Queso-Smothered Beef Chimichangas

Tortillas stuffed with tender, spicy, slow cooked spiced beef (barbacoa-style), fried to crunchy perfection, then smothered in a velvety smooth white queso… perfect beef chimichangas!

You’ll LOVE the flavors going on in these queso smothered beef chimichangas… it’s an explosion of Mexican flavors!!  In fact, one chimichanga might not be enough for you!

Tortillas stuffed with tender, spicy, slow cooked spiced beef (barbacoa-style), fried to crunchy perfection, then smothered in a velvety smooth white queso! Great meal to use up leftovers too! #beef #chimichangas #mexican #easyrecipe #dinner #barbacoa #queso #cheese #smothered 

Queso-Smothered Beef Chimichangas

This meal.  Oh man oh man… THIS meal is just about my favorite recipe that I’ve shared here on the blog!  I originally shared this recipe back in 2016, but the post needed a makeover.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from two GREAT bloggers and my LOVE of Mexican food.  Just ask my husband… I could eat Mexican food nearly every night of the week!  When I plan our meals for the week, I tend to try to sneak in a couple Mexican themed meals lol.

So those two bloggers I mentioned, they are the extremely talented Jamie from My Baking Addiction, and Becky from The Cookie Rookie.  If you’ve never checked out their blogs, you definitely should!!  Jamie shared her awesome recipe for Chipotle Style Barbacoa and once I tried it, I was hooked.  I made a few tweaks based on what I had available in my pantry, and the result is what I’ll be sharing with you all today!

I’d been dreaming up a barbacoa chimichanga for a while, but I wanted to go BIG.  So when I saw Becky’s easy restaurant style white queso it just clicked… a SMOTHERED chimichanga!  Ohhhhhhh yeahhhhhh!!

White queso drizzled on beef chimichangas


I’ve always wondered this, and according to the all-mighty Google, it started in an Arizona restaurant where a cook accidentally dropped a burrito into the fry oil.  He went to say a Spanish curse word, changed his mind and said “chimichanga” instead.  And it all started from there!


Basically they’re both burritos, although the main difference is that chimichangas are deep fried.  Chimichangas are usually filled with all meat, and burritos can be filled with a variety of things (meat, beans, rice, vegetables, etc).

Smothered beef chimichagas on plate


One of the things I love about this meal is that it’s actually MUCH easier than it looks!  The beef cooks away in the slow cooker, the queso takes literally minutes to come together, and the hardest part of frying is waiting for the oil to come up to temperature.

In fact, this actually makes a fantastic leftover meal!

The night you cook the beef barbacoa you could serve it up in some awesome homemade flour tortillas (seriously, SO easy and flavorful) for a taco night, or even with some cilantro citrus rice for a “burrito bowl” experience.  Then the next night, or even the night afterwards, reheat the beef in the microwave for a bit (or saute it in a little oil for a charred flavor) and make the chimichangas.  Don’t you just love meals like that… where you can stretch it out and get more than one dinner out of them?  PERFECT for us busy folks!


I haven’t extensively tested it, but I think it would work out.  Just line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper, then line up the filled chimichangas and slide the whole thing into the freezer for about an hour.  At that point, each chimichanga is frozen, so you can add them all to gallon size freezer bags and freeze them for 1-2 months.

Fry as directed, with frozen chimichangas, no need to thaw.  Just be careful when frying frozen foods, they can spatter a bit, so stand back the first minute or so they’re in the oil.

Smothered beef chimichangas on plate


  1. Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you off.  Once you break down the recipe into three easy parts, it goes very smoothly.  The beef cooks in the crockpot, mostly hands off, then the queso comes together quickly in one pot.  All that’s left is the assembly and frying!
  2. Making it all at once can be a time-consuming process, but you can make so much of this recipe ahead of time.  The meat can be cooked and shredded up to 3 days in advance.  The queso can be made the day ahead and reheated on the stovetop.
  3. Frying isn’t as difficult or scary as it’s made out to be.  The key is in prepping ahead.  While the oil is heating up, line a baking sheet with paper towels, and lay a wire cooling rack on top of the paper towels.  Keep it on the counter near the oil so you can easily transfer fried foods to the cooling rack.  This helps the food stay crispy.  



