Easy Way to Make Chimichangas: 5 Ingredient Air Fryer Chimichanga Recipe

4.5 / 5 ( 2 Reviews )
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air fryer chimichangas

Can you air fry chimichangas?

Can you fry chimichangas in the air fryer? Yes! You can! Air fryer chicken chimichangas are so crispy with way less oil! You will love this recipe because the chicken is perfectly tender with bursting flavors from the salsa and cheese. It is a perfect air fryer meal for a busy night!

What is a chimichanga?

Chimichangas are basically deep fried burritos. That is why air frying them is the best because they are way healthier! You need very little oil and you can still enjoy the crispy tortilla and great flavors that deep fried chimichangas are known for!

Air Fryer Chimichanga ingredients

easy five ingredient chimichangas

The ingredients are so simple for this recipe. To make a chimichanga from start to finish in the air fryer, you will need:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons avocado oil cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 16 ounce can refried beans
  • 6 burritos size flour tortillas
  • 1 ⅓ cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Toppings: salsa, sour cream, cheese, pico de gallo, lime, cilantro, etc.

air fryer chimichangas freezer meal

Ingredient substitution ideas

If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, here are some substitutions you can make:

Substitute the chicken thighs with ground beef or your other favorite protein.

Don’t have avocado oil? Instead use olive oil or a different high temp oil, such vegetable oil or sunflower oil. Note: this may change the flavor profile of your chicken. 

Instead of the spices, use a taco seasoning or burrito seasoning kit.

A Mexican cheese blend is usually made of a mixture of Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, Queso Quesadilla cheese, and Asadero cheese.

You can make homemade salsa with tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, and green chilies, among other ingredients. Get the full homemade recipe.

Refried beans can be substituted with pinto beans or black beans.

What dish do I make chimichangas in?

To make this recipe, you will want to use an air fryer safe dish such as 7-inch cake barrel pan. If you don’t have this dish, you can either snag it from my Amazon page at airfryertools.com or you can use any dish that will fit in your air fryer and is oven safe.

You can learn more about air fryer tools from this YouTube video

How do I make chimichangas?

Here are 5 easy steps and tips to preparing chimichangas for the air fryer.

Tip #1: Pat the chicken dry

chicken thigh chimichangas

It is so important that the chicken is dry before you add any oil or seasonings to it. This will help it cook and help the seasonings adhere to the chicken. I like to use paper towels anytime I need to dry my meat.

Tip #2: Oil and season the chicken

seasoned and spicy chicken thighs for chimichangas

Take the 2 teaspoons of avocado oil and rub it into the chicken. Then take your seasoning mixture and liberally sprinkle and rub the seasonings into the chicken. The oil will not only help the chicken cook to juicy perfection, but will also help the seasoning flavors be cooked into the chicken.

Tip #3: Cook the chicken in the air fryer

how to air fry chicken chimichangas

I love to cook chicken in the air fryer. It is especially quick and easy. Because we are making a chimichanga mix, cooking this chicken may be a little different than what you are used to or have done before.

Place the chicken in an air fryer safe dish (such as the 7-inch cake barrel). Then, spoon the salsa on each of the chicken thighs and add remaining salsa to the dish. Next, place the dish in the air fryer basket and cook at 400˚F/204˚C for 12-16 minutes.

Tip #4: Use an instant read meat thermometer

can you cook chimichangas in the air fryer

Because we are cooking the chicken in a dish with salsa, the air doesn’t flow and cook the chicken the same as it would if we were making regular air fryer chicken thighs. This is why it is so important to use an instant read thermometer to know when the chicken is actually done cooking.

Once the chicken thighs registers 175˚F/79˚C, then it is done.

Note: The internal temperature of chicken thighs is higher than regular chicken breasts (chicken breasts are done at 165˚F/74˚C. 

Tip #5: Shred the chicken

I love to use chicken thighs for this recipe because it is such a tender part of the chicken. The thighs shred so nicely and are so juicy and good once you are ready to eat!

Let the chicken cool slightly, then shred or chop it into bite-size pieces with either a fork or bear claws if they aren’t too big for your dish.

Chimichanga mixture

shredded chicken and bean mixture for chimichangas

Before you start air frying the chimichangas, you need to finish the meat portion of the meal. Take the shredded chicken mixture and add it to a bowl with the refried beans. Mix everything together until it is well combined. Once this mixture is ready, you can assemble the chimichangas.

How to fold a chimichanga?

assembled chimichangas for the air fryer

To assemble the chimichangas, lay out a tortilla and spoon about 1 ⅓ cups of the filling onto the center of the tortilla. Next, add about ¼ cup of cheese on top of the filling.

Because a chimichanga is a deep fried burrito, this is the same wrapping style as a burrito.

To wrap or fold the chimichanga, take the ends of the tortilla and fold them to the center. Then, take one side of the tortilla and fold it over the already folded ends. Pull this side a little further than you think to make tight. Then take the last side and fold it into the center.

