These Chicken Burrito Bowls are easy, make ahead friendly, customizable, hearty and most importantly, DELICIOUS!
This Chicken Burrito Bowl recipe is bursting with fresh fiesta flavors and textures you will crave for days! I guarantee they are going to become a dinner favorite AND they are fabulous for entertaining too (burrito bar anyone?) These chipotle burrito bowls are loaded with juicy chipotle chicken (with other chicken options too!), rice, black beans, corn, avocado crema with tons of possible add-ins. This burrito bowl recipe is perfect for meal prep for on the go lunches or easy dinners any night of the week – because you are going to want to eat them EVERY day of the week!
Burrito Bowls have to be one of my all-time favorite meals. I’ve already shared Chipotle Lime Shrimp Burrito Bowls, Barbacoa Beef Bowls, Fiesta Ranch Burrito Bowls and now these Chipotle Burrito Bowls because I can’t get enough!
The layer upon layer of crunchy, creamy, juicy textures and smoky, spicy, earthy, bright, tangy, fresh flavors is just so deeply satisfying. I think I could eat burrito bowls every day for the rest of my life and savor every bite like I was just discovering fiesta perfection for the very first time.
In additional to their unbelievable flavor, I also love this burrito bowl recipe because they are:
- Easy: just add your rice to your rice cooker, chop your fresh ingredients and cook up your chicken on the grill, skillet or slow cooker.
- Customizable: use all or some of the suggested fixings to completely customize your chicken burrito bowls – use your favorite type of rice, protein, salsa, beans and add-ins or create a chicken burrito bowl bar! I’ve also included a different chicken recipes you can use such as Chili Lime Chicken, Cilantro Lime Chicken, Salsa Verde Chicken and 10 Minute Mexican Chicken.
- Healthy: nothing but fresh ingredients with the option of cauliflower rice to make them low carb.
- Make ahead: You can prep all the toppings ahead of time so your burrito bowls can come together quickly when its EAT time!
- Meal prep: I’ve included meal prep instructions so you can enjoy these burrito bowls throughout the week – wherever you are.
- Store & reheat well: enjoy burrito bowls for dinner then enjoy the equally delicious leftovers for lunch.
- Everyone loves them! Whether you serve burrito bowls for dinner or at your next potluck, everyone always goes back for more.
WHAT IS A BURRITO BOWL?
I was first introduced to burrito bowls WAY back in the day at Café Rio – and it was love at first bite. Now burrito bowls are everywhere from Chipotle to Wahoo’s to Taco Bell. So, what exactly is a burrito bowl? A burrito bowl is a deconstructed burrito without the tortilla or sometimes served in a tortilla bowl. It is all of your favorite burrito filling ingredients – protein, cheese, corn, black beans, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, guacamole etc. served over a bowl of rice.
What Goes in a Burrito Bowl?
I love Chicken Burrito Bowls for so many reasons, but a huge one is you can customize it with what you have on hand or are in the mood for. Most burrito bowl recipes include:
- Protein: these Chipotle Burrito Bowls feature Chipotle Chicken but I’ve included many different chicken options below. You can also mix it up by using ground beef, ground turkey, or any of my slow cooker proteins such as Carnitas, Barbacoa or Chipotle pork.
- Rice: you can keep it simple and season your white, brown or cauliflower rice with salt, pepper, lime juice or make my Cilantro Lime Rice recipe which is as easy as dumping all of the ingredients into a rice cooker. Just make sure your rice is independently seasoned and not bland.
- Cheese: is optional but fabulous as it melts into the hot rice. You can use either sharp, Monterrey, pepper Jack or a combo. I only specified 1 1/2 cups, but you can of course use more to taste.
- Black beans: add a hearty, earthy flair. You may substitute with your favorite beans.
- Corn: I recommend fresh sweet corn straight off the cob but you may also use canned sweet corn. You can use the corn plain or char it in the skillet or on the grill for an added smoky depth of flavor like I do in my Corn Salsa and Avocado Corn Salsa recipes.
- Tomatoes: use 1-2 fresh Roma tomatoes diced or 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, or you can substitute with pico de gallo.
- Lettuce: Romaine lettuce or iceberg lettuce will do the trick – anything with a nice crunch and neutral flavor. As with all the burrito bowl recipe ingredients, use more or less to taste. You can even make the Chipotle Burrito Bowls more of a salad with extra lettuce.
