Dinner Recipe: Beans + Rice with Fritos & Cheese

This meal is my favorite. It goes on every single backpacking trip. I never get tired of it. Clients love this recipe. Need more convincing to try it?

Key Stats

  • Recommended meal weight: 5.7 oz
  • Total calories: 668
  • Calories per ounce: 117

It’s rare that someone struggles to finish this meal. But if you have a smaller appetite, use less beans and rice (but keep the ratio). To increase calorie count or caloric density, add more Fritos.


The four main ingredients are essential. The rice, Fritos, and cheese are widely available. The beans are best found online; in a pinch, I have used a seasoned bean dip from the Whole Foods bulk section.

Assuming the beans are plain, the Taco seasoning is critical. Most people skip salt and pepper, but may add red pepper flakes to inject some heat.

Meal ingredients
Meal ingredients
Clockwise from cheese in upper right: Cheese, taco seasoning, rice, refried beans, and Fritos
Clockwise from cheese in upper right: Cheese, taco seasoning, rice, refried beans, and Fritos
Recommended packaging system. For solo hikers, the left three bags. For groups, everything to the right of the bag of Fritos.

At-home preparation

For groups, I do the following:

  • Each group member is given one 2.5-oz snack bag of beans and rice mixture
  • Fritos and cheese are kept together, and divided proportionally in the field
  • Meals are individually seasoned with the taco seasoning and group spice kit

When solo, I vary between two approaches. If I plan to have this meal several times on the same trip (or the same leg of a thru-hike), I have a pre-spiced snack bag of beans and rice for each meal, and my supply of Fritos and cheese is kept together but preferably somehow delineated so that I don’t steal tomorrow’s calories for tonight’s dinner, e.g. divide the block of cheese equally but keep it all together. Alternatively, if I plan to have this meal just once, I will use up to three bags (beans/rice, cheese, Fritos) but I’ve also combined everything into one bag before. It works out okay since the ingredients are fairly easy to separate in the field.

Cooking instructions

For many reasons, I make all of my meals soupy. This simplifies some the cooking:

  1. Add at least 10 oz of water to my stove pot.
  2. Pour in beans, rice, taco seasoning, and any other spices at anytime.
  3. Cook, ideally to a simmer for about 60 seconds, stirring to avoid boil-over.
  4. Cut cheese into dice-sized pieces and add to meal.
  5. Add Fritos just before consumption. If added too early, they will soften.

To prevent burning, do not add beans, rice, and taco seasoning until water is boiling.

A soupy version of Beans & Rice. With enough water, it becomes more of a tortilla soup. For more conventional consistency, use only 10 oz (300 ml) of water.
A soupy version of Beans & Rice. With enough water, it becomes more of a tortilla soup. For more conventional consistency, use only 10 oz (300 ml) of water.

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  1. Rusty on March 4, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Sounds yummy! To reduce mold on the cheese, try not to get your fingerprints on it. Wrapping the cheese in plastic wrap helps reduce mold/air interaction. If you buy too much cheese, it can be frozen for future use.Keep the recipes coming, ‘Alton’ 🙂

    • Ron DeTullio on December 23, 2019 at 4:57 pm

      On the trail wrap your cheese in plain ole brown paper. It will never mold just get drier

      • Ron DeTullio on December 23, 2019 at 5:00 pm

        Cheese has been around a lot longer than refridgeration

        • Susan on February 7, 2020 at 2:33 pm

          I know. On the trail I get talking to’s about I should keep my eggs, cheese and cured sausage cold. We seem to be the only crazy culture that refrigerates everything.

      • Jay Carrier on July 1, 2021 at 9:30 am

        I find that as soon as it gets hot my cheese gets really sweaty. Does the brown paper help avoid that? Thanks!

        • Daniel on November 1, 2022 at 8:09 pm

          When doing resupply at a market, ask for your stuff to be bagged in brown paper. Later when you leave and transfer food into your pack, tear the paper bag into sections, fold them, and put them in the Ziplock where you carry maps, journal paper, or other paper items. Then later you can use the brown paper to wrap your cheese.

  2. Sterling Hada on March 4, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    What’s the cooking time? I love the simplicity of one pot meals, and have long been an advocate of them.

    • Andrew Skurka on March 4, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      It does not need to be brought to a boil, but I find that a simmer up to about 60 seconds will reduce post-cooking wait time and ensure thoroughly cooked rice.

  3. Todd on March 4, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Sounds good. I too make my food soupy/saucy. Have you ever tried basmati rice rather than Minute Rice? Look in the Asian/Indian food section. It tastes WAAYYY better than minute rice and cooks very quickly (compared to regular raw rice). I will bring my rice dishes to a boil and then let set in a pot cozy for 15 minutes. Cooks fine. Would probably be done even sooner.

