|Course||Breakfast, lunch, and dinner|
|Place of origin||Mexico|
|Region or state||Americas|
|Serving temperature||Hot or room temperature|
|Main ingredients||Flour tortillas, meat and beans or refried beans|
|Ingredients generally used||Cheese, rice, lettuce, guacamole, salsa, sour cream (in the U.S.)|
|Variations||Breakfast burrito, Mission burrito|
A burrito (English: // , Spanish: [buˈrito] (
Mexican cuisine began about 9,000 years ago, when agricultural communities such as the Maya formed, domesticating maize, creating the standard process of corn nixtamalization, and establishing their foodways. Successive waves of other Mesoamerican groups brought with them their own cooking methods. These included the Olmec, Teotihuacanos, Toltec, Huastec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Otomi, Purépecha, Totonac, Mazatec, and Mazahua.
Tex-Mex cuisine, also known as Mexican American cuisine, is a fusion of Mexican and American cuisines, deriving from the culinary creations of the Tejano people living in Texas. It has spread from border states such as Texas and others in the Southwestern United States to the rest of the country as well as Canada. Tex-Mex is most popular in Texas and neighboring areas, especially nearby states in both the US and Mexico. The Mexican food market is a 41 billion dollar industry within the United States.
A taco is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around a filling. A taco can be made with a variety of fillings, including beef, pork, chicken, seafood, vegetables, and cheese, allowing great versatility and variety. Tacos are generally eaten without utensils, often garnished with salsa, chili pepper, avocado, guacamole, cilantro (coriander), tomatoes, onions, and lettuce.
In Mexico, meat and refried beans are frequently the only fillings. In the United States, however, burrito fillings may include a large combination of ingredients such as Spanish rice or plain rice, boiled beans or refried beans, lettuce, salsa, meat, guacamole, cheese, sour cream and various vegetables. Burrito sizes vary greatly and some can be very large.
Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization allowed the domestication of animals such as chickens, sheep, rabbits, pigs and cattle. This eventually led to their use in meat production on an industrial scale with the aid of slaughterhouses.
Refried beans is a dish of cooked and mashed beans and is a traditional staple of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, although each cuisine has a different approach when making the dish. Refried beans are also popular in many other Latin American countries.
Spanish rice, also known as Mexican rice, red rice, or arroz rojo, is a Mexican side dish or an ingredient in other dishes made from white rice, tomatoes, garlic, onions, etc. It is traditionally made by sautéing the rice in a skillet with oil or fat until it is colored golden brown. Water or chicken broth is then added, along with tomatoes in the form of chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce.
The word burrito means "little donkey" in Spanish, being the diminutive form of burro , or "donkey". The name burrito, as applied to the dish, possibly derives from the tendency for burritos to contain a lot of different things similar to how a donkey would be able to carry a lot.
The donkey or ass is a domesticated member of the horse family, Equidae. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African wild ass, E. africanus. The donkey has been used as a working animal for at least 5000 years. There are more than 40 million donkeys in the world, mostly in underdeveloped countries, where they are used principally as draught or pack animals. Working donkeys are often associated with those living at or below subsistence levels. Small numbers of donkeys are kept for breeding or as pets in developed countries.
Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.
In other regions of Mexico, such as in the state of Tamaulipas, similar types of food are known as "flautas" (flute).
Tamaulipas, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Tamaulipas, is one of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 43 municipalities and its capital city is Ciudad Victoria.
Before the development of the modern burrito, the Mesoamerican peoples of Mexico used corn tortillas in 10,000 B.C. to wrap foods, with fillings of chili peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, squash, and avocados.Historically, the Pueblo peoples of the Southwestern US also made tortillas filled with beans and meat sauce and prepared much like the modern burrito. But these preparations could also be said to be the origin of the simpler taco, rather than the modern burrito.
Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America. It extends from approximately central Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica, and within this region pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas. In the 16th century, European diseases like smallpox and measles caused the deaths of upwards of 90% of the indigenous people. It is one of five areas in the world where ancient civilization arose independently, and the second in the Americas along with Norte Chico (Caral-Supe) in present-day Peru, in the northern coastal region.
In North America and Central America, a corn tortilla or just tortilla is a type of thin, unleavened flatbread, made from hominy. In Guatemala and Mexico, there are three colors of maize dough for making tortillas: white maize, yellow maize and blue maize.
A wrap is a food dish made with a soft flatbread rolled around a filling. It is usually but not always classified as a sandwich.
