Review: Fritos Chili Pizza from Papa John’s

Once again, Papa John’s is the chain pizza restaurant leader in crazy pizza topping combinations.  Well maybe not necessarily “crazy”, but some of their limited time offerings have been pretty unique in recent years (and sometimes it actually works).  Their newest pizza is equal parts odd and somehow expected.  Say hello to the new Fritos Chili Pizza from Papa John’s.

Fritos Chili Pizza PJsPapa John’s describes their new Fritos Chili Pizza like this:

FRITOS Chili Pizza features Papa John’s signature hand tossed crust covered with chili sauce, real beef, fresh sliced onions & Roma tomatoes, a layer of cheddar & mozzarella cheese, then baked & finished with FRITOS Original Corn Chips for you to enjoy.

Fritos corn chips aren’t anything new in the industry since we’ve seen them in Taco Bell burritos and Subway sandwiches, but Fritos on top of a pizza?  Hey, I love Fritos… I think they’re underrated, but on a pizza I’m thinking the idea is a stretch.  Let’s review.

Fritos Chili Pizza 2How should I approach eating the Fritos Chili Pizza?  Should I pick at the Fritos a little first, should I dive right in?  This experience appeared to be very un-pizza like and that should not be in the least surprising.

Fritos Chili PizzaThe chili sauce and (minimal) seasoned ground beef layer the hand tossed crust like a paste and work as the base chili flavor with some mild heat. With a combination of cheddar and mozzarella cheese topping the chili/beef concoction, I was expecting to get a better feel for the fact that this is still a pizza.  What I was left with instead was the meal feeling like sub-par chili on top of a pizza crust.  A smattering of sliced onions and Roma tomatoes work to break up the texture and gives an attempt at a well-rounded chili experience.

Fritos PizzaTo top it all off, Fritos corn chips blanket the pizza and make the eating experience a little annoying.  Some Fritos are perfectly crunchy while others have lost some texture in the sauna-like pizza box.  The issue here is the chips are obviously applied last in the pizza-making process to attempt to preserve their texture.  Some chips get stuck to the melted cheese and lose their texture fast while the chips that kept their texture tend to slip off during the grubbing process.  The corn chip flavors are there and they aren’t doing much to add to the experience but become a nuisance.  After a couple of small slices, my mind was made up.  The Fritos Chili Pizza left me wanting a Fritos Chili Pie or just a regular pizza… not the combination of the two.

Fritos Pizza Papa JohnThe Fritos Chili Pizza is promo priced at $12 for a large for a limited time.  It’s an OK value if all you’re getting is the large Fritos Chili Pizza and nothing else, but getting this deal voids all other pizza specials.  I didn’t feel like risking $12 for a large pizza that I don’t want to finish so I bought a small for the same price… the non-promo price, so I can use a different “special” for more of a sure thing pizza choice.  Whatever the case, my decision wasn’t worth it.  I wasn’t a fan of this pizza and I’m just cringing at the thought of it now being leftovers.

Pros: Papa John's takes risks and keep things interesting.

Cons: Bad chili on a pizza crust. Mixed results from Fritos corn chip textures. This won't work as leftovers.

Taste: 4.00/10
Value: 3.75/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 3.25/10
Price: $12 for a small (promo price available, $12 for a large)

Overall GrubGrade: 3.75/10

More Info: papajohns.com
Nutrition Facts:
Not available

22 comments on “Review: Fritos Chili Pizza from Papa John’s

  1. Jacob Coleburn says:

    Looks a failed novelty. I can’t see widespread acceptance for this thing.

  2. M86 says:

    Yeah, this doesn’t sound or look very appetizing to me. And I could see this being a pain to eat, with Frito chips going everywhere. I’m sure they’ll get tons of complaints from people getting this delivered. Open the box, and the Fritos are all in one corner.

  3. Natalie says:

    My friend uses leftover chili to make a pizza similar to this, it’s not bad but it’s really just a way to eat leftovers a little differently. I can’t imagine making chili for the purpose of one..or ever ordering this. Gross.

  4. DuhMe says:

    Thanks for taking one for the team to confirm it tastes as bad as it looks.

  5. BigBelly says:

    LOL, they should try topping their crust with different brand pizza, is a 5 year old in charge of product development?

  6. serpico009 says:

    regular fritos instead of chili cheese? who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?

  7. kiana says:

    I actually tried it on a thin crust and really enjoyed it…. Don’t know what this guy is talking about to be honest.

  8. Jonathan Wayne says:

    No, hiring stoners for your product development team is a bad idea.

  9. rob says:

    Maybe Dominos will counter with a Dorito pizza

  10. Darrell Martinsen says:

    To each his own but I actually enjoyed this pizza. It’s not gourmet but it’s nice to have something different. I’m glad they’re at least trying to think out of the box. I wish it had more beef and I’m glad I ordered extra cheddar though.
    Ryan, I see this pizza being much more successful if they brought back their seasonal smoked sausage. It tastes a lot like hot dogs, so, voilà, chili cheese dog pizza! Wienerschnitzel take note!

  11. Can spend a good bit less than this, and get a Frito Pie at the Hard Times Café; I can’t see trying this one.

  12. Alex K. says:

    Insanely easy solution — ask for Fritos on the side.

  13. Eric Schneck says:

    People are talking about this thing like it’s puke on a plate, but I shared one with 2 co-workers and we all thought it was decent. Only complaint was that it is a bit bland. We added some sliced jalapeños to spice it up, but what it really needs is more seasoning in the chili sauce.

  14. mikal says:

    It’s idiotic to make a chilli chz Frito pizza and use the reg ones. They should make it a reg sausage pizza and put chilli chz Frito’s on it would be more reminiscent of the chilli chz Frito’s instead of a chilli pizza…but I digress

  15. Dee Edwardss says:

    Oh my smh….All it’s missing is a frank in the crust….*yikes* that’s probably next yuk!!!

  16. Dee Dee says:

    Oh my smh…the only thing it’s missing is a frank inside the crust lol. That just may be next…*yikes*

    • Dee Edwardss says:

      Oh my smh…All that is the only thing it’s missing is a frank inside the crust lol. That just may probably be next…*yikes* LOL

  17. Tommy says:

    I would not order again. Most of my family ate less than one slice. I would advise more work on the Chili. I like the idea of asking for the Freetos on the side.

  18. Cory says:

    I ordered it tonight. A two pizza “special” with a two-topping pizza (sausage and pineapple). Almost $30. PJs is expensive!

    As for the frito pizza, I liked it in a way. The flavors were good. This isn’t some grandpa living 100 miles east of El Paso. This is Papa John’s. John lives in Indiana, near the Kentucky line. I liked the mix of flavors a goodly amount.

    However, the chips presented the same issue documented my many of you all. Most of my chips were not at all anchored to the cheese. They added to the flavor profile, but they were falling off the pizza. I would have loved this if the cheese were on top, and the chips underneath somewhere (I do recognize the general complaint that some of the chips would get soggy, but it’s not something that really bothers me).

    I think I might try and make a pizza like this. I’ve been meaning to make a black bean chili in my crockpot. I can easily get a Boboli crust, too, and loads of cheese, Fritos, and all the rest of the ingredients. Cheese on top for me!

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