    • Todd on March 5, 2015 at 10:51 am

      So I tried it yesterday. Had some dehydrated refried beans left over from last summer. I made a half recipe with equal amounts of beans and rice (basmati) and one cup of water. Substituted plain tortilla chips for Frijtos. Didn’t have taco seasoning so I made my own (cumin, paprika, cayenne). Was a bit thick, next time will use more water. Rice cooked great.

    • Karilyn Owen on March 6, 2022 at 4:32 pm

      m I missing something.. do you really only simmer for 60 seconds and that cooks the rice? Do you simmer for 60 seconds and then cover for a while? I’d love to make this, as beans and rice is my favorite meal even at home!

      • Andrew Skurka on March 6, 2022 at 6:00 pm

        Yes, cover it for a little while. I think total cook time is about 5 minutes. Not sure if I ever wait that long though.

    • Allen P Wilson on January 29, 2023 at 1:50 pm

      The Jasmine Minute Rice actually has some flavor. It has been my go to for several years.

  4. Scott T on March 4, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Andrew, this sounds great. I have made a similar dish with knorr Spanish rice and beans packets, plus chipotle cheddar cheese and spicy peanuts. I have never used the dehydrated refried beans and look forward to trying this. Now I am thoroughly pumped for the spring and for many backpacking trips. As an avid skier, I was dismayed to wake up to temps in the mid 40s and light rain washing away the wonderful snowpack we got in the Northeast this winter. Fortunately reading some of your blog has me renewed and ready for warmer seasons. Thanks Andrew!

  5. Tara on March 4, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    You had me with the Fritos – I’m putting this one on my list for our next trip. Thanks.

  6. Joe on March 4, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    I’ve recently learned I am gluten intolerant and have been wondering what sort of backpacking meals I could come up with to replace my old staples of ramen and pasta sides. This will be a great addition! I’ll just have to be careful with the taco seasoning I use.

  7. Matt on March 4, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Now I’m curious… do you think you could do this all as a boil-in-bag (adding the Fritos just before eating) if you let it set a little while rather than cooking it in a pot. I use an MSR reactor and for simplicity’s sake like to just boil water in it v. cook (I hate doing dishes).

    Great recipes! Please keep ’em coming.

    P.S. – I imagine this would taste even better with chili-cheese Fritos!!

    • Rob on March 4, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      I’m positive you can do it freezer bag style. Fool around with it at home, but about a 2 to 1 ratio of water to rice and about 10 minutes sitting should be good. More water if you want it soupy

      • Rene Johnson on August 10, 2020 at 3:38 pm

        That’s what we’re doing. Adding boiling water to a freezer bag to rehydrate the rice and beans. I do not like washing pots on a backpacking trip!!!

    • Andrew Skurka on March 4, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      Chili-flavored Fritos are relatively toxic compared to the Original — look at the ingredients list.

      This is an easy meal to clean out of a pot. Add some water, clean the pot with your fingers, and either disperse the grey water or drink it. That’s better than eating out of a plastic bag and then carrying that plastic bag around for the rest of your trip, IMHO.

      • Matt on March 4, 2015 at 8:11 pm

        Not to fault your logic Mr. Skurka, but… don’t you still have to carry the bag you brought all the ingredients in around with you anyway? Just sayin’. You certainly are correct about the chill-cheese Fritos though, I’ll be sure to leave them home if I ever have the pleasure to book an excursion with you, so as not to offend anyone’s nutritional sensibilities. 😉

        • Rob on April 6, 2015 at 8:25 am

          Tried this yesterday at home, freezer bag style. 10 ounces of water, let it sit for about 10 minutes. Consistency was good, but 12 ounces of water would have been fine. Very tasty! Going on the Rae Lakes loop with me in August!

      • Brian on November 22, 2019 at 3:30 pm

        Is there a way to print this recipe? TIA

        • Jorge on May 24, 2022 at 2:07 pm

          File > print

  8. Brian on March 4, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    These things work well for transporting cheese.


  9. Amytys on March 4, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Pre-cook and dehydrate REAL rice from your local oriental store. I recommend Nishiki. Way more fuel in that than minute rice, for sure.

    • Chad on July 18, 2018 at 9:02 am

      I’ll second dehydrating real cooked rice. I used to cook real rice in the field cook for 20min because I hated the mushy texture of instant rice. Dehydrated real rice is about 80% as good as real rice and a real time and fuel saver.

