These chili cheese fries are the perfect comfort food, and they're easy to make in the air fryer. Learn how to make homemade cheese sauce and chili without beans to load up on top of the crispy fries. You can serve these fries as an appetizer or a main course.
Why You'll Love these Chili Cheese Fries
If you love chili cheese fries and crave a hearty, comforting meal at the end of a long day, then these chili cheese fries are for you. Made with homemade cheddar cheese sauce and hearty beanless chili, they will satisfy your craving in every bite. This recipe is a fuss-free way to enjoy this classic dish.
Chili often has beans in it, but this recipe is without beans since it is going on top of fries. But you can add beans to the chili if you would like. And the cheddar cheese sauce adds richness to the fries.
This meal is perfect for game day, a small social gathering, or any kind of party where you want to bring something delicious and festive. They are quick and easy to make in the air fryer, making them a perfect weeknight dinner option also.
How to Make Homemade Chili Cheese Fries
Fries and chili:
- Finely dice the onion and peeled garlic. Chop the jalapenos and red chili pepper. Set these aside.
- Spray the air fryer basket and the frozen French fries with cooking spray. Sprinkle the French fries with salt. Fry the French fries in the air fryer (or oven) according to the package instructions.
- While the French fries are cooking, heat the olive oil in a big pan on medium heat. Add the diced onion and garlic and fry until golden and fragrant (around 7 minutes).
- Add the ground beef, oregano, smoked paprika, mixed Mexican spices, and salt to the pan. Cook until brown, breaking up any big lumps of beef.
- Add the tomato paste and water and cook through on medium heat. Set aside.
- Mince the garlic.
- Add the olive oil (or butter) to another pan and saute the minced garlic on low until golden and fragrant.
- Add the evaporated milk and shredded cheddar cheese. Cook until the cheese has melted and the sauce has an even texture. The sauce should be runny but a bit thick.
Layer in a large serving tray or individual bowls as follows:
- A layer of crispy French fries
- A layer of chili meat
- A layer of cheese sauce
- A sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro
- A dollop of sour cream
- A sprinkle of jalapenos and red chili peppers
Tips for Making Chili Cheese Fries
To make the best chili cheese fries, follow these important tips:
- Opt for fresh cheddar cheese that you can grate or shred yourself for optimal flavor and texture. But pre-shredded cheddar cheese can work in a pinch.
- Use your favorite chili recipe instead of the one in this recipe if desired. You can also use ground turkey instead of ground beef.
- If you want to add beans to the chili, use pinto beans or black beans. Add them to the pan while the meat is cooking.
- Adjust the spice level based on your preference. Eliminate the jalapeno and red chili pepper or add extra.
- Customize your chili cheese fries according to your preferences. Use pepper jack, mozzarella, or gouda cheese instead of cheddar. Or add other toppings, such as diced red onion, chopped green onion, or crumbled bacon.
More Comfort Recipes
Chili Cheese Fries FAQs
If you don't have an air fryer, you can use a sheet pan in your oven. Follow the instructions on the package of frozen French fries. This method will still give you the crunchy outside without adding any oil or fat.
This recipe is best consumed right after you make it while the fries are hot and crunchy and the cheese sauce is hot and smooth. If you try to store leftovers, the fries will become soggy, and the cheese sauce will become too thick.
This recipe for chili cheese fries features crispy French fries topped with homemade chili meat, cheddar cheese sauce, and toppings like jalapenos and fresh cilantro. And they are quick and easy to make in the air fryer. They are sure to be your new favorite comfort food.Print
Chili cheese fries
Super flavorful chili cheese fries, loaded with a juicy bean-free chili and the most delicious cheddar sauce on top.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Snacks/meat/beef
- Cuisine: American
- 30 oz frozen French fries
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 jalapeños
- 1 red long chili
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon mixed Mexican spices
- 1 tablespoon olive oil /butter
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 ½ cups evaporated milk
- Fresh cilantro
- Sour cream
- Jalapeño and chili
- Peel the onion and dice it finely. Peel the garlic cloves and smash them or mince them finely. Set aside. Chop the jalapeños and red chili too, and set them aside.
- Fry the French fries in the air fryer, for this spray the basket with olive oil and spray the French fries with a bit more oil. Sprinkle a bit of salt. Fry according to the package instructions. Alternatively, you can fry them in the oven with the same instructions.
- While the French fries are cooking add some olive oil to a big pan ad add the minced garlic and the onion. Fry until golden and fragrant (around 7 minutes) on medium heat.
- Add the ground beef to the pan and add the spices and herbs to the mix alongside the salt. Cook until brown making sure to break any big lumps.
- Add the tomato paste and fry it on medium heat, add some water to dissolve it and help spread all over the meat. Once cooked, set aside.
- In a pan add a bit more olive oil (or butter) and add the minced garlic for the sauce, sautee on low heat until golden and fragrant.
- Add the evaporated milk and then the shredded cheddar cheese. Cook until the cheese has melted and an even texture has been achieved. It should be runny but a bit thick too.
- Serve in a large tray or individual bowls as follows:
- A layer with the fried fries.
- A layer of the chili meat
- A layer of the cheese sauce
- Some chopped fresh cilantro
- A dollop of sour cream
- Some jalapeño and red chili
Usually, chili has beans in it, but since we are going to eat this on top of some fries I did this alternative version without the beans for a lighter but equally delicious dish. In case you want to add them, I recommend pinto beans or black beans (cooked) and adding them to the pan while the meat is cooking.
This is best consumed right after being made, while the potatoes are hot and crunchy and the sauce Is hot and supper runny.
This meal is perfect for game day, friend’s gatherings, or any kind of fun party where you want to bring something delicious and easy to cook and eat.