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14 Must-try Chipotle Menu Items

If you’re anything like me, sometimes after a long day at work, the thought of cooking for myself, or even waiting for my food at a nice restaurant, is just not something I’m willing to deal with. I want something quick, delicious, and nutritious – and the Chipotle menu has all of those things!

Chipotle Restaurant

At times like this, I turn to one of my favorite fast-food chains, Chipotle. With over 2,700 locations in the United States alone, this is an accessible and affordable fast food restaurant that serves Mexican-inspired food.

They are dedicated to serving meals made with fresh, quality ingredients and sourced from ethical suppliers. 

The question remains, which are the best Chipotle orders? They have a fairly extensive menu that can be customized to your preference with an assortment of meats, toppings, and sides.

Take a look at the following list of items on the Chipotle menu and see if you agree with my take on the best orders.

Chicken Bowl

In my opinion, one of the best orders at Chipotle is a simple and classic one.

A burrito bowl made with their signature Adobo-marinated diced chicken is a nutritious and filling meal suitable for any time of day. 

The adobo marinade is incredible. It is made by combining white vinegar, soy sauce, peppercorn, garlic, and bay leaves, among other spices.

The meat is left to rest in this marinade for a minimum of eight hours, typically overnight, before being cooked in the marinade until the meat is ready to eat.

This bowl comes with your choice of white or brown rice, black or pinto beans, and fajita vegetables. You can also top it with your choice of guacamole, lettuce, different salsas, shredded cheese, queso, or sour cream. 

Personally, I always double up on the chicken and veggies and top with pinto beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, and cheese. It costs a little extra to get twice the protein, but the extra helps get me through the long afternoon. 


Chipotle guacamole is made with only six ingredients: avocados, lime juice, chopped cilantro, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and kosher salt.

When combined in the appropriate amounts with a large metal whisk, the result is a thick, creamy, incredibly delicious guac that is the perfect addition to any dish on the menu. 

It may cost a little bit extra to add to your meal, but in my opinion, it’s worth every penny. I particularly enjoy guacamole on burrito bowls and salads.

I also think it pairs exceptionally well with the pico de gallo salsa and the salsa verde. 

Queso Blanco

Early in 2020, Chipotle released their new queso Blanco, a smooth and creamy cheese dip made with thirteen ingredients.

The dip is made with aged Monterey Jack and white cheddar cheeses, in addition to tomato, garlic, and three different peppers for added spice.

It dramatically surpasses their original queso’s quality and has a much more pleasant texture. 

I love their queso Blanco on salads or bowls. It tastes excellent on handheld items like tacos or regular burritos as well—just be prepared for a little more mess. 

Barbacoa Bowl

Barbacoa, which is Spanish for “barbecue,” is a style of cooking meat that originated in Mexico.

It involves slow cooking the spiced meat, traditionally lamb or goat, until it is juicy and tender. Chipotle’s barbacoa is made with a beef shoulder that has a spicy, garlicky taste to it and is slow-cooked for up to eight hours. 

I like to mix it up with the barbacoa bowl by swapping out black beans for pinto beans and adding lettuce, salsa verde, which has a mild taste, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream.

I think the barbacoa’s texture is incredible, and the flavor combination with all of the toppings is genuinely phenomenal. 

Of all the proteins available at Chipotle, the barbacoa is my favorite, hands down. 

Carnitas Bowl

The main protein in the carnitas bowl is the carnitas, a mild-tasting braised pork that is marinated and braised for hours.

Carnitas are braised until they are so tender that they can then be shredded by hand, which provides a nice texture in every bite I find enjoyable in a burrito bowl.

Although carnitas isn’t typically spicy, they are packed with flavor and incredibly filling.

At 210 calories per serving, they are also the protein choice with the highest calorie content.

They pair nicely with any of the toppings you could add to your burrito bowl, but I prefer to add fresh pico de gallo and pinto beans to mine. 

Carnitas Taco

Alternatively, the carnitas taco is another excellent order at Chipotle.

All tacos at Chipotle come with your choice of grilled protein in either a soft-shell or hard-shell taco, and of course, whatever toppings you enjoy.

You can also choose how many tacos you want to enjoy. If you’re in the mood for a snack, go for one. If you’re hungry for a full meal, I would order three. 

As for my tortilla preferences, I tend to mix them up depending on my mood. Soft-shell tacos feel more authentic, although I do love the satisfying crunch of a hard-shell taco.

I find my taco fillings stay in place with either choice. That’s especially important if you’re taking your tacos to go. 