      I make a version of this with Mexican rice (pre-cooked and dehydreated), FD dried chicken, cumin, Mexican oregano, chipotle powder, FD roasted corn, FD sauted onions, FD red peppers- adding lime cystals and chalula hot suace packets to taste. Topping with Fritos is the best part! I keep those in a small Tupperware container so I can pack more densely and avoid crushing them.

  10. Preston Smith on March 4, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    I’m hiking the Na Pali Coast next week and this might be on the menu… yum.

    • Steve sims on March 5, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      If no one here has ever been on the kalalau trail it is a must see. Many people I know who have been around the world consider the napali coast among the most spectacular sites to see. Check it out!

      • Preston Smith on March 8, 2015 at 7:22 pm

        I’m super excited, packed and ready!

    • B on March 31, 2018 at 5:23 pm

      You’ll find tomatoes and things to pick when you get there. We even found prawns in the stream

  11. Doug Swam on March 5, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    This recipe passed the test at our house. I made this for the family at home tonight and everyone loved it! I substituted regular white rice as I always do on the trail. I brought the water to a boil with the rice already added, reduced the flame to a simmer for 60 seconds and then removed from heat and wrapped with a towel to insulate and sit for 20 minutes.

    It’s really great that you’re publishing some of your meal planning and recipes Andrew! My attempts to reverse-engineer your meals hasn’t always panned out.

    — “Swammie”

  12. Melissa on April 6, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    This was very, very tasty. Cooked it up in my SP 700 over my Fancee Feest alcohol stove (top burner for a smaller diameter pot…found Fancy Feast stove was inefficient for a pot the diameter of the SP 700) in just 5 mins. Into the cozy it all went, then cheese, and then Fritos when ready. Great! This one is coming with me on the JMT this summer.

  13. Monique on August 29, 2015 at 11:09 am

    I have been loving dehydrated quinoa instead of rice. It dehydrates quickly and rehydrates in a heartbeat. Good protein source.

  14. Andrew on October 21, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Some general thoughts for other people trying this out

    Works awesome as a freezer bag meal. 12 oz of water gets it pretty thick, which is preferable for freezer bags to avoid tragic spillage. Takes about 5-8 minutes to rehydrate and doesn’t require boiling water. I’m a fan of adding a bit of extra garlic powder and cumin as well when I’m bagging them up.

    A roughly even mix of the Santa Fe refried and the Harmony House whole pinto is a nice textural contrast, and gets lots of good beaney goop along with whole beans.

    I’ve found little single serving extra sharp cheddar at a few places, most recently and easily available is at Sheetz gas stations. They have little flat 2oz packages of cheese (real cheese, not cheese food) that last a long time in the woods.

    This is easily my favorite backpacking meal ever, and it’s super simple and inexpensive. After I accidentally dumped 3 oz of olive oil onto myself, I’m all about the meals that don’t involve the oil calorie boost.

    • John on October 1, 2019 at 11:08 pm

      “avoid tragic spillage” LOL!

  15. Carter Owens on November 9, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    My girlfriend, her father and I gave this recipe a shot on the second night of a two night section of the AT in Georgia. It was cold and rainy all day and night, and this raised our spirits big time after a long day of elevation changes. No wonder it’s a favorite – would recommend it to anyone, as it is not only satisfying but requires extremely simple prep. I bet it would go great with summer sausage as well, if your diet permits. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Nick Jensen on March 2, 2016 at 12:19 am

    We loved this meal on a 5-day trip in the Sierra last summer. However we made a big mistake prepackaging the Fritos into ziploc bags to portion them out for two meals. The Fritos infused their flavor into all of our other food. Have you ever dreamed of eating an oreo that tastes like salty corn? Well, let me tell you it’s not good. I’d recommend keeping the Fritos separate from all other food or stored in some kind of bag that doesn’t release odors.

  17. Matt Swider on April 6, 2016 at 6:47 am

    I am considering this recipe instead for a 10 day trip with our Boy Scout troop. I am thinking more than a day or two on the trail with regular cheese is not a great idea (especially with teens) so I am interested in substituting cheese powder. Can anyone provide how much powder would be used in this recipe, and would you change the amount of water?

    • Andrew Skurka on April 6, 2016 at 8:14 am

      When I ran 7-day guided trips, this meal would be our first and our last meal, on nights 1 and 6. No problems at all with the shelf-stability of the cheese, and I wouldn’t blink about taking it out for a few extra days beyond that. The exterior of the cheese will get oily, but it should not spoil. I would recommend a hard cheese (e.g. very sharp cheddar) rather than a softer cheese like Monterey.

      • Matt Swider on April 6, 2016 at 9:57 am

        Awesome, thanks for the quick response Andrew!

  18. doug on April 28, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Looks good! I’ll try it with dehydrated canned black beans and dehydrated cooked basmati..

