Aunt Charlotte’s Frito Bean Salad

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christy paula

There are three things I value the most in my friends: Kindness, Wisdom, and a Sense of Humor. So anytime I invite a friend here to visit with us on SouthernPlate, you can bet they’re gonna have all three. This makes for a joyful visit! Today, my friend AKA Jane Random is here with us to share a recipe for Aunt Charlotte’s Frito Bean Salad. While she is kind and wise, her sense of humor always shines through brightly and I know y’all will enjoy her post! Gratefully, Christy

Hey Y’all! I’m super happy to be guest posting with Southern Plate today! While I don’t normally blog too much about food I broke out one of our family’s very best recipes for this post. Everyone in the family knows it and looks forward to it as soon as the weather warms up. It’s Frito Bean Salad! Woo Hoo!

Look out your window…waits patiently for you to look out your window…it’s Spring! At least, it’s Spring here! That means it’s time for recipes that go well with hamburgers and hotdogs and anything you can put on the grill. Look, we need some sort of reward for putting up with all this blasted pollen and you can consider Frito Bean Salad you’re much deserved reward.

Round about 1978 I started eating my Aunt Charlotte’s Frito Bean Salad at family reunions. Oh man, is it good! Hot weather to me just isn’t the same without this dish.

The first thing you have to do when making this salad is gather your ingredients. For me, that meant a trip to ye olde grocery.

Aunt Charlotte's Frito Bean Salad

Just go on and ignore that Hershey’s Syrup. We were out and I’m not fancy enough to arrange my ingredients stylishly in the buggy.

Those are all your ingredients: lettuce, tomato, yellow onion, cucumber, shredded cheese, pork and beans, Catalina, and a bag of Fritos.

First we’ll chop our onions because, blast it all, if the grocery wasn’t out of pre-chopped onions.

Aunt Charlotte's Frito Bean Salad

And I know you’re thinking ‘oh, you should never buy them pre-chopped – it’s too expensive!’ Well, ya know what else is expensive? A trip to the ER. Seriously, my fingertips are still suffering the effects of my poor chopping skills from Easter.

Aunt Charlotte's Frito Bean Salad

And y’all, Kroger was OUT of cucumbers! Just flat out, out! According to the sign they’ll be out until tomorrow. All they had were these LONG English cucumbers. Oh well, after you remove them from their fancy shrink wrap they taste the same.

At least cucumbers are relatively fun and easy to chop. Tomatoes remain difficult for me. One day I’ll conquer you, tomatoes! Shakes fist!

Aunt Charlotte's Frito Bean Salad

If you are taking the salad to an event you’ll want to assemble the lettuce, onions, cucumbers, and cheese before hand and just carry the rest with you. The rest needs to be added right before you eat.

Remember a while back when Christy made Dishpan cookies – so named because they require a big ole dishpan to mix them all up? Well, this also requires something big. I don’t own a dishpan because, well, I just don’t. So I end up having to make a big batch in several large bowls. Totally worth it, people.

Aunt Charlotte's Frito Bean Salad

The finished project is super colorful and crunchy. And look, I even used Pyrex in honor of Christy. As far as the question of how many does this recipe serve – well, it kinda depends on how big your servings are and how big your lettuce, bag of Fritos and bottle of Catalina is! The mess I made this morning would have fed an army.

And let me just say a quick word about the iceberg lettuce. I know iceberg lettuce isn’t ‘cool’ anymore. I know we’re all supposed to be using mixed greens and spinach and I’m all about those lettuces BUT this recipe needs iceberg! Just use it. It’s so delicious, I promise!

I decided to try and take a picture of myself holding the bowl. Hmm…can you guess which picture is the one in which I was in the process of DROPPING the bowl?Aunt Charlotte's Frito Bean SaladNice huh?

Now here’s the good news about Aunt Charlotte’s Frito Bean Salad: it doesn’t keep. The fritos get too soggy. So, feel free to go back for seconds and thirds! It deserves to be eaten all in one sitting!

Want to lighten this recipe up? Well, you could, um…I mean, maybe, you could, um…well…Hey! How about this? You could leave out the cheese! See, now it’s totally a light recipe. Uh huh. Totally.

When I got married my Mom went thru her recipes and hand wrote the best ones into a notebook for me. Seriously, best gift ever! Unfortunately the notebook fell apart a couple months ago due to overuse and I put it somewhere ‘safe’ until I could get it rebound. Ladies and Gentlemen, in tonight’s performance the word safe stands for ‘no idea where.’ So, instead of my Mom’s lovely handwriting you’ll just have to look at the typed version.

frito bean salad recipe

Aunt Charlotte's Frito Bean Salad

Aunt Charlotte's Frito Bean Salad is an easy and delicious "salad" type dish that is great for picnics, barbeques and any other type of gathering!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beans
Servings: 4
Calories: 759kcal


  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 large tomato
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can pork and beans
  • 1 bag of Fritos corn chips
  • 1 bottle of Catalina


  • Chop onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Add to washed and torn iceberg lettuce. Add cheese.
  • Stir well. When ready to serve, add drained pork and beans, Catalina dressing, and Fritos.


Calories: 759kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

Thanks for letting me visit with you today! Come visit me sometime over at my blog and y’all have a great Spring Summer!

“Not everything said requires an answer.”

A truism my Grama often said to her many granddaughters, and that was passed down to her by her mama. ~Submitted by Kathryn Kunasek. Click here to submit your own. 

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  1. While we are on the subject of chopped onions (We were, weren’t we?), let me share this frugal hint with you. Living alone, I don’t use onion every day so when I shop (being frugal) I buy onions by the bag and not individually. I get out my handy dandy chopper and dress the entire bag of onions. I freeze them in small zip lock bags in lots of 1 cup. Then I clean up the mess, throw away the peelings, clean the chopper, wash the onion smell from my hands (using vinegar in the process) and I am set for a while. The only thing I love more than saving time or saving money is doing both.

  2. We make something similar to this called Mexican Salad – drained Ranch style beans (or chili beans), toss the lettuce with some chili powder, no cucumber. We love to make a meal of it when it starts getting hot here in Texas, which means anywhere from May to October!

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