Cheese Quesadilla

It doesn’t get much simpler or more delicious than a cheese quesadilla.

Chipotle’s quesadillas always deliver, providing that satisfying blend of crispy flour tortilla and warm, gooey cheese.

The shredded cheese at Chipotle is a mix of Monterey Jack and white cheddar, which has a nice, sharp flavor that gives this simple dish plenty of dimensions. 

All quesadillas at Chipotle come with your choice of three sides, including their various salsas, sour cream, and guacamole.

I recommend one to two dips, such as salsa and sour cream, and a heartier side like beans to make the meal more filling. 

Chicken Burritos

Somedays, I just crave a giant burrito, filled to bursting with meat, cheese, and veggies.

Chipotle’s burritos, specifically their chicken burritos, are always a great order.

All burritos are made with your choice of protein, rice, beans, and veggies, wrapped up tight in a soft, warm flour tortilla.

I prefer the fresh tomato salsa or the roasted chili-corn salsa in my burritos. They pair nicely with the adobo flavor of the chicken, and they aren’t as runny as the tomatillo-based salsas.

Fajita Veggies

The fajita veggies are another great side that can make for a great order with just some rice and beans.

This mix consists of grilled red and green bell peppers, onions, and fresh oregano.

In addition to packing a nutritional punch, they also have a fantastic grill taste that goes well with any protein choices.

If you are a vegetarian, the fajita veggies are the perfect topping for you. 

Quesadilla Burritos

Quesadilla burritos, also known as the “quesarito,” are a secret Chipotle menu item many don’t know about.

It is a cheese quesadilla that encircles a burrito.

The result is an intimidatingly large dish that absolutely cannot be eaten gracefully with anything but a fork and knife.

However, it is hearty, cheesy, and tastes too good to be true. 

From my experience, it doesn’t look like the easiest dish to put together, so be sure to thank your server profusely if you order this. 

Salad with Chicken

If you’re trying to be more health-conscious, or maybe just not in the mood for a heavy meal, Chipotle offers some incredible salads I recommend.

All salads are made with a base mix of romaine lettuce, baby spinach, and baby kale.

To customize your salad further, add beans, queso Blanco, guac, or any of their sauces and veggies.

Alternatively, you could also dress the salad with their signature Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette. 

The salad topped with chicken is a go-to of mine on days I know I’m going to be eating a big, heavy dinner or if I indulged a bit too much on the weekend. It’s filling and nutritious.

Depending on the other toppings you choose, a salad with chicken has an average of about 195 calories. 

Vegan Sofritas

Chipotle has several protein options for those that don’t eat meat or animal products.

One of those options is the sofritas, or shredded tofu, that many vegans enjoy in place of chicken, barbacoa, or carnitas.

Chipotle’s sofritas are braised in a myriad of spices, as well as roasted poblano peppers and chilies, which gives them a warm flavor with a little bit of a kick. 

Even as a non-vegan, I can appreciate the flavor and satiety factor the sofritas at Chipotle offer. I think they taste wonderful on everything from burritos to tacos. 

Vegan Chorizo Burrito Bowl

In addition to the sofritas, Chipotle offers plant-based chorizo for their vegan and vegetarian guests to customize their dishes with.

The chorizo is made with pea protein, and in addition to being packed with rich flavors of chipotle peppers, garlic, and smoked paprika, it offers up to 16 grams of protein per serving. 

The plant-based chorizo is on the higher end calorically, with 220 calories per serving and 6 grams of fiber.

As a plant-based protein, it also has a higher carb content in a four-ounce serving, which traditional proteins don’t usually have. 

Salad with Steak

Chipotle also offers steak as a protein option, and another salad favorite of mine is to top my healthy, nutritious meal with a serving of cubed steak.

The steak is marinated in an adobo sauce, like their chicken, and is actually the spiciest meat available at Chipotle. 

Although this may seem like a simple order in a menu packed with great options, I find that the simplicity is what makes it great.

The steak is tender and juicy and has a rich flavor that elevates the vegetable base of a salad. 

In the world of fast food, Chipotle wears the crown for serving great, high-quality food. Not only do they believe in using ethically-minded suppliers, but they also use organic produce and fresh ingredients that taste good.

Furthermore, they are an excellent restaurant for various dietary preferences, with plant-based proteins to suit both vegans and vegetarians. 

Of course, there are other great fast food restaurants out there to try.

Do you agree with our choices for the best orders at Chipotle? Let us know in the comments! 

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.