California Burritos

California Burritos are a must eat before you die burrito!

California Burritos are arguably the best burritos in the world.  They are stuffed with thinly sliced, tender marinated Carne Asada, cheese, salsa, avocado crema and the best part – Mexican French Fries!!!   These California Burritos are also freezer friendly, for an easy bake and serve dinner! 

up close of a hand holding a California Burrito with french fries, carne asada, sour cream and guacamole

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What are California Burritos?

Patrick adores carne asada burritos, but he doesn’t just devour carne asada burritos every week, he devours carne asada burritos WITH French Fries, also known as California Burritos, and a staple for hungry surfers.  They are the best burritos as far as these San Diegans are concerned and have a special place in San Diego culture, just like the fish taco. 

The California Burrito begins with a huge flour tortilla topped with juicy, marinated and spice rubbed, grilled steak, then piled high with baked Mexican Street Fries, loads of cheese, guacamole, and sour cream  – think fiesta cheesy steak and potatoes with all the fixins!

After I conjured up my favorite carne asada recipe, I knew California Burritos were next on the make ASAP list.  And they should be at the top of your make ASAP list!

Who invented California burrito?

If you’ve never heard of a California Burrito even if you live in California – you are not alone.  California Burritos originated in San Diego at one of the -berto’s restaurants in the 1980s and are uniquely San Diegan.  The Fresh MXN chain (formerly Santana’s) also claims to be the originator of the California Burrito but my money is on -berto’s.

No matter who invented the original California Burrito, the important thing is YOU can make your own California Burrito recipe at home!  Your family and friends will LOVE you for it.

What is in a California burrito?

  • tortillas:  use large flour burrito size tortillas for the ultimate California Burrito experience.  You can always cut these burritos in half for smaller portions.  I prefer raw/uncooked tortillas found in the refrigerated section like Tortilla Land (I buy mine at Costco). They are thinner so they crisp up beautifully!  
  • carne asada: California Burritos are always made with carne asada and my recipe is simply the best!  You can use skirt or flank steak which gets marinated in orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce and a splash of liquid smoke then rubbed with cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic and onion to emerge highly flavorful, rich buttery and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  • cheese:  you can use 2-3 cups cheese or even  more if you feel like living on the culinary edge.  I like a combination of sharp cheddar and pepper Jack but you can use just all cheddar if that’s what you have on hand.
  • French fries:  the French fries are spiced with salt, pepper, garlic powder, ground cumin and chipotle pepper and are SO so addicting all on their own.
  • salsa:  I love my  Salsa recipe for these California Burritos but you are welcome to use your favorite store bought salsa.
  • avocado crema:  Instead of using sour cream and guacamole, I make a spectacular Avocado crema with avocados, sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, cumin, salt and garlic powder.  It is on of my favorite condiments on the planet as seen in my Chile Lime Chicken Tacos.  That being said, you can use sour cream and guacamole instead of the crema if you prefer.
Outrageously delicious California Burritos stuffed with thinly sliced, tender marinated Carne Asada, cheese, salsa, avocado crema (pineapple optional) and the best part - Mexican French Fries!!! so easy, great for crowds at a fraction of the cost!

how to make californina burritos

These California Burritos have a few components, but each are easy to make. You can take the time while the carne asada is marinating to make the avocado crema, French fries and prep any desired toppings.

step 1: Marinate carne asada

STEP 2: make avocado crema

  • Add 2 avocados, sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, salt, cumin and garlic powder to your blender and process until smooth.
  • Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

step 3: make french fries

Toss sliced potatoes with olive oil, cornstarch and seasonings.

Spread potatoes evenly over prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes then toss, and stir and rearrange fries in a single layer and bake for an additional 10 minutes. If you like crispier fries, then broil until golden and crispy.

STEP 4: grill pineapple and carne asada

  • Grill pineapple for 6-8 minutes per side or until lightly charred and caramelized. Chop pineapple and discard each core. (If you have room on your grill, grill pineapple alongside carne asada)
  • Grill marinated/rubbed carne asada for 5-6 minutes per side, or until an internal thermometer reads 130-135 degrees F for medium rare or around 140 degrees for medium. Grill time will vary depending on thickness of your steak and desired level of doneness.
  • Meanwhile, wrap tortillas in foil and place in a preheated 350F degree oven for 10 minute so they are warm and pliable (optional but recommended).

STEP 5: assemble

  • To assemble, layer carne asada in center of each burrito followed by, fries, cheese, avocado crema, salsa then pineapple. Fold in top and bottom and roll tightly in burrito style.
  • Optional: To brown burritos as pictured, lightly grease a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add burritos one at a time, rotating as each sides turns golden.
  • Garnish burritos with extra avocado crema, salsa and hot sauce to taste.

Outrageously delicious California Burritos stuffed with thinly sliced, tender marinated Carne Asada, cheese, salsa, avocado crema (pineapple optional) and the best part - Mexican French Fries!!! so easy, great for crowds at a fraction of the cost!

