Indian Recipes

Chimichanga Recipe

If you like burritos, then you’re sure to love their fried counterparts, which are known as Chimichangas. These Tex-Mex specialties are packed with addictively spicy, umami flavor in every bite and are absolutely perfect for a hearty, comfort-filled meal. Make these delish rolls of healthy goodness with my easy vegetarian chimichanga recipe.

overhead shot of three chimichanga topped with guacamole and tomato cubes placed on an off-white oval tray

What is a Chimichanga?

Chimichangas are a Tex-Mex dish that is renowned throughout the Southern United States. These little pockets of deliciousness are essentially deep fried burritos, and can be filled with any number of ingredients including beans, cheese, rice, meat and vegetables.

My vegetarian chimichanga recipe uses a mix of delightfully spiced button mushrooms and broccoli with cheddar for an unforgettable meal you’ll want to make again and again.

For the full experience, serve with Homemade Guacamole, Salsa or pico de gallo and a dollop of sour cream.

About This Recipe

When I am craving Mexican food, I usually make burritos, quesadillas or my personal favorite: chimichangas. These simple dishes can be made using a variety of veggies, making them an excellent way to use up any produce that is languishing in the crisper drawer.

I usually make chimichanga recipe with some mixture of button mushroom, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, unripe jackfruit and beans.

In this recipe I share an easy vegetarian version made with button mushrooms and broccoli, but you can easily trade out any elements you don’t like for others that you do. For example, sometimes I’ll just use mushrooms and bell pepper and skip broccoli. 

They are easily adaptable to whatever style tortilla you have on hand. Feel free to use either wheat or corn tortillas. Here I used homemade whole wheat tortillas, but I have also used store bought tortillas, as well as rotis in a pinch.

I also love the depth of flavor that can be coaxed from these veggies when they are sautéed with smoked paprika. If smoky flavors are not to your liking, feel free to substitute sweet paprika or hot paprika instead.

Since these chimichanga recipe take less than an hour to make, they’re a perfect weeknight meal. So let’s get to cooking, shall we?

Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make Chimichanga

Make Filling

1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a pan. Add ½ to ⅔ cup sliced onions.

sliced onions in a sauté pan with oil

2. Sauté onions till light golden on a medium-low to medium heat. Stir often when sautéing onions.

onions turning golden

3. Add ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic. Mix and sauté for 4 to 5 seconds.

garlic added to pan with onions

4. Turn off the heat or lower the heat. Add all the below listed ground spices and oregano:

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder – optional 
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder – optional 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or 1 teaspoon sweet paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

spices added to pan

5. Mix very well. 

deeply caramelized onions in pan

6. Add 2 cups chopped white button mushrooms (500 grams), 2 cups chopped broccoli florets and ½ to ⅔ cup sliced bell peppers. Return the pan to heat, mixing again.

TIP: You could use any colored bell pepper. Here I have used green bell pepper or capsicum.

mushrooms and broccoli added to mix

7. Add salt according to taste and mix well.

salt added

8. Sauté the mushrooms and broccoli on a medium to medium-high heat. The mushrooms and broccoli will ooze out water. 

vegetarian chimichanga filling sautéing in pan

9. Sauté until all the water is evaporated and the mushroom and broccoli are tender and cooked.

TIP: If the mixture starts sticking to the pan, then lower the heat. Sprinkle some water and deglaze the pan. 

veggies after evaporation

10. Lastly add 1 teaspoon red wine. You can also use white wine. If you do not have any of the either, then skip it.

vinegar added to veggie chimichanga filling

11. Deglaze the pan and sauté for a minute or two. Remove pan from stove and set aside. 

NOTE: Make sure that the filling is dry and does not have any liquids or water. Even a slight amount of water in the filling will result in the chimichangas become soggy.

completed vegetarian chimichanga filling in pan

How to Roll and Fold a Chimichanga

12. Make a paste of 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl.

NOTE: You can substitute all purpose flour or gluten free flour if needed.

flour and water paste for sealing chimichangas

13. Place the tortilla on a sturdy work surface. On one side of the tortilla, layer 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling (or more, depending on the size of the tortilla). Add 2 tablespoons of grated cheddar cheese.

tortilla with veggie filling and cheese piled on bottom half

14. First tightly fold the sides of the tortilla.

sides of tortilla pinched in

15. Keeping them secure and folded, turn over and roll vertically from the edges as tightly as possible. This is how the roll should look.

tortilla rolled over fillings with one edge exposed

16. On the open side of the roll, brush with or spoon on some wheat flour paste.

flour paste added to exposed edge to seal tortilla to itself

17. Tightly seal and close. Spread some of the paste on the outside as well, acting as a glue to keep the chimichanga rolls sealed while frying.

more paste added to keep chimichanga sealed during frying

How to Fry

18. Take oil as needed in a frying pan or skillet. Heat the oil on medium heat. You can deep or shallow fry depending on your preference.

