A burrito (Page Module:IPA/styles.css has no content.US: English: /bəˈrit/, Template:Audio-IPA)[1] is a type of Mexican[2] and Tex-Mex food,[3] consisting of a wheat flour tortilla wrapped or folded into a cylindrical shape to completely enclose the filling (in contrast to a taco, which is generally formed by simply folding a tortilla in half around a filling, leaving the semicircular perimeter open). The flour tortilla is usually lightly grilled or steamed, to soften it and make it more pliable.

In Mexico, meat and refried beans are sometimes the only fillings. In the United States, burrito fillings generally include a combination of ingredients such as Mexican-style rice or plain rice, refried beans or beans, lettuce, salsa, meat, guacamole, cheese, and sour cream, and the size varies.



The word burrito means "little donkey" in Spanish, as a diminutive form of burro, or "donkey". The name burrito as applied to the dish possibly derives from the appearance of bedrolls and packs that donkeys carried.[4]



Before the development of the modern burrito, the Mesoamerican peoples of Mexico used tortillas to wrap foods, with fillings of chili peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, squash, and avocados.[5] The Pueblo people of the Southwestern United States also made tortillas with beans and meat sauce fillings prepared much like the modern burrito.[6]

The precise origin of the modern burrito is not known. It may have originated with vaqueros in northern Mexico in the nineteenth century;[5] farmworkers in the fields of California's Central Valley, in Fresno and Stockton; or with northern Sonoran miners of the 19th century.[4][7] In the 1895 Diccionario de Mexicanismos, the burrito was identified as a regional item from 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).[8]

An often-repeated folk history is that of a man named Juan Méndez who sold tacos in a street stand in the Bella Vista neighborhood of Ciudad Juárez, using a donkey as a transport for himself and the food, during the Mexican Revolution period (1910–1921).[9] 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.[5]

Another creation story comes from 1940s Ciudad Juárez, 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, as burro is a colloquial term for dunce or dullard. Eventually, the derogatory or endearing term for the children was transferred to the food they ate.[5]

In 1923, Alejandro Borquez opened the Sonora cafe in Los Angeles, which later changed its name to the El Cholo Spanish Cafe.[10] Burritos first appeared on American restaurant menus at the El Cholo Spanish Cafe during the 1930s.[11] Burritos were mentioned in the U.S. media for the first time in 1934,[12] appearing in the Mexican Cookbook, a collection of regional recipes from New Mexico authored by historian Erna Fergusson.[13]

Development of regional varieties




Burritos are a traditional food of Ciudad Juárez, a city 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 ingredients: some form of meat or fish, potatoes, rice, beans, asadero cheese, chile rajas, or chile relleno.[14] Other types of ingredients may include barbacoa, mole, refried beans and cheese, and deshebrada (shredded slow-cooked flank steak). The deshebrada burrito also has a variation with chile colorado (mild to moderately hot) and 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.[citation needed]

Although burritos are one of the most popular examples of Mexican cuisine outside of Mexico, in Mexico they are only popular in the northern part of the country. 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), 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 and southern Mexico and burritas (feminine variation, with 'a') in northern-style restaurants outside of northern Mexico proper. A long and thin fried burrito similar to a chimichanga is prepared in the state of Sonora and vicinity, and is called a chivichanga.[15]

San Francisco

Mission style burrito, showing rice, meat, beans, lettuce

The origins of the Mission burrito can be traced back to Mission District taquerias of the 1960s and 1970s. This type of burrito is produced on a steam table assembly line, characterized by a large stuffed tortilla, wrapped in aluminum foil, which may include fillings such as carne asada (beef), Mexican style rice, whole beans (non refried), sour cream and onion.

Febronio Ontiveros claims to have offered the first retail burrito in San Francisco at El Faro (The Lighthouse) in 1961, a corner grocery store on Folsom Street. Ontiveros claims credit for inventing the "super burrito" style leading to the early development of the "San Francisco style". This innovation involved adding rice, sour cream and guacamole to the standard meat, bean and cheese burrito.[7][16] The Mission burrito emerged as a regional culinary movement during the 1970s and 1980s. The popularity of San Francisco-style burritos has grown locally, with Mission Street taquerias like El Farolito, and nationally with chains such as Chipotle Mexican Grill,[17] Illegal Pete's, Freebirds World Burrito, Qdoba, and Barberitos. In 1995, World Wrapps opened in San Francisco's Marina District, bringing a burrito-inspired sandwich wrap style to the restaurant industry.[18]

San Diego

Contents of a carne asada burrito

San Diego-style burritos include California and carne asada burritos. The style has been described as an "austere meal of meat, cheese and salsa", in contrast to the Mission-style burrito, which is typically larger and contains more ingredients.[19] A significant subgenre of Mexican restaurants in San Diego serves burritos described as "no-frills"; in contrast to Mission-style burritos, the assembly line is not used.[20]: 165  In the early 1960s, Roberto Robledo opened a tortilleria in San Diego and learned the restaurant business. Robledo began selling small bean burritos at La Lomita in the late 1960s, and by 1970, he had established the first Roberto's taco shop. By 1999, Roberto's 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 such as Alberto's, Filiberto's, Hilberto's, among others.[20]: 166–169 [21]

Contents of a California burrito.