Queso Smothered Beef Barbacoa Chimichangas | Tender, spicy, slow cooked beef barbacoa stuffed into a tortilla and fried to crunchy perfection, then smothered in a velvety smooth white queso! | http://thechunkychef.com

Queso Smothered Beef Chimichangas

Tortillas stuffed with tender, spicy, slow cooked spiced beef (barbacoa-style), fried to crunchy perfection, then smothered in a velvety smooth white queso!
4.9 from 12 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 6 hrs 40 mins
Servings 8 -10
Calories 764



  • 4 lb chuck roast
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cloves garlic - minced
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup beef stock
  • 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3-4 individual chipotle chiles in adobo sauce + 2 tsp of the adobo sauce - add more if you want it spicier
  • 4 oz can of green chiles - drained
  • 2 bay leaves


  • 3/4 lb high quality white american cheese - shredded or finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb high quality fontina cheese - shredded
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 Tbsp canned jalapenos - finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • chopped cilantro - tomatoes, and jalapenos for garnish, optional


  • vegetable oil for frying (or canola or peanut)
  • Large flour tortillas
  • Queso Fresco cheese - possibly found in the refrigerated section of the Mexican foods aisle - can substitue Cotija or shredded Monterey Jack
  • Pico de Gallo or your favorite salsa
  • Diced avocado
  • Minced fresh cilantro



  • Trim excess fat from the roast and cut into 8 large pieces. Pat dry and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Add vegetable oil to a large, heavy pan, and heat over MED-HIGH heat. Once oil is shimmering, add half the meat to the pan, leaving room in between each piece. Let meat sear on one side without moving it for several minutes. If you try to flip the meat and it sticks to the pan, let it cook a little bit longer. It will release on it's own when it's ready to flip.
  • Sear all sides of the meat, remove to a plate, and repeat with remaining half of meat.
  • Add all meat pieces to the bottom of slow cooker, making sure to add any drippings from the plate, that's extra flavor!
  • Add vinegar, garlic, cumin, oregano, cloves, pepper, salt, beef stock, lime juice and chipotle chiles to a blender and puree until smooth. Stir in drained green chiles.
  • Pour sauce over meat in slow cooker, turn to fully coat meat in the sauce, then add bay leaves.
  • Cover, and cook on LOW for 10 hours (or HIGH for 6 hours).
  • Remove bay leaves.
  • Remove meat to a large bowl and shred. Return meat to the slow cooker and heat on LOW in the sauce, uncovered, for 10 minutes.


  • Prepare ingredients and set aside.
  • Add half and half to a saucepan and heat over MED heat until JUST simmering.
  • Reduce heat to LOW and stir in 1/3 cheeses, mixing well until smooth. Repeat with another 1/3 of the cheeses, and then a final time with the remaining 1/3.
  • Stir until cheeses are completely melted, then stir in jalapenos, cumin, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  • If cheese starts to get too thick or seize up, stir in additional half and half until it reaches desired consistency.


  • Heat several inches of vegetable oil (or canola, peanut, etc) over MED heat in a cast iron skillet (or whichever skillet you use to fry).
  • To test to see if the oil is ready, rip off a small piece of flour tortilla and toss it in the oil... it should bubble and slowly turn golden brown.
  • Lay out a flour tortilla, add several spoonfuls of shredded beef barbacoa to the tortilla in a horizontal line, leaving an inch or so of border on the sides.
  • Top beef with a handful of Queso Fresco cheese.
  • Roll the tortilla as you would a burrito, up from the bottom over the meat and cheese, fold the sides in, then continue rolling upward.
  • 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.
  • Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain and cool.
  • Repeat with remaining chimichangas.
  • To serve, top chimichanga with queso, queso fresco cheese, minced cilantro, pico de gallo and diced avocado.


1. Recipes adapted from My Baking Addiction and The Cookie Rookie
2. For the chipotle peppers, don't use 3-4 CANS, just use 3-4 of the individual peppers from one can, plus some of the sauce.
Tried this recipe?Mention @the_chunky_chef or tag #thechunkychef!


