Kitchen Tested: Skinny Chili Cheese Fries with Cilantro-Lime Pico

Skinny chili cheese fries with fresh pico

French fries = YUM. Street food, fried food, and most things chili + cheese…I’m in. (who’s with me?) But, my Nikes aren’t putting in many miles on the treadmill lately, so I’m trying to shave off a few calories where I can. Thus, the birth of these awesome, lightened up, chili cheese fries! These finger-licking fries are baked, and topped with hot turkey chili, cheese (low-fat if you want), and fresh tomato/sweet pepper/cilantro/lime pico.

Skinny Chili Cheese Fries Recipe – Why it works:

I’m still on the hunt for a really good oven-baked french fry. So many recipes claim their oven-baked fries are “the crispiest,” or “the very best”…mmm hmm… In my opinion, if you’re looking for the crispiest, very best fry, it’s fried! As you’d expect, the baking method has a completely different affect on a potato than the frying method. (The French Fry Test remains atop my massive list of must-do blog posts – stay tuned.) But when you’re loading your fries up with toppings, oven-baked works just fine. Especially when it means I can knock off early on the treadmill. 😉

Skinny Chili Cheese Fries with Sweet Pepper & Cilantro-Lime Pico

  • Servings: I'm not judging (but probably 3)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


For the fries:

  • 3 Russet potatoes, washed and cut into sticks (~1/4 inch wide)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder

For the pico:

  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 2-3 Tbs finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 c chopped sweet pepper (orange or yellow)
  • 2 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • kosher salt & cracked pepper to taste


  • 1-1/2 c turkey chili
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c Monterey cheese
  • light sour cream (optional)
  • avocado (optional)


  1. Put potato “sticks” in large bowl and cover with cold water. Put bowl in fridge and let potatoes hang out for 1-2 hours while you go do something fun.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 425F.
  3. While oven is heating, make Pico. In a small bowl, mix together the tomato, onion, pepper, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, and salt & pepper.
  4. Remove potatoes from water and pat dry with a paper towel. Put potatoes on a sheet pan, and drizzle oil on top. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chipotle chili powder and toss with your hands to coat.
  5. Arrange the potatoes in one even layer – do not over-crowd the pan. (You’ll probably need 2 pans.)
  6. Bake the fries for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully flip fries. Return to oven and bake another 15-20 minutes as needed until fries are golden and crisp.
  7. Add toppings and enjoy!

Loaded chili cheese fries, lightened up

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