Chalupa and Chimichanga – Can You Tell Them Apart?

It is difficult to ignore the convenience and tastiness of Mexican food. So, visiting a Mexican restaurant should be added to your bucket list right away if you love delicious cuisine!

However, some items on the Mexican food menu may not be familiar to you, which could lead to an awkward situation. Even if you have tried some before, chances are you still have difficulty differentiating between Mexican dishes, such as chalupa and chimichanga.

This article will provide you with a brief rundown of these two recipes and how to tell them apart.

What Are Chalupas and Chimichangas

Mexico is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. In terms of entertainment, history, and pleasure, the country has a lot to offer. On the other hand, its cuisine is also a worth-noting aspect, especially when referring to chapulas and chimichangas.


Chalupas are a delicious Mexican antojito (snack) made from fried masa (cornbread). The term chalupa is derived from the Spanish word for shallop (or tiny sailboat) and refers to the concave form of the masa cake.

In addition, chalupas come in various shapes and sizes, including torpedos and small bowls — which can be thick (like sopes) or thin (like tostadas).

Shredded chicken or pig, chorizo, ground beef, refried beans, and eggs are all popular chalupa fillings. This fried snack is commonly garnished with shredded lettuce, cheese, chopped raw onion, and salsa, but you may also add tomatoes, sour cream, and cheddar cheese.


A chimichanga is a Mexican snack made with a flour tortilla tightly wrapped around a mixture of different ingredients, usually high-protein meats, beans, and cheese. Then, it’s deep-fried before being topped with salsa or sour cream.

This deep-fried version of a classic burrito is a Tex-Mex staple that can be found in Mexican restaurants all over the world. Mexican rice, refried beans, chips, and salsa are all common accompaniments to chimichangas.

Chapulas vs Chimichangas: The Differences

Cooking Method

While burritos may be wrapped in a flour tortilla and eaten right away, chalupas and chimichangas require a second step: deep-frying. They have a crispy, golden brown, and flaky texture because of the extra frying process.


Chalupas are filled with various ingredients, including beans, rice, veggies, and breakfast classics like eggs and bacon. Chimichangas are made up of a few components, the most common being pork, beans, and cheese. Like lettuce or tomatoes, raw vegetable fillings are typically avoided in chimichangas since the deep-frying procedure can make them mushy or wilted.


On the outside of the tortilla, chalupas are usually topped with fresh toppings like queso fresco, shredded lettuce, cilantro, and lime after they’ve come out of the oil. In addition, chimichangas can be topped with a combination of sauce, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, lettuce, and pico de gallo.

Eating Method

Many people like to eat chimichangas with a fork and knife since they are crispy and frequently covered with sauces. On the other hand, Chalupas are served with their shells removed so that you may eat them with your hands.

How to Make Chalupas and Chimichangas


1. Thoroughly combine flour, baking powder, salt, and butter in a mixing bowl. Now, add the milk, combine everything, and knead into a dough. Cover it with plastic wrap and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Divide the dough into 15 equal balls. Roll out one dough ball into a 5-inch circle. Prick the rolled dough with a fork a few times.

3. In a medium-sized pan, heat the oil. Slide the dough into the heated oil with care. It should float and puff up right away. Allow the dough to cook for 30 seconds on the first side.

4. Flip the dough over with tongs and fold it in half carefully (like a taco shell).

5. Hold the dough in that form for 30 seconds while it cooks. To ensure that the shell cooks evenly, roll it over. After around 2 minutes of frying, it should be done.

6. Remove the shell and place it on a paper towel to drain. It should keep its shape, even after being fried. Rep with the remaining shells.

7. To serve, spread black refried beans on a chalupa shell, then top with cotija cheese, chicken, lettuce, pico de gallo, and shredded cheese. Get your hands dirty. I’m not going to tell you how much to put in your taco since everyone’s taco is different. You already know what you enjoy, so follow your instincts.


1. In a frying pan, cook the chicken breasts until cooked and no longer pink. Before cutting, let it rest for a few minutes.

2. In a large mixing basin, combine the refried beans, chicken, cheese, salsa, seasonings, and green onions.

3. In the center of each tortilla, spread about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture.

4. Roll it up like a burrito by folding opposing edges over the filling.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F for cooked chimichangas. Brush the chimichangas liberally with oil and bake until golden and crispy, approximately 25 minutes.

6. Heat a skillet over medium heat for pan-fried chimichangas. When the pan is heated, add the oil and the chimichangas, seam side down. Turn every 2-30 seconds until all sides are gently browned.

7. Serve warm with a serving of Authentic Mexican Rice topped with salsa and sour cream.


Are chimichangas considered traditional Mexican cuisine?

A chimichanga is a big burrito made with meat, veggies, and seasonings from Mexico and the United States. Because southern Arizona was originally a part of the Mexican state of Sonora, this cuisine is known as Arizona’s “soul food.”

What makes a chimichanga different from an enchilada?

Enchiladas are made with maize tortillas wrapped around meat and served with a generous amount of sauce.

Chimichangas are deep-fried burritos that are frequently served in a manner that resembles enchiladas rather than burritos.

What is chalupa bread made of?

Salsa, cheese, and shredded lettuce are the only toppings on traditional chalupas, which are tiny, thick, boat-shaped fried shells. It’s prepared with flour dough. It’s a thicker shell that’s crunchy on the exterior yet soft on the inside, similar to Indian fried bread, and is served with a variety of toppings.

What is the definition of a naked chalupa?

Instead of a soft or crunchy taco shell, naked chicken chalupas are taco fixings in a “shell” of chicken that is made crispy by frying it in Mexican seasonings. Its fillings include lettuce, cheddar cheese, and tomato, with a chilled avocado ranch dressing on top.

How about burritos and tacos — are they as popular?

Yes, those are all popular dishes that many people love, and you can try them as well.


Mexicans put their unique twist on whatever they eat. However, when it comes to their favorites, they stick to their original recipes, which keep consumers coming back for more. It’s no surprise that Mexican cuisine is so famous across the world.

Now that you know the differences between chalupas and chimichangas and how to make them,  enjoy these delicious dishes!

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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Larisa Blinova.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

Tamara Pierce

Tamara Pierce is a food writer at Elapasony, passionate about exploring diverse cuisines and sharing recipes and food experiences. From trendy restaurants to local hotspots, she's always on the lookout for new and exciting flavors.

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