Enjoy Homemade Chili Cheese Fries for a fun and easy dinner that beats anything you might find at the movie theater or sports stadium. Crispy French fries topped with beef chili and melted cheese? You’ll want all your game day or movie watch parties to be at-home after you try this dish.
Top your bowl with Homemade Pico de Gallo or 4-Ingredient Guacamole to really bring the flavor. Serve alongside Cherry Limeades or Mojito Mocktails for a super fun evening in.
Remember how in high school, chili cheese fries were a staple of life? Our high school cantine offered French fries slathered with movie theatre-style cheese sauce and topped with canned chili. And honestly? I loved it.
I still love Chili Cheese Fries, but I prefer real cheese and homemade chili. It takes just a few minutes to step it up a notch and I still get the novelty and fun factor of Chili Cheese Fries!
Why Make This
It’s easy! This chili is simple to pull together in no time with regular kitchen staples. You can even serve it without the fries as it also goes great on hot dogs, over chips, and anytime you just want “a bowl of red.”
It’s a great freezer meal. The chili is freezer friendly; you can make a double batch and freeze the extras for another night.
It’s fun food. Part of the reason we go out to eat is because the food is fun. Bring the party home and cut the bill in half (at least!) when you make fun food recipes yourself, like this easy Chili Fries recipe.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Homemade Chili Cheese Fries:
fries – You can use your favorite frozen french fries or make a batch of homemade. Our Sweet Potato Fries or Easy Roast Potatoes are easy homemade alternatives.
ground meat – You can use ground beef, turkey, chicken, pork, or even a meatless grind. If you’ve got leftover taco meat or shredded beef, pork, or chicken, you can also use those.
onion and garlic – These add great flavor to the chili, so don’t skimp on them. Remember you can freeze onions if you buy a big bag.
seasonings – We’re leaning on salt as well as enchilada sauce or salsa to bring the flavor to the chili. I am partial to homemade red enchilada sauce, but you can use whatever you like best. If you like you can also add chili powder or Chili Seasoning Mix.
beans – I use both black beans and pinto beans because I like the conlor contrast. You can use whatever beans you prefer.
tomato sauce – Canned tomato sauce adds body as well as flavor to the chili. You can also use diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes if you need to as well as a bit of tomato paste diluted in water.
cheese – Shredded cheese makes for great Chili Fries. You can use sharp cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, or pepper jack cheese. If you have a favorite cheese sauce or queso recipe, go ahead and use it!
toppings for Chili Cheese Fries – Toppings make this extra fun. You can lay out small amounts of sour cream or greek yogurt, chopped green onions, sliced black olives, chopped cilantro, salsa, and chopped tomatoes so that your diners can add whatever they like best. Think nachos, but on French fries!
- Meatless: Feel free to skip the meat, but you may want to add an extra can of beans.
- Vegan: To make this vegan, use a plant-based grind as well as plant-based cheese.
- Extra spicy: To pump up the spice level, add cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper to taste. You can also add sliced fresh or pickled jalapenos to the toppings.
- No beans: If you’re in the No Beans Chili Camp, double the meat and omit the beans.
Here’s how to make Homemade Chili Fries:
- On a large rimmed baking sheet, bake the fries according to the package directions.
- In a large stockpot, cook the beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are clear. Season to taste with salt.
- Add the beans, enchilada sauce, and tomato sauce. Stir well to blend. Simmer 10 minutes, uncovered. (At this point you can package and chill the mixture for freezing, if desired. Thaw and reheat and then continue with the steps.)
- Once the fries are done, top them with 2 cups cheese. Return the pan to the oven to allow the cheese to melt.
- Serve the fries with chili, remaining cheese, and other toppings.
You can make Chili Cheese Fries with or without meat.
If you don’t think you’ll eat a whole pan in one sitting, wrap and refrigerate the unused portion of cheese and fries. Store the chili separately. The fries can be reheated in the microwave, oven, or air fryer. Reheat the chili separately and combine when ready to serve.
This recipe for chili cheese fries is naturally gluten-free. If you use canned chili or pre-shredded cheese, be sure to read the labels to make sure gluten hasn’t been added in the manufacturing. The same holds true for frozen French fries. Be sure that wheat has not been added to the fries.
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Homemade Chili Cheese Fries
- 1 32-ounce package frozen french fries
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 onion (for ¾ cup chopped)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 15-ounce can black beans drained
- 1 15-ounce can pinto beans
- 1 cup red enchilada sauce
- 4 oz tomato sauce
- 3 cup shredded cheese
- toppings for Chili Cheese Fries sour cream or greek yogurt, chopped green onions, sliced black olives, chopped cilantro, salsa, chopped tomatoes
- On a large rimmed sheet pan, bake the fries according to the package directions.1 32-ounce package frozen french fries
- In a large stockpot, brown the beef, onion, and garlic until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are clear. Season to taste with salt.1 lb ground beef, 1 onion, 1 clove garlic, salt
- Add the beans, enchilada sauce, and tomato sauce. Stir well to blend. Simmer 10 minutes, uncovered. (At this point you can package and chill the mixture for freezing, if desired. Thaw and reheat and then continue with the steps.)1 15-ounce can black beans, 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, 1 cup red enchilada sauce, 4 oz tomato sauce
- Once the fries are done, top them with 2 cups cheese. Return the pan to the oven to allow the cheese to melt.3 cup shredded cheese
- Serve the fries with chili, remaining cheese, and other toppings.toppings for Chili Cheese Fries
This post was originally published on June 23, 2013. It has been updated for content and clarity.
Yum! The Texas Chili from your freezer cookbook would be great on fries, too. In fact, I made and canned some to use for quick chili dogs, so now I may just be making some chili cheese fries this week.
Yes! Hubs would have preferred that for the spice. The kids like this one better; the tomato paste makes it just a bit sweet.
Yum. You know, I spent 30 years in Ohio and there they like to eat chili on spaghetti with onions and cheddar cheese. I bet you could even use whole wheat pasta, might have to give it a try…