I’ve been making variations of this chicken chimichangas recipe for years and we never get sick of it. We’ve passed the basic recipe around to many of our friends and its become a favorite for everyone. Not surprising though because these chimichangas are DELICIOUS! I love how simple they are to make, and how adaptable they are.
What is a chimichanga?
Chimichanga is a Mexican appetizer or entre that includes a tortilla filled with a meat or bean mixture, typically deep fried to make it crispy on the outside. Chimichangas are basically deep-fried burritos. They’re usually served topped with salsa, sour cream, or guacamole, and a side of Mexican rice.
When I make chimichangas, I prefer to bake them or pan fry them in a little bit of oil, because it’s healthier, and I don’t usually have time to go through the effort and mess it takes to deep fry them.
What is the difference between a burrito and a chimichanga?
Both burritos and chimichangas are popular Mexican recipes, and both are wrapped in a large flour tortilla. The biggest difference between the two dishes is that chimichangas are fried and burritos are not! Burritos also vary widely in terms of what is placed inside where chimichangas are usually filled with meat, beans, and cheese!
How to make Chimichangas:
Add cooked chicken, refried beans, salsa, cheese and spices to a large mixing bowl and combine until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
Divide the filling between the tortillas, placing a big spoonful on top of each. Fold it tightly, pulling the sides in, like a burrito.
At this point you can choose to bake them, toast them in a skillet, or deep fry them. Each of those methods will allow them to get a little crispy on the outside, just like we want them.
In place of the chicken you could substitute one pound cooked ground beef or ground turkey, steak, or add rice, corn or sautéed veggies to make them vegetarian.
Consider trying these popular Mexican recipes:
- 2 cups cooked chicken , chopped or shredded
- 1 can refried beans
- 1/2 cup salsa , your favorite kind
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves , crushed
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 cup shredded cheese , cheddar or Mexican blend
- 2 green onions , chopped
- 3 Tablespoons oil (vegetable or canola oil)
- 6 large flour tortillas
- Salsa, sour cream and guacamole , optional
- Cook chicken breasts in frying pan until tender and no longer pink. Allow to rest for a few minutes before chopping.
- Add refried beans, chicken, cheese, salsa, spices, and green onions to a mix bowl and mix to combine.
- Place about ½ cup of the chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla.
- Fold opposite sides over filling and roll up like a burrito.
- For baked chimichangas, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush chimichangas lightly with oil and bake for about 25 minutes, until golden and crispy.
- For pan fried chimichangas, heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil to skillet and place chimichangas seam side down. Turn lightly every 2-30 seconds until lightly golden on all sides.
- Serve warm, topped with salsa and sour cream and a side of Authentic Mexican Rice .
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I first shared this recipe March 2013. Updated May 2018.