If you love Mexican food, then you’ve probably already heard about burritos and chimichangas.
Despite their massive popularity, a surprising number of people mistake these two distinctive dishes for one another even though they are two totally different meals!
So – what are the main differences between burritos and chimichangas?
If you are wondering what makes a burrito different from a chimichanga, then this is the place for you.
We are going to be taking a look at both chimichangas and burritos to see how they differ from each other.
So, here are 6 key differences between burritos and chimichangas so you know which to order and serve!
Chimichanga Vs Burrito: What Are They?
Before we give straight into comparing the burrito and the chimichanga, let’s first define both and go over the basic qualities of each dish.
This way, comparing the two together later will be much easier and simpler to understand and explain.
What Is A Burrito?
Burritos are a popular dish that originates from Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, and are now eaten all around the world.
They’re classed as a type of wrap as they are basically a large piece of tortilla that is folded around a ton of different fillings.
Some popular burrito fillings include salsa, meats such as beef or chicken, lettuce, jalapenos, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, and more.
There is actually a long debate on whether or not rice belongs in a burrito but whether you include it or not in your own burrito is down to you.
However, there is one key ingredient that helps make a burrito a burrito – fried beans.
Without fried beans, a burrito is basically just your average wrap.
Most people use either pinto beans or black beans to fill up their burrito, making it a super bulky meal combined with all of their other favorite fillings.
The great thing about burritos is how customizable they are as you can swap out any filling for whatever you like – so long as the fried beans remain.
Burritos have now become a popular dish worldwide and are consumed by thousands of people every day.
There are lots of different types, including a breakfast burrito that is consumed first thing in the morning.
So, burritos are now famous throughout the world – but what about chimichangas?
What Are Chimichangas?
Chimichangas are a staple of Tex-Mex cuisine and are a deep-fried wrap that contains a range of ingredients.
It’s a popular dish in Southwestern US cuisine that takes a lot of inspiration from the classic burrito as it too is a flour tortilla dish that includes plenty of different fillings.
This has led to many to call the chimichanga a ‘deep fried burrito’.
As for fillings, chimichangas are like burritos as you can completely add anything you like to a chimichanga.
A staple chimichanga still includes classics like rice and beans, a meat of your choice and plenty of cheese – but you can add additional ingredients as you see fit.
However, because chimichangas are cooked on such a high heat, it is usually served alongside any chill ingredients such as lettuce or sour cream.
The exact origins of chimichangas are also unclear as many Mexicans will claim it originates from their country, while some may argue that chimichangas were born in Arizona.
Despite this, it’s clear that chimichangas have a lot in common with other Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes and have their origins firmly rooted in that culture.
However, chimichangas have yet to gain as much world-wide recognition as other Mexican dishes like burritos or enchiladas.
Chimichangas Vs Burritos: The 6 Differences You Need To Know
So, now you know what a burrito is and what a chimichanga is, it’s time to look at both of them in detail to discover the finer differences between the two.
This way, you can understand all the things that make burritos and chimichangas completely distinctive from one another.
Let’s dive right into the first difference!
How Differently They Are Cooked
Let’s start out with a super obvious difference between chimichangas and burritos. In fact, you’ve probably already noticed this difference yourself – how differently they are cooked.
Burritos are made from a piece of flour tortilla folded and wrapped around a bunch of different fillings. Then, they are served just like that – cold and folded over.
They’re a type of wrap which means that the flour tortilla is usually cold or at least slightly warm when served.
This is because the fillings of the burrito (the meat, the beans, the rice) are cooked separately and added to the burrito once done.
With chimichangas, it’s a little different.
Most recipes for chimichangas will have you add pre-cooked ingredients to your chimichanga and then require you to heat it up together by frying or deep-frying your wraps.
This means that a chimichanga is cooked while a burrito is not, although both do contain pre-cooked ingredients.
So, chimichangas are a type of hot food served after frying while burritos are not, making it easy to store a burrito for later consumption in your refrigerator or freezer (yes, you can freeze burritos for a later date).
