Chimichanga vs Burrito

The burrito and chimichanga are two dishes that you’ve definitely heard of if you enjoy Tex-Mex food. Although these two dishes are sometimes mistaken for one another, they are actually very distinct. There are clear distinctions between the two, despite the fact that both are constructed with a tortilla and filled with different fillings.

mexican food chimichanga

We’ll examine the distinctions between chimichangas and burritos in this article so you can choose your favorite.

The chimichanga and burrito have their roots in Mexico and the American southwest, respectively.

It is thought that Mexican immigrants brought burritos to the United States from northern Mexico.

On the other hand, chimichangas are thought to have originated in Arizona in the middle of the 20th century.

Although the precise beginning of the chimichanga is unknown, it is thought to have been a fortunate accident.

The chimichanga was created after a chef unintentionally slipped a burrito into the fryer.

After learning a little bit about these foods’ pasts, let’s examine how chimichangas and burritos differ from one another.

We will examine the distinctive qualities of each dish, starting with the components and ending with the preparation.

So whether you are an avid admirer of chimichangas or burritos, read on to find out more.

Key Takeaways

  • Burritos and chimichangas are both popular Tex-Mex dishes, but they have distinct differences.
  • The origins of these dishes can be traced back to Mexico and the southwestern United States.
  • The differences between chimichangas and burritos include the preparation method, ingredients, and serving style.


Traditional Mexican cuisine is combined with a little Texan flavor to create Tex-Mex cuisine.

Mexican beef burrito

The burrito and the chimichanga are two of the most recognizable elements of Tex-Mex cooking.

Both are similar in that they are encased in tortillas and feature comparable contents, but they also have clear distinctions that make them different from one another.

We shall examine the antecedents of both dishes in this section.

Chimichanga History

Although its beginnings are a little obscure, the most frequently recognized theory is that the chimichanga was created in Tucson, Arizona, in the early 1920s.

Traditional Mexican dish - chimichanga

A cook at the El Charro Cafe allegedly dropped a tortilla inadvertently into a deep fryer.

The chef made the choice to serve the damaged tortilla to the customers rather than discard it.

The chimichanga was created after the meal became an immediate hit.

The Spanish words “chimi” (toasted) and “changas” (monkeys) are thought to have inspired the English word “chimichanga”.

But some people think the phrase actually originates from Sonora, a state in Mexico, where it is slang for a mess or a mixture of materials.

Burrito History

Although the burrito’s roots are a little hazy, it is thought to have started in Northern Mexico in the early 1900s.

Breakfast vegetarian burrito wrap with omelette and vegetables on a plate

It is thought that the dish was named by the shape of the wrapped tortilla, which is said to resemble a donkey’s ear. The word “burrito” means “little donkey” in Spanish.

Originally, a burrito was only a flour tortilla stuffed with meat, cheese, and beans.

However, they have changed over time to now come with a wide range of ingredients, such as rice, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream.

Burritos began to acquire popularity in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, especially in California.

They are now a mainstay of Tex-Mex cooking and are offered on menus in eateries all throughout the nation.

Overall, Tex-Mex cuisine’s evolution is entwined with the histories of the chimichanga and the burrito.

Although the original origins of these meals are unknown, there is no denying their popularity and impact on American cuisine.


Chimichangas and burritos have many comparable ingredients, but they also differ in a few key ways that make them distinct.

Mexican chimichanga on white plate served with guacamole sauce

Burrito Ingredients

A large flour tortilla is frequently stuffed with a variety of ingredients, including rice, beans, cheese, meat, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, and other vegetables.

Depending on the region and the individual, the ingredients may change.

The San Diego style burrito, for instance, has fewer toppings and frequently simply has beef, pico de gallo, or guacamole.

Chimichanga Ingredients

Contrarily, chimichangas are frequently created using the same ingredients as burritos but are deep-fried or pan-fried to give them a crunchy texture.

The most popular type is deep-fried, and it’s frequently served drenched in sauces with sour cream and guacamole on the side.

Typically served hot on a plate, chimichangas are best consumed with a fork and knife.

Key Differences

The method of cooking is the primary distinction between the two.

Chimichangas are fried, giving them a crispy texture, while burritos are often served warm and wrapped in foil.

Additionally, whereas burritos are typically served with everything wrapped within, chimichangas are frequently served with sauces and toppings on the side.

In conclusion, while the ingredients in chimichangas and burritos are comparable, there are differences in the preparation and appearance.


There are a few significant differences to remember when making a chimichanga or burrito.

two beef burritos with rice, black beans and salsa


Typically, a burrito’s filling is combined and then wrapped in a tortilla.

This indicates that the burrito’s ingredients are dispersed evenly throughout.

On the other hand, the components of a chimichanga are often piled before being wrapped and fried. As a result, the taste and texture may differ slightly.

Cooking Method

Although burritos are typically served warm, they can also be consumed cold.

But traditionally, chimichangas are deep-fried, giving them a crunchy surface and a warm, gooey middle.

However, due to its healthy preparation method, air-fried or pan-fried chimichangas are also becoming more and more well-liked.


