How to Make Burritos

Two Parts:Deciding on a MeatAssembling the Burrito

Although the origins of the burrito aren't exactly clear, what is clear is that burritos are portable hunks of tantalizing goodness. A balance of flavors makes the perfect burrito: The somewhat heavier staples of meat, rice and beans are balanced out by lighter additions of rice and greens, topped off with tangy sour cream and hearty guacamole. The burrito may fit nicely in your hand, but it fits even better in your stomach.


  • Large flour tortilla
  • Beans (refried beans or black beans are traditional)
  • Mexican rice
  • Choice of meat (see Part 1 for more details)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Chile rajas or other canned, diced green chile (optional)
  • Tomato, diced
  • Green onions, chopped or grilled onions
  • Sour cream
  • Pico de Gallo or other salsa
  • Lettuce, chopped

Part 1
Deciding on a Meat

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    Try making carne asada. Carne asada is one of the most popular additions to burritos. Carne asada is marinated skirt, flank, or flap steak that is then grilled over high heat and lightly charred. It is considered a more expensive cut but is still very forgiving on the grill. Like most Mexican meats, it is readily available in a carniceria.
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    Try adding chicken to the burrito. Although chicken is not a common meat ingredient for burritos in Mexico, it is increasingly popular in America. There is a ton of versatility to chicken. Here are just three ways to prepare it for your burrito:
    • Boiled and shredded. Shredded chicken is a more traditional Mexican preparation style.
    • Sautéed chicken. Sauteed chicken is generally dark-meat chicken and fried with a bit of oil and Mexican spices before being cut into smaller bits.
    • Chicken mole. Black mole is a perfect compliment to succulent chicken. Try it out if you've never tasted a variation of this dish that 99% of Mexicans have enjoyed.
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    Try out burritos stuffed with carnitas. Carnitas is the Mexican name for slow-braised pork — specifically, Boston butt or picnic ham cuts. The meat is first slow-braised to break down the collagens and cook the meat, and then finished off fried or sautéed to develop a crispy texture.
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    Give al pastor a go. "Al pastor" means "in the style of the shepherd," and it probably originated as a Mexican interpretation of Lebanese shawarma. Today, it is a spicy way to cook pork, and it's absolutely delicious. Try this meat out in a burrito. Do it!
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    Try out chorizo. Chorizo is a spicy pork sausage that comes in a casing. When sautéed, it is deeply aromatic and flavorful. Common in breakfast burritos but also in normal burritos.
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    Try our barbacoa. Barbacoa is the name from which we derive the english word for "barbecue." In modern Mexico, barbacoa refers to meats (usually sheep) cooked slowly over an open fire.
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    Experiment with other, more exotic cuts of meat. Many burrito eaters may not be accustomed to more experimental cuts of meat, but they offer a nice break from the monotony of beer or chicken. Go to your local carniceria and talk with the butcher about picking up some of the following:
    • Lengua — cow's tongue
    • Cabeza — cow's head
    • Tripa — intestines
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    Make ground taco beef. Ground beef, flavored with taco seasonings, makes for a perfectly respectable burrito meat. If you don't want to go crazy with Mexican stylings the first time around, try out this simple recipe and take things from there.

Part 2
Assembling the Burrito

  1. 1
    Steam or heat your flour burrito. Flour burritos have a wonderful elasticity to them when exposed to heat and a little bit of moisture. If you don't have a burrito steamer handy, try zapping the tortilla in the microwave for 20 or so seconds.
    • Remember to choose a burrito that's large enough. You can always work a too-big burrito, but trying to wrap a burrito with a tortilla that's too small will only result in headaches and sad ingredients. Do yourself a solid.
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    Place the tortilla on a large sheet of aluminum foil and layer a healthy portion of Mexican rice in a rectangle in the middle of the tortilla. The shape isn't too important, as long as you've given yourself room on all sides of the tortilla to wrap with. If you don't want to cook Mexican rice, you can always use plain white rice or even brown rice for a healthier option.
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    Place some beans on top of the rice. If choosing black beans to add to your burrito, make sure to drain off any excess liquid before adding. Again, the portions aren't fixed. Most people add quite a bit, but you can add however much or little you want.
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    Add a healthy portion of your preferred meat. The meat is the star of the show, so give it time to bask in the lights. The same goes for vegetarian options using tofu, mushrooms, etc.
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    Sprinkle some cheese onto the top of the meat (optional). You don't have to add cheese if you don't want, but lots of aficionados opt for it. If you buy cheese from the store, look for "Mexican 4 cheese" varietals. If you want to use just one or two kinds of cheese, go for one of the following:
    • Monterrey Jack
    • Cheddar
    • Asadero
    • Queso Blanco
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    Add the green chiles and tomato in roughly equal portions. Neither of these ingredients are strictly necessary, but can make a good burrito even better. If you plan on adding salsa or pico de gallo, don't go crazy with the tomatoes.
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    Add a small portion of onions to the tortilla. Whether green and mild or grilled and slightly savory, onions are a great touch to a burrito, but you don't want them to steal the show with their strong taste.
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    Add sour cream, guacamole, and salsa in roughly equal portions. The condiments here contribute added flavor but help keep the burrito from becoming too dry.
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    Top with a bit of lettuce. The crisp, watery lettuce cuts through some of the more intense flavors of the burrito nicely. Especially if the contents of the burrito are warm, the lettuce you add will wilt a bit. Add a bit more than you think you want.
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    Roll the burrito up. Fold the two side flaps of the tortilla in to the center. Securing the side flaps with your fingers, take your thumbs and bring the bottom flap up over the side flaps. Hold the burrito in the center and simply roll it forward until the top flap of the tortilla is no longer showing.
    • Finish off the burrito by wrapping it securely in the aluminum foil. The aluminum foil will help keep the burrito warm. It can be simply peeled down as you eat the burrito.


  • Some salsa will make this recipe taste even better.
  • There are lots of variations you can make with your burrito. Try making a wet burrito once you've mastered the "normal" version.

Things You'll Need

  • Aluminum foil
  • Oven

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Burritos