  19. doug on April 28, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    PS Nick the good bags for containing odour are Opsak.


  20. ErinG on May 4, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    This was great! I just did an at home trial of it to make sure it would pass muster of the picky eaters in the family and it did! I made it a little thicker and loved it.

  21. Ben on August 14, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Thanks for the great ideas. First time taking a larger group out on a trip (~16 people). Can I cook 2 larger batches for everyone, or would you recommend keeping to smaller individual batches in their own pots?

    • Andrew Skurka on August 14, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      That’s a lot of beans & rice in a pot! It would work, but someone will need to stand by and stir to avoid splatter. Be careful of burning the ingredients to the bottom of the pot, just as you would at home.

      As Doug said, this meal needs to be simmered some in order to cook fully. It will not work well if you simply boil water in group pots, then decant the hot water into individual bowls with the beans/rice mixture. Everyone will end up with crunchy rice, and maybe not enough heat leftover to melt the cheese.

  22. doug zdanivsky on August 14, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    This one you need to simmer and cook to completion I found.. ie. it’s not one you can just boil the water and add to individual mugs filled with one serving’s worth (GSI fairshare is what we use). So we cooked 2 servings to completion (gotta stir constantly to avoid splatter) then divided into individual mugs.

  23. Evan W. Malina on September 11, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Hmm just weighed everything out and by volume – the beans are taking up at least 2x more volume… Think this might be SUPER bean heavy

  24. SusanS on September 26, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Have used this on the trail. Very good. Made even better in the first or second day with some cherry tomatoes brought along if you ar inclined.

  25. Rich(uk) on September 27, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Great posts, enjoying and learning.

  26. Shawn K. on September 29, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    Vegetarian Frito Pie is a similar meal that was our quick dinner option on a three week trip through Alaska last year. One tip: we never found real corn chips like Fritos in Canada. Lots of tortilla chips, though. They work, but tend to break down much faster than corn chips.

  27. doug zdanivsky on September 30, 2016 at 10:57 am

    There’s Fritos in Canada at Walmart (the one I went to, anyways)..

  28. Shawn K. on September 30, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Maybe they’re banned in British Columbia. : )

  29. doug zdanivsky on September 30, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Prince George, BC I got them at.

  30. John on October 11, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    This is a great meal! I brought along two servings on my backpacking trip this weekend. I ended up cooking it with the freezer bag method but using Ziplock Zip n steam bags. I assume those bags have a higher softening point since they are exposed to steam.

    The only negative I experienced was a lot of gas after eating the meal. It was pretty bad and was slightly painful. I am not sure if being at altitude exasperated the situation or not. When I tried it at home at sea level I did not have the same problem.

    Only other issue is that the smell will permeate all your other food in your bear canister. This did not turn out to be a bad problem as I did not taste it when I ate the other food.

    Other then the negatives this is my favorite meal! It is light weight and quite tasty! All the other campers with me that were eating mountain house meals wanted some of my meal.

  31. Dan Barwick on October 30, 2016 at 11:58 am

    OK, I have reached the pinnacle of this recipe and thought I would share. Send checks to Andrew and he will forward. 🙂 Mine involves slightly more pre-trip work, but the results are spectacular, with more meat taste, more varied textures, and more fiber. There’s really no weight increase because the added ingredients are reducing the use of others.

    Ingredients for two people:
    1 c. Sante Fe refried beans
    1 c. Brown rice, cooked and dried
    1/2 c. Ground beef, cooked and dried
    1/2 c. Mountain House Fire Roasted Vegetable blend
    2 oz. sharp cheddar
    1 c. fritos
    2 tablespoons taco seasoning
    1 lime wedge

    All dried ingredients get mixed with an equivalent amount of water by volume, so you can scale this recipe. Place 3 cups of water in pot and bring to a boil. As it comes to a boil, add beans and rice. Reduce to high simmer, cover for three minutes. Add ground beef and vegetable blend, stir, increase heat to bring back up to high simmer, reduce heat to keep at high simmer, and cover for three minutes. Add taco seasoning and stir. Let simmer on low, covered, for five minutes. Add cheese cut up into small pieces, stir, cover for three minutes. Separate into bowls. Squeeze lime over both. Crumble Fritos over both and serve immediately. Bask in the compliments, using the remainder of the lime for the cocktails you served people before dinner.

    • Pete Maskal on June 23, 2018 at 1:35 pm

      I’ve also combined Mountain House fire roasted vegetables with the freeze dried refried beans and instant rice as well–very tasty. The veggies aren’t necessarily calorie dense but they taste great and add fiber. Freeze dried onion flakes are another great addition. Used this recipe with first time backpackers.

