Frito pie

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Frito pie
Frito Pie as Seen Today.jpg
Place of origin United States
Main ingredients Chili con carne, cheese, corn chips (Fritos)
Cookbook: Frito pie  Media: Frito pie
Frito pie variant served in a single serve Fritos bag

Frito pie is a dish popular in the Southern, Midwestern, and Southwestern United States, whose basic ingredients are chili, cheese, and corn chips (especially Fritos). Additions can include salsa, refried beans, sour cream, onion, rice, or jalapeños. There are many variations. Frito pie can be prepared in a casserole dish, but itinerant versions prepare it in a single-serve Fritos-type corn chip bag with various ingredients as toppings. Variations on the dish made in a corn chip bag include pepper bellies, walking tacos, Frito boats, and tacos in a bag.[citation needed] In Mexico, a similar type of dish is tostilocos.


The exact origins of the frito pie (or tacos frios) is not completely clear. It is believed that it was created somewhere in Mexico and was popular at fiestas before it took off in other countries like the United States.[1][2]

The oldest known recipe using Fritos brand corn chips with chili was published in Texas in 1949.[3] The recipe may have been invented by Daisy Doolin, the founder's mother and the first person to use Fritos as an ingredient in cooking, or Mary Livingston, his executive secretary. The Frito-Lay company attributes the recipe to Nell Morris, who joined Frito-Lay in the 1950s and helped develop an official cookbook which included the Frito pie.[3]

Another story claims that true Frito pie originated only in the 1960s with Teresa Hernández, who worked at the F. W. Woolworth's lunch counter in Santa Fe, New Mexico.[2] Her Frito pie used homemade red chili con carne with cheddar cheese and onions, and was served in the bag – which was thicker in the 1960s.[3]


Frito pie is a simple dish: at its most basic, it is just a pile of Fritos with beef chili poured on top. It is often served right inside the chip bag, which is split down the middle; toppings typically include shredded cheese and chopped raw onion, and may also include additional items like sour cream and jalapenos.[4]


Frito boats and walking tacos[edit]

Frito Pies are sometimes referred to by the name walking taco or Frito boat, and can be made in a small, single-serving bag of corn chips, with chili, taco meat, garbanzos, pork rinds, pepitas, and many other varied ingredients, poured over the top. The combination can be finished with grated cheese, onions, jalapeños, lettuce, and sour cream, known as a Frito boat or walking taco in the Midwestern United States. In the Ohio Valley region, this preparation is commonly called taco-in-a-bag. ("Walking taco", however, is the more widespread term at least in the Midwest). In many parts of Southern California, they are known as "pepper bellies".[citation needed] Frito pies are popular at sports venues, fundraisers, bingos, open houses, state fairs and street vendors.[5] The term Tostiloco comes from Tijuana, and is found in California.[6] Another term is Doriloco, after Doritos.


In Mexico, a version of the dish is known as tostilocos. It includes some different ingredients.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harris, Joyce (13 June 2007). "The allure of Frito Pie". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "10 more foods that make America great: Frito pie". July 7, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-04. 
  3. ^ a b c Doolin, Kaleta (2011-01-01). Fritos Pie: Stories, Recipes, and More. Texas A&M University Press. pp. 109–110. ISBN 9781603442572. 
  4. ^ "Frito Pie - Texas Monthly". Texas Monthly. 2012-09-01. Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  5. ^ Popik, Barry (28 November 2007). "Walking Taco". The Big Apple. Barry Popik. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  6. ^ [1]

External links[edit]