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In this article, learn how to reheat a burrito multiple ways to ensure optimal results.
Who doesn’t love a burrito, right? It doesn’t matter what kind it is. I love them all.
Burritos are one of those foods that can be good reheated or just plain nasty. It all depends on the ingredients in your burrito and how you choose to reheat it.
You have several options when choosing to reheat a burrito. You can deconstruct it before reheating or reheat it as is. Burritos can be reheated in the oven, skillet or microwave with varying results, depending on the ingredients your burrito contains and which reheating method you choose.
Today, let’s take a look at burritos and how to reheat them to get optimal results.
First, let’s make sure we are on the same page as to what a burrito is as the way we reheat will in part depend on the ingredients.
What is a burrito?
Here in the U.S., a burrito is a popular Tex-Mex dish that’s also popular in northern Mexico.
The origin of the burrito is a hotly debated topic but it appears most likely to have originated in a central Mexican state named Guanajuato.
In the United States, burritos are eaten for dinner, lunch, snacks, and even breakfast.
A burrito is made by wrapping a flour tortilla into a sealed cylindrical shape around a variety of ingredients.
Burritos that are steamed or grilled are usually hand-held when eaten.
But sometimes a burrito can be served “wet”, meaning it is served on a plate and smothered with a savory sauce.
Yummy! Smothered burritos anyone?
The ingredients can vary widely based on an individual’s food preferences but generally, they can contain a combination of the following ingredients:
- Protein (beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, beans, bacon, sausage)
- Vegetables (guacamole, salsa, tomatoes, lettuce)
- Grain (rice, corn)
- Dairy (cheese, sour cream)
- Savory and spicy sauce if served wet or smothered
In the United States, burritos are popular make at home meals but are equally popular at restaurants.
Burritos one of the more economical menu items available from such popular restaurants such as Taco Bell, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Chipotle’s.
Before we explore the various ways of reheating burritos, we need to make sure we are all on the same page because not all burritos are created equal.
What are the different types of burritos?
In the United States, there are many variations of burritos.
For many of us Americans, a burrito can consist of meat, cheese, beans, rice, guacamole, cilantro, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream as well as peppers and onions.
However, there are many other variations of burritos. Some of these are:
- Mission Burrito (large, steamed tortilla wrapped in foil and eaten with your hands)
- California Burrito (usually marinated beef or chicken with crispy french fries and lots of cheese)
- Traditional Mexican (small, hand-held with beef and refried beans)
- Breakfast Burrito (eggs and meat like sausage, bacon, chorizo, cheese)
- Smothered/Wet Burrito (stuffed with traditional ingredients but topped with red, green, or brown sauce)
- Kogi Burrito (tortilla filled with fish and Asian ingredients)
- Chimichanga (may contain many traditional ingredients but is deep-fried)
As you can see, the ingredients of your burrito can vary widely. This can also seriously impact your success when reheating.
First, let’s deal with the ingredients that are usually served cold.
How to reheat a burrito with sour cream, guacamole, and other cold ingredients
By cold ingredients, I am talking about items such as sour cream, tomatoes, guacamole, lettuce, and cilantro.
If your leftover burrito contains these ingredients, you have two choices:
Step One: Deconstruct your burrito and remove the cold fillings. Carefully unwrap your burrito and remove any ingredients you do not want to be heated.
Step Two: Then reheat the other ingredients to a proper internal temperature of 165° F (74° C), add back the cold ones, refold your burrito, and enjoy.
Step One: Your second option is to reheat everything together to a proper internal temperature of 165° F (74° C) and “deal with it.”
You may have soggy lettuce but it will still be safe to eat.
Once you’ve decided how to deal with the cold ingredients, you can choose which method to reheat your burrito.
Let’s look at the fastest, most popular method of reheating leftovers, the microwave.
How to reheat a burrito in the microwave
I’m sure you know not everything reheats well in the microwave and burritos are not an exception.
You will probably not get optimal results reheating your burrito in the microwave but if you’re like me and HATE spending a lot of time reheating your food then you will likely settle for less than optimal results.
- Damp paper towel
- Microwave-safe plate
- Instant read food thermometer
Step by Step Instructions:
Step One: Remove the burrito from any foil or paper wrappings.
