How many calories are in a restaurant style chicken chimichanga?

A chicken chimichanga is a popular Tex-Mex dish consisting of a flour tortilla wrapped around a filling of shredded chicken, beans, rice, cheese, and other ingredients. The tortilla is then deep-fried to a golden crisp. Chimichangas are common menu items at Mexican restaurants and Tex-Mex chains like Chili’s, Chevy’s, and On The Border. But like many fried, cheese-laden entrees served at restaurants, chicken chimichangas can be high in calories. Knowing the calorie content can help you make informed choices when dining out.

What is a Chicken Chimichanga?

A chimichanga is made by taking a flour tortilla and filling it with shredded chicken, monterey jack cheese, onions, maybe some pinto or black beans, cilantro, and rice. The tortilla is then folded into a rectangular package and deep fried until golden brown and crispy. The chimichanga is sometimes served topped with extra cheese, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, or ranchero sauce. Variations may include chimichangas made with ground beef, pulled pork, veggies, or no meat at all.

Calories in a Chicken Chimichanga at Popular Restaurants

Calorie counts for chicken chimichangas can vary significantly depending on the restaurant. Here are the calories for a standard chicken chimichanga from some popular dining chains:

Chili’s – 1,080 calories

Chili’s chicken chimichanga contains 1,080 calories. It is filled with chicken, cheese, onions, cilantro, and pinto beans then fried. The chimichanga is topped with chili con queso and served with Mexican rice and pinto beans.

Chevy’s – 1,229 calories

The chicken chimichanga at Chevy’s contains 1,229 calories. It consists of chicken, cheddar and Monterey jack cheese, onion, and cilantro in a flour tortilla. It’s fried and served with a side of refried beans and Mexican rice.

On The Border – 1,170 calories

On The Border’s Ultimate Chicken Chimichanga has 1,170 calories. It’s stuffed with chicken, rice, mixed cheese, onions, peppers, and cilantro. The chimichanga is served with sides of lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, cheese sauce, Mexican rice, and refried beans.

El Torito – 1,320 calories

The chicken chimichanga from El Torito contains 1,320 calories. It’s filled with chicken, jack and cheddar cheese, rice, refried beans, and chile verde sauce. The chimichanga is topped with guacamole and sour cream.

Applebee’s – 1,250 calories

Applebee’s chicken chimichanga with queso has 1,250 calories. The chimichanga is stuffed with chicken, peppers, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, Mexican rice, black beans, and mixed cheese. It’s topped with queso and served with lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole.

Factors Affecting Calories in a Chicken Chimichanga

There are several factors that influence the total calorie count in a restaurant chicken chimichanga:


A standard flour tortilla can range from 150-300 calories depending on the size. Bigger tortillas wrap around more filling and absorb more oil when fried.


The types of fillings and amounts used affect calories. Cheese, rice, beans, chicken with skin, sour cream, and sauces add more calories than produce like onions and cilantro.

Cooking Method

Chimichangas are deep fried which significantly increases calories and fat. Occasionally they are grilled or baked.

Portion Size

Larger chimichangas mean more calories. Restaurant portions tend to be big. A chimichanga might weigh 8 oz, 10 oz, or even a full pound.


Many restaurants serve chimichangas with high calorie sides like Mexican rice, beans, cheese sauce, and guacamole which boosts calories.


Extra toppings like queso, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole can add 100-200 calories or more.

How Many Calories Should You Eat Per Day?

The number of calories a person needs per day depends on their age, sex, activity level, and other factors. Here are some guidelines for daily calorie needs:


– Sedentary (little exercise): 1,600 – 2,000 calories
– Moderately Active: 2,000 – 2,200 calories
– Active (daily exercise): 2,400 calories


– Sedentary: 2,000 – 2,600 calories
– Moderately Active: 2,400 – 2,800 calories
– Active: 2,800 – 3,200 calories

So a 1,200+ calorie chimichanga can account for over half the calories an average sedentary woman should eat in an entire day. For men or more active women, it still makes up 35-50% of a day’s calories.

Tips for Lightening Up Your Chimichanga

Here are some tips to reduce the calories if you want to enjoy a chicken chimichanga without going over your daily limit:

– Order a small or lunch portion
– Skip bean and rice fillings
– Ask for veggies instead of meat
– Choose chimichangas baked or grilled instead of fried
– Go easy on toppings like cheese, sour cream, and guacamole
– Ask for salsa instead of high-calorie cheese sauce
– Enjoy half and take the rest home
– Split one chimichanga between two people
– Have a salad instead of fries as your side

Healthy Homemade Chicken Chimichanga Recipe

Making chimichangas at home allows you to control the ingredients and portions. Here is a recipe for a healthier baked chimichanga with just 486 calories:


  • 1 (about 8-inch) flour tortilla
  • 2 ounces shredded rotisserie chicken breast (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 tablespoons salsa
  • 1 tablespoon canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons sliced cooked zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Lay tortilla flat on work surface. Layer half of chicken down center of tortilla. Top with cheese, salsa, beans, zucchini, and cilantro, leaving about a 1-inch border.
  3. Fold sides of tortilla over filling, then roll up tightly into a chimichanga package, tucking in sides as you go. Place seam-side down on prepared pan.
  4. Lightly spray chimichanga with cooking spray. Bake 15 minutes until hot and lightly browned. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition per serving:

  • Calories: 486
  • Fat: 12g
  • Carbs: 63g
  • Protein: 31g

This chimichanga provides a crispy, flavorful Mexican food fix at just under 500 calories. Adjust the fillings to suit your tastes. Try substituting pulled pork, ground turkey, or veggies for the chicken. Top with a dollop of light sour cream or Greek yogurt and enjoy guacamole on the side.

The Bottom Line

A restaurant style chicken chimichanga can contain over 1,000 calories, especially when loaded up with rice, beans, cheese, sauces, and fried. But by choosing lighter recipes, watching portions, and skipping high-calorie sides and toppings, you can still enjoy the crispy chimichanga flavor you crave without going over your daily calorie needs. An average sedentary woman should aim for around 2,000 calories per day. A moderately active man needs about 2,600 calories a day. So a 1,200 calorie chimichanga could account for over half your day’s worth of calories. If you love chimichangas, sharing one or taking home leftovers is a smart strategy. Or opt for a homemade chimichanga baked with lighter ingredients. By being mindful of portion sizes and ingredients, you can still enjoy this Mexican restaurant favorite.

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