foods and cuisines

Chimichanga | A culinary adventure that’ll take your taste buds on a journey to Mexico


Chimichanga comes from the southern US and is essentially a deep-fried burrito. This Tex-Mex dish, especially popular in Arizona, usually features a flour tortilla filled with rice, beans, cheese and meat, then rolled up and fried.

carne seca, barbacoa, ground beef, carnitas and shredded chicken, are commonly used meats, but you can choose any meat you like or go vegetarian or vegan. Almost any cheese will do. Black beans, pinto beans, and refried beans are the most common beans used for this dish. Once the tortilla is filled, the chimichanga is wrapped tightly into a rectangular shape and fried until golden brown. You can top it with guacamole, salsa or any dressing of your choice.

Chimichangas’ best and most addictive characteristics are their crunchy shells. Chimichanga fillings vary widely, but the crispy shell is the hallmark of this dish.

You can achieve that crispiness by baking, frying or air frying them. These Mexican delights are packed with complex flavours and are easier to make than you’d think. Plus, they’re hugely filling and will keep you going until your next meal.

Alternative names:  Chivichanga
Type: Burrito
Place of origin: Tucson, Arizona
Southwestern United States

Main ingredients: Tortillas, rice, cheese, beans, machaca, jalapeño, carne adobada or shredded chicken

Chimichanga Recipe

Traditional chimichangas are deep-fried, but many prefer to make them in the oven to reduce the amount of oil used. Our step-by-step guide will show you how to make pan-fried chimichangas and the healthier version in the oven.

Ingredients of chimichanga

  • Cooked and shredded chicken
  • Chilli powder
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Salsa
  • Jack cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Green onions
  • Refried beans
  • Burrito-size tortillas
  • Olive oil

How to make pan-fried chimichanga


Over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil to a medium-sized skillet.

Place the chimichanga seam side down.

Fry on each side for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

How to make chimichanga in the oven

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Using a medium mixing bowl, combine chicken, chilli powder, cumin, paprika, salt, salsa, cheese, cream cheese and green onions.

Step 2

To assemble the chimichangas, place 2 tablespoons of refried beans on each tortilla about 2 inches from the edges. Add about 1/2 cup of shredded chicken to the centre.

Step 3

On a baking sheet, fold the sides of the tortillas in and roll up the bottom. Place seam side down.

Step 4

Brush the tops with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

What to serve with chimichanga

You can serve chimichangas with a variety of Mexican side dishes. Traditionally, chimichangas are served with lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, salsa and/or sour cream. In contrast to other Mexican-inspired wraps, these cold ingredients are typically piled on top or on the side.

Nutritional value

According to data presented by the United States Department of Agriculture, a typical 183-gram (6.5-ounce) serving of a beef and cheese chimichanga contains 443 calories, 20 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, 23 grams total fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 51 milligrams cholesterol, and 957 milligrams of sodium.

What is chimichanga in English?

Chi·mi·changas Mexican Cooking. a crisp, often deep-fried tortilla containing a spicy filling of pork, chicken, etc., usually served as an appetizer with sour cream, salsa, melted cheese.

What are chimichanga made of?

El Charro claims the chimichanga was created when a burrito was accidentally dropped in a deep fryer. The name ‘chimichanga’ is said to be the result of the restaurant’s owner stopping herself from cursing at her mistake, as the word ‘chimichanga’ literally translates to ‘thingamajig’ in Spanish.
Traditionally, a chimichanga is filled with a combination of rice, beans, meat and cheese, similar to a burrito. You can opt for seasoned Mexican-style rice or yellow rice or even plain white rice. As for the beans, refried beans, black beans or pinto beans are traditional.

Are Chimichanga healthy to eat?

The dish has more than 1,500 calories and 93 grams of fat. Factor in toppings like guacamole and sour cream, and you’ll get most of your day’s calories and sodium in one meal. And research shows that a diet high in fried foods can raise your chances of diabetes and heart disease.

How long to heat up chimichanga?

How to Reheat a Chimichanga. Reheating leftover chimichangas is quite easy in the oven or toaster oven. Simply preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350F and bake for 5-10 minutes until the outside is crispy again and the inside filling is warm.
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