Chicken Freezer Burritos are your answer to a quick, family-friendly weeknight meal! They're easy to make and delicious (when reheated correctly!). Here's everything you need to know about how to make freezer burritos you'll actually want to eat!
Photography Credit:Nick Evans
There’s the dream of freezer burritos, and then there is the reality of freezer burritos. So many freezer burritos end up being a disappointment, but with the right combination of fillings and the ideal reheating method, you actually can make pretty darn good freezer burritos that will make for a quick and easy weeknight dinner later on.
Of course, it remains to be seen if little kids (like mine) will actually eat a burrito. If they don’t, then they might have to find a different house to live in. (Kidding, kidding!)
So, go on and cancel that Chipotle delivery, and let’s learn how to make the best burrito filling, wrap those burritos tightly, freeze them well, and reheat them into delicious meals!
WHAT MAKES A GOOD FREEZER BURRITO?
Here’s what it takes to make a really good freezer burrito:
- Lots of protein, like chicken and beans
- Some starch to soak up any extra liquid, like cilantro rice
- Some vegetables, like peppers and onions.
Feel free to add your favorite proteins and vegetables to the mix!
INGREDIENTS TO AVOID: Avocado or non-cheese dairy, like sour cream. These ingredients will not freeze and reheat well. Instead, add those to the top after you reheat your burritos!
HOW TO MAKE FREEZER CHICKEN BURRITOS
Here are my tips for making great burritos with the intention of freezing:
- Cook the ingredients separately. Don’t add the peppers, rice, and chicken all together into a single big pot and then wrap it up. It’s better to cook things individually to ensure they are all cooked correctly. Then you can layer them in the tortilla.
- Use flour tortillas. They really make the best burritos.
- Warm your tortillas before rolling them. Microwaving them for 15 seconds will make them more flexible and easier to work with.
- No avocado or dairy (besides cheese). They don’t freeze well.
- For kid-sized burritos, use smaller 8-inch tortillas. You’ll get about four small burritos for the same ingredients as one large one!
TROUBLESHOOTING FREEZER BURRITOS
- My tortilla won’t fold! If your tortillas are inflexible and difficult to fold, wrap them in a few damp paper towels and microwave for 15-20 seconds. This will make the tortillas really flexible.
- My filling is coming out! Don’t use as much filling. I know if you go to a burrito place they completely stuff the burritos, but our goal here is to make a burrito that is completely sealed. You can always top the burritos with extras once you reheat them!
HOW TO FREEZE YOUR BURRITOS
After you’ve added all the fillings to your burrito, roll it into a tight cylinder, folding over the ends to keep it contained, and wrap the burrito tightly in foil. Once all your burritos are rolled and wrapped, store them in a plastic freezer-safe container, like a Ziploc, for three to six months.
THE BEST WAY TO REHEAT FROZEN BURRITOS
Is there anything more depressing than spending good time and money making a batch of freezer burritos, only to be disappointed when you reheat them? Just microwaving the burritos will warm the filling, but the tortillas will be soggy and not great.
Here’s how you should do it instead:
- Unwrap the burrito from the foil and microwave it on defrost for seven minutes per side. This will thaw and slightly warm the fillings.
- Then place the burrito in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, and cook it for a few minutes per side until it starts to brown and crisp up.
This method melts the cheese and warms the filling but also gives you a crispy, delicious tortilla!
You can also reheat frozen burritos in the oven! Just keep them wrapped in foil, heat in a 400˚F oven for 45 minutes, then unwrap the burritos and return them to the oven for 5-10 minutes minutes to crisp up the tortilla.
The DAD ADD: PICKLED JALAPEÑO GUACAMOLE
As I mentioned, I’m not a fan of freezing avocado in the burritos, but I do love guacamole with my burritos. This Pickled Jalapeño Guacamole is a perfect shortcut guac. It only has a few ingredients, but the pickled jalapeños add so much to the guacamole: salt, some tangy acidic flavors, and some spicy notes!
THE REPORT CARD:
My child threw the burrito at me … and therein ended my burrito experiment, because he immediately had to go sit in timeout while I ate my burrito in peace.
I hope that your children are more open to the idea of deliciousness wrapped in tortillas, but for now, my children could not be less interested. Even though they love all of the fillings on their own, wrapped in a tortilla is a no-go for some reason.
Worst case scenario, even if this doesn’t work out to be a great family meal, it is definitely a great parent meal! Easy-to-reheat burritos are always a good idea for busy parents.
MORE QUICK AND EASY MEXICAN FREEZER MEALS:
- Baked Sweet Potato Taquitos
- Green Chile Enchiladas
- Baked Chicken Taquitos
- Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos
Chicken Freezer Burritos Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
- 1 lime, juice only
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 red or green peppers, sliced
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup salsa verde, store-bought or homemade
- 16 ounces grated colby jack cheese
- 8 large 12-inch burrito-sized flour tortillas OR 32 small 8-inch flour tortillas
For the pickled jalapeno guacamole (Dad Add):
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños, chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
- Pinch of salt
- Heavy-duty aluminum foil
1 Make the cilantro rice: Rinse rice well in cold water, and then add to a medium pot. Cover the rice with 1 inch of cold water and place over medium heat. Once simmering, stir, turn heat down to low, and cover.
Cook until the rice has absorbed the water and is tender, about 8-10 minutes. If there is extra water, drain off. Otherwise, remove from heat, cover, and let steam for 5 minutes. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.
2 Cook the peppers and onions: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, sliced peppers, and onions. Cook until peppers and onions start to caramelize in places, 8-10 minutes. Scoop out onto a plate and set aside.
3 Make the chicken and bean filling: In the same skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, the shredded chicken, and beans. Stir together until warm. Add the salt, chili powder, and cumin, and then add the salsa verde. Remove from heat.
4 Assemble the burritos: Wrap one 12-inch tortilla or four 8-inch burritos in a few paper towels. Microwave on high for 15 seconds to make the tortillas warm and flexible.
Then, in the lower-middle section of the tortilla, add 1/3 cup cilantro rice, 1/3 cup peppers and onions, 1/2 cup of the chicken and bean mixture, and 1/4 cup grated cheese. (If you're using smaller 8-inch tortillas, divide these amounts evenly among the four tortillas). Tightly roll the tortilla, folding over the ends, to form a burrito. Once formed, wrap the burrito in heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
5 Freeze the burritos: Transfer the wrapped burritos to a freezer-safe plastic container or bag. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months (but ideally use within 3 months, or else they might have some freezer burn and off flavors).
6 Reheat the burritos: To reheat a large burrito, unwrap from foil and place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on defrost for 7 minutes per side, or until the burrito has completely thawed. Transfer burrito to a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until the burrito is crispy on the outside.
To reheat a large burrito in the oven, preheat the oven to 400˚F. Place the wrapped burrito on a baking sheet and heat in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove, unwrap the burrito, and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes to get a crispy exterior.
Serve burrito with sour cream, salsa, or Dad Add guacamole.
7 Make the Pickled Jalapeño Guacamole: Add the flesh of two ripe avocados to a bowl. Mash together with fork. Roughly dice pickled jalapeños and transfer to bowl with avocados. Season with cilantro and a pinch of salt. Serve immediately.
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