These baked chicken chimichangas are healthier than the fried version, but yet still deliciously crispy from the oven! Perfect for using leftover chicken, these chimichangas can be baked, cooked in the air fryer, or deep fried if you prefer.
Recipes like my Baked Mexican Rice and Restaurant-Style Salsa are great for when you want restaurant quality food, made easily at home. We love hearty Mexican-inspired meals, and this is one of my Mexican recipes you’ll definitely want in your dinner rotation!
BAKED CHICKEN CHIMICHANGAS
If you’re anything like me, you always save leftovers, and have such high hopes and determination for actually eating those leftovers. And then when I’m cleaning out the refrigerator, there they all are. *facepalm*
This is one of those recipes you can use to actually use up those leftovers!
I actually developed this recipe to be served with leftovers of my Mexican Shredded Chicken, but I’ve also shared how to make super flavorful chimichangas using plain shredded chicken.
I kept this recipe simple and just used chicken and cheese, but I’ve also included a list of some other add-ins in case you want to take these up a notch!
HOW TO MAKE BAKED CHICKEN CHIMICHANGAS
- Preheat oven and prepare baking sheet. I like to also combine both of my cheeses, so they’re mixed in the chimichanga when I add them.
- Warm up tortillas. This is important so that they’re nice and pliable. Otherwise when you roll them up, they may crack and break open.
- If using Mexican shredded chicken, drain excess liquid. Otherwise, you may end up with some soggy-bottomed chimichangas.
- Add filling and roll up into burrito shapes.
- Add seam-side down, brush with butter or oil, and bake. You want to bake them seam-side down so they don’t unroll during baking, and brushing them with butter or oil helps the tortillas get super crispy and golden.
ADDITIONAL COOKING TIPS
If you’d rather cook these chimichangas in a different way, here are two of my favorite alternate methods.
Preheat air fryer to 400°F. Lightly brush all sides of the chimichangas with oil. Place 2 of the chimichangas seam-side down in the air fryer basket. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, flipping halfway, until golden brown and crisp.
Heat an inch or so of vegetable oil (or canola, peanut, etc) over MED heat in a cast iron skillet (or whichever skillet you use to fry). Place chimichanga seam side down in the oil and let it fry for about 1-2 minutes, then carefully flip it over and fry an additional minute or so.
CHIMICHANGAS VS BURRITOS
Basically they’re both burritos, although the main difference is that chimichangas are deep fried or baked, whereas burritos aren’t cooked.
CHIMICHANGAS VS ENCHILADAS
Generally enchiladas are smothered in a sauce and/or cheese and baked, where chimichangas aren’t covered in a sauce. I like to serve mine topped with things like sour cream and guacamole, but those are added after they’re served.
VARIATIONS OF THIS RECIPE
- PROTEIN – you can make baked chimichangas with just about any meat you’d like! Shredded pork, beef, ground chicken, ground pork, ground beef, etc. I love using chimichangas as a leftover meal.. using whatever I have precooked in the refrigerator.
- ADD-INS – just like you can add any protein, you can anything else you’d like to the filling mixture. Flavored rice, beans, corn, pico de gallo, refried beans, etc.
MAKING CHICKEN CHIMICHANGAS AHEAD OF TIME
I love that these baked chicken chimichangas make the perfect freezer meal! No need to bake them first, just roll them up, wrap individually in foil, then add to a freezer container.
Freeze for up to 5-6 months.
To heat, bake at 400°F for 40-45 minutes, until hot throughout (for frozen), or 25-30 (for thawed).
Leftovers should be refrigerated in an airtight container and consumed within 3-4 days.
I like to wrap them individually in foil, then they can be baked to reheat – right in the foil! Unwrap the last half of baking to re-crisp.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT FOR THIS RECIPE
- Baking Sheet – these rimmed baking sheets are a great value, and don’t warp in the oven.
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- 6 burrito-sized flour tortillas
- 3 cups Mexican shredded chicken
- 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack or PepperJack Cheese
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2-3 Tbsp melted butter or vegetable oil
- sour cream
- pico de gallo
- green onion
- minced fresh cilantro
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and set aside. Combine Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses in a small bowl.
- Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave until soft and pliable, about 20-25 seconds.
- Drain excess liquid from Mexican shredded chicken, and set aside.
- To the center of one tortilla, add a sprinkle of the cheese mixture, about 1/3 cup of the chicken, and another sprinkle of cheeses on top. Fold the edge nearest you over top of the filling, then fold the right and left sides in, then continue rolling up.
- Place seam-side down on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.
- Brush each chimichanga with melted butter or vegetable oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
- Top with desired toppings and enjoy!
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- 1 cup of your favorite salsa
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ancho chile pepper (or chili powder)
- 1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
- Combine chicken with ingredients listed above, then continue with recipe as directed.