  32. Eric on January 22, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    I’ve made this a few times now. I use an alcohol stove so I just bring the water to a boil, then add the rice/ beans/seasoning. Then I immediately slide the pot into a reflectix pot cozy. Let it sit for a few minutes, then add the cheese and chips. Fritos don’t agree with me so just used tortilla chips. Back country gourmet.

  33. Chris Daniel on January 25, 2017 at 5:43 am

    Thanks Andrew for presenting this! I’ve not yet had it on the trail but have enjoyed it twice at home.

    Your recipe lists the ingredients by weight. That is.handy for assessing the meal’s calorie density, but when I cook I usually measure things by volume rather than weighing them. So, I’ve used information on packaging to make these calculations: 2 oz. instant beans =2/3 C; 1.5 oz. instant rice= 1/2 C; 1 oz cheddar cheese = 1/4 C; 1 oz. Fritos = 3/4 C; .2 oz. Taco Seasoning= 2 Tsp.


    • Jess on July 31, 2019 at 7:28 pm

      Thank you, this is helpful!

  34. Chris Daniel on January 25, 2017 at 5:54 am

    It addition to being tasty,this has a relatively high protein content, a feat that can be challenging to accomplish in trail meals. Your recommended one person serving has this much protein:

    Beans 14 Grams
    Rice 4 Grams
    Fritos 2 Grams
    Cheddar Cheese 7 Grams
    Total 27 grams

    Also, all that protein ought to be usable to maintain muscle tissue. The amino acids in cheese make it a ‘complete’ protein and those in rice and beans apparently complement one another well.

  35. CD on February 6, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Ingredients in Santa Fe Instant Refried Beans:
    Pinto beans, interesterified soybean oil (with TBHQ to preserve freshness), salt.

    Interesterified soybean oil… hmmm….

  36. April Driggers on February 10, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    I’m trying to educate myself to teach older Cub Scouts who will be entering Boy Scouts some of these awesome secrets. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

  37. Roni on March 20, 2017 at 7:18 am

    What would you use in place of Cheddar in hot weather (25+ celsius)?

    • Andrew Skurka on March 20, 2017 at 7:20 am

      I’d stick with cheddar, but a higher-end brand instead of the low-end rubber stuff that gets softer and more oily in warmer temperatures.

  38. Jake on May 26, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    So Andrew, is this something you could keep on refueling with in general stores along the AT? I’m trying to go with out shipping myself stuff except in select few towns. Any good substitute for dehydrated refried beans? Or an idea of stuff to buy along the trail? Thanks!

    • Andrew Skurka on May 28, 2017 at 7:14 am

      Refried beans would be tough. My local Whole Foods (flagship store) has them in the bulk bins, but I don’t see them even at most supermarkets. You can buy boxes of beans-and-rice meals but they normally have a 25-min cook time.

      If you want to buy-as-you-go, you are probably better off with some of the other recipes, e.g. Peanut Noodles, Pesto Noodles, Cheesy Potatoes.

      • Jake (Fleet) on August 22, 2017 at 9:18 am

        I’m about a quarter way through my SoBo AT hike and I can safely say I have the best food so far for sure. Not that your recepie needs improvement, but I added some diced Mountain House Chicken and dehydrated red and green peppers. And as thru-hiking tradition dictates, gotta toss it in a tortilla. Maybe even some taco bell hot sauces if I’m lucky enough! Thanks Andrew

        • Andrew Skurka on August 22, 2017 at 9:21 am

          Glad to hear it.

          Avocado is an excellent addition to this meal as well.

  39. Dave on June 18, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    “Please Sir, may I have some more grey water”?

    This looks delish, I’m going to try it on my next trip.

  40. Trey on June 23, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    I’ve used this item many times on short trips, but I’m planning on packing it for a longer thru this season, for the first time, and I’m concerned about shelf life when just storing it in a ziplock. Do you have an idea of the shelf life for this once mixed and packaged? For instance, if I pack this in a resupply today, could I count on it being safe if I ate it two months later? Would a vacuum seal make a difference? Cheese aside, of course.

    • Andrew Skurka on June 24, 2017 at 9:07 am

      Besides the cheese, the ingredients are very shelf-stable. I’ve eaten this meal 6-9 months after originally assembling it. Of course, keep the meals in a cool and dry place.

  41. James on August 21, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Andrew – any recommendations on food recipes where water is at a premium (i.e. the desert)?

    • Andrew Skurka on August 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      I don’t change my meals based on environmental conditions. Water consumed in food or as pure water hydrates you similarly. The only difference in arid areas is that I’m even more inclined to drink the “gray water,” after washing my pot, which I think to think of as simply a watery broth.

