Frito Bandito Recipe (Frito Pie in a Bag!) - Happy Money Saver (2024)

By Alison Grant on | Updated | 8 Comments

It’s summer time, and life get’s really busy! This Frito Bandito recipe is one of the fastest dinners ever to make. Toss some warm chili into a bag of fritos along with some other topping and BAM… dinner is done in 5 minutes.

Frito Bandito Recipe (Frito Pie in a Bag!) - Happy Money Saver (1)

Soccer, baseball, volleyball, wrestling… you name it, my kids have played it. As a parent, school sports are a blessing. They give my kids an outlet for their energy, keeps them busy (and out of trouble!), and teaches them so many valuable life lessons (such as team building, leadership, and respect)!

As much as I am a “fan” of school sports, there’s one thing I’m not a fan of: late night dinners.

Sometimes I plan ahead and have dinner done before they head out to practice, but most days, it’s a chaotic scramble and we eat dinner late at night.

Everyone walks in starving and this walking taco with fritos dinner delivers quick.

Frito Bandito Recipe (Frito Pie in a Bag!) - Happy Money Saver (2)


Frito Banditos (some have also called these frito pie or walking tacos with Fritos ) are basically taco toppings in a bag of corn chips.

For years we have called this recipe Frito Banditos and honestly I don’t know why. It’s just something my mom called them when we were growing up so the tradition continued. I personally love the name, makes them more fun somehow.

To serve these, just open the bag, add toppings, and dig in with a fork (or your hands)! No major plates or dishes to clean up. And you can literally walk around while you eat them. Seriously – that’s it! So easy, right?

This Frito Bandito recipe is perfect for:

  • Fast, easy dinners
  • Quick lunches
  • Parties
  • Picnics
  • And my favorite is camping. I usually make this recipe for the first night we get to the campground because it’s quick and after setting everything up I’m all about something fast.
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With Frito Chips, I like to start with a good base – the chili. Canned chili works – and is super quick. My personal fav is Nalley Chili – the flavor it just so good. And using canned is especially quick for camping meals.

But if you are feeling fancy or happen to have some homemade chili in the freezer, like my Darn Good Chili you can just take it out, heat it up and serve out the good stuff into those bags. You can also make up taco meat as well for a fun change.

If you want to make these vegetarian, skip the chili, and use some black or pinto beans, instead!

After that I like to add taco toppings like shredded cheese, lettuce, sour cream, pico de gallo, olives, avocado, cilantro, etc. to my bagged frito pie. But add in whatever you love!

Frito Bandito Recipe (Frito Pie in a Bag!) - Happy Money Saver (4)


One big tip I have is to open up the bag on the longer side so you have a bigger “open bag or bowl” to eat out of. I love using scissors or a sharp knife. If you just open it up from the top (like in my photos) you are limited in stirring it all up inside that bag.

Also, if you want to think ahead, it’s nice to add your chili to a slow cooker and have all your topping ingredients prepped so when it’s time to eat, you can cut open the bags and add ingredients, then dig in.

Frito Bandito Recipe (Frito Pie in a Bag!) - Happy Money Saver (5)

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Frito Bandito Walking Tacos

Published By Karrie

Course Camping

Cuisine American

Keyword Camping, Family Friendly, frito banditos, walking tacos

Servings 6

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 5 minutes mins

Total Time 15 minutes mins

Fritos paired with chili, cheese, and taco toppings is the best recipe for the entire family.


  • 6 individual sized 2 oz bags of Fritos corn chips (buy on Amazon here) or 1 large bag Frito Corn chips
  • 1-2 cans chili or make this awesome chili recipe here
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheese
  • Other optional toppings: shredded lettuce, sour cream, olives, diced onion, diced tomatoes, salsa, cilantro, jalapeno, avocado.


Make it Now

  • Heat up the chili by adding to a medium pot, and heat over medium-high heat until starting to boil. Remove from heat.

  • Open the individual bags of Fritos by making a cut on the longer side.

  • Spoon in some chili, top with cheese and any other toppings you like. Take your fork and eat it right out of the bag.

  • If you purchased the large bag instead, just grab a handful of fritos and add them to a bowl. Top with chili, then cheese and add other toppings you like. Enjoy!


  1. If you want to make these vegetarian, skip the chili, and use some black or pinto beans, instead!
  2. Open up the bag on the longer side so you have a bigger “open bag or bowl” to eat out of. I love using scissors or a sharp knife. If you just open it up from the top (like in my photos) you are limited in stirring it all up inside that bag.


Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 123mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 125IU | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Loved this recipe?

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Frito Bandito Recipe (Frito Pie in a Bag!) - Happy Money Saver (6)

About Karrie

Food is my love language. But so is saving money. So I like to combine the two a lot and make thrifty make ahead and freeze meals to save time. Because life is busy, and freezer meals can come to the rescue for all of us. And yes, they actually CAN taste good. Read more...

