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What’s in a big burrito?

Burritos are a popular Mexican-inspired food that have become a staple in many cuisines around the world. A burrito typically consists of a flour tortilla wrapped around a filling of meat, beans, cheese, and other ingredients. But when you order a “big” or “grande” burrito at a restaurant, just what are you getting? Let’s take a closer look at what goes into one of these hefty wrapped delicacies.


The foundation of any burrito is the tortilla. Tortillas used for burritos are usually made from wheat flour and are large in diameter, ranging from 8 to 12 inches across. A bigger tortilla is needed to wrap around all the fillings in a big burrito. The tortilla is essential for holding everything together and providing the outer layer of the burrito.

Flour tortillas have a soft, pliable texture when warmed, making them easy to fold around a burrito filling. Corn tortillas can also be used but may need to be doubled up to prevent tearing with a large burrito. Homemade tortillas have a fresher taste but store-bought tortillas work fine too, as long as they are the extra-large size.


No burrito would be complete without a tasty meat filling. Some of the most popular meats used in burritos include:

  • Steak – Usually grilled skirt or flank steak, cut into small pieces or strips.
  • Chicken – Shredded, grilled or in chunks.
  • Carnitas – Slow-cooked pulled pork with a crispy texture.
  • Chorizo – Spicy Mexican sausage.
  • Barbacoa – Shredded beef brisket.
  • Lengua – Tender beef tongue.

For a big burrito, generosity is key when it comes to the meat. Expect a hearty portion of meat that is 10 ounces or more when ordering a grande-sized burrito. Lean meats like chicken and steak are popular choices, but fattier meats like pork and brisket can provide even more big burrito flavor.


Beans make a standard accompaniment in most burritos. They add protein, fiber and vitamins. The small size yet dense nutritional profile of beans allows them to pack a punch without weighing down the tortilla. Some typical beans used in burritos are:

  • Pinto beans – The pinkish-brown beans commonly used in Mexican cuisine.
  • Black beans – Small, black beans that hold their shape well when cooked.
  • Refried beans – Pinto beans that are mashed and fried until creamy.
  • Whole beans – Pinto, black or garbanzo beans used whole.

Bean fillings help make a burrito hearty and satisfying. In a big burrito, you’ll get around 1/2 to 1 cup of beans to balance out all the other ingredients.


Like beans, rice is an excellent filler in burritos that provides soluble fiber and carbohydrates. Spanish rice, made with tomatoes, garlic and spices, is a popular choice. Cilantro-lime rice also pairs exceptionally well. The rice soaks up flavors from the other burrito fillings and prevents the tortilla from getting soggy.

A generous 3/4 to 1 cup portion of rice is typical for a grande burrito. Long grain white rice or brown rice work well since they are fluffy and filling.


A sprinkle of cheese adds a creamy, gooey element to burritos. Typical cheeses include:

  • Monterey Jack – Mild and creamy.
  • Cheddar – Sharp, salty flavor.
  • Queso Fresco – Fresh, soft Mexican cheese.
  • Asadero – Smooth Mexican cheese that melts well.
  • Pepper Jack – Spicy and flavorful.

Cheeses like cheddar, Jack and asadero melt nicely to bind the burrito ingredients together. Alternatively, crumbled queso fresco adds a cool freshness. About 1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded cheese is standard for a big burrito.


What would a burrito be without some zesty salsa? Popular salsas found in burritos include:

  • Pico de gallo – Fresh chopped tomato salsa.
  • Tomatillo salsa – Tangy green salsa made from tomatillos.
  • Roasted chili salsa – Smoky red salsa made from roasted peppers and chilies.
  • Mango salsa – Sweet, fruity salsa with mango.

Salsa adds moisture as well as bright flavor to balance the other hearty ingredients. A couple tablespoons of your favorite salsa makes a nice accompaniment in a grande burrito.


In addition to the core ingredients, many other extras can be added to customize your big burrito:

  • Lettuce – Shredded lettuce provides crispness.
  • Tomatoes – Diced tomatoes add freshness.
  • Onions – Minced raw or grilled onions give flavor.
  • Cilantro – Fresh, herbaceous cilantro leaves.
  • Jalapeños – Sliced or diced spicy peppers.
  • Guacamole – Creamy avocado dip.
  • Sour cream – Cool, tangy finish.
  • Hot sauce – Bottled hot sauce for spiciness.

These toppings add tons of flavor, texture and visual appeal. Just go easy on wet ingredients like guacamole, salsa and hot sauce which can make the tortilla soggy if you overdo it. A few tablespoons of your favorite extras are all you need in a big burrito.

Typical Big Burrito Composition

Putting this all together, a typical big burrito contains:

  • 1 extra-large (10-12 inch) flour tortilla
  • 10-12 ounces meat
  • 1/2 – 1 cup beans
  • 3/4 – 1 cup rice
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons salsa
  • Assorted extras like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro etc.

