Chimichangas VS Burritos: What’s The Difference?

If you think Chimichangas and Burritos are similar cuisine but served differently, think again because the facts might surprise you!

Chimichangas VS Burritos – What’s the Difference? The most notable difference between these wraps is that the burrito is simply a tortilla folded around multiple ingredients and is easily hand-picked. In contrast, chimichangas are fried burritos served on a plate with sour cream sauce and need a fork-knife to wind up the task.

How were they named? The history of these Mexican cuisines? And what’s their nutritional value? Dive in to get all the answers!

What Are Burritos And Chimichangas?

Chimichanga VS Burrito – Which Is Best?

A burrito is Mexican and Tex-Mex food. It’s a flour tortilla wrapped around several ingredients, usually minced meat and beans as the main ones. Other than that, the ingredients often include rice, cheese, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, crema, and salsa. These Mexican wraps may look like tacos, but they are opposite to them.

You can warm the burrito or make it grilled to soften it. As burritos are well packed, there is no need for a knife, fork, or plate unless you eat a “Wet Burrito.” Because it is served with tasty sauces, it’s not possible to hold a wet burrito with your hands. There are many types of modern burritos, such as wet burrito, burrito bowl, fajita burrito. You can eat these Mexican wraps during breakfast, lunch, or in the evening. 

Burrito is a Spanish word that means ‘Little Donkey.’ There are many theories behind the soft tortilla’s name, but unfortunately, not even one is supported by evidence. 

A chimichanga is known as a Mexican-American cuisine from the southern region of the U.S. Chimichangas are deep-fried burritos served decently on a plate with toppings like cheese, salsa, or smashed avocado. 

It comprises a flour tortilla that encircles many ingredients, including meat, rice, beans, vegetables, and salsa. The modern chimichangas include Chicken chimichanga, chocolate-hazelnut and banana chimichanga, pork chimichangas, and more. 

The meaning of deep-fried chimichanga is complicated. This word is perhaps an altered version of the Mexican curse word ‘Thingamajig.’ The words ‘Chimichanga’ and ‘Thingamajigs’ have similar characters and this could be true that the name of fried-burrito is derived from a curse word.

Origin Of Burrito

Burritos originated in Mexico. But the history of how and who invented it is still blurry. There are excellent folk tales behind the creation of this Mexican dish. 

One of these tales says: A man named Juan Mendez used to sell big-sized tacos between 1910 and 1921. He had a little donkey whom he used as transport for him and his food. And he used to wrap his food in homemade flour tortillas as he found the food more soft and delicious this way. Eventually, the “Food of the Little Donkey” (“Food of Burrito”) became popular, and the big-size tacos became “Burritos.” 

Another folk tale is: A man named Ciudad Juárez used to sell street food in the 1940s. He created tortilla wraps (burritos) to sell to poor children near a middle school. He would call these children by the name “Burrito” (derived from Burro meaning fool or idiot). The term “Burrito” then ultimately shifted to food despite having a disrespectful base.

Origin Of Chimichanga 

Chimichanga is a famous Mexican cuisine of the southwest region of the United States. This deep-fried burrito originated in Tucson, Arizona, where it is still admired. The Mexican food restaurants in Arizona often clash over HOW and WHO created the chimichanga. 

One story behind the origin of chimichanga is: One day, Monica Flin of the ‘El Charro Cafe of Tucson’ got vexed when she accidentally tossed a burrito into the deep fryer. She was about to say ‘Thingamajig,’ which is probably a curse word in Spanish, but changed it to ‘Chimichanga’ in a hurry as there were kids in the kitchen with her. And that’s how chimichanga was accidentally invented in 1922.

Another famous story goes like this: Woody Johnson of ‘Macayo’s Mexican Restaurant’ claimed in 1946 that he is the actual inventor of chimichanga. He would deep fry the unsold burritos and sell them with the name “Toasted Monkeys.” It was because, after frying, the burritos turned a golden brown – the color of a monkey. And ‘Changa’ in chimichanga means ‘Monkey.’ That’s how he invented chimichangas. 