The California burrito originated at an unknown -berto's named restaurant in San Diego in the 1980s.[20]: 165, 168  The earliest-known published mention was in a 1995 article in the Albuquerque Tribune.[22] The California burrito[23] 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).[20]: 153 [24][25][26] 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.[27][28] With its merging of French fries with more traditional burrito fillings, the California burrito is an example of fusion border food.[28][29] Variants of this burrito add shrimp (surf and turf),[30][31][32] or substitute carnitas[33] or chicken[28] for carne asada.

The carne asada burrito is considered a regional food of San Diego.[34][35] It is served with chunks of carne asada, guacamole, and pico de gallo salsa.[36][37]

Los Angeles


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, Burrito King,[38] and Tonia's.[39] These restaurants have often been in existence for decades and offer a distinctly Americanized menu compared with the typical taqueria. The burrito 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 typical Mission burrito ingredients offered as add-ons if at all.[40]

The most basic variant 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.[41] Rice, again, is rarely included, which along with the choice of chiles is one of the style's most defining traits.[39] 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 one or more of these, such as a hot dog burrito.[42]

In addition to the former variety, Los Angeles is also home to three burrito styles that can be said to fall under the category of Mexican fusion cuisine.[43] The first is the famed "kosher burrito," served since 1946 at its eponymous restaurant at 1st Street and Main in Downtown Los Angeles.[44] Another is the kogi burrito, invented by Roy Choi, the first chef to combine Mexican and Korean cuisines.[45][46] The kogi burrito was named the seventh best burrito in Los Angeles in 2012 by the LA Weekly.[45] Of Choi's creations, 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."[47] Finally there is the sushi burrito, most notably the version sold at the Jogasaki food truck.[48] Wrapped in flour tortillas, sushi burritos include such fillings as spicy tuna, tempura, and cucumber.[47]

The existence of such a large Mexican community in Los Angeles also makes it possible to find a wide variety of authentic burrito varieties from various regions of Mexico, from Oaxacan to Hidalguense.[45]

Other varieties


Breakfast burrito


The breakfast burrito, a variety of American breakfast, is composed of breakfast items wrapped inside a flour tortilla. This style was invented and popularized in several regional American cuisines, most notably New Mexican cuisine, Southwestern cuisine, and Tex-Mex. Southwestern breakfast burritos may include scrambled eggs, potatoes, onions, chorizo, or bacon.[49] Tia Sophia's, a Mexican café in Santa Fe, New Mexico, claims to have invented the original breakfast burrito in 1975, filling a rolled tortilla with bacon and potatoes, served wet with chili and cheese.[50] Fast food giant McDonald's introduced their version in the late 1980s,[51] and by the 1990s, more fast food restaurants caught on to the style, with Sonic Drive-In, Hardee's, and Carl's Jr. offering breakfast burritos on their menus.[52]

Smothered burrito

Wet burrito style

A smothered (often called "wet" or enchilada style) burrito is smothered with a red chili sauce similar to enchilada sauce with melted shredded cheese on top. It is usually eaten off a plate with a fork and knife, rather than hand held.[53] When served in a Mexican restaurant in the U.S., a melted cheese covered burrito is sometimes called a burrito suizo

  1. REDIRECCIÓN Plantilla:AFI (suizo meaning Swiss, an adjective used in Spanish to indicate dishes topped with cheese or cream).

Similar dishes

Steak burrito bowl

A burrito bowl is not technically a burrito, as it consists of burrito fillings served without the tortilla, with the fillings placed in a bowl, and a layer of rice at the bottom. It is not to be confused with a taco salad, which has a foundation of lettuce inside a fried tortilla.

