Oven Baked Chimichangas

Among the tasty tortilla wraps I’ve posted about in the past, this chimichanga recipe ranks right up there in simplicity and deliciousness. I love trying healthier remakes of classic fried foods (although I confess, I do love me some real fried food now and again) and these chimis bake up delightfully crisp with a hearty, flavorful filling that can be as spicy or as mild as you like.

The great thing about a meal like this is you can adapt it in so many ways – make it vegetarian, use a different type of meat or variety of beans, add your favorite herbs, extra cheese…you get the picture.

What To ServeI’ll definitely be making these over and over again. Served with a light green salad and some fresh fruit and veggies (or perhaps this delicious fruit concoction) and this is a perfectly perfect meal for any night of the week!

Oven Baked Chimichangas

One Year Ago: Chicken and Rice with Coconut Milk and Pistachios
Two Years Ago: Blueberry Crumb Muffins

Oven Baked Chimichangas

Yield: Makes 6 chimis

Oven Baked Chimichangas

Note: this recipe makes use of already cooked rice and chicken so plan ahead!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 (16-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown or white rice
  • 2-3 cups diced, cooked chicken
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (use the lesser amount for less heat, greater amount for a bigger kick)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese (or a combination of both)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 6 large burrito-size flour tortillas

Directions

  1. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is heating, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Cook the onion until it is just softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the beans, rice, chicken and chipotle and cook until the mixture is heated through, about 3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the cheese and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/4 teaspoon each).
  2. Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave the tortillas until they are warm and pliable, about 1 minute. Top each warm tortilla with some of the chicken mixture, leaving about a 2-inch border at the bottom of the tortilla. Fold in the sides and roll up the tortilla tightly. Brush the wrapped tortillas with the remaining oil and arrange them seam side down on the hot baking sheet that has been preheating in the oven. Bake until the chimis are golden brown and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Serve.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/oven-baked-chimichangas/

Recipe Source: adapted from Cook’s Country Dec/Jan 2010

70 Responses to Oven Baked Chimichangas

  1. I don’t think I have ever had a chimichanga? At least one that didn’t come out of the freezer. :) They look delicious!

  2. Kim in MD says:

    I have never had a chimichanga either. I don’t order them in restaurants because they are fried…this baked version looks wonderful! I love that you use leftover rice and chicken, which for some reason I always seem to have in my refrigerator! I think these would freeze well, don’t you Melanie? Perfect to make ahead for a Tex-Mex themed party for 25 people, don’t you think? ;-)

    I can’t wait to try this recipe-thanks for sharing, Melanie! :-)

    • Mel says:

      Kim – I had a feeling someone would ask the freezer question. I haven’t actually tried it, but I’m guessing they would probably freeze pretty well, also. If I went that route, I’d probably freeze them just rolled up, without baking, then remove them from the freezer, rub with oil and pop in the oven. (Long live those huge dinner parties of yours, by the way!)

  3. Is the no-oven ban over?? I’ve been doing it with you, minus my dessert creations!
    These are such a great dinner idea! Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Christina – I am mostly sticking with my no-oven ban (except for a few here and there’s) but some of these oven-required recipes are still popping up because I have a back log of recipes to share – so these chimichangas, for instance, I made a month or so ago and am just getting around to posting them.

  4. Jeanette says:

    Mel, I was planing on making your Southwest chicken stacks into chimichangas this week! (Minus the corn) . Glad to know how to do the tortillas!

  5. Amy M says:

    These look like a great option to make ahead and freeze! I’m going to make these for my next freezer food swap.

  6. StephenC says:

    This is something I will definitely try as soon as I can get my hands on some tortillas.

  7. grace says:

    am i the only one who orders chimichangas at a restaurant simply as an excuse to say the word out loud repeatedly? :)

  8. Sharon says:

    Love Chims, but never thought to make them at home, even though we love Mexican over here. Thanks for a great recipe..
    P.S big fan of using the leftovers… seems I too have lots of chicken and rice leftover!! : )

  9. mia says:

    i’m still around mel!!!!! i haven’t been trying too many new recipes lately, but using LOTS of the ones i’ve discovered on your site over and over again!!!!

    i just had to say ~ i have some leftovers in the fridge of the chili and black bean rice (that is not what it’s called but i forget right now…) and i am so going to use it for this tomorrow night! :)

    thanks mel!!