The precise origin of the modern burrito is not known. Some have speculated that it may have originated with vaqueros, the cowboys of northern Mexico in the 19th century.In the 1895 Diccionario de Mexicanismos, the burrito or taco was identified as a regional item from the Mexican state of Guanajuato and defined as "Tortilla arrollada, con carne u otra cosa dentro, que en Yucatán llaman coçito, y en Cuernavaca y en Mexico, taco" (A rolled tortilla with meat or other ingredients inside, called 'coçito' in Yucatán and 'taco' in the city of Cuernavaca and in Mexico City).
Northern Mexico, commonly referred as El Norte, is an informal term for the northern cultural and geographical area in Mexico. Depending on the source, it contains some or all of the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, Sinaloa, Sonora and Tamaulipas.
Guanajuato, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Guanajuato, is one of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, are the 32 federal entities of Mexico. It is divided into 46 municipalities and its capital city is Guanajuato. The largest city in the state is León.
An oft-repeated piece of folk history is the story of a man named Juan Méndez who sold tacos at a street stand in the Bella Vista neighborhood of Ciudad Juárez during the Mexican Revolution period (1910–1921), while using a donkey as a transport for himself and his food.To keep the food warm, Méndez wrapped it in large homemade flour tortillas underneath a small tablecloth. As the "food of the burrito" (i.e., "food of the little donkey") grew in popularity, "burrito" was eventually adopted as the name for these large tacos.
Another creation story tells of Ciudad Juárez in the 1940s, where a street food vendor created the tortilla-wrapped food to sell to poor children at a state-run middle school. The vendor would call the children his "burritos", because burro is a colloquial term for a dunce or dullard. Eventually, the somewhat derogatory, but endearing, term for the children was transferred to the food that they ate.
In 1923, Alejandro Borquez opened the Sonora Cafe in Los Angeles, which later changed its name to El Cholo Spanish Cafe.Burritos first appeared on American restaurant menus at the El Cholo Spanish Cafe in Los Angeles during the 1930s. Burritos were mentioned in the U.S. media for the first time in 1934, appearing in the Mexican Cookbook, a collection of regional recipes from New Mexico that was written by historian Erna Fergusson. In 1956, a frozen burrito was developed in Southern California.
Burritos are a traditional food of Ciudad Juárez, a city bordering El Paso, Texas, in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, where people buy them at restaurants and roadside stands. Northern Mexican border towns like Villa Ahumada have an established reputation for serving burritos. Authentic Mexican burritos are usually small and thin, with flour tortillas containing only one or two of several ingredients: either some form of meat or fish, potato, rice, beans, asadero cheese, chile rajas, or chile relleno . colorado (mild to moderately hot) and one with salsa verde (very hot). The Mexican burrito may be a northern variation of the traditional taco de Canasta, which is eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.Other ingredients may include: barbacoa , mole , refried beans and cheese (a "bean and cheese" burrito), or deshebrada (shredded slow-cooked flank steak). The deshebrada burrito has a variation with chile
Although burritos are one of the most popular examples of Mexican cuisine outside of Mexico, they are only popular in the northern part of Mexico. However, they are beginning to appear in some nontraditional venues in other parts of Mexico. Wheat flour tortillas (used in burritos) are now often seen throughout much of Mexico (possibly due to these areas being less than optimal for growing maize or corn), despite at one time being particular to northwestern Mexico, the Southwestern US Mexican-American community, and Pueblo Indian tribes.
Burritos are commonly called tacos de harina ("wheat flour tacos") in Central Mexico and Southern Mexico, and burritas (the feminine variation with 'a') in "northern-style" restaurants outside of northern Mexico proper. A long and thin fried burrito called a chivichanga, which is similar to a chimichanga, is prepared in the state of Sonora and vicinity.
A variation of the burrito found in the Mexican state of Sonora is known as the burro percherón.
The origins of the Mission burrito or Mission-style burrito can be traced back to San Francisco, in the Mission District taquerías of the 1960s and 1970s. This type of burrito is produced on a steam table assembly line, and is characterized by a large stuffed flour tortilla wrapped in aluminum foil, and may include fillings such as carne asada (beef), Mexican-style rice, whole beans (not refritos), sour cream and onion.
Febronio Ontiveros claims to have offered the first retail burrito in San Francisco in 1961 at El Faro ("The Lighthouse"), a corner grocery store on Folsom Street. Ontiveros claims credit for inventing the "super burrito", a style which may have led to the early development of the "San Francisco style". This innovative style involves the addition of rice, sour cream and guacamole to the standard burrito of meat, beans, and cheese.The Mission burrito emerged as a regional culinary movement during the 1970s and 1980s. The popularity of San Francisco-style burritos has grown locally at Mission Street taquerias like El Farolito, and nationally at chains like Dos Toros of New York, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Illegal Pete's, Chevy's Fresh Mex, Freebirds World Burrito, Qdoba, and Barberitos. Chili's had a brief stint with "Fresh Mex" foods and burritos between 2015 and 2017. In 1995, World Wrapps opened in San Francisco's Marina District and brought a burrito-inspired wrap style to the restaurant industry.
