Chili Cheese Fries
Made with frozen fries, ground beef, tomatoes, beans, and cheese, Chili Cheese Fries are the ultimate quick and savory indulgence! Enjoy them on game day, in an appetizer spread, as a side, or even as a meal.
Fries Chili Cheese
Some meals just scream nostalgia, and chili cheese fries is one of them! Piping hot French fries smothered in hearty chili and topped with melted cheese on top… it’s one of those dishes that brings back memories of football games, county fairs, and burger joints.
And while it can be fun to go out to find fries chili cheese at local spots, it’s even more fun to make them at home yourself. You’ll have more control over what goes into them — and you’ll be able to go back for seconds (or thirds) as much as you want!
Why you will love this recipe
- Hearty, comforting, and incredibly easy to make!
- Baked in 30 minutes
- Made with easy-to-find ingredients
- The ultimate crowd-pleaser!
How to make perfect Fries Chili Cheese
Make the chili sauce. Place a skillet with vegetable oil over medium heat and sauté the diced onion until it’s translucent. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute before incorporating the beef, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt. Cook for 5-8 minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes and the kidney beans and cook for 10 more minutes.
Cook the fries. Add the frozen fries to the oven and cook according to the package directions. Remove from the oven when they’re finished cooking.
Assemble the chili cheese fries. Pour the chili topping over the potatoes and add both types of shredded cheese on top. Bake the fries with chili cheese for 10-15 minutes.
Garnish and serve. Add your favorite Mexican-inspired toppings on top before serving. Fresh cilantro, diced green onions, sliced jalapenos, guacamole, and sour cream are all tasty options. Feel free to get creative!
- Properly brown and season the beef. When you add the ground beef and seasonings to the skillet, you have to make sure to break it up as it cooks. This ensures even browning and distribution of the spices, which results in a perfectly seasoned chili sauce.
- Make fries chili cheese vegetarian by replacing the ground beef with plant-based ground meat or simply add more kidney beans for added protein.
- You can use fresh potatoes if you’d like. We’re using frozen fries to make this chili cheese fries recipe as easy as possible, but making your own fries is definitely an option!
Key Ingredients and Substitutions for Fries Chili Cheese
Ground Beef: You can use your favorite brand of ground beef or whatever you may have at home. If you have to head to the supermarket, try to grab an 85% lean ground beef blend. The fat will give you the best flavor and texture!
Frozen Fries: Again, we’re using frozen fries for this chili cheese fries recipe because they’re easy to find and prepare! Another fun option would be to use waffle or curly fries instead. And remember, if you’re feeling ambitious you can always make them yourself.
Kidney Beans and Crushed Tomatoes: For the chili sauce topping. Kidney beans are hearty and meaty, and they retain their shape as they cook. Diced tomatoes are picked fresh and add color and flavor to the sauce.
Onion and Garlic: Everything begins with these simple yet impactful aromatics! Sautéed onion and garlic will infuse a lot of flavor into the ground beef as it browns.
Cheese: Grab shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese for your fries. Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack are some other options!
Spices and Seasonings: You’ll need chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and salt to make fries chili cheese.
Frequently asked Questions about Chili Cheese Fries
Can I use canned chili?
While we do love making this quick chili topping ourselves, yes you can use canned chili as a shortcut! You can choose between beef, turkey, or even a vegetarian chili. That said, you won’t be able to customize the flavors as much as if you were to make it yourself.
How do I keep chili cheese fries from getting soggy?
You absolutely must cook the fries before adding the chili and cheese on top. You also want to make sure not to completely overload the fries with too much chili and cheese as this can make them go soggy. You may consider layering the ingredients several times instead of just once if sogginess is a real concern.
How to reheat chili cheese fries?
You can use your oven, toaster oven, or air fryer to reheat chili cheese fries. Refer to specific instructions on the recipe card below to learn how! For the best results, we recommend that you only reheat the portion you plan to eat. Reheating these fries several times will change their texture and taste over time.
Chili Cheese Fries
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion Finely diced
- 2 clove garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 lb frozen potato fries
- 1 can diced tomatoes 14oz
- 1 can kidney beans 15oz
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Toppings of choice
- sour cream, cilantro, fresh Roma tomatoes. Etc…
- First, make the chili sauce topping. Add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat, and sauté diced onion until translucent. Then, add minced garlic and stir for one minute. Incorporate beef, chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and salt. When incorporating the ground beef and spices, break the beef into smaller pieces as it cooks for even browning and seasoning distribution. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add tomato without draining it and kidney beans. Stir over heat for 10 minutes to reduce tomato acidity.
- Cook frozen potato in the oven, following its package directions. Then, remove them from the oven, and add chili topping over the potatoes and both cheeses on top of them. Bring it back to the oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is evenly melted. Keep a close eye on them, as melting times can vary. You want the cheese to be bubbly and slightly golden on top.
- Get creative with your favorite Mexican toppings. Consider options like chopped fresh cilantro, diced green onions, sliced jalapeños, sour cream, or guacamole to enhance the flavor and presentation. Serve your Chili Cheese Fries hot and garnished with your chosen toppings.
- Oven or Toaster Oven: Reheating in the oven or toaster oven is the preferred method for maintaining the crispiness of the fries and the gooeyness of the cheese. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover Chili Cheese Fries on a baking sheet or an oven-safe dish. Reheat for 10-15 minutes or until the fries are heated through and the cheese is bubbly and golden.
- Air Fryer: If you have an air fryer, it's an excellent option for reheating. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Place the leftover Chili Cheese Fries in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Reheat for 5-7 minutes or until they are hot and the cheese has melted.
- For the best results, it's recommended to reheat only the portion you plan to consume immediately. Reheating multiple times may lead to a loss of texture and flavor.
- You can also add some extra cheese before reheating to refresh the cheesy goodness.
- Enjoy your reheated Chili Cheese Fries with fresh toppings for added flavor and a restaurant-quality experience.