Today, we are making fully-loaded authentic chicken chimichangas. This is one of my favorite recipes for chimichanga. It is packed with a delicious chicken filling, homemade refried beans, fresh salsa, and real shredded Mexican cheese.
Try these easy chimichangas, and let me know what you think in the comments below!
What Is In A Chimichanga?
Chimichangas is a traditional dish from Tex-Mex or Southwestern American cuisine. Everybody has heard about them, but very few know what they are.
Essentially, they’re deep-fried burritos. So as you can imagine, there isn’t a limit on the fillings you can use. Today, we will make a chicken chimichanga recipe.
The most common fillings used in chicken chimichangas include rice, cheese, beans, and chicken filling. But of course, as I’ve mentioned, you can also make a beef or pork filling.
These elements are folded into a burrito (tortilla wrap) and fried in hot oil.
Once cooked, the delicious crisp dish is served with fresh salsa, guacamole, carne asada, and some whipped sour cream.
What You Need For Today’s Easy Chimichangas Recipe
We will make this chicken chimichanga from scratch with some simple elements.
First, let’s make a shredded chicken filling seasoned with various spices. You can adjust the flavor and alter the dish’s spiciness.
Then, we will also be making refried beans from scratch. These are some places you can buy this pre-made. But I prefer adjusting the flavor myself.
Next, as with most chimichanga recipes, we will add some Mexican shredded cheese and sliced spring onions.
You can add rice to the recipe, but I prefer my chicken chimichangas to be a little lighter. It also leaves more room for delicious chicken filling and homemade refried beans.
The final essential ingredient for this recipe is the tortilla. I recommend to use a flour tortilla. Corn tortillas aren’t nearly as flexible and won’t fold nicely.
Also, make sure you get large tortillas. Even though the portions may be too big for some people, it’s better than making spring rolls-sized burritos!
How to make Chicken Chimichangas
Begin with shredded chicken. Add diced onion to the heated olive oil and sauté until soft. Follow with minced garlic and tomato paste, cooking for a minute as you stir.
Sprinkle in your spices, then pour in tomato sauce and chicken broth, mixing them all together. Bring this blend to a boil, then let it simmer until it thickens. Add the chicken into the mix, stir well, then adjust the seasoning as needed.
Heat olive oil in a saucepan, then sauté the onions until translucent. Add garlic and spices, stirring until well mixed and fragrant. Now, mix in the pinto beans, mashing them in the process. Allow this to simmer on a low flame for roughly 5 minutes, then move it off the heat.
Lay out a large tortilla and layer on beans, chicken filling, shredded cheese, and diced veggies. Fold and roll it up burrito-style. Secure with toothpicks if needed.
Heat oil in a pot, then carefully place the chimichanga in, starting with the open side down, and fry until golden brown all over. Drain on a paper towel.
Serve these tantalizing chimichangas immediately, complemented with your favorite sides. Enjoy!
How to air fryer chicken chimichangas
Air frying is an excellent option if you want a healthier alternative without sacrificing crispiness. I follow these simple steps:
- Preheat the air fryer to 360°F.
- Lightly spray the chimichangas with cooking spray.
- Position the chimichangas in the basket of the air fryer with the seam facing downward, and let them cook for a period of 10-12 minutes, turning them over mid-way.
- Once they achieve a golden brown color and a crispy texture, take them out of the air fryer.
How to Bake Chicken Chimichangas
Baking chimichangas is another healthier alternative to deep-frying. Here’s my method for baking them:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Arrange either aluminum foil or parchment paper on the surface of a baking tray.
- Place the chimichangas seam side down on the prepared baking sheet.
- Lightly brush the chimichangas with oil or spray with cooking spray.
- Cook in the oven for a duration of 20-25 minutes, or until the color turns a rich golden hue and it achieves a crunchy texture.
For me, the best part of a Chicken Chimichanga is definitely indulging in all the different toppings that you can customize to your liking. Here are some of my personal favorites:
- Sour cream: Adding a dollop of sour cream on top of your chimichanga will give it a rich, creamy texture that balances out the spicy flavors.
- Guacamole: For a burst of freshness, I love spreading homemade guacamole over my chimichanga.
- Pico de gallo: A spoonful of vibrant, zesty pico de gallo will elevate your chimichanga with a mix of tangy, spicy, and refreshing flavors.
- Cheese: To make your chimichanga extra decadent, why not sprinkle some shredded cheese on top? I personally enjoy using a mix of Monterey Jack and cheddar.
