This baked beef chimichanga recipe makes perfectly crisp ground beef enchiladas filled with ooey gooey cheesy and hearty black beans in just 30 minutes!
These can also be made ahead of time and baked throughout the week, making them ideal for meal preparation!
WHAT IS A CHIMICHANGA?
Chimichangas are essentially deep-fried burritos. It’s a mash-up of Mexican and Southwest American flavors.
Cuisines with origins in Arizona Traditionally, it is filled with meat, but it can also be filled with vegetables, beans, or rice.
The crisp, fried exterior distinguishes it from a standard burrito and adds to the deliciousness of the wrapped tortilla.
This shredded beef chimichanga is baked rather than deep-fried. There is no need to heat up a large vat of oil; simply brush them with a light coat of oil and place them in the oven.
The oil coating aids in the crisping of the chimichanga in the oven. It’s a slightly healthier version of the original chimichanga, and it’s a lot less messy to make because you’re not deep frying it.
YOU WILL LOVE THESE
- They are quick and simple! There’s no need to heat up a pot of oil or be concerned about it spitting and splattering all over your kitchen! Simply wrap the chimichangas in foil, place them on a baking sheet, and let the oven do the rest! We’re taking what’s traditionally known as an extravagant meal and simplifying it so that it’s totally doable on a busy weeknight! Add more flavor and make the meal complete by adding a simple salad with my Easy Southwest Salad Dressing.
- They have all of your favorite taco night flavors wrapped in a crispy flour tortilla! If you’re tired of the same old taco Tuesday, try these baked chimichangas instead! Serve with a bag (or two) of your favorite tortilla chips and this 5 Minute Restaurant Salsa Recipe.
- They’re also delicious with leftover shredded or rotisserie chicken! If you have any leftover chicken in the fridge, you can substitute it for the ground beef. To keep the ratios consistent, I’d recommend using about 3 cups of cooked, shredded chicken. You could also substitute a pound of ground turkey for the ground beef!
- This recipe for beef chimichangas can be made ahead of time! Who doesn’t enjoy a meal that you can prepare on a Sunday afternoon and then eat at any time during the week? These will keep in the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to eat them! Check out my tips and tricks for baking them after they’ve been in the fridge/freezer.
WHAT GOES IN SHREDDED BEEF CHIMICHANGAS?
You’ll want to start by making the shredded beef. We used a chuck roast, which is a cheap cut of beef.
It has a lot of fat marbled into it, so give it plenty of time to cook and render the fat down.
A long, slow cook will also break down the connective tissues, making the meat extremely tender.
INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Flour Tortillas– Flour Tortillas are light and fluffy, with an authentic flavor. If you need something different, whole wheat tortillas are a low-carb option.
- Ground beef has a deep and rich flavor that is enhanced by the earthy black beans. If you need something lighter or lower in fat, try ground turkey or ground chicken; you’ll end up with a leaner chimichanga that your family will still enjoy.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese – Any melty shredded cheese would be delicious in this chimichanga recipe. And don’t be concerned if it isn’t shredded! You can shred some in your food processor with the grater blade in just a minute or two, or grate some by hand.
- Canned Black Beans – We use canned beans because they are always ready to use at a moment’s notice.
- Canned Corn – Canned corn appears to have a texture that only canned corn has. And it’s difficult to beat canned corn for convenience because it’s always ready! If canned corn isn’t in your pantry, try frozen corn, thawed and drained. It should also suffice for this recipe in a pinch. If you have corn on the cob that needs to be used, simply stand it up vertically on a cutting board, slice downward, and cut the corn off the cob.
- Taco Sauce – Taco sauce has its own unique texture and blend of herbs & spices. If you must use something else, try an equal amount of my 5 Minute Restaurant Salsa or another type of salsa you have on hand.
- Cumin – If you’re out of cumin, try ground coriander. The flavors of these two spices are similar. Use the same amount of coriander powder.
- Chili Powder – Chili Powder is a blend of garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and other spices that gives your chimichangas that signature flavor! If you don’t have chili powder, you can substitute paprika or even smoked paprika, which has a stronger flavor than regular paprika.
- Diced Chiles in Adobo – Adobo is a dark sauce with a distinct flavor that pairs perfectly with these baked chimichangas! If you don’t have this on hand, substitute canned fire-roasted green chilies. In this chimichanga recipe, the flavor will be different but still delicious.
HOW TO MAKE SHREDDED BEEF CHIMICHANGAS
Plan ahead of time because it will take some time to cook the beef until it is tender and shreddable.
The chimichangas come together quickly once the beef is cooked. For detailed instructions, scroll all the way down to the printable recipe card.
- While the chuck roast is still warm, shred it.
- Prepare the remaining ingredients for the filling and combine them with the shredded beef.
- Wrap the tortillas in a burrito-style fashion with the filling.
- Coat the chimichangas in olive oil and bake until crispy.
- Serve with salsa, sour cream, and avocados on the side.
CAN YOU FREEZE SHREDDED BEEF CHIMICHANGAS?
These chimichangas can be frozen either before or after they’ve been baked. If you know you’ll be saving some for later, freeze them before baking them.
When you’re ready to serve them for dinner, thaw them overnight in the fridge and bake them according to the recipe.
If you’ve already baked them and want to freeze the leftovers, let them cool before placing them in a freezer-safe container. After thawing, place them in the oven to crisp up again.
MAKE AHEAD INSTRUCTIONS
Chimichangas (unbaked) can be made up to a week ahead of time. They will keep fresh in the fridge (if sealed in an airtight container). And you’ll be ready to make dinner at a moment’s notice.
When ready to bake, place the chimichangas on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with oil, and bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated 400-degree oven.
I always keep a bag of these chimichangas in the freezer! They’re ideal for a quick weeknight dinner!
Wrap each (unbaked) chimichanga individually in tin foil or saran wrap before placing them all in a large freezer-safe bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to two months.
When you’re ready to bake, simply remove each chimichanga from the foil and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with oil and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and heated through on the inside, in a preheated 400-degree oven!
Frequently Asked Questions
A chimichanga is traditionally a flour tortilla filled with rice, beans, cheese, and meat, folded into a rectangle shape, and deep-fried. Deep frying is more time consuming and intimidating than baking! Furthermore, it can cause a splatter on your stovetop. This baked chimichanga is a simpler, less complicated version of the traditional deep-fried chimichanga.
This simple recipe is ideal for learning how to make a chimichanga from scratch! Preheat the oven, grab some tortillas, stuff them with a cheesy seasoned ground beef mixture, fold them up, and bake! Making homemade chimichangas is much easier than you might think!
A burrito is a warm tortilla that has been filled with rice, cheese, beans, meat, lettuce, and salsa before being rolled or folded up and eaten as is. A chimichanga combines similar flavors by deep frying or baking, as we do in this recipe. In some ways, they are similar, but they are very different!
A chimichanga, like a burrito, is traditionally filled with rice, beans, meat, and cheese. You can choose between seasoned Mexican-style rice, yellow rice, or plain white rice. Traditional beans include refried beans, black beans, and pinto beans.