San Diego-style burritos include "California burritos" and carne asada burritos. The style has been described by food writers as an "austere meal of meat, cheese and salsa", a contrast to the Mission-style burrito, which is typically larger and always contains more ingredients. 165A significant subgroup of Mexican restaurants in San Diego serves burritos described as "no-frills" and, in contrast to Mission-style burritos, the assembly line is not used. :
In the early 1960s, Roberto Robledo opened a tortilleria in San Diego and learned the restaurant business. Robledo began selling small bean burritos (or burrititos) at La Lomita in the late 1960s, and by 1970, he had established the first "Roberto's taco shop". By 1999, Roberto's restaurants had expanded to a chain of 60 taco shops offering fresh burritos known for their distinctive quality. Hoping to draw on the prestige of Roberto's, new taco shops in San Diego began using the "-bertos" suffix, with names like Alberto's, Filiberto's, Hilberto's, and others. 166–169:
The California burrito originated at an unknown -berto's named restaurant in San Diego in the 1980s. 165, 168 The Fresh MXN chain (formerly Santana's) also claimed to be the originator of the California burrito. The earliest-known published mention was in a 1995 article in the Albuquerque Tribune . The California burrito typically consists of chunks of carne asada meat, French fries, cheese, and either cilantro, pico de gallo, sour cream, onion, or guacamole (or some combination of these five). :153 The ingredients are similar to those used in the "carne asada fries" dish, and it is considered a staple of the local cuisine of San Diego. With the merging of French fries and more traditional burrito fillings, the California burrito is an example of fusion border food. The California burrito has also been described as a "trans-class" food item, as it is regularly consumed by people across socioeconomic lines. Variants of this burrito may add shrimp (surf and turf), or substitute carnitas (pork) or chicken for carne asada.:
The carne asada burrito is considered one of the regional foods of San Diego.Carolynn Carreno has said that to San Diegans, "carne asada burritos are as integral to the experience of the place as a slice of (pizza) pie is to a New Yorker." The San Diego-style carne asada burrito is served with chunks of carne asada, guacamole, and pico de gallo salsa. This "wall-to-wall" use of meat contrasts to burrito styles that use rice and beans as filler ingredients.
Los Angeles also has several unique local burrito varieties. The first is the most traditional and is exemplified by the versions at Mexican-American restaurants such as Al & Bea's, Lupe's #2, and Burrito King.These restaurants have often been in existence for decades, and they offer a distinctly Americanized menu compared with the typical taqueria. The burrito of L.A. itself can take multiple forms, but is almost always dominated by some combination of: refried beans, meat (often stewed beef or chili), and cheese (usually cheddar), with rice and other ingredients typical of Mission burritos offered as add-ons, if at all.
The most basic version of this burrito consists of only beans and cheese; beyond this, there are the "green chile" and "red chile" burritos, which may simply mean the addition of chiles or a meatless chile sauce to the plain beans (as at Al & Bea's), or meat and/or cheese as well.Rice, again, is rarely included, which, along with the choice of chiles, is one of the style's most defining traits. The menu will then usually go on to list multiple other combinations, such as beef and bean, all-beef, a "special" with further ingredients, etc. If the restaurant also offers hamburgers and sandwiches, it may sell a burrito version of these, such as a "hot dog burrito".
In addition to the version described, Los Angeles is also home to three burrito styles that can be said to fall under the category of Mexican fusion cuisine.The first is the famed "kosher burrito," served since 1946 at its eponymous restaurant at 1st Street and Main in Downtown Los Angeles. Another is the Korean kogi burrito, invented by American chef Roy Choi, the first to combine Mexican and Korean cuisines. The kogi burrito was named the seventh best burrito in Los Angeles in 2012 by the LA Weekly. The kogi burrito is accented with chile-soy vinaigrette, sesame oil, and fresh lime juice. Food writer Cathy Chaplin has said that "this is what Los Angeles tastes like." Finally, there is the sushi burrito, most notably the version sold at the Jogasaki food truck. Wrapped in flour tortillas, sushi burritos include such fillings as spicy tuna, tempura, and cucumber.
