How many calories does a regular chicken burrito have?

A chicken burrito can be a tasty and convenient meal, but it’s important to pay attention to the calorie content. The number of calories in a chicken burrito can vary widely depending on the size, ingredients, and how it is prepared. This article will explore the typical calorie range for a regular chicken burrito from various restaurants and provide tips for reducing the calorie count.

Calorie Range for a Regular Chicken Burrito

Most regular chicken burritos from restaurants and fast food chains contain between 500-1,000 calories. Here is the calorie count for some popular chicken burritos:

  • Chipotle chicken burrito (with rice, beans, salsa) – 1,035 calories
  • Qdoba chicken burrito (with rice, beans, salsa) – 780 calories
  • Taco Bell chicken burrito – 500 calories
  • El Pollo Loco chicken avocado burrito – 670 calories
  • Freebirds chicken burrito (with rice, beans, salsa) – 1,070 calories
  • Moe’s chicken burrito (with rice, beans, cheese) – 825 calories

As you can see, even plain chicken burritos from fast food restaurants contain between 500-1,000 calories. Burritos from Mexican-style restaurants like Chipotle and Freebirds are on the higher end, ranging from 1,000-1,100 calories for a regular chicken burrito with typical ingredients like rice, beans, salsa, and cheese.

Factors that Influence the Calorie Count

Several factors account for the wide calorie range in chicken burritos:


The ingredients in a chicken burrito greatly impact the calories. Some of the highest calorie ingredients are:

  • Rice: A 1/2 cup serving of rice adds around 110 calories
  • Beans: Black or pinto beans add around 110 calories per 1/2 cup
  • Cheese: Cheese adds 70-110 calories per ounce
  • Guacamole: A 4oz serving of guacamole adds around 230 calories
  • Sour cream: 2 tablespoons of sour cream adds around 60 calories

Choosing lower calorie ingredients like salsa, lettuce, pico de gallo instead of cheese and sour cream can help reduce the calories.

Tortilla Type

Flour tortillas tend to be higher in calories than corn tortillas. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 6″ flour tortilla – around 150 calories
  • 6″ whole wheat tortilla – around 120 calories
  • 6″ corn tortilla – around 50-60 calories

So choosing corn tortillas rather than large flour tortillas can slash calories. You can also ask for a burrito “bowl” without the tortilla.

Portion Size

Larger burritos mean more of the filling ingredients like rice, beans, meat, cheese. A “regular” burrito may be 300-500 calories, while an XL or XXL burrito could have 900-1,200 calories.

A veggie burrito without rice, beans, or cheese might only have 250-400 calories, while a steak burrito loaded with guacamole, sour cream, and extra cheese could exceed 1,200 calories.

Cooking Method

How the chicken is prepared also impacts calories:

  • Grilled chicken – around 120 calories for 3oz cooked chicken breast
  • Fried or crispy chicken – around 150 calories for 3oz fried chicken breast

Grilled chicken saves around 30 calories per 3oz compared to fried chicken. And batters or heavy marinades add even more calories.

Sauces and Condiments

Heavy sauces and condiments like ranch, special sauce, or creamy chipotle sauce can add 100-150 calories per regular serving size. Going light on condiments or choosing lower cal options like salsa can reduce the calorie count.

Cooking Oils

The oils used for cooking the tortilla and sautéing fillings also contribute calories:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil – 119 calories
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil – 124 calories
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil – 117 calories

Most burritos are cooked with around 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Grilled or broiled burritos use less added fats.

Tips for Reducing Calories in Burritos

If you want to lighten up your burrito, here are some tips to cut calories:

Choose Lean Proteins

Go for grilled chicken or steak rather than crispy chicken or beef with heavy sauce. And limit the portion to about 3oz.

Load Up On Veggies

Add extra veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers to fill you up without adding calories.

Pick Corn Over Flour Tortillas

Corn tortillas have around 100 fewer calories than large flour tortillas.

Limit Rice, Beans, Cheese

These are the highest calorie fillings, so go light on portions or skip entirely.

Choose Leaner Sauces

Get salsa, pico de gallo, or extra vegetables instead of cheese sauce, ranch, sour cream.

Skip the Tortilla Entirely

You can get a burrito “bowl” without the tortilla to slash carbs and calories.

Watch Portion Sizes

Stick to regular or small burritos rather than supersized XXL burritos.

Healthy Homemade Chicken Burrito

To get maximum nutrition and minimum calories from chicken burritos, your best bet is making them at home. Here is a recipe for a healthy homemade chicken burrito:


  • 1 (6-inch) whole wheat tortilla – 120 calories
  • 3 oz grilled chicken breast, chopped – 120 calories
  • 1/4 cup black beans – 110 calories
  • 1/4 cup brown rice – 110 calories
  • 1/4 cup shredded lettuce – 2 calories
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes – 8 calories
  • 2 tablespoons grated low-fat cheddar – 45 calories
  • 1 tablespoon low-fat Greek yogurt – 17 calories
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil – 40 calories
  • Salt, pepper, spices to taste


  1. Cook brown rice and black beans according to package directions.
  2. Lightly coat a skillet with olive oil and cook chicken breast 5-6 minutes per side until cooked through.
  3. Chop or shred the cooked chicken.
  4. Heat the tortilla in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to soften.
  5. Layer the rice, beans, chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese down the center of the tortilla.
  6. Roll the burrito closed and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
  7. Add any additional spices or salsa.


