These Chicken Chimichangas are one of the ultimate comfort foods! Flour tortillas are layered with refried beans, seasoned shredded chicken and cheese, then they’re wrapped and fried for a perfectly crisp, oh so satisfying texture!
The Best Chimichanga Recipe
If there is one thing I know how to make, it’s a perfectly fried homemade chimichanga. My mom made them all the time growing up so now they’ll always just be one of those things I crave.
Chicken Chimichanga Video
This is just homestyle food that tastes amazing! They’re packed with layers of flavor and they’re easier to make than you’d think! Plus chances are after you finish off one of they’ll easily hold you over until the next meal, these things are hearty.
And with this recipe you can use a few shortcuts like rotisserie chicken, canned beans, bottled salsa and fresh guacamole from the grocery store to make prep go quicker.
What is a Chimichanga?
Chimichangas are a popular Tex-Mex dish that are made by filling a tortilla with meat, beans, cheese, and other ingredients and then rolled up and fried. In other words is basically a fried burrito. How could that not be good??
Chimichangas are especially popular in Arizona, and you can make them just as good as you’d find at the restaurants there by following this easy recipe!
Photography credit: Jess Larson
Chicken Chimichanga Ingredients:
For this homemade chimichanga recipe, you’ll need:
- Chicken breasts – I like to use rotisserie chicken because it has good flavor and it’s tender but any plain seasoned left-over chicken will work.
- Vegetable oil – used for frying and sautéing.
- Yellow onion and garlic – we start with these to build layers of flavor.
- Tomato sauce and chicken broth – these liquids add some moisture to the filling.
- Chili powder, cumin, paprika, and ground coriander – these spices add lots of exciting Tex-Mex flavor.
- Salsa – fresh or bottled will work here.
- Sour cream – you’ll love how this makes the filling rich and creamy!
- Refried beans – my favorite are these homemade refried beans (which I freeze) but canned will work fine too.
- Flour tortillas – be sure to buy the large burrito size tortillas, the taco size tortillas won’t work here.
- Shredded cheese – I like to use a pre-shredded Mexican blend to make it easier but freshly shredded cheddar or Monterey jack will work great too.
- Guacamole – for topping. I like to use this recipe HERE.
How to Make Chimichangas:
- Saute onion and garlic until tender.
- Add tomato sauce, water, spices, and salsa to the same skillet and simmer until thickened.
- Stir in sour cream and chicken.
- Layer the tortillas with refried beans, chicken and cheese, then fold to form burrito.
- Fry chicken chimichangas in batches until golden brown.
- Serve immediately with guacamole and your favorite toppings.
Can I Bake Them Instead of Frying?
Yes. If you want to cut some of the fat you can bake these instead of frying. Brush with vegetable oil or olive oil and bake on a baking sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven about 8 – 10 minutes per side until golden brown.
Can I Use Another Meat in This Recipe?
Definitely! With this chimichanga recipe, I decided to use chicken but they’d also be really good with shredded beef or pork.
What About Topping with a Sauce?
Tips for the Best Chimichangas:
- Use chicken from bone-in breasts or thighs for added flavor.
- If you use store-bought refried beans in this recipe, add a tablespoon or so of water to thin them out a bit as canned refried beans always tend to be very thick.
- Be sure to bring oil up to temperature before you begin frying for that perfectly crisp texture that doesn’t absorb too much oil. I use a candy thermometer that clips to the pan to track the temperature.
- Also be sure to watch that the temperature doesn’t rise to high or they can burn and the oil can even catch fire.
More Easy Mexican Recipes You’ll Love:
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
- Chicken Pozole Soup
- Chicken, Guacamole, and Bean Tostadas
- Oven Roasted Chicken Tacos
- Barbacoa Beef
These are straight up comfort food the whole family will love! Tortillas are layered with refried beans, seasoned shredded chicken and cheese then they're wrapped and fried for a perfectly crisp, oh so satisfying texture!
- 3 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken breasts*
- Vegetable oil for frying, plus 2 tsp for sautéing
- 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 cup salsa** (bottled or fresh)
- 2 Tbsp sour cream, plus more for topping
- 1 3/4 cups refried beans, homemade or store bought*
- 6 burrito size flour tortillas
- 5 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend (1 1/4 cups)***
- Guacamole and diced tomatoes, for serving (optional)
Heat 2 tsp oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add onion and saute until slightly golden and tender, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.
Add in tomato sauce, chicken broth, chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander and salsa. Bring just to a bubble, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently until sauce has thickened and reduced by about half and onions are tender, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in sour cream and toss in chicken.
Spread a lightly heaping 1/4 cup refried beans onto the center of each tortilla, leaving about a 2 1/2-inch border to the edge of tortilla. Layer with each with 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture and top with 3 Tbsp shredded cheese. Fold the sides in then snuggly fold bottom side up and roll to wrap, fasten end with toothpicks.
Fill a pot with about 1-inch of vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat to 360 - 365 degrees. Once oil is hot , add two filled tortillas and fry until golden brown on bottom then using metal tongs, carefully rotate to opposite side and cook until golden brown on opposite side.
Remove and drain on paper towels, remove toothpicks. Repeat frying in two more batches with remaining chimichangas.
Serve warm topped with guacamole, diced tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream, salsa or hot sauce.
*I like to use a large rotisserie chicken but you can also start with 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts and cook then shred.
**If using canned salsa, I'd highly recommend stirring in a few tablespoons of water to thin them out. I used homemade but canned works fine too.
***I just used half monterey jack and half cheddar, but a pre-shredded Mexican blend works fine too.
Nutritional estimate does not include toppings.