When wrapped up, this fills an overstuffed, stuffed grande-sized tortilla weighing about 1-1.5 pounds. The exact proportions can be adjusted based on your preferences, but this gives you a general idea of how much stuff gets packed into one of these hearty burritos.

Nutrition Information

A big burrito is truly a meal in itself. Here is the typical nutrition information for a large burrito:

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 1200-1500 60-75%
Fat 40-60g 50-75%
Saturated Fat 15-25g 75-125%
Carbohydrates 150-200g 50-65%
Protein 50-70g 100-140%
Sodium 1500-2000mg 60-80%

As you can see, a grande burrito provides a substantial amount of calories, fat, carbs and protein. They can make a rewarding standalone meal but are high in sodium, saturated fat and calories if eating the whole thing in one sitting. Consider splitting a big burrito with a friend if your goal is just a snack or side dish rather than an entire meal.

Big Burrito Preparation

Preparing an epic big burrito requires some strategic layering and folding. Here are some tips for stuffing and rolling a successful grande burrito:

  • Warm the tortilla – A pliable tortilla is key and prevents cracking.
  • Layer heavier items first – Start with rice, meat and beans as the base.
  • Don’t overstuff – Allow room to wrap and fold the tortilla.
  • Distribute ingredients evenly – Spread fillings out before rolling.
  • Fold in sides – Fold left and right sides in before rolling.
  • Roll tightly – Apply gentle pressure as you roll to secure burrito.
  • Consider sauce on top – Spoon extra salsa or hot sauce on top to avoid a soggy tortilla.

It takes some practice to master the art of rolling up a fully loaded grande burrito. Don’t be afraid to unwrap and try again if needed – a tightly packed burrito is crucial for an optimal eating experience.

Eating Methods

When you’ve created a stacked big burrito, the right eating method can prevent it from falling apart. Here are some burrito eating techniques to try:

  • As is – Unwrap partially and eat like a regular burrito.
  • Fork and knife – Cut open burrito and eat in slices with a fork and knife.
  • Burrito bowl – Scrape out burrito fillings into a bowl to eat.
  • Handheld – Unroll burrito and eat the fillings with your hands.

The as-is method works great if you’ve tightly wrapped the burrito. For a messy burrito, turning it into a burrito bowl lets you control the ingredients. And you can always just go primitive and eat the fillings with your hands! Do whatever works best for you and the specific burrito.

Where to Get Great Big Burritos

If you don’t want the hassle of making your own colossal burrito, there are lots of restaurants that specialize in grande-sized versions:

  • Chipotle – Build your own massive burritos and bowls.
  • Freebirds – Texas-based chain with monster customizable burritos.
  • Illegal Pete’s – Unique burritos in funky restaurants.
  • Barbacoa – San Francisco classic for giant Mission-style burritos.
  • Los Angeles taco trucks – LA is famous for its loaded burrito trucks.

You can also find plenty of local restaurants that offer their own jumbo-sized burrito creations. Just look for “super,” “grande” or “big” in the menu description to find the mega burritos.

Big Burrito Variations

While the traditional burrito formula reigns supreme, some exciting variations reimagine the classic big burrito:

  • Breakfast burrito – Eggs, breakfast meats, potatoes, cheese and more.
  • California burrito – Steak, fries, guacamole, pico de gallo and cheese.
  • Carne asada fries burrito – Carne asada, french fries, guacamole, salsa and cheese.
  • Greek burrito – Chicken, feta, hummus, Greek yogurt, tomatoes, spinach.
  • Pizza burrito – Pizza toppings wrapped in a cheese-stuffed tortilla.

From breakfast to dessert and everything in between, don’t be afraid to get creative with unique fillings and fusion flavors in your big burritos.

Make Your Own Big Burrito

With some planning and prep, you can make big restaurant-worthy burritos at home. Stock up on extra-large tortillas, hearty proteins, fresh produce, beans, rice, cheese and other favorite fillings. Assembly is easy and customizable to your tastes. Portion and wrap them individually for grab-and-go breakfasts, lunches or dinners all week.

When the burrito craving strikes, a homemade big burrito is just minutes away. Now that you know what goes into these stuffed wraps, you can make your own mouthwatering grande-sized burritos full of all your favorite ingredients.


A big burrito is a meal all wrapped up into an overstuffed flour tortilla package. Expect a 10-12 inch tortilla jam-packed with around 12 ounces of meat, hearty portions of beans, rice, cheese and fresh extras. The combination of flavors and textures is what makes these hefty burritos so craveable. Just be prepared for a calorie and sodium bomb if you eat a whole 1-1.5 pound burrito in one sitting. With some strategic wrapping and the right eating technique, you can enjoy every last bite of a perfectly packed big burrito whether homemade or from your favorite local restaurant. When it comes to burritos, bigger is definitely better!