Place the rolled chimichanga in medium hot oil. Fry 3 to 4 chimichangas depending on the size of the skillet or pan. Fry on medium heat. I have shallow fried them.

NOTE: The chimichanga should cause the oil to immediately start to bubble. If it doesn’t, the oil isn’t hot enough yet and you’ll end up with a soggy result.

three chimichangas frying in oil

19. When one side is golden and crisp, carefully lift each chimichanga with pasta tongs and fry the second side. 

chimichangas after first flip - they are golden and well sealed

20. Turn over again when the second side is golden. If needed you can flip once or twice for even frying. They should look crisp and golden. Take care not to burn them.

flip the chimichangas again and continue cooking until golden brown on all sides

21. Place on kitchen paper towels to drain excess oil. Fry the remaining chimichangas in batches.

draining cooked chimichangas on paper towels

What to serve with Chimichangas

Serve chimichangas hot or warm, preferably topped with some guacamole, salsa or sour cream.

For extra spiciness, add sliced fresh chilies or jalapeños to the top. You can also garnish with herbs like cilantro or parsley, depending on what you have on hand. 

Squeeze some lemon or lime juice on top while eating for an added dose of acid; alternately, use a vinegar based hot sauce to achieve a similar effect. 

They pair greatly with vegetarian Mexican sides like pico de gallo, Guacamole, Salsa, and sour cream.

TIP: To make an instant version of sour cream, mix ½ teaspoon of lemon juice (or as needed) with ¼ cup of light cream or whipping cream. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes for the cream to thicken and then serve it a side with the chimichangas.

sliced chimichanga halves showing the fillings on an oval plate

Expert Tips

While chimichangas are relatively easy to make, there are a few tips to ensure success:

  1. Make sure your oil is hot! Trying to fry anything in cold oil is a recipe for a soggy, unpalatable failure. The tortilla and oil should begin bubbling vigorously as soon as you add it to the oil; if it doesn’t remove the chimichanga and allow the oil to continue to heat up.
  2. Seal your chimichangas well! Don’t skimp on the flour paste. Apply both on the inside seam, as well as over the outside. Also, be sure to roll your chimichangas tightly for the best results.
  3. Serve with extra goodies. Because they are eaten with a fork and knife, chimichangas are excellent vehicles for other condiments including guacamole (or sliced avocado), salsa, pico de gallo, hot sauce, fresh herbs and sour cream.
  4. Include different veggies: I often make the filling with whatever I have on hand and make many variants of chimichanga recipes. While mushrooms do give a nice meaty texture, feel free to omit them if you are not a fan. Vegetables like cabbage, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, spinach, kale and green beans are some good alternatives.
  5. More filling options: Instead of a vegetable or a mushroom filling, you can choose to add a bean stuffing like refried beans and Mexican rice or only cheese. For the cheese, use cheddar, Monterey jack or Colby.
  6. Baking: If you do not prefer frying, bake these chimichangas. Place them on a baking tray. Then brush them lightly with oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius/356 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is crispy and golden. Turn over each chimichanga if needed halfway through baking. You could also air-fry them.

FAQs

Can these be made ahead of time?

I find that chimichangas are best straight out of the fryer. That said, feel free to make the filling and assemble the unfried burritos ahead of time. Only the mushroom and broccoli filling will last in the refrigerator for up to two to three days. Assembled burritos can be wrapped in foil and frozen for up to one month. Defrost prior to frying.

Can they be made gluten-free?

Sure! Simply opt for a gluten-free tortilla and use a gluten free flour mixture for the sealing paste.

Can I make a vegan version?

Absolutely. Just omit the cheese, or opt for a plant based version instead.

What other fillings can I to make chimichanga recipe?

The options are nearly endless! Use any vegetable that you would normally cook (e.g. spinach, kale, peppers, onions, cabbage, jackfruit, etc), or if you don’t have any veggies on hand, feel free to stuff with a mix of beans and rice. If you come up with any winning combinations, let me know in the comments below!

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If you made this recipe, please be sure to rate it in the recipe card below. Sign Up for my email newsletter or you can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest or Twitter for more vegetarian inspirations.

overhead shot of three chimichanga topped with guacamole and tomato cubes with a side bowl of guacamole on a white plate

Chimichanga Recipe

If you like burritos, then you’re sure to love their fried counterparts, which are known as Chimichangas. These Tex-Mex specialties are packed with addictively spicy, umami flavor in every bite and are absolutely perfect for a hearty, comfort-filled meal.

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 40 mins

Total Time 50 mins

Cook ModePrevent your screen from going dark while making the recipe

Making Filling

  • Heat olive oil in a thick bottomed or heavy pan or skillet.

