In the Kitchen

Level of Difficulty
20 mini chimichangas
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes

Chimichanga is a deep-fried burrito that is popular in the Southwest and bordering Mexican cities. The dish is typically prepared by filling a flour tortilla with a wide range of ingredients, most commonly, cheese, beef or shredded chicken, and folding it into a rectangular package. It is then deep-fried and can be accompanied with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and/or cheese.

Debate over the origins of the chimichanga is ongoing,

It is said, that the founder of the Tucson, Arizona, restaurant “El Charro”, Monica Flin, accidentally dropped a pastry into the deep fat fryer in 1922. She immediately began to utter a Spanish curse-word beginning “chi…” (chingada), but quickly stopped herself and instead exclaimed chimichanga, a Spanish equivalent of “thingamajig.”

Different Cooking Methods: This recipe calls for frying the chimichangas, which gives them the best flavor cooked this way as opposed to baking them in the oven. If you prefer to bake them, brush a little olive oil on all sides of a rolled chimichanga, place on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until they turn a nice crispy golden brown.


1 3/4 c. fresh salsa (or jar of picante sauce)
3 lbs. cooked ground beef, chopped (or use ground turkey)
1 onion, diced
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper (to taste)
20 (6 inch) soft flour tortillas
4 c. shredded mild cheddar (or Mexican blend cheese)
vegetable oil, for frying

picante sauce
sour cream


  • 1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven combine the picante sauce with beef, onion, cumin, oregano and cayenne. Cook uncovered stirring often for about 30 minutes or until some of liquid has evaporated; season with salt and pepper to taste.

    2. Using a slotted spoon about 1/4 cup of the mixture below center of each tortilla, then top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese. Tip: Heat flour tortillas (fajita or regular size) in the microwave for 35 seconds on low so they are soft enough and they won’t break when folding.

    3. Fold in two sides of the tortillas to enclose the filling, and then fold over top and bottom edges of the tortillas (making a rectangle). Secure with wooden picks.

    4. Place folded-side down on a greased baking sheet.

    5. In a frying pan, heat 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil to medium high heat.

    6. Use tongs to place it into the frying pan when oil has reached 350 – 375º Fry Chimis 1-2 mins on each side until golden brown.

    7. Place the cooked chimis on a paper towel-covered-tray to drain. Then place back on greased cookie sheet and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.

    8. Serve with picante sauce, guacamole and sour cream.

Hosting a big crowd? Add more items to your Tex-Mex buffet like Cilantro Lime RiceMexican Black Beans, and Jalisco-Style Braised Beef.