Chili Cheese Potato Casserole

Confession time: Everyone has that one dish that’s their Achilles’ heel, a dish they’d happily sneak off to a corner to devour, eyebrows raised notwithstanding.

For me?

It’s chilli cheese fries. While the sun beckons most to fresh salads and fruit-flavoured drinks, today it whispered of crispy chips dripping with rich chilli and melted cheese. I craved that harmonious blend of spice, cheese and crispy potato. But what if I could bring that indulgence home, maybe give it a bit of a health-conscious twist, without compromising on taste? Here’s my take on the iconic dish – Chili Cheese Potato Casserole.

Chili cheese fries originated from the need to mix spicy chili with crispy fries, a happy marriage of texture and flavor. Over the years, this combination evolved, with some preferring it as a messy snack, while others as a hearty meal. The casserole? That’s my homage to this classic, paying tribute to its legacy while reimagining it.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

If you have an itch for chili cheese fries but yearn for something homier and with a touch more elegance, this casserole is your answer. Every bite will remind you of your favorite diner’s fries but in a more sophisticated, casserole style. It’s both familiar and novel at the same time.


  • Use a preheated oven to ensure even cooking.
  • Freshly shredded cheese melts better than pre-packaged.
  • If you prefer a crispier top, place the dish under the broiler for 2-3 minutes after baking.

Serving Suggestions

Pair this rich casserole with a fresh green salad or steamed veggies to balance out the meal. A cold, crisp beer or sparkling water with a squeeze of lime will cut through the richness perfectly.


  • Vegan? Use plant-based meat and cheese substitutes.
  • Out of fresh potatoes? Feel free to substitute with frozen hash browns or even tater tots.
  • Spice-adverse? Dial down the cayenne and chili powder to your taste.


  • A large pot
  • A skillet
  • A small saucepan
  • A whisk
  • 13×9 casserole dish


Can I make this ahead of time?

Absolutely! Prepare everything, assemble, cover with foil, and refrigerate. Bake when you’re ready.

Is it spicy?

The recipe has a kick, but it’s customizable to your palate.

Can I freeze it?

Yes, just ensure it’s covered well. Thaw in the fridge overnight before baking.

Chili Cheese Potato Casserole

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Casserole


  • 2 pounds potatoes, diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 cup shredded cheese, separated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Place diced potatoes in a large pot 3/4 full with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and pour into a 13×9 casserole dish.
  • In a large skillet, brown ground beef and onion. Drain. Add tomato sauce and crushed or diced tomatoes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • While the chili simmers, melt 2 T. butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, bring to a boil and simmer until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 c. cheese. Stir until cheese is completely melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  •  Pour cheese sauce over the potatoes in the casserole dish.
  • Top with the chili. (If you are cooking this dish during stolen moments, let the chili cool before adding to casserole dish.)
  • Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 c. shredded cheese over the chili. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Can I let you in on a little secret that really works for me in the kitchen? Here it is –


My husband tends to shove me (lovingly, of course) out of the way whenever I am shredding cheese. He does it much faster and easier than I ever could, so I gladly let him.

Stop by We Are THAT Family for more Works For Me Wednesday.