This healthy chicken burrito recipe is a great way to satisfy your burrito cravings with a fraction of the calories.
By using key ingredient swaps and juicy chicken, this healthy chicken burrito is delicious and will help you stay fit too. It’s also a very quick recipe to put together and is great as a healthy lunch.
While they are undeniably delicious, are burritos healthy?
Burritos are generally not very healthy due to their high carb and fat content leading to a surplus of calories – a typical burrito is typically over 1000 calories. But with careful portion control and ingredient swaps, it's easy to make a burrito that fits in a healthy diet.
✅ Why This Recipe Works
Easy to make – Like most recipes in my Fast and Fit collection, no hours of prep needed to make this recipe. All you need is to marinate the chicken ahead of time. Once you’re ready to make the healthy chicken burrito, it will take 10 minutes to put it together.
Flavorful and well-balanced – By utilizing traditional Mexican recipes to create the chicken and burrito fillings, you can make a restaurant-quality burrito with fresh ingredients from home at a fraction of the cost
Low in calories and macro-optimized – This recipe was specially developed by yours truly to be low-calorie and macro-friendly, so you can satisfy your burrito cravings while still staying in shape
🍎 Calories and Nutrition – How to Make It Healthy
Most burritos can be quite heavy due to their larger portion sizes and outsized amount of carbs and fats.
In addition to the tortilla, which is already upwards of 200 calories, most burritos include rice and beans, which are largely carbs. Burritos also tend to come with high-fat toppings, such as cheese, sour cream, and avocado.
While none of these ingredients are necessarily bad, they are often piled on without portion control in mind, and can easily create burritos upwards of 1,000 calories. This is probably why most people feel very sluggishly full after eating a burrito from a restaurant.
In this recipe, I adjusted this healthy chicken burrito to be 464 calories with 48 grams of protein, 29 grams of fat, and 40 grams of carbs.
Here’s what I did to make it healthier:
- Used chicken as my protein base – To optimize for protein content, I opted for a lean protein source. It doesn’t hurt that pollo asado is delicious.
- Wrap in a low-calorie tortilla – Tortillas can run from 250 to 300 calories a piece. Thankfully, low-calorie tortillas are now a staple at the grocery store, running at only 110 calories each. My favorite is the Mission tortilla brand.
- Omitted the beans, rice, and sour cream – Given that I already had carbs from the tortilla, I chose to omit beans and rice to keep the calorie content low. Sour cream is also a higher-calorie and high-fat ingredient that I chose to omit
- Portion the cheese and avocado – For me, no burrito is complete without cheese and avocado and I still have room to add some healthy fats into the mix. I portioned about 21 grams of cheese and 50 grams (about half) of an avocado.
Note that these portioning amounts are based on my personal preferences and macronutrient goals. For example, if you like sour cream more than cheese, there’s definitely a way for you to swap out the cheese for a portioned amount of sour cream as well.
For a detailed breakdown of each ingredient, their portioning, and how they make up the nutrition profile of this healthy chicken burrito recipe, you may refer to the table below:
📋 Ingredient Notes
To make a healthy chicken burrito, you will need these key healthy ingredients:
Chicken – I used boneless skinless chicken thighs for lean protein with optimal juiciness. You can also use chicken breast if you prefer.
Achiote Paste – A key ingredient for the pollo asado marinade. This can be found in the ethnic foods section of most grocery stores, your local Mexican market, or online.
Low-Calorie Flour Tortilla – I used a low-calorie flour tortilla from Mission Tortilla, which is only about 100 calories. Be sure to get the large tortilla for burritos, or you won’t have enough room to wrap all the ingredients.
Oaxacan Cheese – This is a Mexican melting cheese that is often used in tacos, burritos or anything with delicious melted cheese. It is similar to Mozzarella and is one of my personal favorites. You can get this at Whole Foods or your local Mexican grocery store. You may also substitute this for your cheese of choice – pepper jack, Monterey jack, or cheddar are a few that would also work.
See my recipe card below for a complete list of the ingredients with measurements.
📖 Substitutions and Variations
Use shrimp – Another great lean protein option that is delicious in burritos.
Use rotisserie chicken – For an even faster recipe, use shredded rotisserie chicken to make the recipe
Salsa or hot sauce of choice – I used salsa verde because it’s my personal favorite, but feel free to swap it out for pico de gallo or your salsa of choice. Most salsas are all pretty low in calories so from a macro and calorie counting standpoint, it doesn’t matter which you choose.
