Chicken, Bean, and Cheese Burritos for the Freezer

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Ever been tempted by the contents of the frozen food aisle? In today’s installment of the DIY Convenience Foods series we’re making our own homemade burritos for the freezer.

Chicken Bean and Cheese Burritos for the Freezer

Many moons ago, I worked at Lucky Stores. It was a major grocery store chain back in the 80s. I was a box girl, as they say. Working there was like coming out of a cave and discovering a whole new world of food. Since I bagged up the customers’ purchases, I saw everything that came down the line. A lot of it was food ingredients I had never seen before.

It makes sense, really. My family’s food culture was rife with Sauerkraut and Pork, ChiChi’s Salad and Pizzas, and Chili Stacks. Certainly my mom never bought everything there was to buy at the store. Some things were quite the mysteries to me.

Among those mysteries? The frozen burrito. Huh?

We ate a lot of burritos at our house, but never any we’d bought in the frozen food aisle. Del Taco, maybe, but not the frozen food aisle. I was intrigued.

Since I was working, I had spending money of my own, and that of course, meant I could buy things. And since I was always hungry in my teen years, the things I almost always wanted to buy were edible things. Like frozen taquitos and frozen burritos. Ha!

Between you and me, they weren’t all they were cracked up to be. The beauty of home cooking is that you can make whatever you want in the world of food yourself, frozen burritos not withstanding.

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Chicken Bean and Cheese Burritos for the Freezer

In my cookbook, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook, I share three very different burrito creations. I’m actually quite proud of them. The bummer is that they are off-limits for blogging.

You’ll have to buy the book or borrow it from your library to try them out, and I hope you will because Chipotle Chicken and Onion Wraps, Pepper Jack and Chile Burritos, and the aptly named Not Your Convenience Store’s Frozen Burritos are pretty rocking awesome, if I do say so myself.

Today, though I have another great burrito creation, one that comes together quite quickly and easily. It makes a dozen. I recommend a double batch so that you have enough to eat fresh and then some more to freeze.

Making frozen burritos yourself.

Making burritos is not difficult. In her great book, Bake the Bread, Buy the Butter, Jennifer Reese claims its better to buy your burritos. She also says that potstickers and wontons are super easy to make. Both of us are native Californians; I think you can tell which halves of the state we each respectively call home.

Chicken Bean and Cheese Burritos for the Freezer

I have yet been brave enough to make potstickers or wontons. But didn’t I just say, “The beauty of home cooking is that you can make whatever you want in the world of food yourself”? Yeah, I thought so. Maybe by the end of the month, I’ll bust out a little bit. But I digress….

Burrito making is a simple affair. You need large tortillas, a filling (like beans, chicken, and cheese), and a ziptop freezer bag if you plan to freeze them.

Some folks are intimidated by burrito folding. Just check out this ancient (and amateur) vlog I did several years ago. (Turn down the sound. That voice is grating to my ears.)

Anyway, folding’s not hard, right?

Making them cheaper.

Frozen commercial burritos range in price from $1.25 to $2, depending on the brand and quality.

My burritos?

  • 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast – $0.99
  • shredded cheese – $1.00
  • homecooked pinto beans – $0.66
  • salsa verde – $1.00
  • dozen tortillas – $1.50

I spent a total of $5.15 for a dozen burritos filled with chicken, beans, and cheese. That works out to about $0.43 each.

The quality? Yeah, there’s no comparison, really. Well, that’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?

So, it’s not hard, it’s cheaper, it’s healthier, and it’s tastier to make your own frozen burritos. Or your own fresh burritos, for that matter. A Chipotle burrito is a great treat in these here parts, but accounting for the difference in size — maybe two of mine equal a Chipotle burrito?– , those burritos are about 8 times more expensive that mine. Hmmm…..

Chicken Burritos for the Freezer | Good Cheap Eats

diy-convenience-150This is part of the DIY Convenience Foods series.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe great meals don't have to be complicated or expensive. There's a better way, and it won't take all afternoon.

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  1. Yum! I love frozen burritos as a “it’s 9 pm and I just got home” go-to meal. But my favorites (evol) are pretty pricey. This would be a great weekend project. You should try potstickers sometime. Especially if you have lots of helpers to do the filling and crimping. They are not easier than using store bought, but I still drool when I think of the last batch I made.

  2. I need to make up some more burritos and enchiladas for my freezer now that we’ve reached ‘crazy time’ in the evenings – they microwave back to pretty high quality – one of the things I love about them!

    Great analysis – but for something like this the difference in quality would make it worthwhile even at twice the price.

