During the research period for my piece on Charles Elmer Doolin, the man who brought the Frito into popular culture, I developed a powerful craving for a Frito Pie.

I can’t think of a single restaurant in Austin where you can walk in and order one so I began crafting a recipe that would be worthy of the sobriquet “Ultimate Frito Pie Recipe.”

The very concept of Frito Pie has a thousand mothers, each claiming primacy.

For every acolyte of Daisy Dean Doolin and her San Antonio creation someone else will firmly maintain the true mother of the pie to be Teresa Hernandez of Woolworth’s in Santa Fe New Mexico. Apparently there’s a splinter group from Eastern Tennessee who’ve staked their claim as well but it seems specious at best.


1 lb Chili, Texas Red, recipe

9.25 oz Fritos, Large bag, original recipe

8 oz Cheese, Cheddar, Longhorn, shredded

8 oz, Crema Salvadorena or Mexicano, or sour cream if crema is unavailable

1 each Onion, Small, Texas sweet, chopped


* Toast Fritos in oven til warm

* Divide into four bowls

* Ladle warm chili over Fritos

* Top with shredded cheddar, onions and crema

The secret to the recipe is obviously the knock out punch of a big kettle of slow cooked Texas Red.

At the county fairs and National Guard Armory snack bars where Frito Pies are regularly available the typical first step of their creation is the opening of a can of chili.

Tasting notes:

* If you can’t get your hands on Longhorn Cheddar you may substitute Colby cheese

* Texas Sweet Onions are labeled 1015 in the grocery store bins

* Mexican grocery stores are good sources for crema, a superior version of sour cream

Bon Appetit Y’all

Curious about the life of the man who invented Fritos? link

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