A chimichanga is a deep-fried burrito popular in Southwestern and Tex-Mex cuisines, and in the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora.[54]



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.[55] This is a well-known cooking technique used by some San Francisco taquerias and Northern Mexico 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.[56] Black bean burritos are also a good source of dietary fiber and phytochemicals.[57]

See also



  1. ^ Bayless, Rick; Bayless, Deann Groen; Christopher Hirsheimer (2007). Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico. HarperCollins. p. 197. ISBN 978-0-06-137326-8. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  2. ^ Ramos y Duarte, Féliz (1895). Diccionario de Mejicanismos. Imprenta de Eduardo Dublan. p. 98.
    Jeffrey M. Pilcher (3 September 2012). Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food. Oxford University Press. pp. 46–47. ISBN 978-0-19-991158-5.
    Daniel D. Arreola (1 January 2010). Tejano South Texas: A Mexican American Cultural Province. University of Texas Press. pp. 174–175. ISBN 978-0-292-79314-9.
    Thomasina Miers (21 June 2012). Wahaca - Mexican Food at Home. Hodder & Stoughton. pp. 74–75. ISBN 978-1-4447-5692-0.
  3. ^ Anand, Karen (2005). International Cooking With Karen Anand. Popular Prakashan. p. 28. ISBN 9788171549085. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
    Prandoni, Anna; Zago, Fabio (2013). Los Sabores de la Cocina Tex-Mex (in Spanish). Parkstone International. ISBN 9788431555009.
    Armendariz Sanz, Jose Luis. Gastronomía y nutrición (in Spanish). Ediciones Paraninfo, S.A. p. 86. ISBN 9788497324403.
  4. ^ a b Duggan, Tara. (Apr. 29, 2001). The Silver Torpedo. San Francisco Chronicle. Invalid <ref> tag; name "Duggan" defined multiple times with different content
  5. ^ a b c d Morales, Eric César; Carrillo, Julián (2012). "Burritos". In Herrera-Sobek, Maria (ed.). Celebrating Latino Folklore. ABC-CLIO. pp. 178–180. ISBN 9780313343391.
  6. ^ Keoke, Emory Dean; Kay Marie Porterfield (2002). "Snack foods". Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World: 15,000 Years of Inventions and Innovations. New York: Facts On File, Inc. p. 240. ISBN 9781438109909.
  7. ^ a b Roemer, John (1993-05-05). "Cylindrical God". SF Weekly.
  8. ^ Ramos y Duarte, Féliz (1895). Diccionario de Mejicanismos. Imprenta de Eduardo Dublan. p. 98.
  9. ^ See, e.g., van Berkmoes, Ryan (2009). California Trips. Lonely Planet.
  10. ^ Shindler, Merrill (February 2001). "Comfort Food". Los Angeles Business Journal. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. {{cite journal}}: |archive-date= / |archive-url= timestamp mismatch; 2005-05-20 suggested (help)
  11. ^ Smith, Andrew F. (2004). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. Vol. 1. Oxford University Press. p. 171. ISBN 0-19-515437-1.
  12. ^ Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Citation/CS1/Suggestions' not found.
  13. ^ Smith, Andrew F. (2007). The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. Oxford University Press. p. 75. ISBN 0-19-530796-8.
  14. ^ Franz, Carl; Lorena Havens (2006). The People's Guide to Mexico. Avalon Travel Publishing. p. 379. ISBN 1-56691-711-5.
  15. ^ Bayless, Rick and Deann Groen Bayless. (1987). Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico. Morrow Cookbooks. p. 142.ISBN 0-688-04394-1
  16. ^ Addison, Bill (September 13, 2006). "In search of the transcendent taqueria / Our critic puts 85 beloved Bay Area burrito joints to the test". San Francisco Chronicle. {{cite news}}: |access-date= requires |url= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  17. ^ Slodysko, Brian (2008-06-25). "Chipotle serves up free burritos and drinks". Lancaster Eagle-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-06-28.[dead link]
  18. ^ Hanson, Gayle M.B. (1996-12-02). "It's a Wrap! California offers America the next food craze". Insight on the News. Retrieved 2007-04-25.
  19. ^ "The Rough Guide to San Francisco & the Bay Area". Penguin. 2009. p. 196. {{cite news}}: Cite uses deprecated parameter |authors= (help)
  20. ^ a b c d Gustavo Arellano (16 April 2013). Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4391-4862-4.
  21. ^ Williams, Jack (1999-06-20). "Roberto Robledo, 70; made chain of Roberto's taco shops an institution". San Diego Union-Tribune.
  22. ^ Gustavo Arellano (13 May 2011). "When Did the California Burrito Become the California Burrito?". OC Weekly. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  23. ^ Arellano, Gustavo (2010-06-17). "The California Challenge at Pepe's". OC Weekly. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
  24. ^ Lee, Mike (13 July 2009). "Burritos aren't safe on their plate". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  25. ^ Hiss, Mark. Frommer's San Diego 2011. p. 13.
  26. ^ Journal for the study of food and society. 2 (6). Association for the Study of Food and Society: 23. 1998. {{cite journal}}: |access-date= requires |url= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