  42. Randal; on October 4, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    This was a massive hit on my High Sierra Trail trip this past month. All of my other dinner meals were purchased meals in a bag and this was a big standout. The cheese got a little spooky after a day or two and I finally had to give up on it. This is a permanent go to from here out and has inspired me to take more interest in what I am eating on the trail. As the trip went on, I met others who have enjoyed this and brought it up as a favorite! Thanks a ton.

    • Andrew Skurka on October 4, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      What is “spooky” cheese? In my experience, even low-grade cheddar is fine during a week-long trip in the summer. It starts to sweat, but it does not go bad. Harder cheeses and cold temperatures are better, if you can make that happen.

  43. Dave Spencer on October 6, 2017 at 12:30 am

    Great meal, voted best new meal of 2017 by my daughters and myself.
    We prefer black beans and Minute brown rice.

    Consider also adding:
    – Freeze Dried Super Sweet Corn from Harmony House
    – Dried tomatoes (e.g. from Trader Joes)

    And some Starbucks have packets of sriracha sauce which works well.

  44. doug zdanivsky on March 31, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Oooh, my dad just bought a freeze-dryer.. Will be pre-making this and the peanut noodle recipe and freeze-drying the works (maybe not the fritos)!

  45. Dave on June 18, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Are these dry measurements (weighed) or volume measurements?

    • Andrew Skurka on June 18, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      Dry. As in, use a postal scale.

  46. Kevin D. on June 27, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Looks tasty! quick question regarding trail prep. Are you “cooking” this on a titanium pot? Any issues with burning? I’ve always used aluminum and now just got a TI pot so not sure how it will turn out.


  47. Anita on July 23, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    How big is the pot you cook a solo meal in.

  48. Dave on July 28, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    Just got back from a JMT section hike and Beans /Rice and Fritos was the favorite meal. Single serving Sriracha packets added some kick for those needing it. We did it as rehydration pouches (quart ziplocks) and kept the dried cheese and Fritos in a snack bag to add after the beans and rice had rehydrated. 10/10.

  49. Dennis on August 2, 2018 at 10:28 am

    So toss the ingredients in than bring to boil than simmer for 60 seconds after boil?

    • Andrew Skurka on August 2, 2018 at 10:51 am

      A boil will accelerate reconstitution, but not necessary — you’d just have to wait a few minutes longer before eating.

      After the beans & rice are cooked, add seasoning, then cheese, then Fritos last.

  50. patrick on September 15, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    This is my new favorite trail dinner. I’ve finished all of the prepared meals that one box each of each refried beans & rice will provide, and i’m ready for more! i’ve been bringing the tillamook single serving snack cheeses with me for trips, they’re individually wrapped so they don’t get messy, and you can easily work the cheese out of the wrapper when it’s been incidentally warmed and has become oily without messing your hands. it’s a bit more trash than i’d like, so i’m looking at a way to store each serving in wax paper that can be easily burned, or even better: something reusable that i can pack out, wash at home, and use on the next trip.

    i also suggest a reflectex pot coozie to help with rehydration, since i tend to burn food when i try to simmer on my MSR PR2.

  51. Eric T on June 10, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Will the cheese keep fresh?

    • Andrew Skurka on June 10, 2019 at 4:36 pm

      It keeps a lot longer than you might think. After a few days it will get greasy on the exterior, but it’s still entirely edible. Drier cheeses keep better in the backcountry than wetter cheeses. Cheddar is somewhere in the middle, not Brie but also not Romano.

  52. Colin on July 19, 2019 at 7:31 am

    Has anyone tried this with Easy Cheese yet? Thought it would be a good less perishable substitute for the cheddar.

    • Andrew Skurka on July 29, 2019 at 9:10 am

      Cheese lasts much longer in the field than you might think. We regularly carry it around for a week before using it. It will get slightly greasy, but it’s perfectly okay. It helps to let your food cool overnight (e.g. put your bear canister in an open meadow) and to keep it insulated during the day (e.g. insulate it from the outside of your pack by putting a fleece or rain jacket over it.

    • Jim on December 7, 2019 at 10:09 pm

      I carried tasty cheddar in the Grand Canyon for 13 days a couple years ago. Daytime temps regularly hit 100°. Cheese got greasy, but was always yummy, right through the end of the trip.

  53. Bob on December 8, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    I love stuff like this. And ingredients are pretty inexpensive in the bulk section of WINCO or similar stores. One thing my boys and I loved when they were little was dehydrated hash browns or pasta with veggie soup mix and powdered cheese sauce. I remember packing a can or two of SPAM on short trips to add. Some knowledge of basic nutrition and a little creativity go a long way to having some tasty meals on the trail.

