This Mexican-inspired chimichangas recipe takes only 15 minutes to prepare and is the perfect snack or quick meal. These chimichangas are packed full of flavor, thanks to an array of spices, cheese, chicken, beans, and cilantro - and are deep-fried for a crispy exterior.
🌟 Why this recipe works
What do you get when you fry a burrito? a Chimichanga! These Mexican-slash-American deep-fried burritos are a big hit in America and Europe because of the crispy tortilla shell and deliciously spiced meat or bean mixture.
And this homemade chimichanga recipe is sure to hit the spot! The combination of chili, cumin, paprika, melty cheese, beans, and chicken creates a delicious flavor that will have you coming back for more.
Firstly, by using cooked and shredded chicken, you save time and energy and can have these chimichangas ready in no time. The mix of spices adds an intense flavor to the chicken, while the salsa, Colby jack, and cream cheese add a creamy layer of richness.
Did I say they're easy to make? Once the filling is prepared, you simply wrap it in a burrito-sized tortilla, deep fry it until golden and crisp, and serve it with all the best toppings.
These delicious chicken chimichanga can be enjoyed as an appetizer, snack, or main meal. And with only 15 minutes of prep time, you can make them during busy weeknights!
🍽 Key Ingredients
This easy homemade chimichanga recipe uses a variety of spices, chicken, beans, cheese, and salsa for an explosion of flavors.
Shredded chicken - To help save time cooking chicken breasts, use a rotisserie chicken or any leftover cooked chicken you may have.
Spices - To bring out the best flavors, use chili powder, cumin, paprika, and salt.
Salsa - Using salsa adds a mild kick and tomatoey savory flavor to the chicken chimichanga.
Cheese - You'll need cream cheese and Colby jack cheese to give them a creamy, melty texture.
Green onions - A handful of green onions adds a fresh and mild flavor that pairs well with the other ingredients.
Pinto beans - Beans are a typical ingredient in many Mexican recipes, and also in this chicken chimichanga recipe for a hearty filling.
Flour tortillas - Grab the big burrito-sized tortillas for this recipe to ensure your chimichangas are large enough for the filling.
Vegetable oil - You'll need this to deep fry the chimichangas until they're crispy and golden.
Lime juice - A little freshly squeezed lime juice adds a tartness to the filling.
Cilantro - This soapy-tasting herb adds a mild and aromatic flavor to the chimichangas.
Toppings - To add even more flavor, you can use lettuce, salsa, sour cream, tomatoes, and a slice of lime.
If you don't have all the ingredients or want to switch things up, there are plenty of substitutions you can make in this easy chimichanga recipe.
Shrimp or steak would work well in place of the chicken.
Any combination of spices, such as garlic powder, onion powder, or cayenne pepper would be delicious in place of chili powder, cumin, and paprika.
Use hot or mild taco sauce, enchilada sauce, or tomato sauce as a substitute for salsa.
You can use other types of cheese, like Monterey Jack, pepper jack, or queso fresco in place of the Colby jack cheese.
Swap out the green onions for diced white/red onion or bell peppers.
Black beans, refried beans, or kidney beans can be used in place of pinto beans.
🔪 How to make
Learn how to make chimichangas in a few simple steps. In only 15 minutes of prep time, you can have a delicious Mexican-inspired meal ready without breaking a sweat.
Rinse and drain the can of beans.
Slice the green onion and finely chop the cilantro.
Mix the shredded chicken, spices, and salsa in a bowl.
Stir in the cream cheese, Colby shredded cheese, and green onions until combined.
Then, add beans, lime juice, and half of the chopped cilantro.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat half full with oil to a temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit (162 degrees Celsius).
Place a flour tortilla on the work surface and scoop half a cup of the chicken mixture into the center.
To roll the tortilla, lift and tuck one end of the tortilla over and under the filling to secure it, then fold in both sides and roll the tortilla to the other end.
Tip: Repeat this step with the remaining tortillas and chicken mixture.
Place 1 or 2 chimichangas into the hot oil at a time and deep dry them for 2 minutes on either side. Remove them from the hot oil with tongs to a paper towel line dish.
Serve them on a bed of shredded lettuce and salsa, topped with a spoonful of sour cream, chopped cilantro, and diced tomatoes.
💭 Cooking tips
Don't overcrowd the deep fryer!
For best results, deep fry the chimichangas in batches. The more you try to fit them into the hot oil, the less crispy they will become.
Use a thermometer
To give your chimichangas that perfect golden color, use a thermometer to check the oil temperature. If the oil is too hot, they will burn before the cheese has melted, and if it's not hot enough, the oil will soak into the tortillas before crisping.
