What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear Tex-Mex? Well, for me, there is nothing better than enjoying some guacamole and sour cream corn tortilla for dinner. Yummy!
But which Mexican dish should you choose? In this article, I will give you the key differences between chimichanga vs burrito. I’ll tell you all about these two types of Mexican cuisine.
Welcome to the battle of the giants!
• How are Chimichangas made?
Chimichangas are made with flour tortillas, filled with meat, cheese, or other ingredients, and then deep-fried. Needless to say, deep frying (possibly in a deep fryer) is what sets them apart from other Northern Mexico dishes.
• How is Chimichanga served?
They are often served in a burrito with beans, rice, and salsa. Chimichangas are meant to be eaten with a fork and a knife.
• The origin story of Chimichanga
“The origin story that Flin’s great-grand-niece Carlotta Flores grew up on involved Flin sometime in the late 1940s or early ’50s whipping up a midnight snack in the kitchen, when one of the many nieces she was babysitting bumped into her, thus dislodging the bean burrito she was holding.
‘It flew up in the air and ended up in the vat of hot oil,’ says Flores, the current owner of El Charro. To protect the ears of her young, pajama-clad charges, the story goes, Tía Monica censored her own frustration and instead of barking out a well-known expletive in Spanish, she “twisted it around so the word came out ‘chimichanga.’” (1)
• How are Burritos made?
The most common type of burrito is originally made of a flour tortilla (a small wrap) with two or three ingredients. Burrito fillings include meat, cheese, vegetables, and more. Burritos are wrapped in a large leaf that is fried before being served.
• How is Burrito served?
Burritos have an open-faced design. They are tightly rolled into a burrito shape which allows for easier eating. This is the reason why people often prefer to eat it with their hands.
• 3 popular theories on the origin of burrito
1. “Juan Méndez, a street vendor in Chihuahua, Mexico, invented the burrito. During the Mexican Revolution in the 1910s, Méndez decided to wrap his food in flour tortillas to keep it warm and transport it on his small donkey. He then realized that wrapping the food in a tortilla was tasty and a good way to serve it.” (2)
2. “People from a northwestern state of Mexico, called Sonora, invented the burrito because of its mobility. Burritos in Mexico at the time were not as stuffed and full as they are today in the United States, so they were extremely easy to travel with. This influenced the burrito’s name because it was the donkey’s sidekick in travel.” (2)
3. “The burrito was invented in Ciudad Juárez in the 1940s by a street vendor. He portioned the food and wrapped it in a tortilla, making it appropriate for school children, whom he derogatively referred to as “burritos” because he believed they were unintelligent.” (2)
CHIMICHANGA Vs BURRITO: 7 Key Differences
Now for the most important question: What is the difference between a burrito and chimichangas?
1. Oil frying
Don’t worry, you are not the only one who gets confused over the question burrito vs chimichangas. The main difference everyone sees at first is that chimichangas are oil fried.
Chimichanga is a Mexican dish made with deep-fried tortillas, usually filled with cheese and meat. Burrito is also a Mexican dish that is wrapped in a large, soft tortilla.
When making chimichangas, you put a large tortilla in hot oil. This is how it gets its brownish color. You can use this to set them apart.
Let’s face it, neither a burrito nor a chimichanga is a Carne asada when it comes to health. Still, how healthy something is can be a key factor in determining whether you want to eat it or not.
A chimichanga is generally considered to be less healthy than a burrito because it contains more calories. In fact, it is fried, and that itself makes it less healthy.
The difference between the two dishes is that a burrito is wrapped in a large flour tortilla, while the filling for the chimichanga includes cheese, beans, and meat.
The difference between the two is that a chimichanga has only one kind of filling, while a burrito has many kinds.
Chimichangas are stuffed with beans, rice, and cheese. Burritos are wrapped around a filling of meat (usually beef), vegetables, or both.
DISCLAIMER: Still, you can put different ingredients into both your chimichangas and burritos. These can be machaca, pico de Gallo, refried beans, guacamole, enchilada sauce, or sour cream.
Sauces are a critical aspect of any good meal. In this case, they make all the difference between chimichangas and burritos.
The main difference is that the sauce in the chimichanga is on top of the filling while the sauce in the burrito is mixed with the filling.
This means that, with a serving of chimichangas, you get some enchilada sauce on the side. While with burritos, you get your sauces as a dip or inside your tortilla.
5. How to eat them
When eating a chimichanga vs burrito, it’s much clearer where the difference lies. In fact, this is a clear-cut contrast and will depend on the type of food you want to eat.
You eat the burrito with your hands. The opposite goes for chimichangas since you eat them with a knife and fork.
PRO TIP: If you don’t want to get your hands dirty or if you prefer to use a knife and fork when eating, it’s better to choose chimichangas. However, if you’re looking for something on the go, a burrito is your best bet.
Another difference between a chimichanga and a burrito lies in their colors. A chimichanga is deep fried and has many ingredients, whereas the burrito is made with flour tortillas wrapped around meat or beans.
Chimichangas are deep-fried, and burritos are baked. Since this is the case, the chimichanga gets brown and appears crunchy. On the other hand, the baked burrito is light and extra soft.
This is why they call the chimichangas an el charro (dark cowboy) and the burrito a little donkey.
Last but not least is my favorite criterion. In fact, this is the best way to tell whether you are dealing with a chimichanga vs burrito. As mentioned above, the first kind is fried, and the second kind is baked.
This means a burrito is made from a soft tortilla. Of course, this depends on the style of burrito. If you are dealing with a wet burrito, it will be extra soft.
A chimichanga is fried in an air fryer or deep fryer. This means it is crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside.
Trust Your Taste Buds
Imagine you’re at a Mexican restaurant, and you are in the Tex-Mex cuisine section. In the past, you didn’t know the difference between chimichanga vs burrito. Now, it’s all different. You know how to choose your favorite dish and whether you also want some veggies on the side.
In the end, when it comes to choosing which type of crispy snack you want to enjoy tonight, it’s all up to you. Enjoy the melted cheese and enchilada sauce!
See also: Enchilada Vs Burrito: One Spicy Mexican Comparison
1. Los Angeles Times (2016), Where did the chimichanga, the glorious deep-fried burrito, come from anyway?, accessed 6 March 2023, https://lat.ms/3mvds2T
2. High Tide Taco Bar (2020), Why is it Called a Burrito?, accessed 6 March 2023, https://bit.ly/3F1QDtU