This homemade chicken burrito provides a good balance of protein, fiber, and nutrients at only 572 calories. You get 41g protein, 69g carbs, 10g fiber, and 14g fat.

Compare that to a 1,000 calorie restaurant chicken burrito. Making your burritos at home allows you to control the ingredients and portions for a healthier meal.

Healthy Chicken Burrito Recipe Variations

There are endless ways to modify this recipe to suit your tastes and diet goals:

  • Use corn tortillas to reduce carb and calorie count
  • Add more veggies like peppers, spinach, avocado, onion
  • Swap in lean ground turkey or shrimp for lower fat options
  • Use Greek yogurt or hummus instead of cheese
  • Season with chili powder, cumin, lime juice instead of heavy sauces
  • Cook on a grill or broiler instead of oil

With some simple substitutions and seasoning adjustments, you can make healthy and delicious chicken burritos at home to control nutrition and calories.

Nutritional Benefits of Chicken Burritos

Despite their potential high calorie count, chicken burritos can actually be nutritious when made with wholesome ingredients. Here are some of the nutritional benefits of chicken burritos:


The chicken provides lean protein to help build muscle, repair tissue, and keep you feeling full. A 3oz portion of chicken breast has around 25-30g of protein.


Fillings like beans and brown rice provide fiber, which promotes healthy digestion. A burrito provides around 5-10g of fiber or more.

Vitamins and Minerals

Ingredients like tomatoes, onions, lettuce, avocado provide vitamins A, C, and K. Beans provide iron, magnesium, and potassium. Rice provides B vitamins.

Healthy Carbs

The rice and beans in a burrito provide healthy complex carbs to fuel your body.


Beans contain phytochemicals like saponins and flavonoids that may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Are Burritos Healthy Overall?

Burritos can be a healthy meal when made with nutritious whole food ingredients like vegetables, beans, rice, and lean proteins. The fiber, protein, complex carbs, vitamins and minerals in a veggie or chicken burrito are all beneficial.

However, burritos from restaurants and fast food chains tend to be high in calories, sodium, saturated fat, and processed ingredients. Large portion sizes crammed with cheese, sour cream, heavy sauces and fried meats push the calorie counts into the stratosphere.

As long as you watch your portions and choose healthier fillings, burritos can be a regular part of a balanced diet. But for weight loss, they may need to be an occasional treat. Making burritos at home puts you in control of the nutrition.

Healthier Burrito Options at Restaurants

When dining out, you can make burritos healthier by following these tips:

  • Pick corn over flour tortillas
  • Choose grilled chicken or steak
  • Load up on veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, peppers
  • Ask for brown rice instead of white
  • Get black or pinto beans for extra fiber
  • Choose fresh salsa or pico de gallo over heavy sauces
  • Say no to sour cream and cheese
  • Stick to a regular size burrito
  • Share high-calorie sides like chips and queso

Many restaurants now offer healthy customization options and lighter menu items. Taking advantage of these can let you still enjoy burritos without overdoing calories and sodium.

Should You Avoid Burritos for Weight Loss?

Burritos don’t inherently need to be off-limits when trying to lose weight. As long as it fits into your daily calorie target, you can absolutely still enjoy the occasional burrito.

However, restaurant burritos do tend to be high in calories. A 1,000 calorie burrito could make up your whole day’s worth of food. So for faster weight loss, limiting burrito frequency or portion size is advisable.

Here are some tips for enjoying burritos in moderation on a weight loss diet:

  • Make burritos a once a week treat
  • Split a regular burrito into two meals
  • Opt for a burrito bowl without the tortilla
  • Choose a kid’s size or mini burrito
  • Load your burrito with extra veggies instead of heavy fillings
  • Skip tortilla chips, queso, and sugary drinks as sides

As long as you watch your portions and make smart swaps, you can absolutely incorporate occasional burritos into an overall healthy weight loss diet.

Healthier Alternatives to Burritos

If you are trying to cut back on burritos and limit calories, here are some healthier alternative meals that can satisfy similar cravings:

  • Burrito bowl with chicken, rice, beans, salsa, lettuce, guacamole
  • Chicken or steak fajitas with grilled peppers and onions
  • Chicken quesadilla with reduced fat cheese
  • Chicken tacos on corn tortillas with lots of fresh veggies
  • Chicken chili made with beans, tomatoes, spices
  • Burrito salad with beans, rice, chicken, salsa
  • Chicken tostadas on crispy corn tortillas
  • Southwest chicken wrap with avocado and deli turkey

With a little creativity, you can capture those Tex-Mex flavors in lighter, healthier meals. Focus on lean proteins, veggies, and fresh seasonings instead of tons of cheese, oil and heavy sauces.

The Bottom Line

A regular chicken burrito from a restaurant or fast food chain contains between 500-1,000 calories, depending on size and ingredients. Flour tortillas, rice, beans, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and sauces all pile on calories.

To lighten up burritos, opt for corn tortillas, grilled chicken, extra veggies, and lighter sauces. You can also make healthier burritos at home to control nutrition and portions.

While burritos can be high in calories, they can fit into a healthy diet in moderation when made with wholesome ingredients. Just be mindful of portions and ingredient choices.

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