National Corn Chip Day

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Corn Chips Chili Pie

chiliIn 1986 an American food company was trying to discover the origins of a certain recipe.

Frito-Lay were keen to discover the origins of the corn chips chili pie. The company thought they knew – they had an ‘official version – but wanted to be sure.

This version said that it was the mother of the founder of the company who had first devised this recipe in the 1930s. This is rather quaint in that it uses a can of tomato sauce and then uses the empty can to measure other ingredients. That seems to be very sensible.

Note that this chili recipes does not contain beans.

The oldest version that they found in recipe books dated from 1949. This was in a cookbook entitled A Taste of Texas.

Here’s the chili recipe.



  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tomato cans water
  • 1 tomato can beer
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground blackpepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 heaped teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  1. Brown the meat in a large pan.
  2. Add all the other ingredients except the cornflour.
  3. Cover the pan, bring to the boil, then simmer for an hour and a half.
  4. Make a thin paste by adding water to the cornflour.
  5. Add this to the chili and stir in well.
  6. Cover and simmer for a further half hour.


To make the pie

You will only need half this recipe to make the corn chips chili pie so it’s a good idea to freeze the rest for the next time you want to make a quick dinner.

To make the pie, place two cups of corn chips in a baking dish. Add a chopped onion, distributing it evenly. Then add half a cup of grated cheese.Pour the chili over then add a further cup of corn chips and an additional half cup of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is bubbling – about ten to twenty minutes. Sliced black olives made a great garnish.

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Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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  1. I should have bought those corn chips I saw in the store yesterday. Now your article makes me want some… well, I’ll have to make do with this dark chocolate instead.

    • Chocolate is better than EVERYTHING, Linda 😉

  2. I have been CRAVING corn chips the last few days. Now I know my mind was preparing my tummy for National Corn Chips Day! Interesting to know about the origin of the recipe, too. This is almost a staple here in the south.

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