TIPS FOR california burrito recipe

  • Make ahead: The avocado crema can be made and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days IF you transfer the crema to an airtight container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the crema before adding the lid.  This will delay oxidization/browning that occurs when the surface of the dip/avocado come in contact with air. The French Fries can also be made days in advanced and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator but they won’t be as crispy unless you reheat them in the air fryer.
  • Pound the steak to an even, thin thickness.  Even if your steak looks even already, you’ll still want to give it a good pounding to tenderize it (works wonders!).  Place steak in between two pieces of plastic wrap or I just place it in a freezer size plastic bag.  Pound it evenly with a meat mallet or side of a can. 
  • Don’t over-marinate.  The carne asada marinade is highly acidic which means you don’t want to marinate the steak as long as you would in a marinade without as much citrus.  Don’t marinate much longer than 12 hours or the muscle fibers can break down and become mushy.
  • Marinate long enough.  I recommend marinating the carne asada for the maximum 12 hours.  This will infuse the steak with TONS of flavor and optimal juiciness. 
  • Bring carne asada to room temperature before cooking.  You always want to let any protein sit at room temperature before cooking in order for it to cook evenly so you aren’t left with an overcooked exterior and cold interior. This also relaxes the cold fibers for juicier results.
  • Clean grill. Clean the grill very well before cooking for beautiful grill marks and to prevent sticking.
  • Use a hot grill.  Heat up the grill with the lid closed cranked to the maximum temperature so it can achieve temperature more quickly; plan on 10-15 minutes.  Once the grill is hot, you can adjust the temperature.  Don’t add the steak until the grill reaches temperature or it won’t sear as nicely.
  • Flip carne asada once using tongs. Only flip/touch your steak once for the perfect caramelized crust. Only use tongs to flip the meat because a fork will pierce the meat and you will continuously loose juices and tenderness.
  • Cook to medium.  Don’t overcook or your carne asada won’t be as juicy. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness and grill to 140 degrees for medium.  The steak will rise to 145 degrees after it rests. 
  • When to use high heat.  If you like rare or medium-rare steak, then grill steak on high heat so it’s hot enough to get some color on the outside in a short amount of time.
  • Let carne asada rest.  After the carne asada is grilled, it is important to let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing or chopping.  While the steak cooks, the juices are forced away from the heat to the middle of the meat.  The resting time allows for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the whole steak.
  • Slice across the grain. Cut carne asada steak across the grain to shorten the muscle fibers for more tender steak.
  • Hot sauce to taste.  The carne asada isn’t spicy but plenty flavorful.  If you are your guests like a kick, make sure to serve the steak with hot sauce on the side.
Outrageously delicious California Burritos stuffed with thinly sliced, tender marinated Carne Asada, cheese, salsa, avocado crema (pineapple optional) and the best part - Mexican French Fries!!! so easy, great for crowds at a fraction of the cost!

What toppings for california burritos?

California Burritos shouldn’t need many toppings because they are bursting with flavor, but I love mine with extra avocado crema or sour cream, salsa and hot sauce. Here’s some more options:

  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt:  the bright tangy creaminess cuts through and compliments the robust, smoky carne asada.
  • Salsa: serve with your favorite store-bought salsa, or my homemade salsa can’t be beat. Salsa verde is also fantastic.
  • Pico de gallo:  is fresh tomato salsa that adds a vibrant, punchy freshness.  You can use my homemade pico de de gallo recipe or store bought. You can make the pico de gallo ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.  Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • Cilantro:  if you skip the pico de gallo, you can load on fresh cilantro and tomatoes instead for a fresh, zesty flair.
  • Guacamole:  use my homemade guacamole recipe (amazing!) I use in my Street Tacos, your favorite recipe or even use store bought.
  • Avocados: chopped or sliced avocados are the easiest avocado option and add a wonderful creaminess. You might want to add a splash of lime juice if you use plain avocados.
  • Hot Sauce: pass around the hot sauce so individuals can customize the heat.
  • Jalapenos: you can also amp up the heat with chopped or sliced jalapenos or pickled jalapenos.

What Do I serve with California Burritos?

Serve your California Burritos with Mexican Rice or Cilantro Lime Rice,  black beans, a big pile of chips and either homemade salsa, or salsa verde and you have a restaurant quality meal in the comfort of your own home!

For extra sides for hosting, your guest will love:

side up close front view of a California Burrito with french fries, carne asada, sour cream and guacamole


How Do I FREEZE California BURRITOS?

California Burritos freeze extremely well:

  • Cool Filling:  Let carne asada and French Fries cool otherwise you will end up with soggy tortillas.
  • Assemble:  Assemble California Burritos per instructions.
  • Foil:  Wrap individual  burritos up tightly in foil.
  • Freeze:  Freeze burritos in a single layer on a baking sheet.  This will help them freeze faster and not get squished.
  • Store:  Add frozen burritos to a large freezer size bag, remove excess air and seal.  Freeze for up to 3 months.

How do I thaw California Burritos?

