Enchilada vs. Chimichanga: What’s the Difference?

by Charlie
Difference Between Enchilada and Chimichanga

Enchiladas and chimichangas are popular Mexican foods that make for the best picks when you’re craving for a tasty, savory, and filling snack or meal. Besides being deemed as Mexican dishes, they are very similar in that they are deep-fried and prepared with a lot of the same filling ingredients. On the other hand, enchiladas and chimichangas have a number of differences.

What’s the difference between an enchilada and a chimichanga? The main difference between an enchilada and a chimichanga is in the wrapping. An authentic enchilada uses corn tortillas for wrapping while a chimichanga normally uses flour tortillas for wrapping.

What are Other Differences Between an Enchilada and a Chimichanga?

Besides the basic difference in wrapping, there are more differences between an enchilada and a chimichanga. Firstly, they differ in one main ingredient. A chimichanga commonly has rice in its filling while an enchilada does not. As for other ingredients, both enchiladas and chimichangas may have cheese, beans, shredded meat, and the like. A chimichanga would have to have rice in the filling because it is a type of burrito, only deep-fried.

Secondly, an enchilada is a traditional and native Mexican food. However, a chimichanga is a Tex-Mex cuisine. It is not a verified Mexican food. The very name is actually Mexican-Spanish (chamuscado). Interestingly, Woody Johnson, the owner of Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen in 1946 believed he was the one who invented chimichangas when he accidentally dropped a burrito in a deep fryer. The product quickly gained popularity after being introduced in the menu.

Thirdly, an enchilada is always paired with an enchilada sauce, which is either chili-based or cheese-based. As for chimichangas, pair them with any among a variety of sauces and salsas. That being said, you can always go for any sauce or salsa to pair with your enchilada.

Does an Enchilada Taste Like a Chimichanga?

Well, yes and no. Because of the same sauces as well as the ingredients people use in the fillings, an enchilada and chimichanga may taste the same. However, the type and seasoning of rice used in a chimichanga can definitely change the overall taste of your chimichanga. Additionally, those with sensitive taste buds can notice the difference between the taste of a corn tortilla and flour tortilla. 

Are Enchiladas and Chimichangas Healthy to Eat?

Yes, they are. You can get a healthy dose of protein from the meat, beans, and cheeses of an enchilada and chimichanga. Depending on the rationing, you can get about 20 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbs, and 400 calories. Salt and fat content will depend on how much oil and salt are used, as well as the meat-fat ratio of beef used.

What Ingredients Do You Use to Make a Chimichanga?

For fillings on a chimichanga, people commonly use rice, beans, and cheese. You can also add some meat to make it a balanced meal. Shredded pork and chicken are always great choices. You can also use dried or marinated beef pieces or minced ones.

What Ingredients Do You Use to Make an Enchilada?

For fillings on an enchilada, people commonly use meat, beans, potatoes, cheese, and other vegetables. Like with chimichangas, you can add meat for a balanced meal. Shredded pork and chicken are also great choices, including dried or marinated beef mince or slices.

For the sauce, an enchilada is paired with either chili sauces or cheese sauces.

Can You Bake an Enchilada and Chimichanga?

Yes, you can. Those who are cutting down on fat consumption can bake their enchiladas and chimichangas for a change. Temperature and baking times vary between ovens. Start with 175 degrees C for 25 minutes and adjust as necessary.

Is it Easy to Make an Enchilada or a Chimichanga?

Yes. If you want to skip take-outs, you can make yourself one any time of the day.

Here is how you do it:

  1. Decide your choice of fillings.
  2. Grate your cheeses.
  3. Chop or slice your vegetables.
  4. Season and cook your meat slices or mince.
  5. For chimichangas, choose, cook, and season your choice of rice.
  6. Mix your fillings well.
  7. Lay out a corn tortilla for your enchilada or a flour tortilla for your chimichanga.
  8. Spoon out your filling on the edge of your tortilla. Keep it to a maximum of 1/3 cup used per tortilla.
  9. Gently but tightly roll your tortilla. Keep the seams down so your wraps don’t open up prior to frying or baking.
  10. For enchiladas, prepare your chili sauce or cheese sauce.
  11. Heat your oil for deep frying. You can use enough cooking oil that sinks the whole enchilada or chimichanga. Alternatively, you can use oil that sinks your enchilada or chimichanga halfway. But you will need to turn the pieces after some minutes.
  12. Fry enchiladas and chimichangas in medium-high heat. And be careful not to burn them quickly. Aim for a crisp, golden brown color.
  13. Gently take out with tongs or a slotted spoon and let them drip on a rack or a plate lined with paper towels.
  14. Plate up and pour sauce over the enchiladas and/or serve chimichangas with sauce or salsa.

Can You Store Enchiladas and Chimichangas in the Freezer?

Yes, you can prepare enchiladas and chimichangas and store them uncooked in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Take them out to fry up a dish any time. There is no need to thaw the pieces. You can drop them in the medium heated oil straightaway for deep frying.

What Do You Pair with an Enchilada and Chimichanga?

You can serve up a plate of enchilada or chimichanga with hot sauces, salsa, sour cream, or guacamole.

Final Thoughts

  • An enchilada uses a corn tortilla wrapping, while a chimichanga uses a flour tortilla wrapping.
  • A chimichanga commonly has rice in the filling, while an enchilada does not have rice in the filling.
  • You can use just about any sauce or salsa for a chimichanga. However, an enchilada is always served with a dedicated enchilada sauce (chili sauce or cheese sauce).

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