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Discovering the Original Frito Pie in Santa Fe, NM (recipe) - BoulderLocavore.com

The Original Frito Pie (individual size)

This walking version of Frito Pie is deeply flavorful, spicy and filling. The pinto beans in the Frito Pie are not heavily seasoned nor do they need to be with the chile sauce. Any surplus beans can be added to other dishes or frozen. This version of red chile sauce does not include meat of any sort. You can easily add ground beef, shredded beef or chopped beef if desired.
Course Main Course
Cuisine New Mexican
Keyword frito pie recipe, walking taco recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 42 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 199kcal
Author Toni Dash


Ingredients for Frito Pie (in addition to pinto beans and red chile sauce):

  • Snack size Frito chip bags
  • Chopped Yellow Onion
  • Grated Cheddar or Mexican-Blend Cheese (available pre-grated in the dairy section)

Ingredients for Pinto Beans (from scratch):

  • 1 pound of dried pinto beans
  • Water

Ingredients for New Mexican Red Chile Sauce:

  • ½ cup red chile powder
  • 2 ½ cups chicken stock or water
  • 2 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup white onion , chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic , diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds , roasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt to taste


Instructions for Pinto Beans (from scratch):

  • Sort dried beans to remove any small stones or shriveled beans.
  • Soaking: Place the beans in a bowl with double the amount of water to beans and allow to soak overnight, or place beans in a stock pot covered by 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil, and allow to boil lightly for 15 minutes with a lid on. Turn off heat and allow to soak for 90 minutes.
  • Drain beans and replace water with fresh water to cover beans by about 2 inches. Bring water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, partially cover and allow to cook 3-4 hours until tender. Check periodically to ensure water is still covering the beans and that they are not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add more water if needed.

Instructions for New Mexican Red Chile Sauce:

  • Combine chile powder with 1 cup of stock or water; whisk to ensure it is smooth and set aside.
  • In a large, heavy pan over medium heat sauté the onion for 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté a few minutes longer.
  • Add spices and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly also scraping the sides of the pan.
  • Add chile mixture and remaining stock or water. Stir to combine fully and heat to simmering stirring frequently. Reduce heat to a low simmer; cook stirring often for about 20 minutes or until chile is the consistency of a thick sauce. Salt to taste. Note: it will not thicken like a cream based sauce but will not be watery either.

To assemble the Frito Pie:

  • Gently open the top of a snack size bag of Fritos. Ladle on some pinto beans and red chile sauce. Top with chopped onions and grated cheese.


Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 190mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin C: 7.8mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 2.4mg