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Easy Chili Cheese Fries

This Easy Chili Cheese Fries recipe is loaded with homemade beef chili, gooey melted cheese, and topped with green onions. You can even use leftover chili to make this restaurant-quality appetizer!

chili cheese fries on a sheet pan

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If you’ve ever enjoyed the chili cheese fries from places like Sonic, Freddy’s, the movie theater, local bars…..then you know it’s one fabulous combination.

Until now it never dawned on me that this is an excellent way to use up leftover chili. I still love to freeze chili for easy meal prep meals, but this is a fun way to use it up and it’s filling!

ground beef, beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce in separate containers

What Type of Fries to Use

You can use whatever type of fries you like. If you like store-bought, frozen fries, go for it! They will work for this recipe.

In general, I recommend thicker cut fries. Those will hold the chili much better than thin shoe-string potato fries. If that matters to you, use something like steak fries.

raw russet potatoes peeled on a bamboo cutting board

If you are making your own fries, slice the potato into slices about 1/2 an inch thick. If you have a mandolin that allows you to control the size, that will work great! You want nice, even slices.

If you slice the potatoes unevenly, the fries won’t cook at a consistent temperature. The smaller, thinner fries will cook first which may result in some burnt fries.

If you are slicing by hand you will likely end up with some uneven slices. It happens to me every time! Try to separate the smaller slices into a separate batch. Cook them separate from the others. This will help ensure consistency.

raw sliced potatoes on a cutting board

How to Make the Fries

I like to add a little kick to the fries by seasoning them with smoked paprika, garlic powder, and salt. You can season them any way you wish. You can also bake or air fry these. I like to use my Air Fryer French Fries recipe.

I love to use the air fryer because you don’t have to use much oil, this is the same case for baked fries. You can cut out a ton of fat found in traditional restaurant servings.

raw sliced potatoes on a sheet pan

Soaking the Potatoes

If you’re making homemade fries you will need to budget time to soak the potatoes. This is important if you want crispy fries. Soaking the potatoes in water will remove excess starch. Allow at least 30 minutes, 60 minutes is optimal.

sliced potatoes in an air fryer

What Type of Cheese to Use

You can use any cheese you like. The best part of making this homemade is you can avoid a fake cheese sauce! Many of the restaurant versions are made with cheese that comes from a can.

I like to use cheddar cheese. I buy the cheese in block form and grate myself. Trust me, it makes a difference. If you have ever made my Southern Soul Food Mac and Cheese you have heard me discuss the difference in pre-shredded cheese that comes in a bag and cheese that you have to grate.

Pre-shredded cheese is coated with potato starch and chemical preservatives to keep it “fresh” longer. The potato starch adds a waxy coating to the cheese, so it won’t melt as well. And you don’t really need the chemical preservatives.

Other cheeses that will work well:

  • Mozzarella (Works the best if you want a nice cheese pull)
  • Pepperjack
  • Swiss
  • White Cheddar
collage photo of 4 image green peppers, red peppers, onions, raw ground beef in a Dutch oven

What Type of Chili to Use

This dish is most commonly made with beef chili. You also want to use a thick chili. Watery chili will result in really soggy fries. You can use any type of chili you want.

You can use store bought chili if you wish.

cooked chili in a Dutch oven
a wooden spoonful of beef chili in a Dutch oven

How to Make Chili Cheese Fries

Full detailed instructions and ingredients are listed below in the recipe card.

  1. Cook your fries (air fry, bake, or pan fry)
  2. Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot on medium-high heat and add the olive oil, onions, green peppers, and red peppers. Saute for 3-4 minutes until soft and fragrant.
  3. Add in garlic and ground beef. Break down the ground beef.
  4. Add in beef broth, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and all of the spices. Stir.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer.
  6. Preheat the oven to Low Broil.
  7. Spread the fries out on your serving dish.
  8. Load the fries with chili. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.
  9. Bake for 4-5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
cooked French fries on a sheet pan
cooked French fries on a sheet pan with chili

Other Toppings and Ideas

  • Green Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Bacon
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Jalapenos
  • Sour Cream or plain Greek yogurt
chili cheese fries on a sheet pan

How to Keep Them From Getting Soggy

Keep the fries separate from the chili. Heat the cheese over the chili and then serve alongside the fries.

How Many Calories

One serving has 400 calories.

How to Store It

This dish is best consumed same day. You can store leftover chili in the fridge (tightly sealed) for 3-4 days. Store leftover chili separate from fries.

How to Reheat

The best way to reheat both the fries and chili together is in the oven or air fryer. You can use 350 degrees for both methods and heat until warm.

You can also make a new batch of fries and serve the chili warm (using the microwave or stove to heat it up).

a fork full of chili cheese fries on a sheet pan

More Chili Recipes

Homemade Chili Seasoning Recipe
Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
Keto Low Carb Chili
Instant Pot Beef Chili
Pumpkin Chicken Chili
Sweet Potato Chili

Leftover Turkey Chili
Creamy Seafood Chili

Buffalo Chicken Chili
Slow Cooker Crockpot Chili Mac

Check out our full listing of Chili Recipes here.

