Shredded Beef Chimichangas
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This chimichangas recipe features shredded tri-tip, creamy refried beans, and melty cheddar cheese nestled inside a crispy, crunchy fried tortilla. Serve these mouthwatering masterpieces on a bed of fresh lettuce with a selection of scrumptious sauces for a truly epic meal.
Today’s chimichangas recipe is insanely delicious and a surefire crowd-pleaser. Plus, it’s much easier to make than you might imagine. We’ll be using my recipe for Tex Mex tri-tip I shared the other day. It’s cooked in the pressure cooker, making it fall-off-the-fork tender — plus, shredding is a breeze!
The trickiest part of the process is getting your chimichangas to stay together when frying, but don’t be intimidated. It’s simple once you get the hang of it and we’ve included some helpful tips as well as a video later in the post.
For more easy and flavorful Tex-Mex recipes, check out my Crispy Chicken Quesadillas, Grilled Steak Fajitas, and Baked Jalapeno Poppers.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Beef – Rich, buttery tri-tip shreds beautifully and is my top choice. You can choose another cut if needed such as prime rib roast, chuck roast, or flank steak.
- Spices – Garlic adds a fresh peppery kick while cumin adds a dash of smoky warmth.
- Red Salsa – Check out my DIY version for a zesty, fire-roasted version. Otherwise, I recommend Mateo’s gourmet salsa, but any 32-ounce gourmet variety will work.
- Onion – Adds a dose of pungent, spicy-sweet flavor to the meat.
- Refried Beans – Bring an earthy, slightly sweet flavor and a creamy texture.
- Cheese – Creates a richness and binds the filling together. Go with shredded cheddar or a Mexican cheese blend.
- Tortillas – Opt for large, burrito-style flour tortillas for the best results.
- Oil – Essential for crispy, golden brown chimis. Choose a high-quality vegetable oil with a decent smoke point.
- Lettuce – A bed of fresh lettuce adds freshness and lightens up the meal a bit.
- Toppings – Ranchero Sauce, fire-roasted salsa, and avocado crema top off the dish with an added blast of flavor and spice.
HOW TO MAKE SHREDDED BEEF CHIMICHANGAS
1. Season the Meat. Combine and thoroughly mix the cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Then, completely coat the tri-tip with the spice blend.
2. Sear the Beef. (Optional step) Heat a skillet with a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat to quickly sear the meat and seal in the juices.
3. Prepare the Pressure Cooker. Place the trivet in the bottom of your Instant Pot. Add the sliced onions and tri-tip, then pour the red salsa over the top.
4. Pressure Cook. Cover and seal the Instant Pot. Set it to pressure cook for about 20 minutes per pound. For this recipe, that ends up being about 40 minutes in all. Once the timer goes off, allow for about 10 minutes of natural release.
5. Shred and Puree. Release the rest of the pressure and carefully remove the meat and shred it. If you find it’s not so easy to shred, pop it back in the IP for another 10-15 minutes (depending, all cuts of meat may differ). Puree the remaining salsa and meat juices together.
6. Assemble the Tortillas. On the lower third of each tortilla, evenly divide and portion out refried beans, cheese, and shredded beef. Take the end that is closest to you and fold it up and over the filling. Fold the sides over the center, roll up, and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
7. Get Ready to Fry. In a deep skillet, heat oil to 350 degrees F. Working in batches, fry each chimichanga for several minutes on each side, or until perfectly golden brown and crispy.
8. Transfer to Plate. Upon completion, move each chimichanga to a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Remove the toothpicks.
9. Serve. Enjoy your chimichangas as is or serve them up on a bed of iceberg lettuce topped with your choice of delicious sauces.
What is the Difference Between a Burrito and a Chimichanga?
Burritos and chimichangas are both stuffed tortillas filled with a variety of meat, cheeses, rice, and beans. The main difference is that chimichangas are fried and usually served on a plate. Burritos, on the other hand, are simply rolled up and eaten with your hands.
What Other Types of Chimichangas are There?
- Switch the shredded beef for carnitas or shredded chicken.
- Try ground meat like beef, chicken, turkey, or sausage.
- Make a vegetarian chimichangas recipe with rice, beans, and all your favorite vegetables.
- Try a steak and cheese chimichanga.
- Mix it up with teriyaki beef, jerk pork, or curried chicken.
- Make dessert chimichangas with cheesecake, chocolate, or any sweet fillings.
How Do You Keep Chimichangas Together When Frying?
Keeping your chimichanga together when frying is easy if you keep a few simple tips in mind:
- Make sure not to overstuff the tortillas.
- To wrap, fill the bottom third of the tortilla. Pull the closest edge to you up and over the filling. Then, fold in the sides and gently but firmly roll it the rest of the way up.
- Secure seams with toothpicks or, if desired, you can also make a paste of flour. The paste will act like a glue when lightly brushed around the edges and seams.
- Be sure to place the seam side down first to help with sealing.
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Shredded Beef Chimichangas
- 2 lbs tri tip
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 32 oz red salsa (See Note 1)
- 1 onion sliced
- 2 cups refried beans
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 6 large burrito-style flour tortillas
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 cups iceberg lettuce optional
- Red Salsa
- Ranchero Sauce
- Chopped tomatoes
- Mix together the salt, pepper, garlic powder and ground cumin. Season tri-tip all over with blend. Optionally, you can sear the meat in a skillet over medium high heat with a tablespoon of vegetable oil if you prefer to seal in the juices.
- Add the trivet to the Instant Pot pot and lay the sliced onions on top. Transfer the seasoned tri-tip on top of the onions and pour the salsa over.
- Cover and seal the Instant Pot. Hit Manual or Pressure cook and set the cooking time to 20 minutes per pound. This would be 40 minutes total. Let the pressure release naturally (about 10 minutes).
- Release seal and remove beef. If you find it's not so easy to shred, pop it back in the IP for another 10-15 minutes (depending, all cuts of meat may differ). Puree cooking liquid/salsa and shred meat.
- Divide refried beans, shredded beef and cheese on lower third of each tortilla. Fold end closest to you up and over filling. Fold each side over center and roll up. Secure with toothpick and roll remaining.
- Heat oil to 350°F in a deep skillet and fry the chimichangas in batches for several minutes each side until golden brown and crispy. Remove to paper towel lined plate and repeat. Remove toothpicks.
- Serve with on bed of thinly sliced iceberg lettuce (optional), the pureed cooking liquid/salsa, red salsa of choice or Ranchero Sauce. Top with optional crema and chopped tomatoes.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.