This oven baked chicken chimichanga recipe is a quick & easy twist to classic deep fried Mexican chimichangas. Rather than being fried in oil, this tortilla stuffed with chicken and cheese is baked at high heat to give it a perfectly crispy crunch – without it dripping in oil! This recipe is a perfect weeknight dinner idea and can even be made and frozen ahead.
Why you’ll love this chimichanga recipe
This recipe came after we got together with some friends for a Mexican themed potluck. These chimichangas are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and easy to make. You can bake them according to the directions below – or you can do like my boys do. They grab them out of the freezer one at a time and heat them in the microwave for a quick after school snack.
This has become one of my favorite freeze ahead meals. It is so easy to make a double batch, freeze them in ziploc bags, and then just pull out the amount we need for a dinner and bake them up.
Ingredients you’ll need for this baked chimichangas recipe
- 2 1/2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken
- 2/3 cup salsa
- 1/4-1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8-9 -7-8 inch flour tortillas
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or mozzerella cheese
Step by step instructions to make baked chicken chimicangas
- Combine shredded cooked chicken, salsa, cumin, oregano, and salt in a saucepan. Simmer 5 minutes or until most of liquid has evaporated.
- To assemble the chimichangas, brush one side of tortillas with butter. Spoon 1/3 cup meat mixture onto center of unbuttered sides, put about 2 Tbsp. cheese on top. Fold 2 sides over filling, fold ends down.
Once the chicken and salsa are all simmered into deliciousness, I set up an assembly station on the counter like this:
Brush butter on one side of the tortilla, flip it over (so the butter side sits on the pile of tortillas underneath and then fill it.
- To bake right away, place seam side down on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 475 degrees about 13 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.
- Serve with your favorite toppings like salsa, sour cream, shredded lettuce, and guacamole.
How to freeze chicken chimichangas
To make these ahead and freeze them to use later, follow the instructions above to assemble them. Then, just place them in an airtight container or ziploc freezer bag until ready to use. They can be frozen for up to 6 months.
To bake chimichangas from frozen, bake at 400 degrees for 30 -35 minutes. Or, thaw them completely first in the fridge and then bake as directed (475 degrees for 13 minutes.)
What is the difference between burrito and chimichanga?
Actually, burrito and chimichangas are very similar! Normally, burritos are baked and chimichangas are cooked by dropped them into oil. So, these oven baked chimichangas are very similar to Mexican burritos.
Chimichangas are meant to be crispy, so baking them at high heat gives that feature with a healthier method than cooking them in oil.