Frito Pies at the Campsite

We love this easy to customize dish for a quick meal that can feed a bunch of hungry campers!

Frito Pie Walking Taco ready to eat

This popular dish at sports venues, fundraisers, state fairs, and all sorts of other places are a perfect dish to serve at the campsite, especially if you have a crowd. Typically made with a meat chili served over corn chips (traditionally Fritos hence the name), they can also be made with taco meat (which would be called a Walking Taco). It is such an easy meal to prep by making the meat at home in advance. Then you just reheat the meat at the campsite and allow each hungry person to build their own with a variety of chips and toppings you have set out.

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What we love about Frito Pies:

  • Make the meat in advance
  • Use whatever chips you like
  • Customize with your favorite toppings

The Ingredients for Frito Pies:

  • Chili or Taco Meat
  • Corn chips of some type
  • Your favorite toppings (cheese, salsa, sour cream, jalapenos, etc.)
zip top bag of chili already made
chili being reheated in a pot
frito pie with chili and toppings in green bowl and white spoon on wood background

The Process for making Frito Pies:

  1. Make chili or taco meat (or both) at home
  2. At the campsite, reheat the meat or chili
  3. Either place chips in a bowl or cut open the side of a small bag of chips
  4. Place a scoop of chili or meat on top of the chips
  5. Add whatever toppings you prefer
  6. Enjoy!

FAQ and How to Customize:

Q: What is a Frito Pie? What is a Walking Taco? What’s the difference?

A: Frito pies are traditionally chili on top of Fritos and covered in your favorite toppings while Walking Tacos would be some taco meat on top of tortilla chips and covered in your favorite toppings. They are considered a classic fair food and are a great way to feed a crowd.

Q: Do we have to use Fritos or tortilla chips?

A: Definitely not! We see plenty of people making these using bags of Doritos if that sounds good to you. We would not recommend bags of potato chips because they would get soggy too fast, but Sun Chips should be sturdy enough. If you don’t want to use chips, some other alternates might be rice or couscous or pasta. I wouldn’t call these Frito Pies or Walking Tacos, but I would still consider them delicious.

Suggested Appetizer(s):

We love all sorts of homemade salsas and dips such as Spicy Bean Salsa, Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salsa, or Guacamole.

Suggested Side Dish(s):

With a make ahead dish like this, you could spend more time and effort at the campsite making a side dish such as Cilantro Grilled Corn, but we would recommend something like our Mexican Corn Salad plus a green and/or fruit salad for simplicity’s sake.

Suggested Dessert:

What would you like to eat? We think Campfire Cones are a great option especially as each camper can customize their cone to their liking.

Equipment Needed:

  • Pot to reheat the chili or taco meat
  • Spoon to ladle it onto chips
  • Serving utensils for toppings       
  • Heat resistant gloves: If you are going to be working around a fire, at some point you will probably get burned. These gloves can help prevent that.

More Tex-Mex Recipes to Enjoy:

Don’t forget lots of fun toppings to go along with your Frito Pies and Walking Tacos!

We love to have lots of toppings to meet everyone’s tastes on hand when we serve these. There is always salsa and shredded cheese. Usually, we also have jalapenos and sour cream. And sometimes we also have guacamole. What would you serve with your meal? Tag us on Instagram @campinganswer and let us know!

Chunky Beef Chili

This recipe is perfect for freezing if you don’t need all eight servings right away. To do so, allow to cool. Then, place 3 C. chili in each of four labeled heavy-duty, zip-top bags and freeze up to 3 months.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 1.5 cup bowls


  • 2 pounds ground round
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 16 oz cans pinto beans drained
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes undrained
  • 2 8 oz cans tomato sauce


  • Cook ground round, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a Dutch oven over medium heat until meat is browned, stirring to crumble meat.
  • Drain and return to pot.
  • Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.
  • If not serving right away, allow to cool and freeze for up to three months.
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