This Beef Burrito recipe is unapologetically flavorful, supremely crunchy, customizable, portable, easy to make, make-ahead friendly and freezer friendly - or in other words, the perfect recipe! Juicy chili spiced meat, fluffy cilantro lime rice, hearty black beans, gooey cheese, guacamole and either sour cream or chipotle sauce are cocooned in a crispy tortilla that can be toasted in the air fryer, skillet or oven. Add these Beef Burritos to your 30-minute weeknight arsenal along with a side of pina colada fruit salad for a simple yet satisfying meal the whole family will love.
Servings 6 -8 burritos (depending on tortilla size)
- 6-8 burritos size flour tortillas (10-12 inch)
- 2 cups Cilantro Lime Rice or plain rice seasoned with lime, salt and pepper*
- 2 cups black beans or pinto beans rinsed, drained
- 1 recipe chipotle sauce (or sour cream or Greek yogurt)
- guacamole (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 ½ cups shredded sharp or Monterrey Jack cheese
If baking: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Add a baking rack on top of a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add the beef and cook while crumbling. When the beef is almost browned, drain off some of the excess grease. Add the seasonings, garlic, salsa and green chilies and continue to cook until beef is completely cooked through. Taste and season with additional cayenne pepper if desired; set aside to slightly cool.
Layer and Roll Tortillas
Warm tortillas (cold tortillas are more likely to tear): Wrap the tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for 20-30 seconds or until warm or toss each tortilla in a hot skillet for about 15 seconds each. Keep the tortillas warm before layering.
For 10-inch tortillas: Layer each tortilla with: 1/4 cup rice, 1/4 cup black beans, 1 1/2 tablespoons chipotle sauce or sour cream, 1 1/2 tablespoons guacamole, 1/3 cup ground beef, and 2 tablespoons cheese down the center of the tortilla (feel free to increase sauce, guac and cheese). (You do NOT need to cook uncooked tortillas first if using.) For 12-inch tortillas: Layer each tortilla with: 1/3 cup rice, 1/3 cup black beans, 2 tablespoons chipotle sauce or sour cream, 2 tablespoons guacamole, 1/2 cup ground beef, and 3 tablespoons cheese down the center of the tortilla (feel free to increase sauce, guac and cheese). (You do NOT need to cook uncooked tortillas first if using.)
Roll up tortillas burrito style by folding in the edges next to the filling, folding up the bottom over the filling, then tightly rolling from the bottom, squeezing in any escaping filling as you roll. Place seam side down.
If meal prepping, tightly wrap burritos in foil at this time before toasting and either refrigerate or freeze (see Notes).
To toast in the skillet: Heat cast iron skillet or nonstick skillet over medium heat, medium-low if your skillet runs hot so the cheese has time to melt. Working in batches, add burritos and toast, rotating as each sides turns golden.
To bake: Place burritos on prepared baking rack and lightly brush tops and sides with olive oil (or spray with nonstick cooking spray). Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden. Broil each side if desired for extra crispiness.
To air fry: Working in batches, line burritos in the air fryer basket without touching. Air fry at 400 degrees F for 7-9 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Tips and Tricks
- Ground Turkey: Make an equal swap for ground turkey or chicken. If you want to add that coveted beefy flavor, omit the salt in the filling and instead add to 2 teaspoons granulated beef bouillon (just crumble and add, don’t dissolve in water first) and then salt to taste – you will be amazed!
- More Beef Variations: Swap the beef for anything you’d like such as Mexican Shredded Beef, Beef Barbacoa, Beef Birria, Carne Asada, Carnitas (Crockpot), Chipotle Sweet Pulled Pork, Crockpot Shredded Mexican Chicken, Shortcut Mexican Shredded Chicken, Cilantro Lime Chicken, Chipotle Chicken or Chili lime chicken.
- Tortillas: Use thin, and tender tortillas often found in the bakery section or uncooked tortillas found in the refrigerated section.
- Shortcut Rice: Throw Cilantro Lime Rice ingredients in your rice cooker (see Rice Cooker instructions in that recipe card) or season already cooked rice (including microwave rice packets) with salt, pepper, garlic powder, lime juice and cilantro if you have it.
- Shortcut Guacamole: For ultimate ease, pick some up from the deli section of your grocery store or season smashed avocados with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and lime juice.
- Chipotle Sauce AKA MY FAVORITE: This one ingredient will elevate your burritos to heights you never dreamt possible. It's creamy smoky, spicy and takes just 5 minutes to whip up without any chopping and can be made one week ahead of time and stored in the fridge. I use it in the burrito filling as well as slathered on every bite – I can’t get enough!
- Filling Variations: Mix it up with corn, lettuce, pickled red onions, jalapenos, etc. Avoid wet ingredients like tomatoes if making for meal prep or freezing.
- To Make Wet Beef Burritos: Place burritos on lightly greased, foil lined baking sheet. Lightly brush the tops and sides with olive oil (or spray with nonstick cooking spray). Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden then remove from the oven. Fold the sides of the foil up around the burritos (to keep the sauce from escaping) and evenly pour enchilada sauce over burritos then evenly top with one cup cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Option 1: Make the beef filling and prep the toppings and store in airtight containers in the fridge. Warm the beef before assembling and toasting the burritos.
- Option 2: Completely assemble the burritos but don't toast. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil so the tortillas don't dry out; refrigerate for up to 3 days. When ready to enjoy, follow the toasting instructions in the recipe.
How to STORE AND Reheat
The following is for reheating TOASTED burritos. If your burritos are not toasted, then follow the toasting instructions in the above recipe.
- Storage: I recommend wrapping the burritos in foil to hold them securely together, then, you can easily reheat together or individually in the air fryer or oven. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To air fry an already toasted burrito: Keep the burrito in foil and air fry at 400 degrees for 6 minutes (it burns if not in foil). Remove the foil and continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until crispy and warmed through, flipping halfway through.
- To reheat an already toasted burrito in the oven: Place individually foil wrapped burritos on a baking rack placed over a baking tray. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Unwrap the burritos and continue to bake for 5- 10 minutes, or until warmed through.
- Stove top: Leave the burritos in the foil and heat over medium heat in dry pan for 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove the foil and continue to cook for 2-4 minutes or until crispy and warmed through.
- Microwave: The microwave is my last choice because it won’t crisp up the tortilla. Still, it is the quickest method when you need a quick fix. To reheat, remove the burrito from foil, and microwave for 1-2 minutes, flipping halfway, until warmed through. Crisp up in a dry skillet if desired.
How to freeze
For meal prep, freeze un-toasted burritos. Wrap the burritos in plastic wrap then place in a freezer safe bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the burritos overnight in the freezer and toast per recipe instructions or to cook from frozen:
- Microwave: Remove burritos from wrapping and thaw using the defrost setting. Once thawed, crisp up the burritos in the air fryer, pan or oven for a couple minutes.
- Bake: Remove plastic wrap, wrap burritos in foil and bake on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or until thawed, remove foil, then continue to bake until toasted and completely warmed though, another 15-20 minutes.