Cooking Frito Pies with Janice Tenorio


Recipe By Janice Tenorio


  1. 1 lb of cleaned, dried, Pinto Beans. Add 1 clove of garlic, and 1 tbs of seasoning salt
  2. 10-20 chili pods(cleaned and seeded.) 1-2 cloves of garlic, 1 tbs of seasoning salt
  3. 1-2 bags of Fritos
  4. 1 diced onion, 1-2 diced to tomatoes, 1 diced head of lettuce
  5. Shredded cheddar cheese
  6. 1/2 -1 pound cooked hamburger meat

Pinto Beans

Clean and sort beans for rinsing.

Put beans in a crock pot and fill with water to cover beans. Add garlic and seasoning salt. Cover and let cook for 6-8 hours. You can cook it overnight if you’d like a head start the next day. If you’d like to cook it on a conventional stove top, cook for about 4 hours on medium-high. Stir regularly.

Red Chili

Clean and de-seed the chili pods.

Put chili pods in a blender. Add garlic and seasoning salt. Add water until chili pods are covered. Aim for a thin paste viciousness. Add water or chili depending on your preference of thickness for the chili paste. Check out the video below to see where I prefer it to be.

Ground Beef

Pretty standard here. Cook on conventional stove top. Cook until meat has a nice goldenness to it. Again, look at the video below to find out how I cook my beef. Be sure to strain you grease out of the meat.

Adding it all together

Add the cooked ground beef to the beans. Stir, then add the red chili. Stir again and let the awesome chili blend cook for 15 mins

Cut up the lettuce, tomatoes, opinions, and shred the cheese if necessary. Your condiments are ready!

Put your Fritos in a bowl, next to your chili beans and condiments. Grab your bowl and create your Frito Pies as desired.


For Navajo Tacos…watch my fry bread recipe. Then use the frybread instead of Fritos for extra Native yumminess.

Link to vlog.



Video Transcript

My name is Janice Tenerio from Turquoise Skies, and today we’ll be cooking Frito Pies.

So right now, I just want to let you know, the Frito Pies that we’re going to make, are going to be made with Pinto beans. You can use black beans, lima beans, any type of bean you want, but I make Frito Pies with Pinto beans. Just your store bought Pinto beans are fine. Make sure you go through, and clean and rinse them.

There’s a process if you want to go head and soak them for at least an hour beforehand, it expands the beans and speeds up the process of cooking the beans. These are already cleaned. I use about 2 cups. I didn’t bring my measuring cup but you want to fill your crock pot about half full depending on the crock pot. As you go along and notice that the beans need more water, don’t be afraid to add a cup or two to it.

I like to put some seasoning in my beans just to give it more flavor. As much as you want to season it. Probably about a TBL spoon or two. The best thing for Pinto beans is your garlic salt. Which I love garlic. I probably put about two TBL spoons. Put the crock pot on high if you want to cook it within 4 hours, low for 8 hours. Put the top on; don’t worry about it. You can stir it everyone once and a while, and set it aside.

Next is the blending of the red chile. This chile is actually homegrown from my Pueblo, which is Santa Domingo Pueblo. We have a lot of great farmers out there.

Take the seeds out of the chile. Make sure you clean them but what I also do is put it the oven on a cookie sheet and let it bake on 350° for just a few minutes. You’ll notice they get that darker red color. Take out as much of the seeds as you want. The more seeds you leave in the hotter the chile will be. Cut them down to a little size. I’ll have extra left chile after blending them together. You can use this for eggs in the morning, you can freeze it and use it for another time for maybe enchiladas. One thing I do use it for is I use it in my salsa, adding a great flavor! Fill up the blender.

Then add water, about half way up of where the chile lies in the blender. I’m really into a lot of seasoning salt in my dishes, so I’ll put some seasoning salt and garlic in with the chilies. Flavor is the biggest thing in cooking.

Here is the thickness of the chili, not too thick, not too soupy. Like I said if you’ve done a whole blender full, you can save it for your breakfast items, or eat it with your tortillas or fry bread. It’s really good.

So right now we have or chilie and beans cooking. What we’re going to do know is cook the ground beef. It can be ground beef, ground turkey. Some people have told me they used chicken. I prefer ground beef in my Frito Pies. Just brown the meat. Here I go with my seasoning. I just season my beef with seasoning salt. Once your meat is all cooked, you’re going to want to drain the grease from your hamburger.

So I have my beans. They are fully cooked now. So put in your fully cooked ground beef. If you have people that are vegetarians, you can just do the beans with no meat. For small children you can just get a bowl full and set aside for them to enjoy. You’re going to now put in the chilie you made. Most of the liquid from the beans is going to absorb the flavor from the chilie, so you usually do not have to add more water. Cook everything together for about 10-15 more minutes. At this time, I know there’s a lot of garlic in there already, but you will want to add just a little bit more. This is the way your Chilie beans should look like.

For your condiments, make sure you have cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion. This is what you need to assemble your Frito Pies. The most important thing is you Fritos. You’re going to want to use corn chips. Someone once asked if they could use BBQ flavor corn chips, and you’re welcome to, but I prefer the classic Frito style corn chips. In order to get the chilie bean taste it’s best to just get the plain.

Janice working on her chili beans.