The existence of such a large truly Mexican community in Los Angeles also makes it possible to find a variety of authentic burrito dishes from different regions of Mexico: from Oaxaca to Hidalgo.
The breakfast burrito, a take on the American breakfast, is composed of breakfast items, particularly scrambled eggs, wrapped in a flour tortilla. This style was invented and popularized in several regional American cuisines, most notably New Mexican cuisine, Southwestern cuisine, Californian cuisine, and Tex-Mex.
A wet burrito is covered with a red chili sauce similar to a red enchilada sauce, with melted shredded cheese on top. It is usually eaten from a plate using a knife and fork, rather than eaten with the hands.This variety is sometimes called "smothered", "enchilada-style", mojado (Spanish for "wet"), or suizo ("Swiss"; used in Spanish to indicate dishes topped with cheese or cream).
The Beltline Bar in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is said to have introduced the wet burrito in 1966.
A burrito bowl is not technically a burrito despite its name, as it consists of burrito fillings served without the tortilla. The fillings are placed in a bowl, and a layer of rice is put at the bottom.In 2017, a Meal, Ready-to-Eat version of a burrito bowl was introduced. It is not to be confused with a taco salad, which has a foundation of lettuce inside a fried tortilla (tostada).
A chimichanga is a deep-fried burrito popular in Southwestern and Tex-Mex cuisines, and in the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora.
Taco Bell research chef Anne Albertine experimented with grilling burritos to enhance portability. This grilling technique allowed large burritos to remain sealed without spilling their contents.This is a well-known cooking technique used by some San Francisco taquerias and Northern Mexican burrito stands. Traditionally, grilled burritos are cooked on a comal (griddle).
Bean burritos, which are high in protein and low in saturated fat, have been touted for their health benefits.Black bean burritos are also a good source of dietary fiber and phytochemicals.
An enchilada is a corn tortilla rolled around a filling and covered with a chili pepper sauce. Enchiladas can be filled with a variety of ingredients, including various meats, cheese, beans, potatoes, vegetables or combinations. Originating in Mexico, enchiladas are a popular dish throughout Mexico and the American Southwest.
The cuisine of California is the local cuisine of the U.S. state of California. It is noted for its emphasis on fresh, light, and health-conscious dishes, taking advantage of readily available produce and seafood. In addition, California's local cuisine incorporates elements of Latino, Spanish, Asian, and Oceanian food traditions, sometimes combined as fusion cuisine.
Chimichanga is a deep-fried burrito that is popular in Tex-Mex and other Southwestern U.S. cuisine. The dish is typically prepared by filling a flour tortilla with a wide range of ingredients, most commonly rice, cheese, beans, machaca, carne adobada, carne seca, or shredded chicken, and folding it into a rectangular package. It is then deep-fried and can be accompanied by salsa, guacamole, sour cream, or cheese.
A Mission burrito is a type of burrito that first became popular during the 1960s in the Mission District of San Francisco, California. It is distinguished from other burritos by its large size and inclusion of extra rice and other ingredients. A key method to the burritos' construction is to steam the wheat flour tortilla to increase its flexibility prior to adding the other ingredients, although that is not a requirement and burritos may be grilled instead. It has been referred to as one of three major styles of burritos in the United States, following the earlier, simple burrito consisting of beans, rice, and meat. It precedes the California burrito, which developed in the 1980s and contains cheese and potatoes.
New Mexican cuisine is the cuisine of the Southwestern US state of New Mexico, the region is primarily known for its fusion of Pueblo Native American with Hispano Spanish and Mexican cuisine originating in Nuevo México. This cuisine had adaptions and influences throughout its history, including early on from the nearby Apache, Navajo, and throughout New Spain and the Spanish Empire, also from French, Italian, Mediterranean, Portuguese cuisine, and European cafés, furthermore during the American territorial phase from cowboy chuckwagons and Western saloons, additionally after statehood from Route 66 American diners, fast food restaurants, and global cuisine. Even so, New Mexican cuisine developed in fairly isolated circumstances, which has allowed it to maintain its indigenous, Spanish, and Mexican identity, and is therefore not like any other Latin food originating in the contiguous United States.
Al pastor, also known as tacos al pastor, is a dish developed in central Mexico that is based on shawarma spit-grilled meat brought by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico. Being derived from shawarma, it is also similar to the Turkish döner kebab and the Greek gyros. In contrast to döner kebab and shawarma however, tacos al pastor are pork based. In some places of northern Mexico, as in Baja California, this taco is called taco de adobada. A similar dish from Puebla with different spices is tacos árabes.
