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Easy Baked Chicken Chimichangas

These Easy Baked Chicken Chimichangas are quick, tasty, filling, and lighter than traditional chimichangas because they’re not deep-fried. They’re also a great way to use up leftover chicken!

If you love Mexican/Tex-Mex/Southwestern-style food (or maybe you’d like to give it a try for the first time), these chimichangas are so simple and delicious, they’ll surely become a family favorite and a regular in your dinner (or lunch) rotation!

So what’s a chimichanga (sounds like chim-ee-chong-uh)? Basically, it’s a deep-fried burrito, which is simply a flour tortilla wrapped around a filling of one or more of the following: meat, beans, cheese, rice, and veggies.

There is apparently some debate over whether chimichangas originated in Mexico or Arizona. Well, wherever they came from, they sure are awesome!

Now, although deep-fried chimichangas are most certainly very delicious, for those of us who want to make them at home without all the fuss and oily mess of deep-frying, I find that they get plenty crisp by brushing them with a little butter and baking them in the oven.

In fact, they’re so good, I don’t miss all that oil one bit (or the calories that come along with it), and I don’t think you will either!

The filling in these chimichangas: chicken, cheese, salsa, green onions, and spices. We put that onto tortillas, roll them up into little bundles that we brush with butter and bake until golden brown and crisp. Already sounds fabulous, right?

Oh, but there’s more!

When they come out of the oven, we add some yummy toppings – cheese, sour cream, salsa, green onions, cilantro, guacamole (whatever you like) – to really kick up the deliciousness factor to another level!

baked chicken chimichangas on a baking sheet with parchment paper

If you’ve got some leftover chicken to use up, these chimichangas are the perfect solution for turning that chicken into a brand-new meal that’ll make anyone forget they’re eating leftovers!

And how about this? All you need is 2 cups of cooked chicken to make 8 chimichangas. They’re not super huge chimichangas, but they are very hearty and filling.

If you’re serving a starter and/or sides, you really only need one of these per person for a satisfying meal. Of course, those with bigger appetites might want two!

Ingredients you need:

  • Cooked shredded chicken breast (you can also use thigh meat or a combo…whatever you like)
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Salsa (your favorite; store-bought or homemade)
  • Shredded Mexican-blend cheese
  • Green onions
  • Flour tortillas (8-inch)
  • Butter
  • Toppings: additional cheese, salsa, and green onions, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, guacamole (or whatever you like!)

Here’s a quick look at how to make Easy Baked Chicken Chimichangas:

two images showing the steps to make easy baked chicken chimichangas
two images showing the steps to make easy baked chicken chimichangas
two images showing the steps to make easy baked chicken chimichangas
two images showing how to make easy baked chicken chimichangas
two images showing how to make baked chicken chimichangas

Tips & Tidbits:

  • If you don’t have pre-cooked/leftover chicken to use for this recipe, cook up one pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs using your favorite method and shred. This should give you about 2 cups of chicken.
    • My favorite method is cooking boneless chicken breasts in the Instant Pot (you can even cook them from frozen!). I keep a stash of cooked chicken in my freezer to use in recipes like this.
    • Other methods to cook the chicken are to pan-fry it, bake it, or poach it. You could also roast bone-in breasts or thighs and then remove the meat from the bones.
    • You could also just pick up a cooked rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and use the meat from that, which is super easy!
  • If your salsa has a lot of liquid, drain it first before mixing with the chicken so your chimichangas aren’t too wet (which could make the tortillas soggy).
  • Make sure your tortillas are soft so they don’t crack when rolling. Most store-bought tortillas are nice and soft right out of the package, but if you need to soften them up, place them in the microwave for a few seconds covered with a damp paper towel or quickly heat them in a dry skillet just until they are pliable.
  • To help ensure that the bottoms of your chimichangas don’t get too dark and so that the tops get nicely golden brown, I recommend baking these on a light-colored baking sheet in the center or upper portion of the oven.
  • The parchment paper is optional, but I love using it for both easy clean-up and to make sure my chimichangas don’t stick to the pan (sometimes the filling can start to leak out just a bit).
    • If you don’t have parchment paper, lightly spray your baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • You can also cook these in an air fryer! In batches (be sure to leave space between them), after brushing with butter, air fry at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until warmed through, golden brown, and crisp.
  • Please don’t skip the toppings! Although these chimichangas are delicious on their own, they are over-the-top delicious when you add all of your favorite toppings. My favorites? Cheese, sour cream, salsa, green onions, and fresh cilantro. YUMMM!
baked chicken chimichangas on a white plate with one cut in half and a fork in front of the plate

When I make these, I love starting things off some chips and salsa (if you want to make your own salsa, check out my recipe for Quick and Easy Homemade Salsa). And I almost always serve them with a side of my Quick and Easy Mexican Rice.

I hope you try this recipe for Easy Baked Chicken Chimichangas and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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Easy Baked Chicken Chimichangas

These Easy Baked Chicken Chimichangas are quick, tasty, filling, and lighter than traditional chimichangas because they're not deep-fried. They're also a great way to use up leftover chicken!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 chimichangas
Estimated Calories: 255

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken breast, or thigh meat (or a combo, whatever you like)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 cup salsa, your favorite, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced, about 2 tablespoons total
  • 8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • toppings of your choice, such as additional cheese, salsa, and green onions, sour cream, cilantro, guacamole, etc.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Line a large light-colored baking sheet with parchment paper.
    Note: I recommend using a light-colored pan to help ensure that the bottoms of the chimichangas don't get too dark.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the chicken, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, salsa, cheese, and green onions until well-combined.
  • Take one flour tortilla and place it on a clean work surface. Place ⅛ of the chicken mixture in the center of the tortilla. Fold in the left and right sides of the tortilla toward the center, then roll up the tortilla from the bottom. Place seam-side down on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and chicken mixture.
    Note: Make sure your tortillas are soft so they don't crack when rolling. Most store-bought tortillas are nice and soft right out of the package, but if you need to soften them up, place them in the microwave for a few seconds covered with a damp paper towel or quickly heat them in a dry skillet just until they are pliable.
  • Brush the tops and sides of the chimichangas with the melted butter.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
    Note: Bake in the middle or upper portion of the oven to help ensure that the bottoms of the chimichangas don't get too dark and that the tops get nicely golden brown.
  • Serve immediately garnished with your favorite toppings.

Notes

  • If you don’t have pre-cooked/leftover chicken to use for this recipe, cook up one pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs) using your favorite method and shred. This should give you about 2 cups of chicken. Alternately, you could use the meat from a store-bought cooked rotisserie chicken (super easy!). 
  • If your salsa has a lot of liquid, drain it first before mixing with the chicken so your chimichangas aren’t too wet (which could make the tortillas soggy). 
  • This recipe can serve 4 to 8 people depending on appetites and starters and/or sides you are serving. They are small but very filling, and one per person could easily be enough, especially with sides. Bigger appetites might want two! 
  • You can also cook these in an air fryer! In batches (be sure to leave space between them), after brushing with butter, air fry at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until warmed through, golden brown, and crisp.
  • Estimated calories are for one chimichanga made with chicken breast and do not include any added toppings.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!

Recipe adapted from Sam The Cooking Guy.

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