Chimichangas are similar to burritos, except deep fried to create a crispy, golden tortilla shell around a flavorful filling, usually shredded chicken or beef. In these Shredded Beef Chimichangas, tender meat gets an even bigger flavor boost thanks to chilies, onions, and spices, before being wrapped in a soft flour tortilla and fried (or baked) until crispy! Perfect for Cinco de Mayo!
Do you remember when you were a kid and were asked the question, “If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?”? My answer was ALWAYS chimichangas. Seriously, I thought (and a part of me still thinks) I could eat these shredded beef chimichangas every single day.
There is just something about a warm flour tortilla wrapped around spicy, tender Mexican shredded beef and fried up all nice and crispy on the outside, then topped with shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole that makes my soul sing like a mariachi band.
Some Mexican restaurants bake them in the oven for a healthier option (and I’m including instructions for how to do that in the recipe notes below) but I think the fried version is the best.
Like many things, homemade chimichangas are SO much better than anything I have ever had in a restaurant. The already delicious shredded beef that you can make in advance gets added to a mix of onions and chilies that are sauteed in a pan with cumin and garlic powder, then you add in beef broth and green chili salsa or salsa verde to make a juicy, spicy, incredibly flavorful chimichanga filling.
After heating up the tortillas in the microwave between damp paper towels, you just scoop some of the chimichanga meat into the center of each tortilla and wrap it up like a burrito, securing it with toothpicks so it will hold together during the frying process. I find that there is no need to mess around with a whole lot of oil to fry your chimichangas. Just enough to cover the bottom of a large pan does the trick, although you may need to replace some of the oil between batches of chimichangas.
Use tongs to turn each chimichanga over in the pan to fry each side, then transfer the cooked chimichangas to a wire rack to drain any excess oil while working on the next batch. It really doesn’t take long to cook all your chimichangas since the filling is already hot and really you are just crisping up the outside of the flour tortilla.
Be sure to remove all the toothpicks before serving these. I like to top mine with shredded lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole, but you might also put out salsa or pico de gallo, or serve Colorado sauce or salsa verde with your shredded beef chimichangas.
And to have a truly authentic Mexican restaurant experience, you could serve Spanish rice and refried beans on the side!
- 1 batch Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Beef
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup green chili salsa or salsa verde
- 3/4 cup beef broth
- Regular size flour tortillas
- oil, for frying
- sour cream
- Shredded cheese
- diced tomatoes
- Shredded lettuce
- Salsa or Pico de Gallo
Heat oil in a very large skillet or pot over medium-high heat.
Add the onions to the hot oil and cook for 3-4 minutes, just so they begin to soften. Add the diced green chilies and saute for another minute.
Sprinkle the flour, salt, cumin and garlic powder over the onions and chilies and cook for another minute, stirring to combine and prevent burning.
Add the shredded meat, green chili salsa, and beef broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, giving the mixture time to thicken a bit and for the meat to absorb some of the salsa and broth. Taste and adjust salt, if necessary. Remove from heat.
Warm the tortillas in the microwave between two damp paper towels for one minute so they are pliable and easy to work with.
Working with one tortilla at a time, fill with a good amount of the chimichanga shredded beef. The exact amount will depend on the size of tortillas you have but you want to be able to wrap the tortilla around the meat to create a tight burrito-like packet. When I use regular size tortillas, anywhere from 3/4 to 1 cup of the shredded beef mixture is about right.
Fold both sides of the tortilla in towards the middle, then fold the bottom side over and roll the chimichanga up, creating a tight burrito-like packet with all of the meat securely enclosed inside the tortilla. Secure with a toothpick or two to create each chimichanga and hold it together. Repeat with remaining tortillas and shredded beef.
When ready to begin frying, pour enough oil into a large skillet to cover the bottom of the pan by about an inch. Heat over medium-high heat until oil begins to shimmer (about 350 degrees if you have a thermometer to set in the oil). Working in batches of 2-3 chimichangas at a time, carefully place each chimichanga into the hot oil, seam side down, using the tongs and cook, turning occasionally to brown and crisp the chimichanga on all sides, about 4-6 minutes, total.
Remove each chimichanga from the hot oil and transfer to a wire rack lined with paper towels, allowing any excess oil to drip off before transferring to a serving platter or individual plates. Repeat with remaining chimichangas, replacing the oil in the pan and bringing it up to temperature if needed, until all chimichangas have been fried.
Remove all toothpicks and serve with sour cream, guacamole, shredded cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and salsa or pico de gallo.
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