Chipotle Mexican Grill is known for serving customizable burritos, bowls, tacos, and salads made with high quality ingredients. However, some of their meat options can be quite spicy for people who don’t tolerate heat well. If you are sensitive to spice, you may be wondering which meats at Chipotle have the mildest flavor profile. The least spicy meats at Chipotle are the chicken, steak, barbacoa, and carnitas. The chicken and steak contain just basic seasoning and no peppers. The barbacoa and carnitas are braised so they have deeper flavor but no spiciness. On the other hand, the spiciest meats that Chipotle offers are the chorizo and sofritas. The chorizo sausage is seasoned with chili peppers while the sofritas contain peppers and spices in the marinade. Read on for more details about the level of spiciness in each type of meat at Chipotle!
The chicken at Chipotle is one of the mildest meat choices on the menu. It contains no spicy peppers or spices. The chicken is simply marinated in a mixture of lime juice, garlic, cumin, and salt before being grilled. The citrus juice helps to tenderize the meat while the garlic, cumin, and salt add lots of savory flavor. But none of these ingredients adds any pungency or heat. The chicken has a pleasant char from being cooked on a flat top grill but no spice at all. It’s a great protein choice if you don’t like zesty flavors.
Like the chicken, the steak at Chipotle is also free of any spicy seasonings. It is marinated in lime juice, garlic, black pepper, and salt. Then the steaks are grilled to give them a nice sear. The garlic and black pepper add some subtle aroma and flavor, but there is no hotness associated with this meat. So if you avoid spiciness, the steak is another very mild option to choose when building your entree. It has a slightly more robust taste than the chicken due to the black pepper, but far less punch than spicy meats like chorizo.
The barbacoa at Chipotle consists of shredded beef that has been braised until very tender. It is seasoned with a blend of cumin, oregano, garlic, and lime juice as it cooks down. Like the chicken and steak, the barbacoa contains no hot peppers or spicy spices. The mixture of garlic, citrus, and savory spices gives the beef a lot of rich flavor but no heat. Barbacoa makes a great choice if you want meat with more flavor intensity than chicken but without any pungency from chiles. The residual braising liquid keeps the shredded meat very moist and juicy.
Chipotle’s carnitas are made from pork that is slowly braised until falling apart tender. The pork is seasoned with bay leaves, garlic, oregano, cumin and other warm spices as it cooks. Like the barbacoa, the carnitas are flavored but not spicy. The long braising breaks down the meat and bastes it in its own juices, giving carnitas a succulent texture and full-bodied taste. If you want meat with lots of flavor but no burning pepper spice, carnitas are a great option. They are richer than chicken but just as mild.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the mild chicken and steak, sofritas are the spiciest meat choice at Chipotle. Sofritas consist of shredded organic tofu that is sautéed with tomato, garlic, chile peppers and spices. Chipotle uses poblano and chipotle chiles to give the tofu a serious kick of heat. The creamy tofu absorbs all the flavors of the sauce and takes on a spicy edge. If you have a high tolerance for spicy foods, the sofritas add a pleasant heat to your bowl, burrito or tacos. But those with sensitivity to spice are better off avoiding this fiery meatless option.
The other very spicy meat at Chipotle is the chorizo sausage. Spanish-style chorizo gets its signature heat from the addition of smoked red chile peppers. Chipotle’s version has a deep red color and contains both ancho and chipotle chili peppers. The combination of these two hot dried chile varieties makes the sausage very pungent and fiery. Meat lovers who don’t mind some sweltering spice will enjoy the chorizo, but it’s way too hot for people who don’t like chile burn. Chorizo has the most residual heat and bite of all the meats at Chipotle.
Ranking the Meats from Least to Most Spicy
To summarize, below is a ranking of Chipotle’s meats from the mildest with no spice to the hottest with the most chili pepper bite:
|Meat Option||Spiciness Level|
Chicken, steak, barbacoa and carnitas have no spicy heat at Chipotle. They are flavored with herbs, garlic, citrus and warm spices like cumin but contain no peppers. Sofritas have a medium spice level from the chipotle and poblano chiles in the sauce. Chorizo is by far the spiciest due to the smoked red chili peppers used to make the sausage. Those who prefer no spicy kick are best sticking with the chicken, steak, barbacoa or carnitas. More adventurous eaters can sample the sofritas or chorizo to add some heat. No matter your preference for spice, you can find a protein to customize your perfect Chipotle meal.