Tortillas stuffed with tender, spicy, slow cooked spiced beef (barbacoa-style), fried to crunchy perfection, then smothered in a velvety smooth white queso! Great meal to use up leftovers too! #beef #chimichangas #mexican #easyrecipe #dinner #barbacoa #queso #cheese #smothered 

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Recipe Rating

39 comments on “Queso-Smothered Beef Chimichangas”

  1. Made just the meat. Even was out of a few things and it was great. 

  2. This looks absolutely amazing! Has anyone tried baking or using an air fryer? 

  3. I’m drooling this is everything I love!

  4. This looks absolutely delicious! Yummy! YUM!!! I love this delicious version!!!

  5. Looks insanely delicious! So much flavor packed on this dish, can’t wait to give this a try!

  6. This looks like my next dinner, my family will love this! thanks!!

  7. Wow! Can’t wait to make this! Sounds beyond delicious!

  8. Mexican food is my weakness! This is one of the dishes I always order when we go out. Excited to try it at home.

  9. So flavorful, and I absolutely LOVE the mix of textures! Tastes fantastic

  10. I liked this chimichangas, i thought the whole dish was flavorful.

  11. My mom shared this recipe with me and my husband and I just love it.

  12. can these be frozen before frying?  I would like to premake & take on vacation to beach cabin.

  13. I just seared my beef made the puree to go over it. WOW!!! IT SMELLS AMAZING !! I haven turned my crock pot on. I honestly can’t wait to try this. I’ll check in tomorrow and let you know how it taste. I have it ready to turn on in the morning so dinner will be ready when I get home. I also have a small crock pot and am going to make refried beans. Mexican Tuesday just got kicked up a notch

  14. Hi just wondering if anyone has tried freezing these? After they have been fried Can these be frozen to re heat later? or should I freeze and fry them after heating them up? I’m just thinking I don’t mind making Barbacoa but When I make a batch I would love to do multiple things that I can freeze and eat later. Thanks! I’m definitely planning on trying this ?

  15. This was amazing!! I followed the recipe almost exactly ( I used 2 chipotle chilis because I am a spicy food wimp) and it was so good. My husband loved it too. The only bad news is there’s just enough left for one of us to have it for lunch tomorrow! This recipe is going into the regular rotation!

  16. Love this recipe! Just finished eating it actually. Thank you for posting this. My husband loves it! Told me it was his favorite thing I have ever cooked him. Will definitely be using your other recipes for future dinners. However I do have one thing I want to point out about your ingredients list. You didn’t write how much queso fresco was needed for the recipe. Was worrying so much that I wouldn’t have enough of it. So adding the amount needed would be of great help! Also for the chipotle chili’s in adobo sauce, you have it written 3 in? Had no clue what that meant, so I used three of the chili’s that were in that can. And also didn’t know what size can of green chili’s to use. But your directions were very clear and the meal tasted amazing. Thank you! 🙂

    • Hi Tiffany 🙂 I’m SO glad you both loved this recipe as much as we do!! Thank you for pointing out that there were some errors in the recipe card… when I switched to a better recipe card, some of the coding got messed up and I didn’t catch this one! You were correct… it’s 3 of the chiles in the can. It should be a 4 oz can of the green chiles, and as for the queso fresco, since it’s a garnish, the amount is a personal preference. I don’t measure my garnishes, I just sprinkle them on 🙂

  17. I love these Chimichangas so much! Thanks so much for the kind words!

  18. What about the 2 bay leaves? What do I use those for?

    • Hi Miriam 🙂 Whoops, it looks like that line in the recipe didn’t go through… you add the bay leaves to the slow cooker with the meat and sauce. They cook with the meat for extra flavor, then they are removed before shredding the meat. I’ve updated the recipe now… thanks for the heads up!

  19. These look amazing! Will be trying soon as we have a freezer full of beef!

  20. You write the best recipe instructions ever! They are so clear and leave no interpretation on my part! I put this on our meal plan of next week! Thanks for sharing!!

  21. holy smokes!!! I want to dig in!

  22. This looks delicious! I love avocado!

  23. Beautiful pictures! This is one hearty meal!

  24. These look packed with flavor! I MUST try them!

  25. I was dancing around just looking at your gorgeous photos! Seriously, these look SO amazing!!!

  26. WOAH you were not kidding these are definitely SMOTHERED!

  27. I will eat the barbacoa at Chipotle b/c they actually use other parts of a cow. Authentic places here will sell it (actual cheek meat) but I’ve never been brave enough. LOL. I’m going to give yours a whirl this week!

  28. I could have this every night for dinner!

  29. I love barbacoa…and I love chimichangas…so I’m guessing I’d double-love these! They seriously look incredible.

  30. Oh my gosh!!! These look amaaaaaazing!! Like, seriously! Wish I could reach out and grab one from my screen. And that sauce?!! Going to have to try this one soon 🙂

  31. OMG! This looks absolutely delicious! Yummed, and pinned!

  32. WHENEVER I see barbacoa on a menu, I have to have it, but I have never had it in a chimichanga! These look seriously amazing!