Difference between: burritos and chimichangas

This is a pretty quick Difference Between folks – burritos versus chimichangas.

Since it’s so quick, while we’re at it, we’re going to give a run down of the other similar Mexican (or American-Mexican/Tex-Mex) foods – wet burrito vs enchilada, quesadilla vs fajita, and taco vs taquito.

a delicious looking burrito split in half on a plate

The main difference between burritos and chimichangas is that a chimichanga is deep fried; it’s a deep-fried burrito.

A secondary difference appears to be that chimichangas are usually meat-filled, whereas burritos can often be vegetarian-style with beans. Also, chimichangas tend to be spicy, whereas I know of plenty a mild burrito.

Therefore, it’s safe to assume burritos can be widely different and adaptable to different tastes and diets; chimichangas are a more specific dish.

Chimichangas are super popular in Tuscon, Arizona, where the dish originated. (I was there in 2010 – wish I had known this and made it a point to eat one!) Legend has it that Monica Flin of the El Charro Cafe accidentally dropped a burrito into boiling lard in the early 1950s. Because children were present, she tried not to swear and instead said, “chimichanga.”

Here’s the whole run down:

Burrito: a tortilla folded over a filling of beef and/or beans, and additional fillings such as cheese.

Chimichanga: a crisp, deep-fried tortilla containing a spicy filling of meats, usually served with sour cream, meted cheese, etc.

Wet burrito: a burrito covered with red chili sauce and melted cheese; is normally made with a flour tortilla; can contain meat or beans.

Enchilada: a burrito covered with red chili sauce and cheese; is normally made with a corn tortilla; usually contains meat.

Quesadilla: a tortilla folded over a filling of shredded cheese and heated, broiled, or fried; can contain chicken or other fillings.

Fajita: a thin strip of marinated and grilled meat served with tortillas, salsa, etc.

Taco: a crispy fried tortilla folded over and filled with meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese.

Taquito: a small tortilla rolled around a filling of meat and cheese and deep-fried.

In conclusion, then:

  • Burritos can contain meat; chimichangas almost always do and are fried.
  • Enchiladas and wet burritos are made with corn and flour tortillas respectively.
  • Quesadillas can contain meat; fajitas almost always do.
  • Taquitos are smaller than tacos and rolled up.