A chimichanga (/ɪmiˈæŋɡə/; Spanish: [tʃimiˈtʃaŋɡa]) is a deep-fried burrito that is common in Tex-Mex and other Southwestern U.S. cuisine. The dish is typically prepared by filling a flour tortilla with various ingredients, most commonly rice, cheese, beans, and a meat such as machaca (dried meat), carne adobada (marinated meat), carne seca (dried beef), or shredded chicken, and folding it into a rectangular package. It is then deep-fried, and can be accompanied by salsa, guacamole, or sour cream.

Alternative namesChivichanga
Place of origin
Main ingredientsTortillas, rice, cheese, beans, machaca, jalapeño, carne adobada or shredded chicken


Chimichanga served in Amigos restaurant (Melbourne, Australia)

The origin of the chimichanga is uncertain. From the Mexican term chivichanga, one account adduces that Sonoran immigrants brought the dish with them to Arizona.[1] Instead, most researchers agree that the chimichanga was created by accident at a Mexican restaurant in Arizona, United States, although they disagree over precisely where.[2][3][4][5] The words chimi and changa come from two Mexican Spanish terms: chamuscado (past participle of the verb chamuscar),[6] which means seared or singed, and changa, related to chinga (third-person present tense form of the vulgar verb chingar[7]), a rude expression for the unexpected or a small insult.[8]

According to one source,[9] Monica Flin, the founder of the Tucson, Arizona, restaurant El Charro, accidentally dropped a burrito into the deep-fat fryer in 1922.[5] She immediately began to utter a Spanish profanity beginning "chi..." (chingada), but quickly stopped herself and instead exclaimed chimichanga, a Spanish equivalent of "thingamajig".[10] Knowledge and appreciation of the dish spread slowly outward from the Tucson area, with popularity elsewhere accelerating in recent decades. Though the chimichanga is now found as part of the Tex-Mex cuisine, its roots within the U.S. are mainly in Tucson, Arizona.[5][1][11]

Woody Johnson, founder of Mexican restaurant chain Macayo's Mexican Kitchen, claimed he had invented the chimichanga in 1946 when he put some burritos into a deep fryer as an experiment at his original restaurant Woody's El Nido, in Phoenix, Arizona.[12] These "fried burritos" became so popular that by 1952, when Woody's El Nido became Macayo's, the chimichanga was one of the restaurant's main menu items. Johnson opened Macayo's in 1952.[3] Although no official records indicate when the dish first appeared, retired University of Arizona folklorist Jim Griffith recalls seeing chimichangas at the Yaqui Old Pascua Village in Tucson in the mid-1950s.[13]

Nutritional value

According to data presented by the United States Department of Agriculture, a typical 183-gram (6.5-ounce) serving of a beef and cheese chimichanga contains 443 calories, 20 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, 23 grams total fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 51 milligrams cholesterol, and 957 milligrams of sodium.[14][15][16]

See also


  1. Margy Rochlin (23 September 2016). "Where did the chimichanga, the glorious deep-fried burrito, come from anyway?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  2. Trulsson, Nora Burba (October 1999). "Chimichanga Mysteries: The Origin of Tucson's Deep-fried Masterpiece Is an Enigma Wrapped in a Tortilla". Sunset. ISSN 0039-5404. Archived from the original on 2019-09-24. Retrieved 2009-03-19 via HighBeam Research.
  3. Henderson, John (2007-01-24). "We All Win as Chimichanga War Rages On". Food & Dining section. The Denver Post. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
  4. Laudig, Michele (2007-11-22). "Chimi Eat World: Arizona's deepest-fried mystery is smothered in cheese, guacamole and sour cream". Phoenix New Times. Archived from the original on 2015-02-12. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
  5. Lacey, Marc (2011-11-15). "Arizonans Vie to Claim Cross-Cultural Fried Food". The New York Times.
  6. "chamuscar". Diccionario de la lengua española (in Spanish). Real Academia Española.
  7. "chingar". Diccionario de la lengua española (in Spanish). Real Academia Española.
  8. Del Castillo, María (1966). Cocina mexicana [Mexican cuisine] (in Spanish) (5th ed.). México, D.F.: Editorial Olimpo. OCLC 4682105.
  9. Matteo Marra, "Tales of the chimichanga's origin"
  10. Stradley, Linda (April 27, 2017) [May 18, 2015]. "Chimichanga History and Recipe". What's Cooking America (blog).
  11. Meesey, Chris (2009-04-29). "On The Range: Chimichangas". Dallas Observer. Archived from the original on 2010-12-27. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
  12. "The History of Our Traditional Mexican Restaurant - Macayo's". Retrieved 2019-03-17.
  13. Miller, Tom (2000). Jack Ruby's Kitchen Sink: Offbeat Travels Through America's Southwest. p. 79. ISBN 9780792279594.
  14. "Basic Report: 21071, Fast foods, chimichanga, with beef and cheese". United States Department of Agriculture. Archived from the original on 2014-11-08. Retrieved 2015-02-15.
  15. Stein, Natalie (May 22, 2012). "Nutrition Facts About Chimichangas". San Francisco Chronicle.
  16. Leeds, Jeff (1994-07-19). "The Whole Enchilada: It's Too Fat for You, Study Says". Los Angeles Times.

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