Step Two: Carefully unwrap your burrito and remove cold toppings, if applicable.
Step Three: Place the burrito on a microwave-safe plate. Carefully, refold your burrito.
Step Four: Cover with a slightly damp paper towel.
Step Five: Cook on high for 45 seconds – 1 minute.
Step Six: Flip the burrito over and replace damp paper towel.
Step Seven: Cook for another 45 seconds – 1 minute.
Step Eight: Temp your burrito in the center. If it reads 165° F (74° C), you’re done. If not continue heating and flipping your burrito in 30-45 second increments unit it reaches the proper internal temperature.
I know this sounds like a lot of work. I get it. It can be a pain.
That’s why I avoid reheating burritos whenever humanly possible. 😉
If you don’t have a microwave, you can also reheat your burrito in the oven/toaster oven.
How to reheat a burrito in the oven
- Aluminum Foil (I love these versatile foil sheets)
- Oven Mitts
- Baking Sheet
- Oven-Safe MeatThermometer
How I reheat a burrito in the oven:
Step One: Preheat oven to 225°F -275°.
Step Two: Loosely wrap in aluminum foil.
Step Three: Place wrapped burrito onto your baking sheet.
Step Four: Set an internal oven thermometer to 165° F (74° C) and insert the probe into the center of your burrito.
Step Five: Using your oven mitts, carefully remove from oven when internal temp reaches 165° F (74° C).
How to reheat a burrito in the toaster oven
This is probably my second favorite way to reheat a burrito. It isn’t quite as fast as the microwave but is it faster than the oven!
Ready for this?
- Toaster Oven (This is mine. Worth every single penny)
- Aluminum Foil or Aluminum Foil Sheets
- Pot Holders
- Baking Sheet
- Oven Safe Meat Thermometer
Step By Step Instructions:
Step One: Preheat toaster oven to 350°F
Step Two: Unwrap and remove any cold items (if you want to). Refold your burrito and wrap it in foil.
Step Three: Insert oven thermometer into center of burrito and set to 165° F (74° C).
Step Four: Bake until the internal temperature reached 165° F (74° C).
Yep, it is the same as the oven. The only difference is that it takes the toaster oven less time to preheat than the oven. 🙂
How to reheat a burrito on the grill
Did you know you can reheat a burrito on the grill?
Is it my go-to method? Not in a million years!! But I can actually see an occasion where this might be beneficial.
Let’s say you premake a bunch of burritos for a party and can’t reheat them in the oven because you have other goodies cooking, so you use your grill to reheat them.
If this is the case, I would definitely experiment with a few before your party to ensure everything turns out perfectly on party night. Here’s what I would do.
- Tongs (these are my two sets: stainless steel and silicone tipped)
- Spatula/Turner for Grill (we also use these to cook hibachi)
- Baking Sheet (or pan to hold burritos)
- Vegetable Oil (or another oil to grease the grill grates)
- Instant Read Food Thermometer
Step By Step Instructions:
Step One: Light one half of your grill. You know the old direct heat, indirect heat thing.
Step Two: Grease the unheated side of the grill with an oil-soaked paper towel (just fold the paper towel and with the thongs, dip it into the oil and rub the grill grates).
Step Three: Using your spatula, place your burritos on the unlit half of the grill (indirect heating).
Step Four: After about 15 minutes, flip your burritos.
Step Five: Continue grilling until the internal temperature reaches 165° F (74° C).
Step Six: Turn your grill off.
Step Seven: Carefully remove the burritos and enjoy them!
Note: If you want your burritos steamed, you can wrap them tightly in aluminum foil sheets before placing them on the grill.
How to reheat a burrito using the skillet
So, lastly, let’s talk about how to reheat a burrito in the skillet.
There are times when reheating a burrito in a skillet will produce satisfactory results and times it will not.
First off, if you have cold items that you don’t want to be reheated like lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, and sour cream, this should not be your go-to method.
While you can unfold and remove those items from your burrito before you begin the reheating process, it will be impossible to unfold your burrito after it has been grilled on the skillet.
Reheating your burrito in the skillet causes the tortilla to become crispy making it nearly impossible to unfold to replace the cold ingredients without the tortilla cracking.