- Cilantro: chopped cilantro adds a fresh, zesty flair. You can use more or less to taste.
- Guacamole or avocados: you can use with the Avocado Crema if you LOVE avocados or omit it if using the crema (more below).
- Mangos or pineapple: I always add either of these juicy fruits to my Chicken Burrito Bowls – and wish for them in every bite. Their juicy sweetness offers a bright fresh contrast against the earthy flavors. Mangos MAKE burrito bowls in my opinion.
- Mango Salsa: just when you thought mangos couldn’t get even – enter mango salsa! I LOVE burrito bows with mango salsa – doesn’t get any better!
- Tortilla chips: add a satisfying, salty crunch.
- Pico de gallo: you can skip the tomatoes and cilantro and instead make or pickup pico de gallo. It adds a depth of freshness I love.
- Salsa: homemade salsa or store-bought salsa adds even more flavor to these already tantalizing bowls.
- Hot sauce: control the heat of your burrito bowls by passing around the hot sauce.
- Lime juice: I love freshly squeezed lime juice to awaken all the flavors.
Chicken Options for Burrito Bowl Recipe
The difference between an okay chicken burrito bowl recipe and an amazing, clamoring-for-more chicken burrito bowl recipe all comes down to the chicken – and I’ve got you covered with some sensational chicken options.
I personally love a little kick, so I’ve featured my Chipotle Chicken but you can’t go wrong with any of the below chicken recipes – it just depends on what mood you’re in and how much time you have. For example, my Easy Mexican Chicken only requires 10 minutes start to finish whereas my Cilantro Lime Chicken should be marinated for at least 2 hours.
Here’s a breakdown of the Chicken Burrito Bowl options:
- FLAVOR: Chipotle Chicken is smoky, robust and spicy.
- TIME: Chipotle Chicken is made with a wet rub that concentrates the flavor and so the chicken only requires 30 minutes of marinating. You may also marinate for up to 8 hours – whatever is more convenient for you!
- INGREDIENTS: The Chipotle Chicken is bathed in aromatic Mexican spices of chipotle chili powder for a smoky heat, mixed with chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic and onion powder. The spices are mixed with olive oil and lime juice to tenderize the meat so its oh so juicy and then slathered all over your chicken.
- FLAVOR: Chili Lime Chicken is smoky, robust and tangy.
- TIME: Chili Lime Chicken uses the same wet rub method as the chipotle chicken so it also only requires 30 minutes of resting but can be marinated for up to 8 hours. I use this favorite in my Chili Lime Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa and it is heavenly.
- INGREDIENTS: The wet chili lime rub is wonderfully delicious but super simple to whisk together. It is a tantalizing mixture of olive oil and pantry friendly Mexican spices: chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper all brightened by fresh lime juice and lime zest.
- FLAVOR: Cilantro Lime Chicken is zesty, tangy and citrusy.
- TIME: Cilantro Lime Chicken requires 2-10 hours of marinating so you’ll want to save this dreamy chicken if you are short on time. I use it in my Cilantro Lime Chicken Taco Salad and everyone goes crazy for it!
- INGREDIENTS: The marinade is a food processor blend of cilantro, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar.
- FLAVOR: Salsa Verde Chicken is tangy, flavorful with just the right amount of kick.
- TIME: Salsa Verde Chicken should be marinated for 2-12 hours, the longer the better.
- INGREDIENTS: your favorite salsa verde and olive oil – doesn’t get any easier!
- FLAVOR: This is Easy Mexican Chicken recipe boasts robust fiesta seasonings.
- TIME: This chicken only requires 10 minutes start to finish! Rotisserie chicken is used for a juicy, easy shortcut.
- INGREDIENTS: Shredded rotisserie chicken gets warmed with: chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, salt, chicken broth, fire roasted diced tomatoes, chopped green chiles and tomato paste.
What is the Best Dressing for Burrito bowl recipe?
Burrito Bowls are a combination of a bunch of different ingredients, so you need something creamy to marry them all together.
You can either use Avocado Crema, sour cream or Greek yogurt OR a combination of sour cream, guacamole and salsa. Out of all these choices, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Avocado Crema. This simple yet sensational addition is a MUST in my book and will elevate your Chicken Burrito Bowls to a whole new level.