  54. Luke on January 16, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    My wife and I love this recipe and have used it many times. Our only tweak is to use Corn Nuts instead of Fritos. We prefer the nuts because they are less likely to get broken down into tiny pieces in a bear car during a long hike and due to their higher crunch factor. The plain ones have the same ingredient list and functionally identical nutritional specs as Fritos so we just substitute them 1:1 for the chips by weight.

  55. Rob on April 11, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    For those of you who prefer conventional “kitched” measurements, here’s what it works out to:

    1/2 cup instant beans
    1/2 cup instant rice
    3 tsp taco seasoning
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1/2 tsp pepper flakes

    For cheese, I use powdered cheese. 4 or 5 tsp.

    I DO like things spicy. You might reduce the pepper and pepper flakes.

    I put it all in to a ziplock bag.

    3/4 cup Fritos according to Andrew’s recipe. LOL.

    • Sracey Hicks on July 8, 2020 at 9:38 am

      thanks for posting these measurements. How much water? And is this for a single portion?

  56. Matt on June 2, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    As mentioned above, this recipe is a favorite. My wife and I have added what we think is a nice twist if you can swing carrying the extra weight and have access to the ingredient: Avocado.

    We share eating out of the pot, especially early in the feast, its great to scoop out a spoonful, put it in the hole where the seed was and let it cool a moment. Then scoop the BRC and a bit of Avocado. Its a multi-purpose ingredient, food and bowl. Even when the pot has cooled a bit its nice to scoop a coupe spoonfuls out into the avo half and eat out of there.

    And if you believe in having a fire, the skin of the avocado will dry out nicely and burn cleanly in a fire. Perhaps not minimalist lightweight backpacking, but on either early in a trip or on a two or three night trip why not.

  57. D on July 31, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    Beware…. Tried this in UK with tinned refried beans. This recipe is a joke, warning to those who carry a few days worth of this on a trek without trying it first. Looks and smells like s***e.

    • Sven on October 26, 2020 at 2:44 pm

      Maybe the problem is with the tinned beans—they’re supposed to be freeze dried.

      Or maybe you don’t like Mexican food.

  58. Nate on March 26, 2021 at 9:49 am

    This recipe is my favourite of the ones I have tried and I’ve tried most of them. Peanut Noodles is my number 2.
    One question. If I make up a bunch of the Rice & Beans in sandwich bags, how long are they good for before I need to eat them? Wondering if I can do up a bunch of them at the beginning of the season and just grab and go, adding the cheese and Fritos of course and head out the door.

    • Andrew Skurka on March 26, 2021 at 11:33 am

      Prepared servings will last months. The exact time depends on storage conditions. In a dry basement in Colorado, we regularly use servings for our first trips of the meal that were prepared six months earlier for the prior season.

      Preparing breakfasts and dinners for the season at one time, and having a bin of snack foods ready to go, is a fantastic way to reduce the work required to get out for quick trips.

      • Nate on March 26, 2021 at 3:11 pm

        Thanks for the quick response. More importantly thanks for the Seasoned Beans and Rice with Fritos and Cheese!!!!!

  59. Ryan Perry on April 23, 2021 at 9:28 am

    The Google Sheet with the ingredient quantities has become unlinked for some reason. This is a clear sign that I need to save this somewhere, instead of always coming back to this page for the recipe!

    • Andrew Skurka on April 24, 2021 at 10:30 pm

      It’ll get put up again this week. The embed code broke recently due to a platform change.

      • Anthony P. on May 8, 2021 at 12:53 am

        Any chance you could update this? I’ve wanted to try this for awhile and I finally got the ingredients together.

        • Andrew Skurka on May 10, 2021 at 4:16 pm

          It’s showing for me. It might be a page caching issue. Try a hard refresh, like Ctrl+Refresh button on windows.

          • Anthony P. on May 10, 2021 at 4:47 pm

            This is very strange, in chrome I did Ctrl+R, Ctrl+Shift+R, Ctrl+F5, even opened dev controls, right clicked the refresh button and did “Empty Cache and Hard Reload” but it will not work. It’s also broken on my mobile device (logged into the same google account). Thankfully I seem to be able to work around it by either opening it incognito or in another browser. So if anyone else has the same issue I suggest that. No idea why my cache for this page seems to be broken but thanks anyways.

  60. Benjamin M Tennant on May 20, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    I’m taking my family of 8 on a nine day trip and want to do a few of these meals. Newbie question: Do I need a food scale to multiply the ingredients by 8 that are listed in oz or grams? Or can I convert to teaspoons, tablespoons, cups or volumetric oz? I’m assuming I need a scale but I thought I’d verify and check with how those making for larger groups scale up the ingredients.