This reheating method will produce similar results to Taco Bell’s grilled stuffed burritos.
If you’ve decided you want to try to reheat your burrito in the skillet, here’s the equipment you need and how to do it.
- Skillet or Frying Pan with Lid
- Aluminum foil (if your skillet has no lid)
- Spatula ( I use these: steel or silicone)
- Non-Stick Spray or Vegetable Oil
- Instant Read Thermometer
Step By Step Instructions:
Step One: Grab your favorite skillet.
Step Two: Add just enough oil or nonstick spray to your pan to keep your burrito from sticking.
Step Three: Turn your range on medium-low or low heat (more explanation below).
Step Four: Place your burrito in the skillet and cover with aluminum foil or a lid.
Step Five: Flip every 2 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165° F (74° C). This will probably be no more than 5 minutes.
Step Six: Using your spatula, remove the burrito from the pan onto the plate. Then, turn the range off!
Let’s talk about your range setting. I know you probably want me to tell you exactly what setting to reheat on, but I can’t.
Each range is different and each burrito is different in size and ingredients so here’s what to keep in mind:
You want to allow the fillings on the inside of your burrito to heat up before your tortilla is burnt to a crisp on the outside so low and slow is better.
Think maybe 3 or 4 on an electric range for an average-sized burrito. Anything above that and you run the risk of burning your tortilla before heating the goodies inside.
If you have a very large burrito with lots of meats and beans, it will take longer to reheat than a smaller burrito with fewer fillings. You will need to experiment.
Let’s say you cook grilled cheese and you know a medium setting of 5 or 6 on your electric range will burn your bread before the cheese is melted then you most definitely want a lower setting to reheat your burrito. It doesn’t take much to burn the tortillas.
Use your experience as a guide. And if you’re totally inexperienced, don’t worry. Just go low and slow in the beginning until you get the hang of it. Don’t forget, in addition to a low setting on your range, flip the burritos often to prevent burning!
Related informational guides:
As you can see, reheating a burrito can be a pain unless you simply pop it into the microwave and don’t expect optimal results.
If you are planning on reheating a lot of burritos or you reheat food on a regular basis, I highly recommend you invest in two different food thermometers: an instant-read food thermometer and an oven-safe meat thermometer.
You will need one or the other depending on the reheating method you choose. When reheating foods, it is extremely important that you ensure your foods are reheated to 165°F (74°C) per the USDA. Can you tell food safety is important to me? 🙂
So which way do I recommend you reheat burritos? I don’t.
I hate to take the time to properly reheat burritos and when I do, it’s always in the microwave.
Call it sheer exhaustion, impatience or sheer laziness. It doesn’t matter.
I can put together a fresh burrito and microwave it quicker than I can deconstruct and properly reheat one, so why bother?
I can deal with a little soggy lettuce but I try to avoid the need of reheating a burrito in the first place.
Here’s what we do at my house when I serve burritos:
My kids know if you take it, you eat it or it becomes breakfast or a snack the next day.
I encourage my kids to take smaller helpings and to go back for seconds or thirds if they are still hungry rather than overfilling their plates and not being able to finish.
When storing leftover burrito ingredients, I always store them in separate containers. I use these BPA free food storage containers (I have multiple sets of various sizes) to store leftovers. They stack easily in the fridge and because they are plastic, I don’t worry about the kids handling them. Oh, and they work well in the freezer.
Then, when someone wants a burrito, we pull the containers out of the fridge, make a fresh one, and heat it up. Easy Peazy.
Now, we handle things a little differently when we eat at a restaurant. These tips apply to any restaurant.
Because eating out is expensive, my kids know we expect them to eat everything they order, either at the restaurant or as leftovers the next day.
Here’s what we tell our kids:
- If the meal you order will not reheat well, lay off the chips and salsa (or bread) until you have finished your meal.
- If there are parts of your meal that won’t reheat well and others that do, eat the part of your meal that doesn’t reheat first. Take the rest home.
By following these simple rules, both at home and at restaurants, we often avoid the hassle of needing to reheat burritos.
Have you had success reheating burritos? What is your preferred method?
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Until next time…