicious makes this a family favorite.

Easy Frito Pie (Walking Taco and Stove Top Version)

Top some fritos with chili and cheese and you've got yourself an inexpensive, easy meal on the table in less than 10 minutes.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:0 mins
Cook Time:5 mins
0 mins
Total Time:5 mins

Equipment

  • 1 pan or crockpot

Ingredients

  • 2 cans chili homemade chili works too
  • 1 large bag fritos or enough snack sized bags for each person
  • 1 can nacho cheese or one cup of shredded cheese

optional – toppings/add-ins

    Instructions

    • Heat the chili on the stove top until heated through, about 5 minutes.
    • Place fritos in bowls or open enough snack bags for everyone.
    • Spoon chili over the fritos and then spoon or sprinkle cheese on top of that.
    • Add toppings if you want.
    Course: Main Course
    Servings: 4 people
    Cost: $5

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