I am so obsessed with this crema, I dedicated a whole post to its glory and serve it with all my tacos, burritos etc. The luscious, refreshing tanginess cuts through and compliments the robust, spicy flavors and make the chicken burrito bowls and it literally takes MINUTES in your blender!
HOW DO YOU MAKE BURRITO BOWLS?
There is a little bit going on in burrito bowl recipes due to the various toppings, but they are super simple to make. You also have the option to prep all or some of the toppings ahead of time which I highly recommend.
This burrito bowl recipe starts with tender, juicy, flavorful chipotle chicken which you rub in a mixture of olive oil, lime juice and seasonings and then let it rest 30 minutes or so while you prep the burrito bowl toppings. I also start my rice at this time.
After 30 minutes (or more if you let it marinate in the fridge), you can either fire up the grill or cook the chipotle chicken on the stovetop -both will yield great results, but the grill will also boast tantalizing smoky flavor.
Now, all that’s left is to assemble the burrito bowls! Start with a base of rice, then immediately top with cheese so it can melt right into the hot rice, followed by chicken, beans tomatoes, corn, avocado crema and any other toppings your heart desires – my heart (and belly) always desire mangos and tortilla chips.
Finish it all off with freshly chopped cilantro and lime juice, salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste and dig into heaven!
TIPS FOR MAKING BURRITO BOWLS
- Prep the Avocado Crema first: the crema is very best after being refrigerated for at least one hour so make it first so it has time to chill or pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can also use guacamole, homemade or store bought .
- 10 minute chicken: If you’re in a hurry, use my Easy Mexican Chicken recipe that only requires 10 minutes to make utilizing a rotisserie chicken.
- 90 second rice: save time by using brown rice or quinoa packets which take 90 seconds to cook.
- Frozen chicken: you can make a batch of Crockpot Mexican Chicken, Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken – or any of the chicken recipes- and freeze to make these Chicken Burrito Bowls come together in minutes.
- Customize burrito bowl ingredients: the ingredients and measurements are simply suggestions. You can use add/swap any ingredients for your favs.
- Vegetarian burrito bowls: you can make the burrito bowls vegetarian by swapping the chicken for roasted veggies.
- Low carb burrito bowls: Make low cab burrito bowls by replacing the rice with cauliflower rice.
- Different dressings: these burrito bowls are also incredible with my Cilantro Lime Dressing and Tomatillo Avocado Ranch.
- Serve Chipotle style: You can create a Chicken Burrito Bowl Bar like they do at Chipotle and let everyone build their own bowls.
- You don’t have to make a bowl! Turn these burrito bowls into a burrito by wrapping in tortillas, or turn the filling into a wrap by wrapping in spinach wraps (or your fav), or turn into a salad by swapping the rice for lettuce.
HOW LONG DO BURRITO BOWLS LAST IN THE FRIDGE?
Burrito Bowls will last approximately 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
The cooked/warm components can be stored together: chicken, rice, black beans and will allow you to heat them in the microwave without heating the fresh components.
I suggest storing the fresh/cold components in separate containers: lettuce, tomatoes, mangos, etc. so they don’t make each other soggy and stay as fresh as possible.
Burrito bowl recipe meal prep
Burrito Bowls make excellent meal prep if you want to prep them ahead of time and serve later. Simply pack the warm ingredients together and the cold ingredients separately. Here’s how:
- Divide rice between 4-6 containers.
- Top with cheese followed by chicken, beans and corn.
- Don’t close containers until chicken has cooled.
- Chop lettuce, tomatoes and cilantro and store in separate plastic bags or airtight containers so you can reheat the warm ingredients without wilting the fresh ingredients.
- Blend Avocado Crema in the blender and transfer to an airtight container. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the crema, cover and refrigerate OR divide between 4-6 plastic bags, squeeze out excess air and twirl the bag to eliminate extra air.
are burrito bowls healthy?
Yes, Burrito Bowls can be very healthy. They are packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. You can make Burrito bowls even healthier by:
- Using brown rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice in place of white rice.
- Using Greek yogurt in place of sour cream in the Avocado Crema.
- Using chicken breasts as recommend and not swapping for chicken thighs.
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