  • Add sliced onions and stirring often sauté them until light golden on medium-low to medium heat.

  • Add finely chopped garlic and sauté for 4 to 5 seconds.

  • Switch off the heat or lower it. Add all the onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, ground cumin, black pepper and oregano. Mix very well.

  • Add the chopped white button mushrooms and chopped broccoli florets. Return the pan to heat, mixing again.

  • Add salt according to taste and mix well.

  • Sauté the mushrooms and broccoli on a medium to medium-high heat. The mushrooms and broccoli will ooze out water.

  • Sauté until all the water is evaporated and the mushroom and broccoli are tender and cooked.TIP: If the veggie mixture starts sticking to the pan, then lower the heat. Sprinkle some water and deglaze the pan.
  • Lastly, add the red wine. Deglaze the pan and sauté for a minute or two. Remove pan from stove and set aside. NOTE: The stuffing should not have any liquids in it and must be dry. Any liquid or water in the filling would make the chimichangas soggy.

Rolling and Folding

  • Make a paste of 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl. NOTE: You can substitute all purpose flour or gluten-free flour if needed.
  • Place a tortilla on a sturdy work surface. On one side of the tortilla, layer 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling (or more, depending on the size of the tortilla). Add 2 tablespoons of grated cheddar cheese or as needed.

  • First tightly fold the sides of the tortilla. Keeping them secure and folded, turn over and roll vertically from the edges as tightly as possible.

  • On the open side of the roll, brush with or spoon on some wheat flour paste. Tightly seal and close.

  • Spread some of the paste on the outside as well, acting as a glue to keep the chimichanga rolls sealed while frying.

Frying Chimichanga

  • Heat oil as needed in a frying pan. You can deep or shallow fry depending on your preference. Place the rolled chimichanga in medium hot oil. Fry on medium heat. NOTE: The chimichanga should cause the oil to immediately start to bubble. If it doesn’t, the oil isn’t hot enough yet and you’ll end up with a soggy result.
  • When one side is golden and crisp, carefully lift each chimichanga with pasta tongs and fry the second side.

  • Turn over again when the second side is golden. If needed you can flip once or twice for even frying.

  • Place on kitchen paper towels to drain excess oil. Similarly fry the remaining chimichangas in batches.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve hot or warm, preferably topped with some guacamole, salsa or sour cream.

  • You could also serve them with sides like guacamole (or sliced avocado), salsa, pico de gallo, hot sauce, fresh herbs and sour cream.

  • Frying: Make sure the oil is hot while you fry. If you fry anything in cold oil it will become soggy and loaded with oil. The tortilla and oil should begin bubbling vigorously as soon as you add it to the oil; if it doesn’t remove the chimichanga and allow the oil to continue to heat up. Fry on medium heat.
  • Rolling and Folding: Seal your chimichangas well. Don’t skimp on the flour paste. Apply both on the inside seam, as well as over the outside. Also, be sure to roll your chimichangas tightly for the best results.
  • Veggies and Mushrooms: Include the veggies you like in the filling. While mushrooms do give a nice meaty texture, feel free to omit them. Vegetables like cabbage, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, spinach, kale and green beans are some good options.
  • More options for the fillings: Instead of a vegetable or a mushroom stuffing, you can choose to add a bean stuffing like refried beans and Mexican rice or only cheese. Use Monterey jack, Colby or Cheddar cheese.
  • Baking:  To bake chimichangas first place them on a baking tray keeping some space between each. Brush each chimichanga lightly with oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius/356 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 to 20 minutes or more until the crust is crispy and golden. If needed turn over each chimichanga halfway through baking. You can also opt to air-fry them instead of baking.
  • To make ahead: Only the filling can be refrigerated for up two to three days. Burritos can be assembled and refrigerated for up to a day before frying, or frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost before frying.

Nutrition Facts

Chimichanga Recipe

Amount Per Serving

Calories 145
Calories from Fat 45

% Daily Value*

Fat 5g8%

Saturated Fat 2g13%

Polyunsaturated Fat 1g

Monounsaturated Fat 2g

Cholesterol 7mg2%

Sodium 406mg18%

Potassium 260mg7%

Carbohydrates 20g7%

Fiber 2g8%

Sugar 3g3%

Protein 6g12%

Vitamin A 689IU14%

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 2mg10%

Vitamin B6 1mg50%

Vitamin B12 1µg17%

Vitamin C 34mg41%

Vitamin D 1µg7%

Vitamin E 1mg7%

Vitamin K 27µg26%

Calcium 106mg11%

Vitamin B9 (Folate) 64µg16%

Iron 2mg11%

Magnesium 20mg5%

Phosphorus 139mg14%

Zinc 1mg7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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