Swap out cheese for low-fat sour cream – If you prefer sour cream to cheese, swap out the cheese for low-fat sour cream to keep the burrito low in calories. If you have the calorie budget, feel free to use both in a portioned amount.
Make a burrito bowl – Swap out the tortilla for a serving of brown rice, Mexican rice, or white rice to make a delicious chicken burrito bowl recipe. Check out my Shrimp Burrito bowl recipe for a starting point.
Other carb options – Add pinto beans or black beans in a portioned amount. I would opt away from refried beans, which can be higher in fats.
Additional filling ideas – Add some fajita veggies (bell peppers and onions), leafy greens, or some sweet corn salsa for some delicious low-calorie filings
Switch up the sauce and/or make tacos – Check out my chicken teriyaki tacos for a more experimental taste that is delicious and healthy.
🔪 Step by Step Instructions
Make the marinade – Add the achiote paste, lime juice, orange juice, garlic clove, onion, cilantro, salt, black pepper, and jalapeno into a blender. Add about ¼ cup of water or as needed to help the mixture blend properly.
Marinade the chicken – Cut the chicken thigh into small bite-sized pieces, trimming off the excess fat. In a large bowl, mix the chicken pieces into the marinade and let marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Prepare the burrito fillings – When you’re ready to cook the chicken, portion out the cheese and cut the avocado. Set aside.
Cook the chicken – Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over the stove to medium-high heat. Dry the chicken as much as possible and cook the chicken for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked.
Wrap burrito – Lay the burrito tortilla out on a flat surface, such as a cutting board. Add the chicken pieces into the bottom third of the tortilla. Add the cheese, avocado, a squeeze of lime juice, and salsa verde on top. Tuck the sides of the burrito into a V-shape and continue to tuck and fold until the burrito is fully closed.
This does take some technique, so check out this video to see how to roll a burrito.
Serve with salsa – Serve your healthy chicken burrito with a salsa of your choice and enjoy!
💡 Expert Tips
Fully dry the chicken before cooking – Cooking the chicken overly wet will cause it to boil instead of giving it a nice sear.
Don’t overstuff the burrito – This will result in a burrito that doesn’t fold properly.
💭 Recipe FAQs
Burritos are typically not good for weight loss because they have a surplus of calories from carbs and fats. Most burritos are upwards of 1000 calories due to the big portion sizing of high-calorie burrito fillings, such as sour cream, rice, and beans.
However, with careful portion-sizing, it's easy to make a lower-calorie, protein-packed burrito.
Yes, you can eat burritos on a diet. With careful portioning of more calorie-dense ingredients and opting for lean protein sources, it's easy to make a burrito that fits into a healthy diet.
Yes, you can make this in advance. You can precook the chicken and heat it up and wrap it with the other burrito ingredients when you are ready to eat.
If you do choose to use avocado, I would recommend waiting to wrap the burrito when you're about to eat it, since avocado browns very quickly after being cut open.
🍽 Related Recipes
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Healthy Chicken Burrito Recipe
Pollo Asado and Marinade
- 6 oz Chicken thigh (Boneless skinless)
- 1 tablespoon Achiote Paste
- 1 clove Garlic
- ¼ Yellow Onion
- 1 Jalapeno Pepper
- 1 Lime (Juiced)
- 1 Orange (Juiced)
- 5 Sprigs Cilantro
- ¼ cup Water
Burrito and Fillings
- 1 Low Calorie Burrito Tortilla
- 21 g Oaxacan Cheese (Or cheese of choice)
- ½ Avocado
- 2 tablespoon Salsa Verde
- Make the marinade – Add the achiote paste, lime juice, orange juice, garlic clove, onion, cilantro, salt, black pepper, and jalapeno into a blender. Add about ¼ cup of water or as needed to help the mixture blend properly.
- Marinade the chicken – Cut the chicken thigh into small bite-sized pieces, trimming off the excess fat. In a large bowl, mix the chicken pieces into the marinade and let marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Prepare the burrito fillings – When you’re ready to cook the chicken, portion out the cheese and cut the avocado. Set aside.
- Cook the chicken – Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over the stove to medium-high heat. Dry the chicken as much as possible and cook the chicken for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked.
- Wrap burrito – Lay the burrito tortilla out on a flat surface, such as a cutting board. Add the chicken pieces into the bottom third of the tortilla. Add the cheese, avocado, a squeeze of lime juice, and salsa verde on top. Tuck the sides of the burrito into a V-shape and continue to tuck and fold until the burrito is fully closed.