Easy Chimichangas Thanks to the CrockPot

April 12, 2017

Chimichangas are a fun Mexican food staple which is usually completely off limits if you have Celiac or are gluten free. Since our family needs to eat gluten free I wanted to find a way to make them at home in a safe way.

This recipe uses the crockpot slow cooker to cook the meat all day long and then I wrap the meat in tortillas (we use a gluten free tortilla, made from brown rice) and then pan fry.

[originally posted in 2008, during my year of slow cooking]

Holy cow I didn't realize I could actually make chimichangas at home by myself! There are two parts to this recipe: first, you cook the meat all day in the crockpot slow cooker and then you pan fry the burritos in a bit of oil to turn them into chimichangas!!
Day 103.

I have never made chimichangas before. And I don't think I ever would have, if Heather didn't email me with the suggestion. 

I just wouldn't have thought to do it.

Heather rocks. These are amazing and wonderful and since our family has gone gluten free, nothing we could have had unless we made our own. 

Thank you so much, Heather.

Like the chicken tacos, you are crockpotting the meat all day. 

This works so well for me, because I can then shop for the fresh fix'ens at my convenience during the day or send Adam to the store on his way home.

The Ingredients.

1 to 2 pounds beef roast (I used top round. I bet you could use pork!)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
1 medium yellow onion, diced finely, OR 1 tablespoon dried minced onion flakes

to add later:
1 (10 to 15 ounce) can tomatoes and chiles--drained (Rotel)
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes--drained

burrito-sized tortillas, and whatever toppings your family likes

The Directions.

You are going to have to be in the kitchen if you plan on making the meat mixture into chimichangas. 

It doesn't take long, but there is no way around this---you need to fry up the cute little tortilla packets.

If you are feeling cranky and aren't in the mood to cook, don't make this. 

Crock something else.

In the morning:

salt and pepper your meat on all sides. 

Plop it into a 4-quart crockpot and cover with 1/2 cup of water. 

Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

If you only have a 6-quart, that is okay but check after about 6 hours on low.

Shop for fresh ingredients for toppings, tortillas. 

I chose to use the brown rice tortillas from Trader Joe's. 

If you aren't gluten free, I'd pick the whole grain no-lard flour tortillas (because I'm mean).

After your meat has cooked all day, remove it carefully. Skim the fat out of the liquid at the bottom of your stoneware, and remove excess juice. 

You really only need about a cup of juice left in the crock.

Put your meat back inside, and shred it with two forks. 

The meat should come apart easily. If it doesn't, cut it in pieces and cook on low a few more hours.

Add the can of drained diced tomatoes and drained tomatoes and chiles.

Turn your crock to high to warm everything up.

Prepare your toppings.

When the meat is hot again, start making your little chimichanga packets. 

Steam a few tortillas at a time by stacking them on a plate and covering with a dampened paper towel. 

Microwave for 60 seconds.

Take a steamed tortilla and plop a spoonful of meat in the center. If you use too much meat, it won't fold correctly. Trust me.

Fold the bottom and top of the tortilla, then the sides. The sides need to overlap a bit, so the meat doesn't escape.

Heat up some oil in a big skillet. 

When it is super hot, carefully put the chimichanga into the oil, seam-side down. 

Fry until golden brown (about 1 min) then flip.

Top with cheese, salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

The Verdict.

Oh my. 

These were amazing. My children have never had anything like this, and were thrilled to try the "crunchy burritos." 

We all ate too much, and were so happy we had the opportunity to do so.

Thank you so much, Heather, for the wonderful idea.

Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at April 12, 2017
Labels: ,

Sign up for the A Year of Slow Cooking newsletter and get the Top Ten Reader Favorite Recipes sent directly to your inbox!


  1. dude. sometimes blogger annoys me with the spacing issues. it mysteriously adds or deletes spaces all on it's own.

    and I can't fix it.

    which makes me cranky.

    that is all.

  2. So far I have tried three different recipes from your site and we have loved every one of them. I am headed off to the store right now for some ingredients and it will be a maravilloso partido tonight!! Keep up the great work!

