Who Invented Chili Cheese Fries


Chilli cheese fries are french fries that are covered with chilli and cheese. They are a fast food favorite and are simply delicious. Of course as with all great dishes determining who it is that is responsible for the first ever is a bit difficult.

Everyone wants to take credit for creating this tasty dish so tracking down the actual origin is hard. There are a few different origin stories. We do know that Chili Cheese Fries were being offered frozen as early as 1975.

Austin Ruse’s name gets thrown around a lot as the first to ever serve chilli cheese fries out of a Dairy Queen in Missouri. They never became a part of the menu but could be specially ordered. Some experts believe that cheese fries became popular after that famous cheese in a can showed up on super market shelves in 1956. Cheez Whiz was being sprayed on french fries at home according to some foodies and adding chili was just a natural progression.

The Texas Version of the Story

If you ask someone from Texas where chili cheese fries got their start they will mention Don a Jenkins as the fellow that invented chili cheese fries. The legend is that the 16 year old Mr. Jenkins was eating lunch at the local Dairy Queen in Tomball Texas and he made the concoction to quickly get through his meal.

The Michigan Version of the Story

In Michigan two young waitresses started the trend when they combined the ingredients and it just took off. The restaurant was Hefy’s Coney Island in Michigan. This is a very popular version of the invention but cannot be substantiated.

What We Do Know

Texas, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia all take the credit for creating chili cheese fries. They are served a bit differently in each state. Texas diners and restaurants throw some jalapeno’s in the mix. New York serves theirs with cheese (either cheddar or mozzarella) brown gravy and chili. Philadelphia serves their chili cheese fries with Monterey jack cheese and chili. Chicago uses chili con carne and cheddar cheese.

We also know that there are roughly 10 fast food chains that offer chili cheese fries on the menu. Most of the historical record concerning chili cheese fries somehow incorporated the Dairy Queen Restaurant chain into the tale so it very likely was served on the menu of the Dairy Queen close to first