  10. Jen Cheung says:

    yumm! that looks delicious!!! found your blog through foodieblog roll :) WIll be visiting often! feel free save me as your blogroll hehe

    jen

  11. Shelly says:

    I’m definitely going to try these. They sound great! I’m thinking you should also add some cumin ( my all-time favorite spice). Thanks for sharing. I’ve spent HOURS on your site since discovering it about two weeks ago. Eeeek!!!

  12. Julie R says:

    I have a recipe similar to this, and like Mel said, you can just freeze the chimi before baking. I usually freeze them individually on a cookie sheet (so they don’t freeze and stick together), and then after 24 hours or so, I’ll put them in a ziploc bag. My family actually eats these as burritos (without the oil) and we will sometimes bake them in the toaster oven (I can fit usually 4 on the little pan), or they do re-heat in the micro for a quick meal … for about 2-2.5 minutes, if they’re frozen solid. It is an alternative to using the oven, but like with most things, micro cooking doesn’t give you any kind of crunch.

  13. Linda says:

    I gotta try these – yum! I would add a big blob of guacamole on top, for sure! I like that they are baked.

  14. Evelyn Ross says:

    Can’t wait to try these! My mother in law makes great chimichangas (she is Mexican, afterall) but I cringe when I see her frying them! These seem like a great alternative for my Weight Watchers diet! With some of the salsa you posted last time…yum!

  15. Julie says:

    We had these for dinner tonight, but I did them as burritos in the microwave, minus the oil, because I too am doing Weight Watchers. Loved them and so did my hubby. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Julie – glad you liked these chimichanga-slash-burritos. I love how versatile they are! I’m happy they fit in to your WW regime!

  16. Jess says:

    I am a newbie to your lovely kitchen cafe. I LOVED this recipe! I had friends over and they were impressed. I just took the rice out (I served Spanish Rice as a side dish) and I used left over shredded pork. The tortilla was perfectly crispy and the whole thing guilt-free because they are baked! Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Jess – thanks for checking in on this recipe and welcome to the site! I’m thrilled you liked this recipe – thanks for including your change on the rice!

  17. Kim says:

    I loved these and so did my family. I agree with another poster, it fits in great with weight watchers! Next time I’m going to try making whole wheat tortillas to go with it. Thanks for such great ideas!

  18. megan says:

    Do you think I could use chipotle seasoning instead of the minced canned chipotle? Any thoughts on how much to use? I know that stuff is strong :) Although I guess since everything is cooked already, I could just taste as I go. Thanks, can’t wait to try this.

    • Mel says:

      megan – I’ve never used the chipotle seasoning but even so, I would definitely say it is worth a try so you don’t have to buy a special ingredient. Since it is pretty strong stuff, I’d go for 1/4 teaspoon to start and move up from there.

  19. bdubz says:

    Made this last night but used ground beef and chorizo instead of the chicken – served with spinach leaf salad and a mango salsa and it was so delicious! This is going to become a regular in our house :)

  20. Amber says:

    I made these last night, and everyone LOVED them! Especially my picky 4 year old daughter, she ate 2! These were delish!
    Thanks for the great recipe!

  21. kira says:

    These were a perfect dinner success last night. Delicious! I was wondering if you ever serve any sauce on them? You know how they sometimes come smothered sauce and topped with more cheese? Just wondered if you had any suggestions on what to use to do that? I know, bake ‘em so they’re healthy then smother in sauce and cheese? But it does sound good right? Thanks.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Kira! Yes, your idea of smothering them does sound good. If I were you and wanted to keep it simple, I’d grab a can of salsa verde (I like the Herdez brand) mix it with some sour cream to make a creamy sauce. Smother the chimis in that and the cover with a mixture of monterey jack and cheddar.

  22. kira says:

    Thanks! Simple and perfect I am sure! We will try that next time. Thank you.

