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fries covered with chili and cheese sauce on a sheet pan

Chili Cheese Fries Recipe

These Chili Cheese Fries are the perfect appetizer or main dish for parties, game day, or any time the craving hits. Crispy French fries are topped with a smoky chili and a rich, melty homemade cheese sauce. These are a crowd favorite!
Course Appetizer, Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 1037kcal



  • 32 ounces frozen regular or steak cut French fries
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 10 ounce can of Rotel spice level to your preference
  • 16 ounce can of red kidney beans

Cheese Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper then add the French fries in an even layer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure even baking.
  • In the meantime, add the ground beef and onion to a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble the beef and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, Rotel, and kidney beans and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let it simmer for 15 minutes or until it has thickened.
  • While the chili is simmering, prepare the cheese sauce by melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until it starts to turn a light brown color. Stir in the onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, pepper, and salt.
  • Gradually pour in the heavy cream, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk until the sauce starts to thicken. Add cheese to the pan one cup at a time. Allow it to fully melt before adding another cup. Once all the cheese has been added to the pan, continue to whisk until fully melted then remove the pan from the heat.
  • Add 4-5 large scoops of the chili to the fries then pour the cheese sauce over the top. Serve with freshly chopped parsley or green onions for garnish if desired.


  • You can substitute the French fries for frozen tater tots, or even tortilla chips for chili cheese nachos!
  • The chili can be made with ground turkey or chicken in place of the beef.
  • This tastes best when served immediately. If the fries sit for too long they can get soggy, but they probably won't last long enough for that to happen!
  • If making the chili ahead of time or to store on its own, place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.


Calories: 1037kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 67g | Saturated Fat: 34g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 26g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 187mg | Sodium: 1589mg | Potassium: 1595mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1939IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 392mg | Iron: 8mg