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Chimichanga vs Burrito: The 6 Differences You Need To Know

When you are in the mood for something delicious and savory you might want to go for some popular Mexican food, but which one will you choose burrito or chimichanga? Are those two even different things?

This is one of the burning questions we are answering today. If you are not sure what is the difference between a chimichanga and a burrito, you’re not alone. That’s why we’ll discover what makes each so delicious and unique together.

Let’s jump right into today’s tasty duel and see how burrito and chimichanga are different.

What is a burrito?

Burrito is one of the most famous Mexican dishes that have a flour tortilla and different stuffing inside. While this might be one popular dish there are many variations on the original recipe that was created in Mexico.

Throughout its history, burritos changed size and ingredients and you can find large tortillas filled with beans, guacamole, and meat, along with many other ingredients, and they are all known as burritos. 

They soon became so popular in America that they are served at famous fast-food restaurants and on the street. But what makes this wrap so irresistible? Keep on reading to find out more.

How are burritos made?

Burrito has come a long way since it was originally made as a small wrap with two or three ingredients. The burrito we all love and know today is much bigger and with so many condiments that you have to try your best not to get any on your shirt.

But, what kinds of burritos are there?

  1. Traditional burrito: before it became famous in the United States burrito was made in Mexico with small tortillas filled with two ingredients between meat, rice, cheese, potatoes, or sauce.
  2. San Francisco-style burrito: this is one of the most famous styles of burrito in the US. It’s larger than the original and has a combination of some ingredients among beans, cheese, meat, guacamole, and lettuce, depending on the cook.
  3. San Diego style burritos: burritos from San Diego have fewer ingredients and besides meat, you would usually find pico de gallo or guacamole.
  4. California burrito:  California burrito has added fries and cheese, so it might be a special blend of a few cuisines. You can still find them with meat, guacamole, and pico de gallo or Salsa Fresca.

No matter which burrito you chose as your favorite, you can’t go wrong. This delicious tortilla filled with meat and cheese will leave you full and happy for a long time.

How is burrito served?

Burrito is usually considered fast food and as such it’s packed to eat on the go.

The tortilla is filled with the desired ingredients and tightly rolled into a burrito shape. Once the burrito is made it’s usually packed in foil and eaten on the spot. The best way to eat a burrito is with your hands while it’s still hot, with the cheese melting in your mouth.

This might sound messy, but in reality, it only adds to the whole eating experience of one fine burrito.

What is a chimichanga?

Many people will define chimichanga as a fried burrito, and they wouldn’t be wrong but there are a few more things that make this dish unique.

The history of chimichanga brings us back to Arizona even though people assume it’s from Mexico. Many foodies around the world consider the deep frying part to be a contribution to American cuisine. 

Just like burritos, chimichangas are made from flour tortillas and fillings, but then the entire thing is placed in hot oil and deep-fried. Considering this additional step in preparing the ingredients, the ingredients for chimichanga are a bit different too.

How are chimichangas made?

Chimichangas begin with one big flour tortilla and there are a few ingredients added like slow-cooked meat and peppers. There are not so many variations of chimichangas but you can add what you want to the wrap.

However, this is not the end of preparation as chimichangas are then fried in oil.

Once they become golden-brown and crispy chimichangas are topped off with some kind of dressing. This usually means cheese, sour cream, guacamole, or even enchilada sauce.

How is chimichanga served?

Chimichangas might be just a fried burrito, but they are served on a plate and coated in different toppings. They are meant to be eaten with a fork and a knife, with added condiments on the side. 

Since not all ingredients that go into burritos are good for deep frying if you want to prepare chimichangas you can add them later.

What is the difference between a burrito and a chimichanga?

Now that we are familiar with these staple tortilla wraps you might wonder what is the difference between a burrito and chimichanga. Don’t worry, you are not the only one who gets confused with varieties of international food.

This is why we compiled the ultimate list of differences that will make you the expert on the matter. Here is what to pay attention to when you are looking for the fine distinction between these dishes.

1. Preparation

One of the biggest differences, when we are talking about burritos and chimichangas, is the preparation. No matter if you are making them on your own or ordering them, the two dishes will be prepared in different ways.

Burrito will have the flour tortilla filled with different ingredients and tightly wrapped. On the other hand, a chimichanga will be assembled and then fried in oil.

This additional step will make the two completely different in the end, even if you use similar ingredients.

Some people love the fresh burrito while others prefer crunchy chimichangas. You won’t go wrong with any choice.

2. Ingredients

The first thing you think about when someone mentions burritos or chimichangas are the delicious tortillas, but the inside filling will be different most of the time.

Burritos have meat, beans, eggs, cheese, rice, potatoes, vegetables, guacamole, lettuce, and salsa. These wraps are filled with pretty much anything you love and have in your kitchen. As long as you are not frying it afterward you can call it a burrito.

When we are talking about chimichangas, they usually don’t have as many ingredients inside the tortilla wrap. You would usually find a lot of meat. It can be dried and marinated meat, slow-cooked beef, or even minced chicken

Along with all of that meat in the chimichanga, you will find some rice and cheese, not much else. All of the other ingredients and sauces will be served on the side or as a topping. 

3. Serving

One of the biggest differences between two dishes might not be something you think about, but it’s very important.

Burrito is served wrapped up and ready to eat with hands. On the other side, chimichangas are not meant to be eaten with hands but on a plate and with a fork and knife.

In addition, chimichangas are usually served with some kind of sauce like sour cream, salsa, or guacamole. Even cheese is melted over chimichangas so you have to eat them with a fork and knife.

4. Appearance

Once you are familiar with all of the different types of Mexican dishes you will be able to tell them apart just by looking.

Crispy chimichangas will have a golden-brown crust and even some sauce topping. Burritos on the other hand will have more ingredients on the inside and be tightly wrapped up with soft tortillas.

In addition, you can always tell what you are being served just by looking at it. If it’s on a plate, it’s most likely chimichanga.

5. Texture

This might be obvious but chimichangas are soft only on the inside and will have a crispy outside layer. On the other hand, burritos will be juicy and soft.

The texture is important when you are choosing the best dish for your next meal, so if you are in the mood for something fast and juicy go for a burrito. If you want crispy and delicious go for chimichangas.

6. Origins

Even though we are talking about Mexican food there are a few theories claiming that chimichangas are originally from Arizona.

While burritos are definitely made in Mexico in smaller forms and with fewer ingredients, we are not completely sure where chimichangas were made initially.

No matter where the dishes originated, they are now staple foods in many Mexican restaurants and fast foods.

Are chimichanga and burrito the same?

Even after we have named all the differences some people will wonder if burrito and chimichanga are, all in all, the same dishes, and we would say a resounding no.

Although there are some similarities like the flour tortilla wrap there are so many small and big differences that make each dish unique and delicious. 

At the end of the day, if you love juicy tortillas you can eat on the go you should prepare or order some burritos. On the other hand, if you have more time and love to eat meat you should deep fry your chimichanga.

There is no right or wrong with either dish or its ingredients, there are just delectable wraps waiting for you after a long day.

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