  23. Amy M says:

    I made 40 of these yesterday… my own variation based on what I had in the pantry but OMG they were by far the best thing I’ve made in a long time. Thank you for the inspiration! I made these for my freezer meal swap and I’m already hearing reports of how amazing they are. One thing that I think made a difference in how creamy there were is that I took sour cream and mixed it slightly with whole milk to get a more yogurt-like consistancy and gave each a generous squirt…when it warms in the oven the mixture oozes into every bite. Thanks Mel!

    • Mel says:

      Amy M – I’m thrilled that these have been a hit with your dinner swap group! Making 40 seems overwhelming but I guess if you have all the stuff/mess out, you might as well make a ton! I love the oozy creamy tip.

  24. bdubz says:

    Made a million* of these, wrapped individually in foil, frozen and then taken to a 4 day long festival where they were either reheated over the fire or eaten cold on the run. Freaking brilliant!!

    *may or may not be an exaggeration…

    • Mel says:

      bdbuz – I’m so ok with exaggerations. Once you roll even 2 dozen of these, it probably feels like a million. And what a great idea to wrap in foil, freeze and then reheat over a fire. Love it!

  25. kira says:

    Just thought you should know the salsa verde/sour cream sauce was excellent. I mixed half a jar of salsa verde with 8 oz of sour cream, warmed it on the stove, and poured it over top each chimi as it came out of the oven. Then, topped with some extra cheese. DELICIOUS! Thanks for the suggestion. We loved it.

  26. Allison says:

    We are SO addicted to this recipe! I’ve made them every Saturday for the past 5 weeks… baked, cooled, wrapped foil, and froze. Microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute. I’ve been omitting the chicken, and they are still fabulous! Best/easiest lunch ever!

  27. Christine says:

    could I make these in the morning or the night before work? then have the hubby stick them in the oven when he gets home? He gets home at 4 from work and i dont get home till almost 8, so if I dont have something he can just put in the oven he usually orders out! So Im looking for some ideas!

    • Mel says:

      Christine – yes, I definitely think you could make them the morning of. If you make them more than one day in advance, I’d pop them in the freezer and then bake them straight out of the freezer, just increasing the baking time by a few minutes and checking often to make sure they are heated through.

  28. Birgitta says:

    I have never made baked chimis! These were yummy and super easy.

  29. Sara says:

    I made these a few nights ago and they were an instant hit with my family! We will be making them often, mmm… good!

  30. Vicki says:

    I made these and my family loved them!!! I love your idea with the salsa verde and sour cream and cheese. Thank you so much!!!

  31. Sara says:

    These were amazing! My family loved them and my husband was happy to have one leftover for work the next day! We have been trying a lot of your recipes and so far they’ve all been great! We also love the coconut curry chicken! Ha, ha – all of the sudden my husband thinks I’m a great cook, thank you! :)

  32. Amy S. says:

    So, I’m pretty sure this has been asked before, but I can’t remember where or what the answer was. What do you do with the rest of the chiles in the can that you open? I hate throwing away the whole can, but I don’t have any other recipes to use them in. Can you freeze the rest for use later on??

    Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Amy – I pop the rest of the chipotle chiles in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer (you could even portion them into tiny amounts to pull out one at a time to use in this recipe).

  33. Diana says:

    I’ve made “crispy burritos” very similar to this, I just put the burrito in a non greased pan on the stove and crisp both sides. You could probably use a griddle pan to cook a bunch at a time too, that way you can skip the oven and get it nice and crispy still for those who don’t want to use oil. I will be trying these out this week thanks!

  34. Christal says:

    These were delicious! I left out the cilantro cause I didnt have any. Will make this one again for sure!

  35. Susannah says:

    I purchased a can of the chilies in adobo sauce, but I notice your recipe calls for only 1-2 teaspoons. Do you purchase the can for this recipe? How long will they last in the fridge?

  36. Mel says:

    Hi Susannah – I purchase the small cans for this recipe (and others) and always freeze the leftovers in small bags in the freezer for use later.

  37. Susannah says:

    Thanks, Mel! Duh, the freezer. You must think I’m a real winner! :)

  38. Susannah says:

    Mel, these were really good! I omitted the oil on top and used a light spritz of cooking spray. They turned out great! I would seriously eat the filling without the tortilla. Just break out the guacamole and salsa…YUM!