- Fresh cilantro: Last but not least, I like to add a little touch of green with some freshly chopped cilantro. It adds a subtle, herby flavor that rounds out the dish.
Tips And Tricks
- Remember to adjust the consistency to your liking when making the refried beans. Many people like chunky beans, while others like a creamy, smooth paste. It’s entirely up to you!
- If you aren’t sure how to fold a chimichanga, check out this tutorial.
- If you want to, secure the burritos with toothpicks to prevent them from falling apart while frying them.
- You can also make air-fried chimichangas if you want them to be less oily. But you still have to brush the tortillas with a little bit of olive oil to help give them that beautifully crisp texture. Heat the air fryer to 400ºF (200ºC). Allow it to simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes. The size will ultimately determine the exact cooking time.
- You can use the same temperatures and times if you’d like to make baked chimichangas. But again, you still need to brush the outside with olive oil.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I reheat chimichangas using an air fryer?
Absolutely! I suggest preheating your air fryer to 350°F (175°C); then, place the chimichangas inside and let them cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Keep in mind that the precise duration may fluctuate based on your air fryer model, so keep a close watch to ensure perfect reheating.
How can I reheat chimichangas using a microwave?
To reheat chimichangas in the microwave, I recommend covering them with a paper towel to help retain their moisture. Microwave on high for about 1-2 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave and the size of the chimichanga. Keep in mind that microwaving may change the texture, resulting in a softer chimichanga rather than crispy.
What’s the best way to fold a chimichanga so it doesn’t fall apart while frying?
The key is to fold in the sides first, then roll it up from the bottom, making sure to tuck in the filling as you go. Using toothpicks to secure the ends can also help it stay together while frying.
Can I prepare chimichangas in advance?
Absolutely! You can make the filling and assemble the chimichangas a day ahead, keeping them covered in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to eat, fry them up. This makes it a perfect dish for parties or large gatherings.
Homemade Chicken Chimichangas Recipe – Easy And Delicious!
For the chicken filling
- 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tsp chili powder, optional
- Sea salt flakes, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the refried beans
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp fine salt, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 cups canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
For the chimichangas
- 4 large flour tortillas
- 2 cups queso fresco, shredded
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 4 spring onions (green onions), diced
- Frying oil
Optional Garnishes or sides
- Sour cream
- Fresh salsa
- Fresh cilantro or parsley
Make the chicken filling
- Make sure your chicken is shredded before you start making the filling.
- Warm a bit of olive oil in a skillet on a medium flame. Add the onion and saute it for roughly 5 minutes.
- Next, add the garlic and tomato paste. Fry them for a minute while stirring well.
- Once they have cooked for a minute or so, add the ground spices. Remember, you can add more or less if you'd like. Simply mix them in well.
- When your ingredients are mixed well, add the tomato sauce and chicken broth.
- Bring the filling sauce to a rolling boil. Upon reaching a boil, lower the heat and permit the sauce to simmer for roughly 5-10 minutes. It should reduce to about half, and the sauce should be nice and thick.
- Adjust the seasoning to your liking. But keep in mind that there are other elements as well, so don't over-season the filling.
- Fold in the shredded chicken and let the filling rest until you are prepared to use it.
Make the refried beans
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the onions and leave them to saute until they become translucent. It will take about 5 minutes.
- When the onions are soft and tender, add the garlic and spices. Stir them in well and let them cook for a minute or two. Your entire kitchen will fill with a mouth-watering fragrance! That's when they are ready.
- Finally, stir in the pinto beans using a fork. This will help mash the beans and blend the flavors together.
- Once mashed, let the beans cook on low heat for about 5 minutes. This should just help heat the beans properly.
- Set the beans aside until you need them later.
Make the chimichangas
- Place a large tortilla on a flat surface. Add a generous amount of beans, chicken filling, shredded cheese, chopped tomato, red onion, and green onions.
- Fold over the opposite sides of the tortilla over the filling. Then, roll the ingredients up like a burrito. Secure it with toothpicks if you want to (I recommend it).
- Fill a large pot with about 2 inches of frying oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 360ºF (180ºC).
- Add the burrito to the hot oil. Place the "open side" down first. This will cook it into place so it doesn't fall apart.
- Leave the chimichanga to fry until it becomes golden brown. Keep turning it until the entire burrito has been fried.
- Once cooked, remove it from the oil and drain it on paper towel. Remove the toothpicks.
- Serve these immediately with your favorite accompaniments.