    • Andrew Skurka on May 20, 2021 at 3:03 pm

      We make group servings all the time, and we multiply the per-person amounts by the group size, and weigh it all with a postal scale.

      The postal scale is great for making multiple one-person rations, too. For example, put 20 oz of beans and 15 oz of rice into a mixing bowl, and then scoop out 3.5-oz portions of the mix.

      • Benjamin M Tennant on May 20, 2021 at 6:13 pm

        Thank you! Now I finally have a good excuse to get a scale.

  61. Terry B on May 23, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    Hi Andrew,

    Interested in the recipe but didn’t see the measurements of the ingredients anywhere. Did I miss them somewhere?

    • Anthony P. on May 25, 2021 at 11:55 am

      Try Ctrl+R, or opening the page incognito, or a different browser.

  62. Chad V Kealey on November 22, 2021 at 10:06 am

    I’ve wanted to try this but balked at the cost of dehydrated refried beans. Then I realized I had a food dehydrator. One can of refried beans from Aldi is $0.89 and, dehydrated, yields just under 4 ounces, so enough two servings of this recipe. I also dehydrated a can of Ro-tel, which reduces to a paltry 10 grams. I added 4 grams of it to the recipe and wow it’s a good addition. Adds a little more color, too.

  63. Jon on January 12, 2022 at 5:51 pm

    Andrew, I see that Amazon does not have the Santa Fe Instant Southwestern Style Refried Beans available. Can you recommend another supplier or manufacturer of a similar bean type that would work with this recipe?

    • Andrew Skurka on January 12, 2022 at 6:04 pm

      That’s been our supply for years, so I’m less familiar with other options.

      I remember hearing that Harmony House had good beans.

    • Katie Johnson on March 27, 2022 at 8:00 pm

      Jon, I like the Frontier Co-op dried black bean flakes on Amazon.

      • Jon on March 29, 2022 at 12:59 pm

        I’ll look for those Katie. Thanks for the recommendation.

  64. Jon on January 12, 2022 at 6:15 pm

    I’ll check it out. Thanks Andrew.

  65. Katie Johnson on March 27, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    This is the best trail meal! I add a couple of sliced Duke’s shorty sausages to mine. Delish!

  66. Benjamin on March 29, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    I like the “Baja Bean flakes” from Outdoor Herbivore.

  67. Jon on March 29, 2022 at 1:26 pm

    Excellent Benjamin. I’m in Canada and there is next to nothing that one can buy at a grocer for dehydrated beans. I’ll add this to my mail-order list options.

  68. Austin on May 2, 2022 at 11:13 pm

    I seriously will make these for lunch at work. I’m that guy in the parking lot, pulling out an MSR stove for things like this instead of running out to get something. It’s too dang good and cheap and easy to pass up for a quick bite anywhere or any time.

    • Katie Johnson on May 3, 2022 at 6:36 am

      Haha! I took them on a trip for my daughter’s volleyball team, where we would have a microwave, and boiled water there and made them. They’re the best. I had the coolest convenience food out of all of the parents. I’ve made single servings in baggies, written out a recipe card, and given them to backpacking friends as gifts, too. Can’t beat B&R w/ F&C!

  69. Abigail S on May 8, 2023 at 9:02 am

    I tried this out on a backpacking trip in Canyonlands National Park this weekend and it was AMAZING! I would genuinely eat this on a normal day at home. I can’t believe how tasty it was given how simple the recipe is. This will definitely be added to the top of my meal list for future trips.

  70. […] but this was an exception. I prepared the classic beans and rice, following the classic recipe here. One essential ingredient that was missing was Fritos, I hoped to pass a convenience store on the […]

  71. Backpack Cheesy Rice and Beans – Recipes on September 3, 2023 at 10:21 am

    […] hands down, one of the best backpacking meals we had on the JMT. Our buddy Treeline (who got the recipe from Andrew Skurka) had an extra serving of this in his pack that he gave to us and […]

  72. Mandy on December 28, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    I LOVE this meal and take it with me on every backpacking trip. The recipe portion is a bit too much for me so I reduce the rice and beans by .05 oz (naturally cheese/frito portion remains unchanged). Easy to assemble at home and easy to prep at camp after hiking all day. Thanks for sharing!

  73. ADL on May 11, 2024 at 1:11 pm

    Can this be made (rehydrated) w/o rice – cold soak style: bag it up & hike in the hopefully warm pm?

    • Andrew Skurka on May 13, 2024 at 10:05 am

      It can, but I don’t know why you would. Finding nuggets of melted cheddar in your pot is almost as good as finding gold.

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