The breakfast burrito, sometimes referred to as a breakfast wrap outside of the American Southwest, is a variety of American breakfast composed of breakfast items wrapped inside a flour tortilla burrito. This style was invented and popularized in several regional American cuisines, most notably originating in New Mexican cuisine, and expanding beyond Southwestern cuisine and neighboring Tex-Mex. Southwestern breakfast burritos may include scrambled eggs, potatoes, onions, chorizo, or bacon.
A taquito, tacos dorados, rolled taco, or flauta is a Mexican food dish that typically consists of a small rolled-up tortilla that contains filling, including beef, cheese or chicken. The filled tortilla is then crisp-fried or deep-fried. The dish is often topped with condiments such as sour cream and guacamole. Corn tortillas are generally used to make taquitos; the dish is more commonly known as flautas when they are larger than their taquito counterparts, and can be made with either flour or corn tortillas although using corn is more traditional.
Honduran cuisine is a fusion of indigenous (Lenca) cuisine, Spanish cuisine, Caribbean cuisine and African cuisine. There are also dishes from the Garifuna people. Coconut and coconut milk are featured in both sweet and savory dishes. Regional specialties include fried fish, tamales, carne asada and baleadas. Other popular dishes include meat roasted with chismol and carne asada, chicken with rice and corn, and fried fish with pickled onions and jalapeños. In the coastal areas and in the Bay Islands, seafood and some meats are prepared in many ways, some of which include coconut milk.
Carne asada fries are a local specialty found on the menus of restaurants primarily in the American Southwest, including San Diego, where it originated. This item is not normally featured on the menu at more traditional Mexican restaurants. The dish is also served at Petco Park and Dodger Stadium. By 2015, fast food chain Del Taco began to sell the item. A similar dish, steak frites, tends to cost more.
Enchirito is the trademarked name of Taco Bell's menu item of the Tex-Mex food similar to an enchilada. It is composed of a flour tortilla filled with seasoned ground beef taco meat, beans, diced onions, cheddar cheese, and "red sauce".
Mexican street food, called antojitos, is prepared by street vendors and at small traditional markets in Mexico. Street foods include tacos, tamales, gorditas, quesadillas, empalmes, tostadas, chalupa, elote, tlayudas, cemita, pambazo, empanada, nachos, chilaquiles, fajita and tortas, as well as fresh fruit, vegetables, beverages and soups such as menudo, pozole and pancita. Most are available in the morning and the evening, as mid-afternoon is the time for the main formal meal of the day.
Texan cuisine is the food associated with the U.S. state of Texas. Texas is a large state, and its cuisine has been influenced by a wide range of cultures, including Southern, German, British, African American, Cajun/Creole, Mexican, Native American, Asian, and to a lesser degree, Jewish and Italian.
Korean–Mexican fusion is a type of fusion cuisine originally from Los Angeles that combines traditional elements of American-style Mexican food and Korean food. The earliest Korean-Mexican fusion featured Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes such as tacos or burritos filled with Korean-style barbecued meats and kimchi. Typical dishes include Korean tacos and bulgogi burritos. Food critics Jane and Michael Stern state that Korean–Mexican fusion is a growing food trend that has steadily gained in popularity since 2009.
A taco stand or taqueria is a food stall, food cart or restaurant that specializes in tacos and other Mexican dishes. The food is typically prepared quickly and tends to be inexpensive. Many various ingredients may be used, and various taco styles may be served. Taco stands are an integral part of Mexican street food. Tacos became a part of traditional Mexican cuisine in the early 20th century, beginning in Mexico City, as what had been a miner's snack began to be sold on street corners in the city. Shops selling tacos have since proliferated throughout Mexico and other areas with a heavy Mexican culinary and cultural influence, including much of the Western United States and most other larger American cities. More typical taquerías specialize in tacos, as expected, but in some localities it can be used to refer to restaurants specializing in burritos, where tacos themselves are less of a point of emphasis.
A burro percherón is a traditional dish from the Mexican state of Sonora, originating in the cities of Hermosillo and Guaymas. A variation of the classic burrito, it is one of the most popular foods in these two cities, being offered in several establishments, both establishments and mobile food trucks, where they are offered mainly at night, although recently there are establishments that offer burro percherón in its menu throughout the day. Among the main and most striking features of burro percherón is that they are large in size and have an excellent taste due to the combination and concentration of the ingredients. Traditionally the burro percherón are prepared with grilled meat, avocado, Mexican cheese or chihuahua cheese, tomatoes, there are variants of this depending on the place that offers it, the costs are acceptable given the quantity of food that is obtained, at present the establishments serving burros percherones are on the rise and there are chains that manage franchises extending to several parts of the country.