Pan fried chimichangas
If you don't want to deep fry your chimichangas, you can pan-fry them in batches. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil or melted butter in a non-stick pan, then place them seam side down. Cook for 3 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy.
📖 Recipe Variations
If you want to make a different version of chimichangas, there are a lot of variations you can explore. Here are some ideas for switching up the recipe:
Chipotle chicken chimichangas
With a few ingredient adjustments and a spoonful of chipotle paste, you can make your chimichangas even spicier.
Taco beef chimichangas
If you want a beefy version of the chimichangas, swap out the chicken with taco-seasoned ground beef.
Mango chicken chimichangas
For a tropical twist, swap out the salsa for mango salsa and add a tablespoon of diced mangoes for an added flavor.
🥗 What to serve with
Chimichangas are delicious on their own and would be a great addition to any meal. Here are some ideas for side dishes to take them to the next level:
A Mexican salad is the perfect side dish with these chimichangas. You can mix together romaine lettuce, corn, black beans, green chiles, tomatoes, and avocados, or try this super sloppy Frito salad for something spicier.
Rice and beans
Rice and beans are a classic Mexican side dish, and you can easily make your own version. Simply add refried beans and spices to cooked white or brown rice. For something more colorful and flavorful, try this rice salad recipe.
Tortilla chips and dips
Since this chicken chimichanga is rather filling, you may only want a few dips on the side and a handful of tortilla chips. Dips like homemade guacamole, or chili queso dip are great accompaniments to chimichanga recipes. You could even have a ramekin of red chili sauce for enchiladas for an extra kick of flavor.
🙋 Frequently asked questions
How to prevent the filling from escaping?
The best way to prevent the filling from escaping is to make sure you tightly roll up your chicken chimichanga. Additionally, you can also use toothpicks to secure the seam shut before frying.
🧊 Storing and ♨️ reheating
The good thing with chimichangas is that you can store any unused chimichangas and reheat them to a crisp to enjoy again.
Fridge - To store them in the fridge, place them in an air-tight container and store them for up to 3 days.
Freezer - To freeze, wrap each one with plastic wrap and store in an air-tight container or freezer bag. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Reheating - To reheat your chicken chimichanga, place them in a preheated oven at 375°F and bake for 15 minutes until they are crisp and hot. You can also reheat them in the air fryer for 4 to 5 minutes and in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, but they will become softer rather than crispy.
🍳 More Mexican Recipes
If you’re looking for more Mexican recipes, check out our collection of 30 Mexican ground beef recipes and 27 best Latin food recipes including my Mexican Stuffed Peppers recipe. There are classics like tacos and burritos and creative dishes such as tamales and enchiladas.
👪 Serving size
This recipe will produce 4 large chicken chimichangas, which is enough to feed 8 people with side dishes.
Chimichangas are a delicious and easy way to enjoy Mexican flavors at home. With just a few ingredients, you can make the perfect chimichanga that’s crispy on the outside and packed with flavor on the inside. With different variations and sides, there are so many ways to enjoy these burrito-like treats!
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Best Damn Chimichangas Ever
- 2 cups Shredded chicken - cooked
- 1 tablespoon Chili powder
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ cup Salsa
- 2 cups Colby jack cheese - shredded
- 2 ounces Cream cheese - softened
- 2 tablespoons Green onions - chopped
- 1 can Pinto beans - 15 ounce, dried and rinsed
- 4 Tortillas - burrito size
- ½ cup Vegetable oil - or more if needed
- 2 tablespoons Lime juice - freshly squeezed
- ¼ cup Fresh cilantro - chopped
- 1 cup Iceberg lettuce - chopped
- ¾ cup Salsa
- ½ cup Sour cream
- ½ cup Tomatoes - diced
- Slice of limes
- Rinse and drain the can of beans.
- Slice the green onion and finely chop the cilantro.
- Mix the shredded chicken, spices, and salsa in a bowl.
- Stir in the cream cheese, Colby shredded cheese, and green onions until combined.
- Then, add beans, lime juice, and half of the chopped cilantro.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat half full with oil to a temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit (162 degrees Celsius).
- Place a flour tortilla on the work surface and scoop half a cup of the chicken mixture into the center.
- To roll the tortilla, lift and tuck one end of the tortilla over and under the filling to secure it, then fold in both sides and roll the tortilla to the other end.
- Repeat this step with the remaining tortillas and chicken mixture.
- Place 1 or 2 chimichangas into the hot oil at a time and deep dry them for 2 minutes on either side. Remove them from the hot oil with tongs to a paper towel line dish.
- Serve them on a bed of shredded lettuce and salsa, topped with a spoonful of sour cream, chopped cilantro, and diced tomatoes.