More Appetizers and Recipes

Air Fryer Onion Rings
Air Fryer Blooming Onion
Air Fryer Fried Pickles

Air Fryer Frozen Burgers

Print Pin
5 from 6 votes

Easy Chili Cheese Fries

This Easy Chili Cheese Fries recipe is loaded with homemade beef chili, gooey melted cheese, and topped with green onions. You can even use leftover chili to make this restaurant-quality appetizer!
Save this recipe here.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword chili cheese fries
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
soak the potatoes 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 400kcal

Ingredients

Beef Chili

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped green peppers
  • 3 garlic cloves Minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 16 oz cans kidney beans rinsed Rinsed
  • 16 oz can petite diced tomatoes Drained
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce

Chili Seasoning and Spices

Fries

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes
  • cooking oil spray I use olive oil.
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

French Fries

  • Slice the potatoes into fries about 1/4th to 1/2 of an inch thick. The size is important because smaller thinner fries will break when you try lift them from under the chili. Or you can eat the dish using a fork and it doesn't matter.
  • Rinse the sliced potatoes and place them in a bowl of cold water for at least 30 minutes. An hour or longer is optimal. This will remove excess starch from the potatoes and will help them crisp up while they cook.
  • Rinse the potatoes and pat dry. Drizzle or spritz the potatoes with olive oil and season with smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.

Air Fryer Fries

  • Add the fries to the air fryer basket. Air fry on 380 degrees for 10 minutes.
  • Open the basket and flip the fries. Air fry for an additional 5-10 minutes or until crisp.

Baked Fries

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and add the fries. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Increase the temperature on the oven to 425 degrees. Cook for an additional 20-25 minutes or until crisp.

Chili

  • Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot on medium-high heat and add the olive oil, onions, green peppers, and red peppers. Saute for 3-4 minutes until soft and fragrant.
  • Add in the garlic and ground beef. Break down the ground beef. I like to use this meat chopper. Add in half of the homemade chili seasoning. Cook for 6-7 minutes until the ground beef is cooked through. (If your beef needs to be drained of fat, do so here)
  • Add in the beef broth, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and the remaining homemade chili seasoning. Stir.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Chili Fries

  • Preheat the oven to Low Broil. If you don't have the option to Low Broil you can use 450 degrees.
  • Spread the fries out on your serving dish.
  • Load the fries with chili. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.
  • Bake for 4-5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Goeey cheese will take about 2-3 minutes. Fully melted cheese will take 4-5 minutes.

Video

Notes

  • This recipe makes 6-8 servings and cups of chili. My favorite way to enjoy this dish is to make a batch of chili and use the leftover chili for these fries.
  • Another way to enjoy this is to make more fries that will go with the leftover chili that isn’t used.
  • You can use frozen fries if you wish. Follow the instructions on the package to cook them.
  • If you load the chili onto your fries that fries underneath will become soggy. The best way to avoid soggy fries is to keep the chili separate from the fries. You can warm the chili and cheese separately and eat the chili cheese fries with fork and dip it into the chili.
  • If you don’t want to make homemade chili seasoning, you can use a store-bought chili packet.
  • If you are making your own fries ensure you have even potato slices. If you slice the potatoes unevenly, the fries won’t cook at a consistent temperature. The smaller, thinner fries will cook first which may result in some burnt fries.
  • If you are slicing by hand you will likely end up with some uneven slices. It happens to me every time! Try to separate the smaller slices into a separate batch. Cook them separate from the others. This will help ensure consistency.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 10g
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Recipe Rating




Jill

Monday 11th of October 2021

Not sure why I have never made Chili Cheese Fries before. I used to order them at places as a kid. I loved that I really only had to cook once and got 2 different meals! Also, freshly shredded cheese makes all the difference!

staysnatched

Thursday 14th of October 2021

Yes! Fresh cheese really makes a difference.

TCollins

Saturday 24th of April 2021

I had a lot of russet potatoes and didn’t want loaded baked potatoes, came right on over to Brandi’s site and found this. Easy, delicious, flavorful and will be making it again. Love how I had everything I needed right in my kitchen. These are the type of recipes I enjoy.

staysnatched

Thursday 29th of April 2021

Totally the best type of recipes!

Kathryn

Thursday 1st of April 2021

Amazing!! This was plate-licking good. I used the air fryer for the fries and the instructions were perfect. The seasonings in the chili were amazing and the thickness was just right for the fries. This dinner was such a treat.

staysnatched

Saturday 3rd of April 2021

Yay! So glad to hear it.

Kia

Friday 19th of March 2021

The Easy chili cheese fries was such a fun recipe and my whole family enjoyed it, even my picky eaters. I also appreciate the videos!

staysnatched

Monday 22nd of March 2021

I'm glad it could satisfy a picky eater!

Sabrina Boucher

Monday 15th of March 2021

So happy that you dropped this recipe! Chili cheese fries are a bar app favorite of mine. I thought this recipe was perfect, the fries came out great and it's really easy.

staysnatched

Monday 15th of March 2021

Awesome! I'm glad you enjoyed them!