Though, both these stories hold equal value, there is yet nothing to prove these theories correctly. So far, you can consider chimichangas as not a Mexican dish but somewhat only related to Mexico’s flavors.

The Difference In Texture And Nutrition 

Scrolling down to this part, you now must be able to tell apart a burrito and a chimichanga. If it still confuses you, a fried burrito with a crisp exterior served on a plate is a chimichanga. At the same time, if you’re holding a tortilla wrap in hand and it feels softer from the outside, it’s a burrito. Pretty simple? Yes!

Apart from texture, the very next difference is their origin. Burritos are initially from Mexico and are most popular in the Northern region. Chimichangas are from a U.S. state known as Arizona. Both chimichangas and burritos are now worldwide favorites.

There is a considerable amount of calories in chimichangas and burritos. You can consider burritos a healthy food only if you have wisely chosen the ingredients that add high nutritional value to your burritos as it’s an all-perfect meal your body needs. Considering that, the beans in a bean burrito are rich in fiber and lower high cholesterol levels.

On the contrary, chimichangas can not be considered a healthy treat. A single dish provides 1500 calories approx. It is because chimichanga is first deep-fried and then topped with all heavy stuff like sour cream, guacamole, and other sauces. A cuisine having so many calories may increase the possibility of heart disease and diabetes. 

Ingredients Of A Burrito

Vegetarian burritos contain rice, beans, potatoes, and iceberg lettuce inside their soft tortilla wraps. Meat-filled burritos also have rice and beans. 

It depends upon you which type of meat you would like in your burrito. Besides choosing the kind of meat, you can switch between brown or white rice. The additional ingredients include salsa, cheese, chipotle sauce, and guacamole.

Ingredients Of A Chimichanga

Meat is an essential ingredient of a chimichanga that mixes up with one or two other elements. You can use different types of meat, for example, dried beef, marinated meat, minced or shredded chicken, and dried meat. 

Alongside meat, add cheese, rice, and beans to your chimichanga. Salsa, guacamole, and sour cream are generally served on the side of a fried burrito. 

How To Tightly Wrap A Burrito? 

Are you tired of eating a burrito that comes apart every time you take a bite? Here is a stepwise method that will help you tightly wrap your burrito and enjoy its heavenly flavor with no fear of falling apart. 

  1. Slightly warm the wraps: Warm the tortilla wraps in a frying pan, oven, or microwave. It will help to roll them quickly.
  2. Add fillings and toppings: In the center of the wrap, add a fair amount of Chicken, beans, rice filling. Then top this filling with guacamole or chopped avocado, salsa, and grated cheese. 
  3. Fold the wrap: Now carefully fold in the two ends of tortilla wrap over the filling and press it lightly. And then fold the bottom and top end over the filling to wrap it up like an envelope completely. 
  4. Use aluminum foil: Tightly cover this wrapped burrito with aluminum foil to secure the ingredients. Use this method for the rest of the burritos. (TIP: If you don’t have aluminum foil, simply give a gentle press to the wrapped burrito over a warm grill pan to set it.)


Is chimichanga just a fried burrito?

To be precise, a chimichanga is a deep-fried burrito having a crispy exterior with a soft interior. It is usually served with queso, cheese, and sour cream sauce on top.

Can you get food poisoning from a burrito?

Yes, you probably can because burritos are full of cooked proteins, raw vegetables, and tortillas. These ingredients can cause bacterial contamination during the preparation process, which is highly unhealthy.

Can you eat a cold burrito?

Yes, you can eat cold burritos as it is entirely safe and they taste good too. Some people fear that it will contaminate them, but that is a different case.

What is the healthiest Mexican food?

Healthy Mexican cuisines include bean burritos, yummy soft tacos, chicken fajitas, and other grilled chicken dishes. As you are aiming for health, it’s better to avoid crispy fried Mexican food.

Can you fry a frozen burrito?

Yes, you can. But before frying, make sure the burritos are defrosted. After that, deep fry each side for 3 to 5 minutes until the burrito is golden brown.

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