  3. Sorry I pushed go without leaving all my info! Still lovin' the site!

  4. Little crunchy bundles of happiness are what those look like! Adding it to my list of things to make.

  5. are you serious you've never made chimis? OH my gosh we LOOVE them. You need to come visit AZ and sample mine. Or better yet, lets ditch the kids with the hubbies and go out for restaraunt chimichangas!! Arrrrrrriba!!

  6. We love Mexican food, but I've never made chimichangas either. They sound yummy. I'll have to try this one as soon as I fetch a large hunk of meat.

  7. What kind/brand of tortillas did you use? We are gluten free as well and I usually just use corn for whatever mexican recipe I make. Did you use a gluten free flour type of tortilla or really large corn ones?
    I love your blog, by the way!

  8. Nikki, thank you! I really like brown rice tortillas--they have a similar texture (sort of. they're still gluten free...) to flour tortillas. I can find them at Trader Joe's and at Whole Foods.


  9. We LOVE Mexican food, and this one looks wonderful. I usually avoid fried foods, but I'll be trying this one soon!

  10. P.S. You can make chimis by coating them in a light amount of oil and baking them.... but the fried version is better. ;)

  11. We made these last night and I just wanted to tell you how good they are! Thanks!


  12. I'm attempting to make these tonight for dinner. All we had was chicken tenders so I am going to try to make chicken chimi's instead. I hope it comes out OK, as I have read you say a few times in other recipes that if there isn't enough water, the chicken can cook unevenly (I put in 1c of water in stead of 1/2c).

    I wish I could just throw stuff together in a CP like you (like alter stovetop/oven recipes i have for the CP), and feel confident doing it! You inspire me!

    Wish me luck!

  13. Yummy! Thanks for this recipe! I will definitely be making this again!

  14. I noticed someone else commented that you can coat with oil and bake them but it didn't taste as good as fried. If you brush both sides of the tortilla with a little oil before adding the filling, they get a little more crisp than coating just one side.

  15. Steph,
    Have I told you lately that I LOVE YOU?

    Last year I followed you especially because of the Texas HEAT!!! This summer is the same reason, but add to that an almost dead stove for a single mom who was laid off and has a kid in college out-of-state. This time, IT'S PERSONAL!

    Thanks for all of the wonder recipes! They taste great and we stay cool!

  16. Completly and totally loved these! My husband and daughter even liked them. The dogs enjoyed what I dropped on the floor.

  17. I made these last night.... OMGosh!
    You are brilliant! I had some leftover pinto beans from a few night ago... I tossed those in with the meat after I spreaded it. It was absolutly PERFECT!

    I heart crockpot chimichangas!

  18. I'm making these for dinner tomorrow night and will freeze the leftovers (tomorrow I'm doing cook for a day, eat for a month deal). Last time it worked beautifully - I wrapped dollops of sour cream and guacamole into individual plastic wrap and tied them off with rubber bands and stuck one of each into every chimichanga meal. When it came time to eat them, I'd pull out the little plastic wrap baggies, defrost/nuke the chimichanga, and let the little baggies "cook" for a half a minute in the microwave. Absolutely AWESOME!

  19. If you seal the seam of the chimi with a little egg wash and bake them seam-side down in the oven, you get an nice lightly crisp version minus frying. I love a fried chimi but it can be a hassle. Love your blog - jus tnow discovering it! :)

  20. We tried this tonight and loved it. I used some rice tortillas and some corn tortillas...I like the corn better. We used regular flour tortillas for my son and husband...they looked just like a restaurant would make them! Fun new dinner...gold star!

  21. FYI 0 for a healthier version - put the chimi in the OVEN instead of frying in a pan. Just put a very little bit of butter or oil on the OUTSIDE of the tortilla before (or after) rolling it and then put it into the oven until crispy. My family LOVES chimis this way!.

  22. you must be psychic Cindy! I was JUST thinking about these (I used to make these all the time) and haven't made them in a while because I don't want to fry them anymore. Thanks for that tidbit!


Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment! I will try my hardest to answer questions as they come up, but if your question gets buried, you may try me on twitter or facebook.

Happy Slow Cooking!