Pressure cooker, Weeknight dinner
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Pressure Cooker Frito Pie

Pressure Cooker Frito Pie

Pressure Cooker Frito Pie

No, I’m not sponsored by Frito-Lay this week. No matter how much it looks like it. (Pepsi! The choice of a new generation!)

I figured if I did Walking Tacos on Tuesday, I had to do Frito Pie on Thursday. Two meals served in chip bags in one week? My kids thought they were in heaven. And I took full advantage. “Kids, do you want Frito pie? Great! Empty the dishwasher and sweep up the floor before dinner.”

Frito Pie is a Southwestern standard, with both Texas and New Mexico claiming the dish – a base of Fritos topped with cheese.1 Walking Tacos came later on, as Southwestern food spread into the Midwest. The recipes are obviously related; if you make one, you can make the other. The only real difference is in the toppings. (And, of course, the bag of chips you use.)

I’m probably breaking all sorts of Texas rules by using beans in my recipe…that’s right, I’m not from Texas…but I have to try to slip something healthy in one of these recipes.

No pressure cooker? No worries. See the Notes section for stovetop instructions.

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Frito Pie

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Pressure Cooker Frito Pie

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes


Pressure Cooker Frito Pie recipe – cut open a bag of Fritos, add a scoop of chili, a handful of cheese, sprinkle with chopped onions, and dig in with a spoon. Heaven.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chili powder blend
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
  • 1 cup water (or substitute beer)
  • 1 1/4 pounds 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans, undrained (or 4 cups homemade with bean liquid)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles (Muir Glen Fire Roasted with green chiles, or Ro*Tel)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Single serving bags of Fritos


  • Shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican blend)
  • Diced onions
  • Hot sauce (I like El Yucateco Green Habanero, but use your favorite)


  1. Saute the aromatics and toast the spices: Heat the vegetable oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Saute until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes, then make a hole in the middle of the onions and add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Toast until you smell the spices, about 1 minute, then stir them into the onions.
  2. Simmer the beef until no longer pink, stir in the beans, top with the tomatoes: Pour in 1 cup of water, then scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen any stuck onions or spices. Add the beef, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and brown sugar. Cook, stirring and breaking up the beef,  until the beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beans. Pour the tomatoes with green chiles on top of the beef mixture, but don’t stir – the tomatoes may burn if they sink to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Pressure cook for 12 minutes with a natural pressure release: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and bring the cooker up to high pressure. (Read your fine pressure cooker manual for how to do this). Cook at high pressure for 12 minutes in an electric PC, 10 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes. Unlock the lid, stir, break up any large clumps of meat, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve in the Fritos bags: For each serving: Cut open a Frito bag lengthwise (not across the top). Spoon a ladle or two of chili into the bag, then top with the shredded cheese, diced onions, and (optional) the hot sauce. Grab a spoon, and eat straight out of the bag.


  • No pressure cooker? No worries. Cook the chili in a large pot or dutch oven. Increase the water in the recipe to 2 cups. Follow the recipe up to step 3, then instead of pressure cooking, simmer the meat on the stovetop until everything thickens up, about 1 hour. Continue with the serving step.
  • I don’t usually make a dedicated batch of chili for this recipe. I use leftover chili for this, out of the freezer.
  • If you don’t want to mess with individual serving bags, get a big bag of Fritos and serve in bowls. Start with a base of Fritos and build from there. It won’t look as impressive, but it tastes just as good.


  • Category: Weeknight Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American


Ready to serve

Ready to serve


Saute the onions and chili powder

Saute the onions and chili powder


Cook the beef until no longer pink

Everything in the pot


Cut open the bag - it's easier to eat if you cut lenthwise

Cut open the bag – it’s easier to eat if you cut lengthwise 



What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Pressure Cooker Turkey Chili with Pinto Beans
Pressure Cooker Walking Tacos

My other Pressure Cooker Recipes

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  1. Turns out, maybe neither created it? Robb Walsh, my go-to historian for all things Texas, has all the details here: The Complicated History of Frito Pie

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Filed under: Pressure cooker, Weeknight dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. stephanie says

    chili powder blend 1/4 CUP? that seems like a lot is that correct?

      • stephanie says

        Thanks Mike! do you make that mix or do you buy it remade like just plain chili powder? I don’t use a lot of spices .. so I am unfamiliar!!

  2. Ellen Godfrey says

    This is officially one of the best days ever. I love, Love, LOVE frito pie and haven’t had a good one since (sadly) college. Okay, I’m nostalgic like that. But I wanted to thank you for the recipe, it’s what for dinner tonight. I’m so excited. Keep up the great work, I love what your doing.

  3. Probably not – it has a slight inward curve, to match the heating element in the Instant Pot. But it also has a “Saute” mode for browning, which I use to brown meat right in the instant-pot unit.

  4. Chris Lukowski says

    Is the insert on the Instant Pot PC stovetop safe like the aluminum insert in your All-Clad slow cooker?

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