How long to air fry chimichangas?

how to air fry chimichangas

Place two of the chimichangas, seam side down in a lightly sprayed air fryer basket. Lightly spray the tops of the chimichangas with oil. (I love to use this Mistifi oil sprayer). If your air fryer is bigger or smaller, adjust the amount of chimichangas that you place inside.

Then, cook the chimichangas in the air fryer for 6-10 minutes at 360 degrees Fahrenheit or 182 degrees Celsius, or until it reaches desired crispiness. I love air frying chimichangas because they are still so crispy and delicious and you only need a little oil.

Note: these chimichangas will still be delicious and crispy with no oil! Although, it is possible that you will need to slightly increase the time by one or two minutes. 

What do I serve on top of chimichangas?

air fryer chimichangas toppings

You will enjoy these flavorsome chimichangas with your favorite toppings such as guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, lime, pico de gallo, and more salsa and cheese. Feel free to get creative with your toppings and share with us in the comments below how you love to eat your chimichangas!

how to make chimichangas in the air fryer

Frequently Asked Question- Can I air fry frozen chimichangas?

Whether if you are making chimichangas from freezer aisle, or if you are turning this recipe into a freezer meal to enjoy later, yes, you can air fryer frozen chimichangas.

How to Air Fry Frozen Chimichangas

If your freezer aisle chimichangas have oven directions, follow these easy guides for converting recipes from the oven to the air fryer.

Tip 1: Reduce the heat by 15-25 degrees

If the instructions calls for a 350 degree oven cooking temp, reduce this to 325 degrees or so.

Tip 2: Cut the cooking time in half.

If the instructions ask you to cook a recipe for 12 minutes, cook the recipe for at least 6 minutes in the air fryer. Then, adjust the time as needed until your food is fully cooked through, hot, and crispy to your liking.

How to freeze chimichangas

After folding the chimichangas, wrap them individually in foil. Then, place the wrapped chimichangas in a freeze safe bag and store flat in the freezer. Label and date the bag as they will keep best for about 6 months.

How to cook frozen chimichangas in the air fryer

When you are ready to eat your own homemade chimichanga, here is how I like to cook them from frozen in the air fryer.

  1. Let the chimichanga thaw before unwrapping and cooking as normal in the air fryer OR
  2. Unwrap the chimichanga and poke it a couple of times with a fork. Then, defrost it in the microwave for a minute or two, or until the insides are not as frozen. Place the chimichanga in the air fryer basket and cook as described in the recipe instructions. It is likely that you will need to add a couple of minutes to the cooking time so that the insides are fully unthawed and the tortilla crispy.

How do I know if my chimichanga is no longer frozen?

If you have an instant read food thermometer, then you can insert it into the chimichanga during cooking. If it reads a high temperature then you know it is no longer frozen. Plus, you will be able to tell from poking the thermometer into the burrito how frozen the inside actually is.

air fryer chimichangas

Final Thoughts

Air fryer chimichangas are a fantastic quick dinner that you can prep at the beginning of the week, freeze for later, or enjoy the night of! You will love this recipe because of its tasty flavors and quick cooking process.

Check out more of my favorite Mexican dishes in the air fryer

Air fryer tips and tricks

how to make chimichangas in the air fryer fast

air fryer chimichangas

Air Fryer Chimichangas

Air fryer chimichangas are crispy and packed with fantastic flavors! You will love this recipe for a quick and easy dinner!
4.5 / 5 ( 2 Reviews )
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 26 minutes
Total Time: 46 minutes
Serves: 12
Adjust Servings: 12

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 16 ounce can refried beans
  • 1 ⅓ cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

Toppings

  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • cheese
  • cilantro

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken with the avocado oil and sprinkle both sides evenly with the spice mixture.
  • Place the chicken in an air fryer safe dish. Spoon the salsa on each of the chicken thighs and add remaining salsa to the dish.
  • Place the dish in the air fryer basket and cook at 400˚F/204˚C for 12-16 minutes, or until chicken registers 175˚F/79˚C. Flip halfway through cooking, if desired.
  • Let the chicken cool slightly, then shred or chop into bite-size pieces.
  • Add the chicken and salsa to a large bowl. Mix together with the refried beans.
  • Assemble the chimichangas by laying out a tortilla and spooning about 1 ⅓ cups of the filling on the tortillas. Add about ¼ cup of cheese on top of the filling.
  • Wrap the tortillas into a secure and tight chimichanga
  • Place two of the chimichangas in a lightly sprayed air fryer basket, seam side down. Lightly spray the tops of the chimichangas with oil.
  • Cook the chimichangas in the air fryer for 6-10 minutes at 360°F/182°C, or until it reaches desired crispiness. Repeat with remaining chimichanga filling.
  • Enjoy with toppings of your choice.

Nutrition

Calories: 738kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 78g | Sodium: 666mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g

Ingredients: Beans, Cayenne Pepper, Cheese, Chicken, Salsa, Tortillas
Meal Type: Main Dish, Fall, Spring, Summer, Super Bowl Party, Winter, Egg Free
Categories: Mexican, Air Fryer

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