This easy recipe for chicken burritos ranchero features a homemade sauce and gooey melted cheese for the ultimate restaurant style wet burrito. Serve them with rice and beans for a complete Mexican dish that’s perfect for a Cinco de Mayo fiesta!Jump to Recipe
Since our specialty is recreating restaurant quality meals at home, we often draw inspiration from our favorite local dishes. We’re lucky to call Southern California home, which means there’s a ton of delicious Mexican food nearby – and one of the best dishes you can get around here is a massive wet burrito with a side of rice and beans. So after perfecting our recipe for homemade ranchero sauce, we challenged ourselves to recreate the Chicken Burritos Ranchero from our favorite restaurant.
If you’re not well-versed in Mexican food you might be wondering, what is a chicken ranchero burrito? What is a wet burrito? And what is ranchero sauce? Here’s a quick rundown:
- A chicken ranchero burrito, or chicken burrito ranchero, is a burrito filled with a mixture of shredded chicken, rice, beans, and cheese and topped with ranchero sauce.
- A wet burrito is a burrito that’s smothered in spicy sauce and melted cheese, and eaten with a fork and knife.
- Ranchero sauce is a Mexican tomato sauce made with spicy chili peppers. You can learn more about what goes into it here!
So our chicken ranchero burrito recipe is a classic wet burrito, stuffed with chicken and topped with ranchero sauce. This kind of savory wet burrito is the most delicious meal when you’re craving something hearty and warm. Each bite is a burst of flavor between the spicy ranchero, rice, beans, chicken, and cheese, and the saucy tortilla just melts in your mouth. There’s really nothing quite like it!
A Bit Of History
Cinco de Mayo, celebrated on May 5th, isn’t just an excuse to eat delicious food! Although the holiday is actually more widely celebrated in the US than in Mexico, it actually marks the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, a symbolic victory for Mexico over the French when they invaded the country for a second time. In 1863, Southern Californians began celebrating Cinco de Mayo as a show of solidarity with Mexico. Since then, the holiday has evolved in the US to become a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.
So what does Cinco de Mayo have to do with burritos? Since we Americans love burritos almost as much as we love celebrating holidays with food, burritos are a great dinner option for Cinco de Mayo fiestas. No one knows the exact origins of the burrito, but it’s said that the dish first appeared in the US in the 1930s at a restaurant called El Cholo Spanish Cafe.
Chicken Ranchero Burrito Ingredients
So what is in a chicken ranchero burrito? Our chicken burritos ranchero are stuffed with a mixture of refried beans, rice, shredded chicken, and cheese. Then they’re coated with our homemade ranchero sauce and sprinkled with cheese before being baked in the oven.
- Refried beans – Use canned refried beans for simplicity and convenience, or make your own from scratch. We love making these easy crockpot refried beans when we have some extra time.
- Cilantro lime rice – Simply stir lime juice and chopped cilantro into cooked white rice for an easy and flavorful Mexican rice.
- Salsa-marinated chicken – These burritos are stuffed with our fan-favorite salsa marinated chicken, a simple recipe for flavorful protein that can be added to many Mexican dishes.
- Shredded cheese – Store-bought Mexican-blend cheese works great for this recipe.
- Flour tortillas – The secret to a great burrito is in the tortilla. If there’s a local Mexican grocery store near you, grab some freshly made burrito-size tortillas (14-inch or so) and you’ll be amazed by their flavor and texture!
- Ranchero sauce – You’ll want to prepare a batch of our homemade ranchero sauce for these burritos. Ranchero is not easy to find in grocery stores, and freshly made sauce is so much more flavorful. Our recipe is super easy to make, so it’s a no-brainer over store-bought sauce for chicken burritos ranchero.
How To Make Chicken Burritos Ranchero
It’s easy to make this burrito ranchero recipe! These chicken burritos taste best when all of the ingredients are made fresh, but preparing everything that goes into the filling takes some time. If you want to make dinnertime a little easier, you can definitely prepare the rice, chicken, and ranchero sauce a day or two in advance and keep them in the fridge. Just make sure to warm up each ingredient in the microwave before mixing the filling together, so the filling combines easily and is slightly warm when it goes into the tortillas.
Here’s how to make our ranchero style burrito:
- Mix the burrito filling. Warm up the canned refried beans in the microwave, then add them to a large bowl with cilantro-lime rice, shredded chicken, and shredded Mexican-blend cheese. Stir to combine well.
