Homemade Chili Cheese Fry Bake

5 from 2 reviews

A simple and comforting meat and bean chili served with toasty fried and melted cheddar.



For the Chili:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large yellow onions, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans

For the Fry Bake and Topping:

  • 1 bag frozen crinkle cut fries
  • Seasoning salt
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped chives or scallions


  1. In a large dutch oven, medium-heat the oil over high heat. Add the beef and break apart with a wooden spoon until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place a lid on the pot and drain off all but about 2 tablespoons of fat. If the dutch oven is too heavy to lift with a lid, transfer the meat to a bowl, pour off the fat from the pan, and return the meat to the pan.
  3. Add the onions and stir over medium-low heat until soft, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add all of the spices and stir to combine.
  4. Stir in water or broth and scrape the bottom of the pan, bringing up any browned bits. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally over low heat for 30 minutes.
  5. While the chili cooks, bake fries according to the package directions. Remove fries from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. To finish the chili, stir in the beans and cook for 7 minutes or so.
  6. When ready to serve, spoon chili into a 9×9-inch square pan. Reserve about 1 1/2 cups of chili in a freezer safe container and store in the freezer for another meal. Spoon so that the chili fills the pan, leaving about 1-inch of room at the top. Top with warm baked fries. Sprinkle with season salt and cheddar cheese.
  7. Place in the oven to broil until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chives or scallions. Spoon into bowls to serve and enjoy with sour cream and pickled jalapeños.


You can easily adjust this recipe to be vegetarian by adding something like Beyond Meat instead of the ground beef or simply adding extra extra beans and cubed potatoes to the dish.  

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