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A chimichanga with rice
Alternative names
Place of origin
Mexico/United States
Region or state
Northern Mexico/Southwestern United States
Main ingredients
Tortillas, rice, cheese, machaca, carne adobada or shredded chicken
Cookbook:Chimichangas/Chivichangas  Chimichangas/Chivichangas

Chimichanga (/ɪmiˈæŋɡə/; Spanish: [tʃimiˈtʃaŋɡa]) is a deep-fried burrito that is popular in Southwestern U.S. cuisine and the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora. The dish is typically prepared by filling a flour tortilla with a wide range of ingredients, most commonly rice, cheese, machaca, carne adobada, or shredded chicken, and folding it into a rectangular package. It is then deep-fried and can be accompanied with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and/or cheese.


Debate over the origins of the chimichanga is ongoing:[1][2][3][4]

A chimichanga with refried beans and rice served at an Illinois restaurant.
  • Woody Johnson, founder of Macayo's Mexican Kitchen, claims he invented the chimichanga in 1946 when he put some burritos into a deep fryer as an experiment at his original restaurant Woody's El Nido. These "fried burritos" became so popular that by 1952 when Woody's El Nido became Macayo's the chimichanga was one of the restaurant's main menu items. Johnson opened Macayo's in 1952.[2]
  • Although no official records indicate when the dish first appeared, retired University of Arizona folklorist Jim Griffith recalls seeing chimichangas at the Yaqui Old Pascua Village in Tucson in the mid-1950s.[7]
  • Given the variant chivichanga, mainly employed in Mexico, another derivation would have it that immigrants to the United States brought the dish with them, mainly through Nogales into Arizona. A third, and perhaps most likely possibility, is that the chimichanga, or chivichanga, has long been a part of local cuisine of the Pimería Alta of Arizona and Sonora, with its early range extending southward into Sinaloa. In Sinaloa the chimichangas are small.

Knowledge and appreciation of the dish spread slowly outward from the Tucson area, with popularity elsewhere accelerating in recent decades. Though the chimichanga is now found as part of the Tex-Mex repertoire, its roots within the U.S. seem to be in Pima County, Arizona.[8]


  1. ^ Trulsson, Nora Burba (October 1999), "Chimichanga Mysteries: The Origin of Tucson's Deep-fried Masterpiece Is an Enigma Wrapped in a Tortilla", Sunset, retrieved 2009-03-19 [dead link]
  2. ^ a b Henderson, John (2007-01-24), "We All Win as Chimichanga War Rages on", The Denver Post, Food & Dining section, retrieved 2009-03-19 
  3. ^ Laudig, Michele (2007-11-22). "Chimi Eat World: Arizona's deepest-fried mystery is smothered in cheese, guacamole and sour cream". Phoenix New Times. 
  4. ^ Lacey, Marc (2011-11-15). "Arizonans Vie to Claim Cross-Cultural Fried Food". New York Times. 
  5. ^ Matteo Marra, "Tales of the chimichanga's origin"[dead link]
  6. ^ Chimichanga History and Recipe
  7. ^ Miller, Tom. Jack Ruby's Kitchen Sink: Offbeat Travels Through America's Southwest, p. 79.
  8. ^ Meesey, Chris (2009-04-29). "On The Range: Chimichangas". Dallas Observer.