The origin of the chimichanga A Deep Dive into the Classic Tex-Mex Delight

The origin of the chimichanga is shrouded in a bit of culinary mystery. Several legends attribute its creation to different regions and individuals. One popular story suggests that the chimichanga was accidentally invented in Tucson, Arizona, in the early 20th century.

According to this tale, Monica Flin, the founder of El Charro Café, dropped a burrito into a deep fryer by accident, exclaiming “chimichanga!” – a Spanish expletive equivalent to “thingamajig.” Another claim credits the Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen in Phoenix, Arizona, with the creation of the chimichanga in the 1940s.

Regardless of its exact origin, the chimichanga has become a staple in Tex-Mex cuisine, celebrated for its crunchy exterior and flavorful fillings.


Chimichangas, the delectable deep-fried burritos hailing from Tucson, Arizona, have captivated the hearts and taste buds of many.

This comprehensive guide presents a recipe that encapsulates the essence of traditional chiichangas while offering insights into their preparation, storage, and reheating. Dive into the rich flavors and crispy texture of this beloved dish and elevate your culinary repertoire with our expertly crafted instructions.

Ingredients for Perfection Chimichangas

To craft the perfect chimchangas, gather the following ingredients:

  • Bacon Grease: 1/4 cup
  • Cooked Meat: 2 cups, chopped or shredded (beef, pork, or chicken)
  • Onion: 1 medium, diced
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced
  • Tomatoes: 2 medium, chopped
  • Green Chiles: 2 cans (4 ounces each), chopped
  • Potato: 1 large, peeled and boiled, diced
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Dried Oregano: 1-1/2 teaspoons
  • Chili Powder: 1 to 2 teaspoons, to taste
  • Cilantro: 2 tablespoons, minced
  • Flour Tortillas: 12 (12 inches), warmed
  • Canola Oil: For frying

Optional Toppings :

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Sliced ripe olives

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

Preparing the Filling

  1. Melt Bacon Grease: In a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Sauté Ingredients: Add the meat, onion, garlic, tomatoes, green chiles, and potato. Cook until the onion softens.
  3. Seasoning: Incorporate salt, oregano, chili powder, and cilantro. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Assembling the Chimichangas

  1. Fill the Tortillas: Place a scant 1/2 cup of meat filling on each tortilla.
  2. Fold: Fold the tortillas envelope-style, similar to a burrito.

Frying to Perfection

  1. Heat Oil: In a skillet, heat 1/2 inch of canola oil to 360°-375°F.
  2. Fry Chimichangas: Place seam-side down in the hot oil. Fry until crispy and brown, then turn and brown the other side.
  3. Drain: Briefly drain on a paper towel.


Top with desired toppings and serve immediately.

Baking Alternative for a Lighter Option

For a healthier take, bake the chimchangas instead of frying them. Here’s how:

  1. Preheat Oven: To 375°F.
  2. Prepare Chimichangas: As directed, but do not fry.
  3. Bake: Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Storage and Reheating Tips

Storing Chimichangas

  • Refrigeration: Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Wrap cooled chimichngas in foil and place in a freezer storage bag. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Reheating Chimichangas

Reheat using any of the following methods:

  • Skillet: Reheat with a little hot oil.
  • Oven: Bake until heated through.
  • Air Fryer: Ideal for reheating, ensuring the chimichang remain crispy.

Nutritional Information

Each chimichanga contains:

  • Calories: 343
  • Fat: 13g (4g saturated fat)
  • Cholesterol: 25mg
  • Sodium: 862mg
  • Carbohydrates: 41g (2g sugars, 7g fiber)
  • Protein: 16g

offer a delightful culinary experience, blending savory flavors with a satisfying crunch. Whether you prefer them fried or baked, this authentic recipe ensures a delectable result. Store and reheat with ease, and enjoy the versatility of this classic dish. Embrace the rich heritage of chimichangas and bring a taste of Tucson to your kitchen.

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