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The chimichanga, or fried burrito, is a Tex-Mex staple with a widely-debated name and origin story. Thought to have been invented in the mid-20th century in Arizona, the chimichanga's name means something like “thingamajig.” One legend of the popular dish's invention locates its birthplace in 1920s Tucson, with a cook accidentally dropping a burrito in a deep-fryer and using the word “chimichanga” instead of a similar-sounding Spanish-language profanity. Another Mexican restaurant in Arizona, Macayo's, lays claim to the invention of the dish in the 1940s. Either way, the chimichanga spread rapidly from Arizona, gaining an international reputation as a delicious example of southwestern cuisine.

Recipe Servings: 4

Prep Time
50 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 10 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free



  1. Set a pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the meat, onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, salt, and pepper, mixing to coat the meat thoroughly with the vegetables and spices.
  3. Cover and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the contents to cool. After the contents have cooled, shred the meat and vegetables to a fine consistency.
  5. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the refried beans for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add oil to a frying pan or griddle, and heat the tortillas, frying for 1 minute per side.
  7. In the center of each tortilla, spread a vertical stripe of beans.
  8. Add about a cup of the meat mixture, sprinkled along the same vertical line as the beans.
  9. Add guacamole, salsa, or sour cream as desired.
  10. Fold in the sides of the tortillas, and wrap around the center.
  11. Heat oil in a large frying pan.
  12. Fry the wrapped chimichangas for about 5 minutes on each side, until the outer tortilla shell becomes slightly browned and crispy.
  13. Remove chimichangas from the pan using a slotted spoon.
  14. Serve hot with guacamole, salsa, and/or sour cream on the side, if using.

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