Woolworth’s Frito Pie

This is the recipe said to be invented in the 1960s by Teresa Hernandez, who worked the lunch counter at F.W. Woolworth’s in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Recipe Makes 4 Servings

Whatcha Need:

2 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
2 Tbs chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
1/3 cup tomato paste
1½ cup water (more if necessary)
1 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
5 cups Fritos corn chips
½ lb Cheddar or Monterey jack, shredded
Optional: chopped onion and diced fresh jalapenos for garnish

Whatcha Do:

  1. Cook bacon in heavy skillet until fat is rendered. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is softened.
  2. Add ground chuck and cook over medium high heat, stirring and breaking up lumps, until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour off excess fat and add salt, chili powder, cumin, and tomato paste.
  3. Slowly add water and simmer 10 min, adding more water if necessary. Add beans until heated through.
  4. Divide corn chips among individual wide shallow bowls, top with chili. Sprinkle cheese on top.
  5. Garnish with onion and jalapeno if desired.

2 thoughts on “Woolworth’s Frito Pie

  1. No. I was eating Frito Pies as a kid in Grants, NM in the 50’s. So this isn’t the original. We got ours from The Dairy King…yes, I said KING. I have no idea who came up with the original.

  2. Spark, This article says she invented the recipe not the frito pie. I am sure there are many versions for frito pies in New Mexico, but this one was great! I ate them as a kid growing up in Santa Fe.

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