Frito Bandito Recipe (Frito Pie in a Bag!) - Happy Money Saver (2024)


Is Frito pie a real thing? ›

Frito pie is a dish popular in the Midwestern, Southeastern, and Southwestern United States, whose basic ingredients are chili, cheese, and corn chips (traditionally Fritos, hence the name). Additions can include salsa, refried beans, sour cream, onion, rice, or jalapeños.

What's in a Frito bandito? ›

  • 1lb 90/10 Ground beef.
  • 1 Yellow onion chopped.
  • Hoagie Sandwich buns.
  • Chopped Lettuce.
  • Sliced Tomato.
  • Shredded Cheese.
  • Chili Cheese Fritos.
  • BS Whiskey Burger Seasoning. Add To Cart.
Jul 28, 2021

What is the difference between a taco in a bag and a Frito pie? ›

Unlike a walking taco, a Frito pie is always made with, you guessed it, Fritos. But that's not even the main difference between the two foods—the thing that sets a Frito pie apart from a walking taco is that a Frito pie is topped with chili instead of taco meat.

What do you call chili in a Frito bag? ›

What is Frito pie? Frito pie consists of corn chips (often Fritos) mixed with chili, cheese, and other ingredients. Frito pie is often mixed and served directly in the bag of chips, but the same combination is also sometimes served in a dish.

Why was the Frito Bandito Cancelled? ›

Pressure from the National Mexican-American Anti-Defamation Committee and others prompted an update to the character; his gold tooth and stubble were eliminated and his hair combed. The character was retired in 1971. He was replaced by the Muncha Bunch, a group of cowboys, and W.C.

Does mustard go on Frito chili pie? ›

Pour in greasy chili. Squeeze in one hearty squirt of mustard. Sprinkle onions on top. Top it all with cheese.

Why is it called Frito? ›

C.E. Doolin launched “Fritos” in 1932, inspired by a recipe he had purchased from Gustavo Olguin, a Mexican-American restaurant owner in San Antonio, where Doolin had worked as a fry cook. Olguin's “fritos” (the name came from the Spanish word frit, meaning fried) were small fried corn chips made from masa dough.

Who owns Frito-Lay? ›

Frito-Lay North America is the $13 billion convenient foods business unit of PepsiCo (NYSE, PEP), which is headquartered in Plano, TX. Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate website,

What is another name for Frito pie? ›

The Frito pie is also known as a “walking taco,” “pepperbellies,” “Petro's,” “jailhouse tacos,” or officially—under Frito-Lay North America, Inc.'s trademarked “packaged meal combination consisting primarily of chili or snack food dips containing meat or cheese corn-based snack foods, namely, corn chips”—the Fritos ...

What is the origin of Frito pie in a bag? ›

The breakout moment for Frito pie came in 1962, when the recipe appeared on millions of bags of chips: “Heat can of chili, pour into bag of Fritos, and sprinkle with grated cheese, and chopped onions.” That formula has been followed by high school football stadium concession stands ever since, as well as Texas school ...

What is the worlds largest Frito pie? ›

The largest Frito pie weighed 601.01 kg (1,325 lb), and was assembled by Frito-Lay (USA) at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, Texas, USA, on 1 October 2012.

What is a Frito pie slang? ›

The name walking taco is sometimes used synonymously with the term Frito pie or to refer to an on-the-go variation of it, though the name Frito pie is more often used in the South, especially Texas, where it most often refers to a bag of Fritos chips filled with chili.

What can I put in chili besides Fritos? ›

toppings, sides & accessories
  1. cornbread I have multiple versions in The Pretty Dish!
  2. tortilla chips.
  3. fritos.
  4. flaming hot cheetos.
  5. tater tots.
  6. queso dip in a little slow cooker.
  7. freshly grated cheese monterey jack, cheddar, havarti.
  8. crumbled feta cheese or queso fresco.
Oct 5, 2018

Is Frito pie just a Texas thing? ›

The Frito pie is a popular dish throughout the Midwest and Southern United States consisting of chili topped with Fritos Corn Chips and shredded Cheddar Cheese. This can be served with a variety of toppings, which frequently vary by region.

Are frito pies a Texas thing? ›

(NEXSTAR) — It may be a Texas classic and you may like to consider it a Texas creation, but the origin of the Frito Pie — the cheesy, crunchy county fair treat — is not so cut-and-dry. In fact, Texas is in a long-standing rivalry with another state for birthplace bragging rights.

What state is known for Frito pie? ›

And though the origin story seems to be settled, the celebration of Frito Pie goes rightfully on in both New Mexico and Texas. After all, it doesn't have to belong to you for you to enjoy it.

When did Frito pie come out? ›

The combination of cheese and Fritos and chili came together a decade later, when the name “Frito pie” made its national debut in May 1946.

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