In an interview with Bon Appétit shortly after his 40th birthday, Neil Patrick Harris talked about tasting menus, being married to a classically trained chef, and how his diet had finally changed for the better. "In my 20s, I mostly ate burritos and nachos, with the occasional burger," he said, before the conversation moved on to $595 dinners at Masa, the most expensive restaurant in the United States.
With all respect to Dr. Howser, M.D., I'm in my 30s and mostly eat burritos and nachos, with a lot of burgers. And I don't like to brag, but I've paid upwards of $5.95 for a Cheesy Chili and Totz Burrito at a Sheetz gas station. And it's one of the house specialties, Neil!
Look, I love burritos: sit-down restaurant burritos, fast food burritos, food truck burritos, gas station burritos, and even half-eaten burritos that someone might happen to hand you while you walk down the sidewalk (it's seriously happened to me!).
Anyway, when Kitchn asked me to recommend some of the best frozen burritos out there, I was delighted, because this is a piece that I've been unofficially working on since college.
I've recommended a burrito (or family of burritos) for each of several categories. Also, I will acknowledge that I did microwave all of these, even though most of them also have conventional oven directions, complete with some bonkers cooking times. Nearly an hour for a Red's-brand burrito? Dude, I could drive to Chipotle, eat a meal, drive home, drive back to Chipotle, eat another meal, and drive home in that time. Let's do this.
When It's Breakfast Time
I'm a big fan of Evol's breakfast options, especially the Spicy Uncured Bacon, Egg, Roasted Potato, Jalapeno & Cheddar version. The combo of egg and tomato salsa is always satisfying, and the jalapeños give it just enough kick. Plus, those eggs are cage-free, the pork is antibiotic-free, and it has 12 grams of protein. Evol's Lean & Fit Chicken Apple Sausage, Egg, Smoked Gouda, Caramelized Onion and Roasted Potato is also top-shelf. (Note: I love Evol for breakfast, but its other burrito options couldn't be blander, like they filled a soft tortilla with pencil shavings.)
When You're in Need of a Vegetarian Option
If you were thinking "This has to be Amy's," you're right — it's Amy's. I think I've eaten every burrito that Amy's makes, and I've never been disappointed. In addition to being across-the-board vegetarian, some of the company's burritos are also gluten-free and/or non-dairy. Try the Cheddar Cheese, Bean, and Rice Burrito. And all the others.
When You're Gluten-Free
Yes, Amy's has good gluten-free options, but I've got to go with Glutenfreeda for this one. While all of their burritos are gluten-free, my favorites are the Chicken & Cheese, Beef & Potato, and just straight-up Shredded Beef. (Also the package says Poulet et Fromage, so you can stop sending me those reminders, Duolingo. JE SUIS BILINGUE).
When You Don't Feel Like Driving to Chipotle
Go for Red's all-natural burritos, another brand that doesn't really have any duds. Like Amy's and Evol, Red's is committed to high-quality ingredients (cage-free eggs and antibiotic-free meat), and, like those brands, it shows. These just look good, like you actually made them yourself (and I mean you, not me. There's a reason why I'm eating frozen burritos). I'm partial to the Chicken Chorizo Egg & Cheese. And my local Whole Foods seems to always be sold out of the Braised Chicken variety — with good reason.
When You Want Something More Taco Bell-y
The only choice here is a classic Tina's Red Hot Beef Burrito. I was honestly surprised that Fooducate gives Tina's a grade of B- when it comes to its nutrition, because it tastes like it should be absolutely terrible for you. And by that, I mean THESE BURRITOS ARE DELICIOUS. (Speaking from experience: If you happen to find a convenience store that sells these, and that convenience store happens to have a microwave, do not eat it in your car unless you want your friends to ask "What did you even do in here?" for the next six months.)
When You Need to Stock Up
The El Monterey Beef & Bean Burrito is unstoppable — and there's a reason why its packaging says that its "America's No. 1 Frozen Burrito." I'm guessing that El Monterey won the electoral vote AND the popular vote, largely because you can buy eight of them for about $4 bucks. (Also, some madman on Reddit made them sous vide-style, and swore they were the best frozen burritos he'd ever eaten.)
Your move, Neil Patrick Harris.
Do you have a favorite frozen burrito that's not on this list? Do you agree with these rankings? Discuss in the comments below!