    That said – I too have never made the leap to making my own wontons and dumplings – I think I have a block LOL – been meaning to try shrimp wontons though . . . one of these days!

  3. what do you suggest for microwave timing? Thanks!

  4. Do you ever heat them in a skillet from frozen? Dry skillet, I assume? Or does the oven or microwave oven work better for frozen? I like the skillet idea – I’ve never tried that.

    • Not typically from frozen. But, if I know we’re going to have them, I pull from the freezer and let them thaw and then throw them on the griddle.

      • I’ve never made these specific burritos before but when I reheat my freezer ones I do it in the microwave and then crisp up the tortilla in the skillet so it’s crunchier and has less of a soft microwave texture. Just a suggestion

  5. Your book just arrived on my porch yesterday. I’ve already decided that burritos will be my first to try out! I’ve only done a quick flip through over an afternoon cup of joe and the book contains more than I’d though it would!

  6. Yum! We love the chicken ones in the cookbook, but I don’t make them frequently because it’s a lot of meat and not much else (ie, more expensive than the beef ones with beans). This is definitely going on the next menu plan:)

  7. Aubrey Ives says:

    Hi Jessica.

    We agree that homemade frozen burritos are a yummy and handy snack/meal. So much better than the commercial frozen ones that can get too chewy when reheated. And healthier too! By the way, I think that you are too hard on yourself. I suppose we all are critical of ourselves, but I think that your voice is very sweet and I don’t turn the volume down a bit when I watch your videos! Thanks for all of your practical and encouraging posts.

  8. I’ve just run across your blog…really enjoying it so far. I sometimes make burritos that I brush with an egg white wash and bake in the oven to make chimichangas. I never thought to make a large batch to freeze…doh! I’ve also never thought to heat them in a dry pan. They look similar to the “grilled” burritos available at some fast food places.

  9. I just discovered your blog through 100 days of real food. I love your site! This came just in time. I really need to stretch my dollars and have some easy meals on hand for my son, cooking traditional whole foods takes a lot of time and I just wasn’t sure what or how to freeze. Your book is on my wish list! How long can they be frozen and still safe to reheat and eat? I am so happy to have found my way here. Thanks!


    • Welcome! Glad you found me. I have another blog, LifeasMOM where I address a lot of family food topics as well.

      As to storage, depending on what kind of freezer, two to three months is a general rule of thumb. If you have a deep freeze, you can store things longer.

      • Thanks Jessica, I just wanted to be sure I could do at least up to a month. I found your other blog too and liked it on FB. I got your book coming in from my library. Look forward to it..Thanks again!

        • Fun! I just found out that the kindle version is on sale for 2.99 in case you decide you want it. Good luck with your freezer meals. Let me know if you have any questions.

  10. I love this idea! Same could go for breakfast burritos (which cost me $5 at work to buy!) w/eggs, cheese, and potatoes. Thanks for the inspiration.

  11. I made these last night and they were delicious (I split one w/my co-worker for breakfast – she thought so too)!
    I added some Spanish rice for extra filling. They tasted WAY better than the frozen kind you buy at the supermarket and much better tasting. Great post!

  12. I’ve been exploring several of your recipes and am really motivated to make and freeze more often (something new to me!). I have a question (maybe a little silly??). I was wondering what kind of burritos you were using in the video? I often buy the uncooked burritos from Costco, and am wondering if I could use those without cooking the tortillas first? Have you ever tried that? Do they cook when re-heated on the stove? Thanks so much!

  13. Cynthia says:

    Having really been enjoying your blog and your simply, yummy recipes. I made these burritos tonight with left over salsa verde chicken that we ate two nights ago and some navy beans that I had (didn’t have pintos). They were really flavorful and got good reviews from the family :). Thanks for all you do!

  14. Jannine Edwards says:

    These were awesome!!!

  15. Charlotte says:

    Do you think I could sub in mexican rice for the beans? We don’t like beans, but we do like burritos, and I’m about to pull my hair out on the days that we both work and then have to figure out something for dinner….
    And it’s too hot right now for me to run the oven for lasagna, which is the winter time go to!

    • I’ve honestly not made freezer burritos with rice, but I know plenty of people who have. Give it a try and let me know!

    • Lasagna is delicious and so easy in a crockpot and does not heat up the house. My favorite is Spinach whole wheat cheese lasagna that cooks on low in 3 hours and frozen leftovers taste great!

  16. Cheryl in France says:

    hey- LOVING the Mexican recipes! It’s really hard to find good Mex in France, so this is awesome.