  39. Roberta says:

    Made the chimichangas two nights ago and they were fabulous! Thank you so much!
    Made me happy, hubby happy and my daughter happy!

    YUM!!!!!!!!!!

  40. Krista says:

    Made them tonight, fantastic! Loved them, fiancé said he could eat them every night for the rest of his life lol. Thanks!!!

  41. Chante says:

    These chimi’s were excellent. Way easy and everybody liked them. Thanks for the recipe.

  42. Fantastic recipe, I made it and featured it on my blog and linked your page!!

    http://www.onceuponherplate.com/2012/09/healthy-oven-baked-chimichangas.html

    Thanks!!

  43. julie says:

    these look so amazing. making them for dinner tonight, however i couldtn find the chiles at the supermarket. even asked for help and nooone could find them so i got regular green chiles in the can. anything i can add to make them like what i need? ive been dying to try these and hope they come out just as good with out the adobo sauce

  44. Mel says:

    Julie – the green chiles don’t have the same smoky, deep flavor as the adobo sauce but they’ll add a bit of pop, nonetheless (but you’ll miss a bit of the spiciness). Hopefully you’ll be able to find the chiles in adobo to make these in the future again. They are pretty common – I’m surprised your store didn’t have them, darn it!

  45. Ali says:

    Thanks for the recipe! The chicken mixture was way bland for our tastes but we loved the idea and will adapt to our own tastes next time with some seasoning and other mix-ins. :)

  46. Michelle says:

    We made these last week and they were amazing! Very fresh and better than a restaurant. Will add then to the recipe rotation for sure!

  47. Kelly says:

    Oh my word, this could be a new addiction! I didn’t have the chiles or black beans, so I used a can of mostly-drained chili beans. The sauce with them helped kick the flavor! I also stirred in a bit of salsa. Love the crispy shell without the deep-fry yuckiness! If it weren’t for fear of pregnant heartburn afterwards, I would’ve eaten about 3 of these myself. :)

  48. Angela says:

    Tasty! I had ground beef on hand, so gave it a whirl. Next time I’ll probably cut down on the onion a bit and increase the adobo fun to combat the beef factor. Looking forward to experimenting more. Good flavors, healthy, and really easy. Easy to make earlier in the day and pop in the oven when the hungry little monkeys start getting crazy. It’s also very good dipped in plain yogurt mixed with salsa as you eat it. Yum! Also, because they were crispy, these were less messy than usual burritos — very nice! Thanks Mel!!

  49. Liz says:

    Thanks for the nice recipe.

  50. Papa cooks says:

    Mel, I found your web as I was looking for the best way to freeze seafood chimi’s. I make my own Ancho chili sauce in the filling and use about 2 cups that has heavy cream to pour on top. When I open a can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce I pour the contents into the blender and pulse the get a good mix and then I pour into a ice cube tray and freeze, then bag them for later use. I agree with Shelly about adding the Cumin.

  51. Paula says:

    We were downright shocked at how delicious these were. I made mine without meat at all. I used a brown rice mix with lots of seasonings. Didn’t have the adobo, but I fried jalapeno, serrano and poblano peppers along with mushrooms, before adding beans to make my version of refrieds. I’m so glad to have found this technique, and one of the great things is you can totally make it with anything you like.
    It was all about finding something to go with the pico de gallo i was making from the homegrown tomatoes! Now i’m off to explore the rest of your site! Thanks!!

  52. Citywoman says:

    Love this idea! I’ve been grilling these, I call burritos – you call chimichangas :) – for a long time but love the idea of being able to bake them all at once to the crispiness I work on one at a time in a grilling pan. Great time saver!!

  53. Snowbunny says:

    Chimichangas are my husband’s favorite and I made these tonight. He said they were better than eating out! Great post! A new family favorite for us.

  54. Kim says:

    I made these tonight and my hubby and I both loved them! I did not have chiles or cilantro on hand but made them anyway. I used spanish rice to add some flavor. Topped with half salsa, half sour cream mixture and melted cheese! Yummy! Thank you so much for sharing.

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