    "Don Carlos Taco Shop". San Diego Magazine. San Diego Magazine Publishing Company: 67. 2000. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
    Lonely Planet; Ryan Ver Berkmoes; Alexis Averbuck; Andrew Bender; Alison Bing; Nate Cavalieri; Dominique Channell; Beth Kohn (1 October 2010). Lonely Planet California Trips. Lonely Planet. p. 105. ISBN 978-1-74220-390-4.
    Nile Cappello (22 July 2013). "California Burrito: Get To Know This Local Favorite". Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  27. ^ See for example: Berkmoes, Ryan; Sara Benson (2009). "California Iconic Trips: A Burrito Odyssey". California Trips. Lonely Planet. ISBN 1-74179-727-6.
  28. ^ a b c Ian Pike (3 October 2012). "The California Burrito, Part 1: Potatoes?". San Diego Reader. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  29. ^ Ryan, Richard (Winter 2003). "Is it border cuisine, or merely a case of NAFTA indigestion?". Journal for the Study of Food and Society. 6 (2): 21–30.
  30. ^ Carly Hanson (6 October 2011). "Finding USD's favorite burritos". USD Vista. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  31. ^ "San Diego Travel Guide". Travel Channel. Scripps Networks, LLC. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  32. ^ Chad Deal. "Burrito Barato: Surfin' California at Lucha Libre". San Diego Reader. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  33. ^ Matt Hinton (5 May 2011). "10 great places to bite into a big burrito". USA Today. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  34. ^ Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Citation/CS1/Suggestions' not found.
  35. ^ Carolynn Carreno (November 10, 2004). "The Wrap that Ate L.A." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 17, 2013. "For San Diegans, carne asada burritos are as integral to the experience of the place as a slice of pie is to a New Yorker".
  36. ^ Weisbrod, Justin (2008-03-18). "Burritology 101: What lies beneath the tortilla". The Daily Aztec.
  37. ^ Billing, Karen. "Roberto's restaurant provides beach burrito bliss." Del Mar Times, Aug. 17, 2007. (Partial version retrieved from http://www.robertos.us/articles.php, 15 Jan 2013.)
  38. ^ Jonathan Gold (1 December 2000). Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles. St. Martin's Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-312-27634-8.
  39. ^ a b Jonathan Gold (22 Oct 2009). "What Is a Burrito? A Primer". LA Weekly. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  40. ^ Jonathan Gold (12 May 2009). "Ask Mr. Gold: Battle Burrito – L.A. vs. S.F." LA Weekly. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  41. ^ Jonathan Gold (26 Jan 2006). "Old-School Bean & Cheese". LA Weekly. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  42. ^ "Lupe's #2". Chowhound. 19 Nov 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  43. ^ Peter Schrag (1 December 2007). California: America's High-Stakes Experiment. University of California Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-520-93447-4.
  44. ^ Jeffrey M. Pilcher (18 October 2012). Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food. Oxford University Press. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-19-974006-2.
  45. ^ a b c Javier Cabral (January 12, 2012). "9 Best Burritos in Los Angeles". Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  46. ^ Grace Yek (January 23, 2014). "The Global Table: Red Sesame Food Truck brings flavors of BBQ, Korea & Mexico to the Tri-State". WCPO. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  47. ^ a b Cathy Chaplin (17 December 2013). Food Lovers' Guide To® Los Angeles: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings. Globe Pequot. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-7627-8112-6.
  48. ^ Rebecca Lynne Tan (October 20, 2013). "Mex out on food - Mexican cuisine hits Singapore in a big way, with more eateries". The Sunday Times (Singapore).
  49. ^ Cheek, Lawrence. (Oct, 2001). Rise and shine – breakfast – Recipe. Sunset.
  50. ^ Anderson, Judith (1998-05-24). "What's Doing In; Santa Fe". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
  51. ^ Michman, Ronald D.; Greco, Alan James (1995). Retailing Triumphs and Blunders: Victims of Competition in the New Age of Marketing Management. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 182. ISBN 9780899308692. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  52. ^ Smith, Andrew F. Fast Food and Junk Food. 2012. p.72.
  53. ^ Palmatier, Robert Allen. (2000) Food: a dictionary of literal and nonliteral terms Greenwood Press. p. 372.
  54. ^ Sen, Amit. (2005). Academic Dictionary of Cooking Isha Books. p. 84.
  55. ^ Crosby, Olivia. (Fall, 2002). You're a What? Research Chef. Occupational Outlook Quarterly. Vol. 46, Num. 3.
  56. ^ Clinical Lipidology: A Companion to Braunwald's Heart Disease, Christie M. Ballantyne, ed. 2009. p.228.
  57. ^ The University of Pennsylvania Health System. Breakfast, Dinner or Anytime Burrito. Adapted from the Cancer Nutrition Information, LLC. Archive URL: Mar 25, 2006.

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