- Assemble the burritos. Working one at a time, lay a tortilla flat on a plate and spoon some ranchero sauce onto it. Spread it around into a thin layer, leaving some space at the edges of the tortilla. Then scoop some of the burrito filling into the center of the tortilla and shape it into a loose log, leaving at least 2 inches of space at either end.
- Fold the burritos. Here’s how to fold a burrito: Start with the sides where you left some space at the ends of the filling. Fold them in towards the center, then use your pinkies to hold them in place. Slide your thumbs under the close side of the tortilla and fold it over the filling, tucking it in as you continue rolling the burrito to complete the fold. Keep your pinkies in place to help the ends stay tucked as you roll!
- Top the burritos and bake. Place the burritos seam side down in a lightly greased baking dish. Spoon generous amounts of ranchero sauce over the top of each burrito, then sprinkle them with shredded cheese. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Tip: Mixing the burrito filling ingredients together before they go in the tortilla is a super important step! While it might create another dish for you to wash, it ensures that every bite of this burrito is packed full of flavor. (And that none of the bites are just tortilla and rice – we’re looking at you, Chipotle). Trust us, it’s worth the extra effort!
Tips For How To Make A Delicious Wet Burrito
Making a burrito is fairly straightforward, but it takes a bit of practice to make a delicious wet burrito. Here are a few tips for how to make the perfect chicken burrito drenched with ranchero sauce:
- Wet burritos are smothered in sauce, so the flavor of the sauce permeates every bite of the burrito. That means you’ll want a delicious and tasty sauce for topping your wet burrito! We’ve created the perfect homemade ranchero sauce for these chicken burritos. It’s smooth, not too thin and not too thick, and has a depth of spice that keeps it from tasting too much like tomato sauce.
- After rolling your burritos, place them in a baking dish so they can bake right in the excess sauce that will flow off of them as you drench them in ranchero. Almost like making enchiladas.
- Loosely cover the baking dish with foil before putting it in the oven to ensure a perfectly-baked wet burrito. This keeps the tortillas from drying out and lets the cheese melt without burning on top so your burritos stay soft and chewy.
Topped with a heavy drizzle of ranchero sauce, sprinkled with cheese, and baked in the oven, these homemade wet burritos are deliciously warm and gooey with just a hint of spiciness. They’ll make your whole kitchen smell amazing as they bake! We guarantee you’ll be scarfing a whole burrito down in minutes – just make sure to let it cool down a bit so you don’t burn your mouth 🙂
Chicken Burritos Ranchero Serving Suggestions
For a restaurant quality Mexican dish, serve these chicken ranchero burritos with a side of rice and beans and a dollop of fresh guacamole. And maybe a margarita (or two). And a side of chips and salsa. This is exactly how the wet burritos are served at our favorite Mexican restaurant – and it’s the only way they should be served!
Try our homemade chicken burritos ranchero recipe below for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, or for the next time you’re craving a wet burrito. If you love this recipe, let us know by leaving a rating and a comment! We’d love to hear what you think.
Do you love Mexican food? You may like these recipes, too:
- Carnitas Burritos With Spicy Verde Sauce
- Mexican Bean Dip
- California Burrito
- Tiny Tacos With Spicy Dipping Trio
- Bacon Egg and Cheese Breakfast Quesadilla
- Top 5 Recipes For Cinco De Mayo
Chicken Burritos Ranchero
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
- Warm up the refried beans in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute.*
- Add Cilantro Lime Rice, refried beans, shredded Salsa-Marinated Chicken, and shredded Mexican-blend cheese to a large bowl and stir well to combine.
- Assemble your burritos: Lay out all 4 tortillas on your work space. Spoon about 2 tbsp Homemade Ranchero Sauce onto each tortilla and spread it around in an even layer using the back of a spoon. Then scoop 1/4 of the filling mixture into a line down the center of each tortilla, leaving about 2 inches of space at either end to fold the burritos.
- Fold the burritos: Start by folding both "ends" (the space you left on either end of the filling) in. Hold the folded ends in place with your fingertips while using your thumbs to fold one side of the tortilla over the filling, tucking it in as you roll the burrito to complete the fold on the other side.
- Place the burritos fold-side down into the prepared baking dish.
- Top each burrito with a few spoonfuls of Homemade Ranchero Sauce and a sprinkle of shredded Mexican-blend cheese.
- Loosely cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Optionally garnish with an extra spoonful of hot ranchero sauce and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro. Serve hot with a side of Homemade Guacamole and tortilla chips!