Chimichangas, however, need to be fried before they are eaten. Otherwise, they’re just a new kind of wrap!
How Differently They Taste In Terms Of Texture
Due to the fact that you fry chimichangas before eating them and you do not do the same for burritos, this has an obvious effect on the texture of both meals.
This means that this counts as another difference between the two – texture.
Burritos are pretty soft and easy to eat. This is because the flour tortilla has not been exposed to any high temperatures, keeping it in its original soft, bendy state.
You can easily rip it apart with your teeth but the texture is like thin bread. The fillings also affect the texture of a burrito.
Burritos are known for being pretty bulky foods as they are filled with rice and beans – but this also contributes to their soft, easy to eat texture that makes them so popular.
Chimichangas are different. Because they have either been fried in a pan or deep-fried, they are much crunchier in texture.
The exposure to the high heat has turned the flour tortilla hard and crispy, meaning that it breaks with a satisfying crunch with each bite.
The fillings for a chimichanga are also similarly soft to a burrito, but these fillings are served hot and fresh from the pan.
Any cheese that has been added will have melted, the meat softened, and all of this gooeyness is encased in a crispy tortilla shell.
They Have Different Origins
Although both burritos and chimichangas are associated with Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, both have very clear different origins.
Burritos clearly originate from Mexico and have been eaten there for centuries. However, true Mexican burritos are not the monsters you can find in the US.
In Mexico, burritos are much smaller and contain way less fillings but they are still the same concept – flour tortilla wrapped around a range of different fillings.
However, chimichangas have many more questions over their heritage. Mexico again claims them but there’s also plenty of rumors that chimichangas were actually born in Arizona.
It’s worth noting that Arizona was once a part of Mexico before the Mexican-American war in 1847-48, so it’s understandable why such a dish synonymous with Mexican cuisine was born here.
One researcher even pin-points the birth of the chimichanga to a specific restaurant in Tucson, Arizona, and claims the made-up name ‘chimichanga’ was created in an attempt to avoid saying a Spanish profanity.
So, although both burritos and chimichangas have clear roots in Mexican culture, only one was truly born in Mexico.
They Contain Different Ingredients
Although both burritos and chimichangas are completely customizable and you can add whatever ingredients you want to the filling, the ingredients used for traditional versions of each dish are different.
For example, burritos contain beans and rice alongside a range of other ingredients such as meat, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, and plenty of spices.
This means that burritos contain a combination of both hot and cold ingredients which can be tailored to the individual’s preferences.
As for chimichangas, the list of filling ingredients is much smaller. This is because chimichangas have to be heated up and so, cold ingredients like sour cream and lettuce will not taste great after being fried.
So, the traditional fillings for chimichangas are beans, rice, meat, and cheese.
Any extra cold ingredients like salsa, sour cream or lettuce, are all served afterwards as a side rather than inside the chimichanga itself.
One Is Way Healthier Than The Other
Because chimichangas are deep-fried, they contain a lot more calories than burritos do.
This is still in spite of the fact that burritos contain way more ingredients, meaning that burritos are also the healthier option for those concerned about their calorie intake and weight.
This may seem like a minor difference but it’s a big reason why so many people opt for burritos over chimichangas.
Burritos can be made to be super healthy, making them ideal for every meal of the day – and still taste delicious. So, even those on diets can still enjoy a burrito but a chimichanga? Not so much.
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How Different They Are Served
When it comes to serving chimichangas and burritos, both are eaten very differently.
Burritos can be chilled and wrapped up, saved for a later meal, and are traditionally eaten like a wrap. This means that you just pick it up with your hands and bite in!
Burritos have everything they need inside them so they aren’t usually served alongside something else.
Chimichangas are again different. They are served hot so they are placed on a plate and eaten using a knife and fork.
Plus, you will also be given a range of cold sides like salsa or sour cream as these ingredients cannot be cooked inside the chimichanga itself.
So, those are 6 differences between chimichangas and burritos.
We hope that this has helped clean up any confusion and you know have a much better idea of what these dishes are and how they are different from one another!
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