While chimichangas are typically served on a plate with toppings like sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on the side, burritos are frequently served as a portable meal.

This is due to the fact that eating a chimichanga with your hands can be challenging due to its crunchy skin.


Cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, and other toppings can both be used on chimichangas and burritos.

On the other hand, burritos typically come with everything mixed in, whereas chimichangas frequently come with more toppings on the side.

Time and Effort

Both burritos and chimichangas may be cooked at home, however because they are fried, chimichangas take a little longer to prepare.

Burritos are a fantastic choice for a quick lunch because they are simple to prepare quickly.

A chimichanga, on the other hand, can be well worth the extra work if you’re seeking for a crispy, decadent delight.

Nutritional Value

There are a few things to think about in terms of the nutritional content of chimichangas and burritos.

Mexican dish - chimichanga

Both dishes may include a lot of calories, fat, and sodium depending on the ingredients and cooking techniques employed.


Due to the deep-frying method, chimichangas typically have more calories than burritos.

While a burrito typically has between 300 and 600 calories, a regular chimichanga might have anywhere from 700 to 1,000 calories.

However, the calorie count can change based on the dish’s size and ingredients.


Chimichangas contain more fat than burritos since they are fried, which uses more oil.

Chimichangas can have up to 30 grams of fat per dish, but a burrito typically has 10 to 20 grams of fat.

The amount of fat in both dishes can be decreased by selecting leaner protein sources and minimizing extra fats like sour cream and cheese.


Because processed meats, canned beans, and other ingredients are used in chimichangas and burritos, they can both contain a lot of sodium.

Chimichangas can have up to 2,000 mg of sodium per serving, whereas burritos typically have 800 to 1,200 milligrams.

Choose fresh ingredients wherever possible, and use less salt and high-sodium condiments like soy sauce and spicy sauce.

Fiber and Protein

On the plus side, depending on the contents utilized, chimichangas and burritos can both be excellent providers of protein and fiber.

Lean meats like chicken or shrimp as well as vegetables, beans, and other lean foods can offer a good source of both nutrients.

The amount of fiber in the dish can also be increased by using whole grain tortillas.

Overall, choosing fresh, whole products and limiting added fats and sodium are the keys to maximizing nutritional value.

When consumed in moderation and with the proper fillings, chimichangas and burritos may both be a part of a balanced diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Homemade Chorizo Breakfast Burritos with Avocado and Pico

What is a chimichanga?

A chimichanga is a deep-fried burrito that originated in Tex-Mex cuisine. It typically contains a filling of rice, beans, cheese, and meat, which can range from carne asada and barbacoa to carnitas and shredded chicken. Chimichangas are usually served smothered in sauces with sour cream and guacamole on the side. They have a crisp exterior and a soft, chewy interior.

What is a burrito?

A burrito is a flour tortilla filled with a variety of ingredients, including meat, beans, rice, cheese, and vegetables. Unlike chimichangas, burritos are not deep-fried. They are usually served with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream on the side. Burritos have a soft, chewy texture and are typically wrapped in foil for easy handling.

What are the main differences between chimichangas and burritos?

The main difference between chimichangas and burritos is the cooking method. Chimichangas are deep-fried, while burritos are not. Chimichangas also tend to have a crisp exterior, while burritos have a soft, chewy texture. In terms of fillings, chimichangas usually contain a combination of rice, beans, cheese, and meat, while burritos can be filled with a wide variety of ingredients, including vegetables, meat, and beans.

Are chimichangas and burritos healthy?

Both chimichangas and burritos can be healthy or unhealthy depending on the ingredients used. If you opt for a filling that is high in protein and fiber, such as grilled chicken and black beans, and skip the sour cream and cheese, both chimichangas and burritos can be a nutritious meal. However, if you choose a filling that is high in fat and calories, such as deep-fried beef and cheese, both chimichangas and burritos can be a calorie bomb.

Which one should you choose?

Ultimately, the choice between a chimichanga and a burrito comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for a crispy, deep-fried treat, a chimichanga might be the way to go. If you prefer a soft, chewy texture and a wider variety of fillings, a burrito might be more your style. Whatever you choose, be mindful of the ingredients and portion sizes to ensure that you’re making a healthy choice.

Mexican chimichanga with salsa dip on a plate


Knowing the distinctions between a chimichanga and a burrito will help you choose which to order or prepare at home.

The chimichanga is the best option if you desire a crispy texture. It is deep-fried, which gives it a crispy, wonderful texture.

The tortilla is the better option, though, if you like a softer texture. It is soft and simple to eat because it is not fried.

Similar ingredients included in both recipes include rice, meat, vegetables, cheese, and salsa.

The chimichanga, on the other hand, is more frequently covered in sauces, sour cream, and guacamole.

The burrito might be the most nutrient-dense choice because it is not fried.

But it relies on the precise substances that are employed. Choose a burrito with grilled chicken or vegetables if you’re searching for a lower-calorie option.

Overall, each dish is delightful and filling in its own way. It all depends on your particular preferences and how you are feeling. Therefore, try both and decide which you prefer most.

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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.