    For potstickers (and TONS of other ethnic foods), I can’t recommend Mark Bittman’s ‘The Best Recipe in the World’ highly enough. I make them and can freeze them cooked or freeze the filling mixture and dumpling dough separately. I use 13-14g of dough for one dumpling, with ~2tsp filling.

    For the cooking, it’s easy enough, you just have to pay attention- med/high heat, oil/2-3 minutes on one side, add a cup of water to the pan, close with lid, let cook 5 minutes, remove lid, cook 2 minutes on high. I usually do 6-7 at a time, I roll out most of the wrappers then fill batches as they cook. (I once gave 200-250 of these to someone as a wedding present for their reception, so I codified everything to make it go as fast as possible). They are AWESOME.

    • Still can’t find good Mex in France?! It was like that 20 years ago. But, I couldn’t find good Mex in Kansas City, either, so why am I surprised? I will have to try making potstickers. Everyone tells me to. Yum!

  17. What is the longest the burritos can keep in the freezer?

  18. Oh my goodness … frozen burritos are my new favourite go-to freezer meal!! I made about a dozen last weekend, froze them individually wrapped, and they are just brilliant. I haul one out for breakfast some days, or for a quick late lunch to stave off those mid-afternnon munchies. What a super idea – thanks for sharing:)

  19. Elizabeth M. says:

    Can I add rice to my burritos? Will it still freeze ok?

  20. I LOVE these burritos, thanks for posting! They are easy, inexpensive, delicious and I got to choose exactly what I wanted in them. I love them heated in a skillet, what a great idea that I had never heard of. I did not use cheese in either batch and added some drained sauteed veggies like onion, summer squash and peppers (green and hot). My cost was about .60 cents per 11 inch tortillas with 1 cup of filling in each – a great price for a filling meal that is so yummy! One batch was homemade pintos and picante chicken and the other black beans and salsa verde chicken. I used leftover chicken and the cooking sauce from the Crockpot chicken tacos recipe at

  21. I found this post because I am making stocking up my 93 year old father’s refrigerator full of low sodium delicious food!
    it seems serendipitous that you posted this on his 92 nd birthday.

  22. Do you have any tips for dethawing them in a microwave oven ? I have heard that dipping the frozen burrito in water and piercing it with a fork two or three time prevents the dreaded burritto ooze. Yes I know its better to heat them up in the oven but like I stated in my previous post these are for my father, who lives alone. The microwave is his safest option.

    • I don’t thaw them to microwave. We usually cook them from frozen in the microwave for a minute or two. You’ll want to test it out for him in advance so you can get the timing right. Every microwave is different. Hope that helps!

      • After I take him to the doctors office tomorrow I plan on doing that! Thanks for answering a post that was old. You might be pleased to know that TJs offers the lowest sodium flour tortillas available to me.

  23. Hi, Jessica! Thanks for the recipe. We make a lot of burritos at our house, so this will be handy. I freeze meals for my husband’s lunches often, but I never thought of freezing my burritos. Also, I’ve made potstickers. It’s super easy, but it takes time. It’s the production line type of recipe–it’s nice to have extra helpers since you’ll want to make a lot of them to freeze. I think potstickers are my one favorite food and have told my son he’s pretty much largely made of them since I ate them often when I was pregnant. Ha ha. Take care. Stacy

  24. How long can they stay in the freezer? Thank you-

  25. recipe for salsa verde please. we don’t have it here

  26. Ellen Hubley says:

    Thank you, this sis exactly what I was looking for! I’m going to add some fresh cilantro to mine, wish me luck. I’m hoping it’s not one of those “wet” ingredients you discussed.

  27. What kind of tortillas do you buy/use for these? A lot of tortillas I buy at Trader Joe’s end up ripping… Thanks!

  28. Hey,

    Thanks for sharing. Looking for easy lunch ideas. We have a huge family so we take turns with lunch and dinner. I got mondays.

    Anyways, my questions is how you freeze them. Do you place them on a baking sheet, covered with foil for like 30 minutes then transfer to freezer bag or do you transfer them directly? I got that idea for when I made frozen Lasagna Roll Ups. I’m just worried that the burritos will open up before being completely frozen.

    Also, on a pan when you’re reheating them, do you add oil or anything? Or is a hot skillet okay? I’m also thinking of making some breakfast burritos and wondering if those could go into a toaster for reheating.

    I know these may sound like stupid questions but please, humor me. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing and have a great day! Oh and I’ll definitely be looking to your cooking book.


  1. […] session planned so that I can load the freezer with easy dinners for busy nights. My plan includes: frozen burritos, Lawnmower Taco, hamburger patties, meatballs, Red Sauce, and baking […]

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