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Enchilada vs. