Chili Cheese Burrito inspired by the Taco Bell Chilito

Are you looking for the Taco Bell Chili Cheese Burrito or the Chilito? This version of the Chili Cheese Burrito recipe is a combination of beef, refried beans, and melted cheese wrapped up in a warm tortilla.

My formative years were in the ’90s. It’s my favorite music, television shows when I meet my wife and was able to buy my own food. Well, the only food I can remember, besides the Paul Bunyan Plus breakfast platter from Ram’s Horn, was the chilito from Taco Bell. I probably had one or two every day. I’m not kidding. I loved it that much. When I was in high school, I went to a vocational training center for the first part of my day. On the way back to the high school, whoever would be driving, would always stop at the Bell for lunch. And I bought a chilito or two every time.

At some point, Taco Bell changed the name of the chilito to the Chili Cheese Burrito. Apparently ‘chilito‘ means something completely different in Spanish than what Taco Bell was going for. I wonder who the marketing whiz that made that blunder was? But opposite to what the Spanish version means, this was a big burrito. It was steamed burrito packed with gooey chili and melted cheese. I thought that it was amazing and as long as Taco Bell was serving it, I was going to keep buying it.

Late 80’s early 90’s Taco Bell {photo credit: pinterest.com}

I remember taking a road trip once with an old buddy of mine. We were bored out of our minds. So we drove from Detroit to Sandusky, Ohio where the amusement park, Cedar Point is. The thing is, once we arrived in Sandusky, we went to Taco Bell and ordered our Chili Cheese Burritos. After eating I asked, ‘Now what?’ So we gassed up and made the two-hour drive back home. That’s not all we did in Sandusky. We did walk through the mall and bought a gift card for another friend who was having a birthday. The joke was on him when he wanted to spend that gift card because he would have to drive the two hours to the mall to shop. I hope that twenty-bucks was worth it!

Maybe in the late-90’s or so, Taco Bell discontinued the burrito – at least where I live – supposedly there’s an urban legend that some areas of the country still offer it. There’s another rumor that the Chili Cheese Burrito is on Taco Bell’s ‘secret‘ menu. It must be a really good secret because none of the restaurants around me make it.

There are still times when I crave the cheesy burrito. Maybe it’s when Candlebox, Soundgarden or Nirvana is playing on the radio? I’ve searched online for copycat recipes. There are a few, but I have only made two that come close to the flavor of the real thing. The one I like the most is from CigarObsession.com. They offer a 14-minute video on the recipe. It’s cumbersome to watch and get the ingredients and proper steps. They also use multiple pots and pans to finish the dish. (If you want to watch the video and see how they prepare the recipe, here is the link.) I use the same ingredients that they do, but I simplified it so it can be made in one large pot. Plus, I wrote down the recipe!

Besides tasting amazing, the recipe makes a lot. In fact, there is so much that I used some of it for an equally amazing chip dip by stirring in some salsa. If you loved the Chili Cheese Burrito from Taco Bell and have been looking for a good recipe to match it, crank up the Pearl Jam, put on reruns of Friends, and enjoy this recipe!

Chili Cheese Burrito inspired by the Taco Bell Chilito

It's gooey cheesy goodness wrapped up in a soft burrito. Taco Bell once served the chili cheese burrito 'The Chilito' near me. This recipe recreates those amazing flavors.

Course Main - BEEF
Cuisine American
Keyword burrito, chili cheese burrito, chilito, taco bell
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 burritos
Author Red Beans and Eric

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 lbs mild cheddar cheese
  • 10- inch flour tortillas

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, over medium heat, brown the ground beef along with the diced onions. Once browned, drain the fat. Add the cayenne pepper, salt, and the chili powder to the pot. Pour in the water and make sure that the seasoning is well mixed in and dissolved. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water, then add to the pot.
  2. Add the refried beans and tomato paste to the pot. Keep stirring the pot until the refried beans and tomato paste have become smooth and everything is well combined.
  3. Slowly add the shredded cheese to the pot. Keep folding the cheese in until it has all melted. Reduce the heat down to medium-low. Let the pot simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently so nothing sticks and burns on the bottom.
  4. Run each of the tortillas under faucet to wet. Place the tortillas on a microwave safe plate and microwave them for 1 minute.
  5. To serve, spoon about 3-4 tbsp on the chili cheese sauce into the center of the warmed flour tortilla. Pull one end up to the center to cover the sauce. Tuck the ends of the tortilla in and roll to close the burrito. Enjoy!

 

Here’s How I Make the Chili Cheese Burrito

Taco Bell inspired CHILI CHEESE BURRITO aka Chilito by RedBeansAndEric.com!Brown the ground beef along with the diced onions. Once browned, drain the fat, and add the cayenne pepper, salt, and the chili powder to the pot.

Taco Bell inspired CHILI CHEESE BURRITO aka Chilito by RedBeansAndEric.com!

Pour in the water and make sure that the seasoning is well mixed in and dissolved.

Taco Bell inspired CHILI CHEESE BURRITO aka Chilito by RedBeansAndEric.com!

Add the refried beans and tomato paste to the pot and stir until smooth and everything is well combined.

Taco Bell inspired CHILI CHEESE BURRITO aka Chilito by RedBeansAndEric.com!

Slowly add the shredded cheese to the pot. Keep folding the cheese in until it has all melted.

Taco Bell inspired CHILI CHEESE BURRITO aka Chilito by RedBeansAndEric.com!

Let the chili cheese sauce slowly simmer for about 10 minutes. Keep stirring so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

Taco Bell inspired CHILI CHEESE BURRITO aka Chilito by RedBeansAndEric.com!

Run each of the tortillas under the faucet to wet. Place the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 1 minute.

To serve, spoon about 3-4 tbsp of the chili cheese sauce into the center of the warmed flour tortilla.

imgTaco Bell inspired CHILI CHEESE BURRITO aka Chilito by RedBeansAndEric.com!_1032

Pull one end up to the center to cover the sauce.

Taco Bell inspired CHILI CHEESE BURRITO aka Chilito by RedBeansAndEric.com!

Tuck the ends of the tortilla in.

Taco Bell inspired CHILI CHEESE BURRITO aka Chilito by RedBeansAndEric.com!

Pull the opposite end down to make a finished burrito. Repeat until all the burritos are made.

Taco Bell inspired CHILI CHEESE BURRITO aka Chilito by RedBeansAndEric.com!

I love this recipe and the Taco Bell Chili Cheese Burrito. Let me know what you think of the recipe and the ‘chilito’ in the comments below. Thank you!


My recipe version of the Taco Bell Chili Cheese Burrito, the Chilito, has been one of my most popular articles since I first published it back in 2015. It’s also perhaps the most controversial. Controversial? I have received so many comments and emails saying that this is not the Taco Bell recipe because they didn’t use beans. I know that this isn’t their recipe. It’s mine. So, I added the ‘inspired by’ tag and offer this disclaimer: I think that this is a great recipe that tastes pretty damn close to the way that I remember the chilito to taste like. It’s not an exact copycat. I get it.

With that being said, I hope that you enjoy this recipe. I think it tastes amazing and it brings back some great memories. As always, let me know what you think of the recipe in the comments below.


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Thank you for stopping by!

Keep the red beans cookin’!

Eric



67 thoughts on “Chili Cheese Burrito inspired by the Taco Bell Chilito”

  • This is SUCH an awesome recipe! I’m a stay at home mom, and I recently made a batch just for me and ate off of it all week. It made for an easy and tasty lunch every day. I add corn chips to the inside of my burritos (the Frito Burrito, if you will), and it adds an awesome crunch. Also, your tip to wet the tortillas and then microwave totally changed our lives!

  • I tried this today and it’s a definite keeper. I did add a few chopped jalapeños and it’s amazing. ❤️ Thank you so much.

    • I’m glad the recipes a keeper for you, Becky! Jalapeños is a great addition. I’ll have to add those next time a make this!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  • Tried this today and it’s amazing. Definitely a keeper. I did add a couple tablespoons of jalapeño. Thank you so much

  • The chili cheese burrito is my favorite thing at Taco Bell! They still have it in MN, it’s a secret menu item! I can’t wait to make this one

  • I loved that burrito even though one time I bought it in Prescott az and got such bad food poisoning I wanted to die but I still be making this one day soon thanks

    • Don’t let one bad burrito ruin it for you. Though, eating too many CCB could cause problems… I hope you enjoy the recipe. Be sure to let us know what you think of it after you make it.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I appreciate it!

  • I’m going to have to try this out. I have to come to accept that none of the Taco Bells in my state have the chili cheese burrito anymore except for the rare promotional period, and I need a more reliable supply….

    • I know. It’s hard to accept that most Taco Bells don’t serve the CCB. I’m still struggling with this too. I hope you enjoy trying out this recipe. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  • Thank you for this recipe! Will try it. The chilito and old corn tortilla enchirito were my favorites since at least the 90’s and they still make the chilito at taco bells here in Kansas City Mo. I liked the old name even better when I learned the Mexican slang meaning. Funny as hell! Unfortunately the old enchirito is ruined by the flour tortilla. Oh well!
    To your health!
    Robby Benson

  • Thanks for the great recipe! Didn’t have tomato paste or corn starch so I substituted tomato sauce and used less water. We always put sauce on ours so I went ahead and added some to the pan. My family loved these so much my husband went and got my recipe box out of the kitchen so I wouldn’t forget to add this one to it. Also I have never left a review before but this one definitely earned a 5 star from my family!!!

  • My husband loves chili cheese burritos but I am a vegetarian and have never had one. He decided we needed to remedy that and came across your recipe. We changed out the beef for veggie crumbles and they were incredible. I was told they may be even better than the ones at Taco bell. We will be making these again and have already shared this recipe with all our chili cheese burrito loving friends. Thank you!

  • These were delicious. My only question is can I freeze the remaining amount. I have a lot left as it’s only my husband and I.

    • Hey, Justeen! I’m sure you can freeze the remaining amount. I’d freeze it in batches if you can. I’ve never froze these leftovers though, I just ate the burritos for days or used it up as chip dip. I’m glad that you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for the comment!

  • Made these once over the winter last year, and they were delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

    It was close enough to our memory of the Taco Bell version that I won’t be trying any of the other recipes out there.

    We make our refried beans and tortillas from scratch here, and we made a triple batch of this and froze individually wrapped burritos. They didn’t last long, and were much better than any frozen burrito I have ever purchased!

    We are gearing up to make some more of these this week, maybe 4 or 5 batches this time for easy lunches and snacks… so glad your recipe was easy to find again since I hadn’t saved the link!

    • Wow that’s great to hear, Monica! I bet they taste even better with your scratch made refried beans and tortillas.

      I appreciate you taking the time to leave a message and for the kind words!

      Thank you!

  • Omg i am so glad i found this, we don’t have taco bell near where i live in holland so now i can enjoy my all time favorite whenever i want thank you so much it came out perfect!!!!

  • I used to work there and do not remember the flavor of what I just and although edible and better with sour cream . Thank you for your recipe.

  • I made this today, delicious! I used a can of tomato sauce instead of paste, and only used 1 cup of water, but it equates to the same amount of tomato and liquid I think. I also used Tapatio hot sauce instead of cayenne pepper, which to me made it taste EXACTLY like the burritos of my childhood. Thanks for the recipe!

  • This recipe is very similar to the one I make! The major difference is I add a couple tbsp canned diced green chiles and a little distilled white vinegar along with liquid from my jar of pepperoncinis. Gives the chili a nice zing! This recipe freezes well. But when freezing in seperate bags, do not let them touch in the freezer or they will stick together! Freeze in bags on a pan then put them all in one big ziplock once frozen.

  • This recipe looks great, definitely trying it. I live in Columbus, OH and our Taco Bell locations still offer this gem. I loved your description about the music…I actually think of Tom Petty’s Last Dance with Mary Jane. I remember listening to this the first time we ordered these late night in the 90’s after drinking a bunch of Zimas 😂 Peace.

    • Yes. Tom Petty and Zima. I think most Taco Bell’s in Ohio have the chili cheese burrito. I was driving just south of Toledo on I75 and stopped at a TB and they offered it. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, I appreciate it! If you make this, let me know what you think!

  • These were so very good! Ended up with about 8 burritos to freeze for another day. Way better that taco Bell!! Thanks for sharing

  • Made this today after stumbling across your website – lots of time on my hand due to the current situation. Excellent!! 2 thumbs up from 2 picky eaters in my house. I was looking for a way to change up ‘Taco Tuesday’ in our house and this was the perfect addition.

  • Thank you! Made this tonight, topped them with some fritos and everyone loved it. Thanks for a great quarantine recipe!

  • Just made these for lunch!!! Incredible flavor! Thanks for sharing your creation….we’ll definitely make these again!!

  • Great recipe! I felt like I was eating a Chilito in the Taco Bell parking lot circa 1992. Thanks!

  • Takes me back to the late 80s and 90s too. My husband made your recipe and I was blown away how much it made me think about open lunch in high school and walking to Taco Bell. So good! Thank you!

  • Thanks for the recipe. I’m going to give this a try but leave out the beans. I worked at Taco Bell back in the day and beans weren’t used in it then and (they’re still around at some locations here) they don’t appear on the ingredients now either. It looks delicious!

    • I have found the beans give the chili the correct consistency. And if u break them up in the meat you cannot taste them. But I do make my own beans, so that could make a difference. Good luck!

  • The Chilito was from Zantigos. Way better than the Chili Cheese burrito taco bell serves. About three Zantigo’s left in the US, I think they’re all in Minneapolis St. Paul area

  • Have made these burritos many times and getting ready to make them again. I make a batch and freeze for later. Never get tired of these chili cheese burritos. Delicious.

  • Delicious!!! Thank you for this easy, very close to the real thing, and affordable recipe. Chilli cheese burrito is my favorite item from taco bell…..now I don’t have to wait to go to the restaurant in order to indulge on these ones. Thanks Eric!!! 👍

  • Oh so happy I found this recipe. I worked there in the 80’s and I am so excited to try this. When I worked there we use to experiment with different menu items to change things up.

    • Hi, Shea! I’m glad you found the recipe, as well. I bet it was a trip working there back at that time and being able to change things up. Let me know what you think of it if you make it. Snap a photo and tag my on it. Thanks for stopping by!

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