Perfect Chicken Burrito

published Sep 8, 2023
Chicken Burrito Recipe

Seasoned chicken, beans, cilantro-lime rice, and shredded cheese wrapped in warm flour tortillas.

Makes4

Prep25 minutes

Cook12 minutes

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If you’re always on the hunt for recipes that use up leftover cooked chicken (or better yet, a rotisserie chicken), you won’t want to miss this one for chicken burritos. Every bite is loaded with juicy, flavorful chicken, cilantro-lime rice, sautéed peppers and onions, and cool sour cream. 

Here, you’ll learn how to layer and wrap burritos while turning your leftover chicken into a weeknight dinner that everyone will cheer for. Plus, I’ll share how to make the burritos in advance so that dinner is ready whenever you are.

What Goes in a Chicken Burrito?

  • Cooked chicken: Use leftover cooked chicken, make it fresh, or opt for a rotisserie chicken. Shred the meat or dice into bite-sized pieces.
  • Taco seasoning: Measure two teaspoons of homemade taco seasoning or use your favorite store-bought seasoning packet.
  • Bell peppers and onions: Sauté strips of bell peppers and onions for the filling. Red bell pepper gives the burrito a pop of color, but it’s okay to use any color of bell pepper.
  • Pinto beans: Pinto beans are my pick for chicken burritos, but black beans are just as tasty.
  • Cooked rice: For the best texture, make a fresh batch of white rice on the stovetop, in your rice cooker, or microwave from frozen. Add fresh lime and cilantro for rice that tastes even better than Chipotle’s. 
  • Mexican-blend cheese: Use pre-shredded Mexican-blend cheese, or shred cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese straight from the block.

What Is the Best Way to Shred Chicken for Burritos?

Shredding chicken is easiest when it’s warm. Use two forks to pull the meat apart into bite-size pieces. If you’re shredding a large amount of chicken, fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and let it do the work for you. 

What Is the Best Way to Season Chicken for Burritos?

Simmer chicken and beans with store-bought tomato salsa, taco seasoning, garlic, and fresh lime juice for juicy, flavorful chicken.

How Do You Keep Burritos from Falling Apart?

  • Warm the tortilla. Steaming the tortillas under a damp paper towel in the microwave makes the tortillas more pliable and less prone to cracking.
  • Do not overfill. Piling on the burrito fillings will only cause it to burst. Measure each ingredient to make sure your chicken burrito stays put and that there is enough filling for every tortilla.
  • Tuck in the sides. Fold the bottom half of the tortilla over the filling, then tuck in the sides. This will secure the sides of the tortilla as you finish rolling the burrito.

Chicken Burrito Recipe

Seasoned chicken, beans, cilantro-lime rice, and shredded cheese wrapped in warm flour tortillas.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 12 minutes

Makes 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 pound

    cooked boneless chicken

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 1

    medium red bell pepper

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1

    medium lime

  • 4 sprigs

    fresh cilantro

  • 1 (about 15-ounce) can

    pinto beans

  • 1 cup

    warm cooked white rice

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon

    vegetable oil

  • 3/4 cup

    jarred tomato salsa, plus more for serving

  • 2 teaspoons

    homemade or store-bought taco seasoning

  • 1 cup

    shredded Mexican-blend cheese (about 4 ounces)

  • 4

    large (about 12-inch) burrito-size flour tortillas

  • 4 tablespoons

    sour cream

  • Guacamole, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Shred or dice 1 pound cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups).

  2. Trim and cut 1 medium yellow onion and 1 medium red bell pepper into 1/4-inch-thick strips (about 1 cup each). Mince 2 garlic cloves. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lime; juice the lime (about 2 tablespoons). Coarsely chop the leaves and tender stems of 4 fresh cilantro sprigs (about 1 tablespoon). Drain and rinse 1 (about 15-ounce) can pinto beans.

  3. Place the cilantro, lime zest, 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, 1 cup warm cooked white rice, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl, and stir to combine.

  4. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until simmering. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté until tender and golden-brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  5. Return the skillet to the stovetop, and reduce heat to medium-low. Add the chicken, beans, garlic, remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, 3/4 cup jarred tomato salsa, and 2 teaspoons taco seasoning. Simmer until heated through and the liquid evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

  6. Stack 4 large flour tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a damp paper towel, and microwave until warm, about 30 seconds.

  7. Working with 1 tortilla at a time, layer 1/4 cup of the shredded Mexican-blend cheese, 1/4 cup of the rice, 3/4 cup of the chicken mixture, heaping 1/4 cup of the peppers and onions, and 1 tablespoon of the sour cream across the center of the tortilla. Fold the bottom tightly up over the filling, then fold in the sides and roll up tightly. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Cut in half crosswise and serve with guacamole and more salsa if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: Wrap each burrito tightly in aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 12 hours; don't refrigerate burritos for more than 12 hours or they start to get soggy. Alternatively, they can be frozen for up to 3 months.

To reheat burritos, unwrap, place on a microwave-safe plate, and cover with a damp paper towel. For refrigerated burritos: microwave on high power until heated through, about 3 minutes, flipping after 90 seconds, for refrigerated burritos. For frozen burritos: microwave on high power for 2 minutes; flip the burrito, cover again, and microwave for 3 minutes more.

Storage: Wrap up leftover burritos in aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 1 day.