I am not even going to bother with chit-chat. Let’s just talk about these baked chili cheese fries with bacon and ranch. They are insane. Beyond what I could have ever expected in a French fry. Heaven in a cast-iron skillet. Amazing. These might even edge out my love for these babies.
Of all of the things in Joy the Baker’s new cookbook, it surprised me that this was the first thing that I chose to make. Let’s be honest, I am more of a sweet than a savory. If you read this blog regularly, you might have gotten a sense that I have a bit of a sweet tooth. Do you know what got me through? The cornstarch. It is an intriguing ingredient in a French fry, is it not? It helps crisp up the potatoes. The seasoning blend is smoky and spicy and the cheese and ranch help to cool the whole thing down. And the bacon? Well, why not? These were so good, that it was hard to take pictures because all I wanted to do was finish so that I could eat them.
Why you will love this recipe?
Chili cheese fries were unknown until the 1950s. In the 40s people were introducing chili con carne to their fries which were also being sold in fast food restaurants. It was the introduction of canned cheese products that made it the way we love it today. And what’s not to love about it? It’s the perfect comfort food! It’s an easy fast food snack that can be made at home with simple ingredients and can be served on any occasion.
Crispy potato wedges or fries topped with savory bacon and smothered in melted cheese and ranch dressing or chili. This sinful dish is great for game nights, sports viewing events, and family parties. People can eat it with their hands or a fork. Either way, you’ll still have fun digging through this dish
Baked Chili Cheese Fries with Bacon and Ranch Ingredients //
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- pinch salt
- 1 pound bag fingerling potatoes (or 2 medium russet potatoes)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon grill seasoning
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 Tablespoons chopped chives
- 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- homemade ranch dressing
How to Make // The Steps
Step 1: Mix together cornstarch, chili powders, paprika, cumin, and a pinch of salt. You can add red pepper flakes and a pinch of cayenne if you want, but I didn’t want to make these too spicy in case the kids wanted to try them.
Step 2: I did not have any regular potatoes, only fingerlings, so I gave them a half peel, and cut them into wedges. Add them to a large bowl, toss the potatoes with olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and grill seasoning.
Step 3: Sprinkle the cornstarch mixture over the potatoes.
Step 4: Toss until the potatoes are completely coated. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray. Put the oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 425 degrees. Arrange the potatoes on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Give them a toss a few times during the cooking time.
Step 5: I transferred my potatoes to a cast-iron skillet, but you can keep the fries on the baking sheet if you want.
Step 6: Cover the fries with cheese.
Step 7: And bacon.
Step 8: Put back in the oven until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with chopped chives.
Step 9: Send it over the top with a generous dollop of homemade ranch dressing.
Topping variations //
Chili cheese fries is a versatile dish. You can mix and match ingredients with what’s in your fridge and pantry. If you’re not in the mood for ranch dressing you can exchange it for gravy, thousand island dressing, or tomato sauce. If you don’t have bacon you can exchange it for chicken tenders, tofu nuggets, or pulled pork. You can also use melted cheese sauces, you can use cheese curds. Use your imagination, the only limit is what’s inside your pantry and fridge.
Recipe variations //
If you want to try something else and explore what you can use for chili cheese fries here are some substitutions. You can use sweet potatoes for fries or wedges. If you want to go a little bit healthier you can use tofu sticks or carrot sticks. For a more convenient take on this recipe or add variety, you can change bacon to slices of hotdogs or ham.
Storage information //
This recipe is great when served hot and crispy. If you let it sit for too long the fries turn soggy. But this dish won’t last long if you have guests over anyway. But if by some miracle you have leftovers, transfer the spuds to a container and cover it with a lid then store it in the fridge. These will make them last for 3 to 4 days.