  • Bake:  Remove frozen California Burritos from foil and place on a baking rack.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until completely warmed through and toasted.
  • Microwave:  Remove chicken burritos from foil.  Microwave for approximately 4 minutes or until warmed through.  If you want to crisp up your microwaved burritos, then you can broil in the oven or pan sear per instructions.

This California Burrito is waiting for you and is ready to become your new cheesy, meaty, avocado, salsa, French Fry, pineapple packed new obsession!

up close front view of a California Burrito with french fries, carne asada, sour cream and guacamole

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up close front view of a California Burrito with french fries, carne asada, sour cream and guacamole

California Carne Asada Burrito

California Burritos are arguably the best burritos in the world.  They are stuffed with thinly sliced, tender marinated Carne Asada, cheese, salsa, avocado crema and the best part – Mexican French Fries!!!   These California Burritos are also freezer friendly, for an easy bake and serve dinner! 
Servings: 8 -10
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

Avocado Crema

  • 2 large avocados
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  • Marinate carne asada according to recipe directions.
  • Add Avocado Crema ingredients to your blender and process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Prepare French Fries according to directions. Set aside.
  • Grease grill and preheat to medium. Grill pineapple for 6-8 minutes per side or until lightly charred and caramelized. Chop pineapple and discard each core. (If you have room on your grill, grill pineapple alongside carne asada)
  • Grill marinated/rubbed Carne Asada according to directions.
  • Meanwhile, wrap tortillas in foil and place in a preheated 350F degree oven for 10 minute so they are warm and pliable (optional but recommended).
  • To assemble, layer carne asada in center of each burrito followed by, fries, cheese, avocado crema, salsa then pineapple. Fold in top and bottom and roll tightly in burrito style.
  • Optional: To brown burritos as pictured, lightly grease a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add burritos one at a time, rotating as each sides turns golden.
  • Garnish burritos with extra avocado crema, salsa and hot sauce to taste.

Notes

*You may substitute the Avocado Crema for sour cream and guacamole.

To FREEZE California BURRITOS:

  • Cool Filling:  Let carne asada and French Fries cool otherwise you will end up with soggy tortillas.
  • Assemble:  Assemble California Burritos per instructions.
  • Foil:  Wrap individual  burritos up tightly in foil.
  • Freeze:  Freeze burritos in a single layer on a baking sheet.  This will help them freeze faster and not get squished.
  • Store:  Add frozen burritos to a large freezer size bag, remove excess air and seal.  Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Bake:  Remove frozen California Burritos from foil and place on a baking rack.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until completely warmed through and toasted.
  • Microwave:  Remove chicken burritos from foil.  Microwave for approximately 4 minutes or until warmed through.  If you want to crisp up your microwaved burritos, then you can broil in the oven or pan sear per instructions.

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California Breakfast Burritos

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10 Comments

  1. Joshua Hampton says

    Wow. Those burritos are amazing. The idea of putting fries in a burrito is just so good. Can’t wait to try this in my kitchen.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Joshua! French fries make everything better!! I hope you love them 🙂

  2. Dorothy Dunton says

    Hi Jen! We love grilled pineapple! We grow a lot of tomatoes and peppers and put up canned salsa using the overflow. We’ve made peach and pineapple salsa and some salsa with black beans and/or corn added. These look amazing! 🙂

    • Jen says

      Hi Dorothy! Oh my goodness – your salsas sound Ah-mazing! There is nothing like fresh salsa – especially with pineapple! This burritos would be even more amazing with one of your salsas! Enjoy!!

  3. Lorrie says

    Keep them coming! We moved from Oceanside to Portland a year ago and are jonesin’ for all these recipes. Carne Asada fries like Primo Market in downtown Oceanside could be your next project. Hint, hint! 😉

    • Jen says

      Sorry Lorrie, I thought I had responded to your comment earlier but I think I just read it and smiled 🙂 I actually have Carne Asada Fries already made and ready to share and after reading this it sounds like it should be sooner rather than later 🙂 A big hello from Carlsbad to Portland!!

    • Michelle Forbes says

      Yessss!! Sadly, I had to leave the Oceanside/Carlsbad area about 25 yrs ago, leaving a big piece of my heart there. More so probably as I reside in the midwest. I miss so many things, but nothing as much as all the “Bertos”(as you call them)! I have been completely deprived of a real carne asada burrito ever since. Although, my attempts have def led to many humorous ends and strange dishes brought my way! I can’t begin to tell you how happy it made me to come across this page!☺

      • Jen says

        Hi Michelle, welcome to my site! I think you’ll really love these California Burritos! I hope my recipes can fill your belly and your heart with a taste of home! Sending you a big hug from Carlsbad!

  4. Caroline says

    Visiting Carlsbad in July. Which restaurant is the one you mentioned with the best burritos?

    • Jen says

      Hi Caroline, that’s awesome you’re visiting Carlsbad – welcome! My favorite Mexican food is The Taco Stand in Encinitas – it’s casual with a line always out the door: http://www.letstaco.com/ The place we get the Local Carlsbad Burrito with pineapple is called Los Tacos in Carlsbad: http://www.goodtacos.com/