Burritos and chimichangas have undoubted similarities, and people are often confused about what the difference actually is.
They both have Mexican origins and are primarily made of the same ingredients, and, of course, they’re both delicious. However, there are some major differences in the way they’re cooked and served.
What Is A Burrito?
Burritos originate from Mexico, where the tortilla wrap became popular after the Spanish colonization. Traditional burritos actually only contained beans or meat.
However, as their popularity drifted over the border to the USA, salsa, cheese, rice, and vegetables were added to give them a bit of a kick.
Modern burritos range through meat, bean, veggie, and even vegan variations and are customized depending on the types of food that each person desires. Even seafood burritos work well.
Essentially though, a burrito is now defined as a selection of tasty, pre-cooked meat or vegetables wrapped in a flour tortilla. The wrapping method ensures that salsa and sour cream don’t leak out of the ends.
The food is distributed in a line across the tortilla then both ends are folded inwards. The food is then rolled into the tortilla, tucking in the folded ends to stop the burrito from opening up.
What Is A Chimichanga?
Chimichangas, despite their name, probably actually developed in the USA rather than in Mexico, though their origin story isn’t entirely known.
Much like burritos, they consist of a flour or corn tortilla wrap containing beans and meat and basically anything else tasty that the eater fancies.
However, after the delicate folding process, a chimichanga actually gets thrown into the deep-fryer to fry the tortilla through.
This creates a crispy outer coating, much like you’d have on a Chinese spring roll, but with a much thicker and crunchier casing.
What Is The Difference Between A Burrito And A Chimichanga?
So, we’ve established that burritos and chimichangas are largely the same things, with a few significant differences in cooking, filling, and serving.
Cooking is the biggest difference between a burrito and a chimichanga. Basically, all of the filling is pre-cooked for both options.
With a burrito, the tortilla is left ‘uncooked’ (although it is obviously baked originally); however, with chimichangas, the tortilla is wrapped securely into a deep-fryer to fry the tortilla, making it crisp and flaky, rather than soft.
A chimichanga should be fried off for around 10 minutes, depending on size, and will need to be flipped every couple of minutes to ensure an even outer crisp.
Chimichangas are often filled with mostly meat and beans and rarely contain rice, fresh vegetables, or an excess of sauces.
This is because the heat and oil in the fryer can cause the filling to go soggy. The rice may also come out a little overcooked.
On the other hand, Burritos can contain fresh vegetables and have more of a refreshing, salad-like feel.
They’re also more likely to contain an abundance of salsa and other sauces as liquids can be contained because the tortilla won’t get too hot.
Both burritos and chimichangas can contain any type of meat; however, it’s not advisable to have seafood fillings due to the cooking of the chimichanga. The fryer can allow any oils in the fish to leak out, making the filling quite dry.
The way burritos are served differs from chimichangas, mainly because a chimichanga will have a hot outer tortilla. In contrast, burritos have soft, cool tortillas which are easy to eat by hand.
A burrito is generally served wrapped in tin foil to keep it hot. It’s street food and is portable, so you can eat it on the go if needed. Because of how tightly they’re wrapped, they are easy to eat with no cutlery.
Chimichangas, however, are extremely hot when they come out of the fryer. They’re also likely to be quite greasy, and the tortilla will be flaky. Some restaurants will serve the chimichanga with melted cheese on the top.
This makes them less than ideal for carrying around. So, instead, they tend to be served with dips or a side salad on a plate, and you will need cutlery to avoid making too much mess.
Overall, both burritos and chimichangas are delicious and have a similar taste as most of the ingredients are the same. However, you’ll want to consider which one will be easiest for you to eat at the time.
If you’re in a restaurant, chimichangas are a great option, but if you’ve got limited time to sit and eat, burritos are a much better option.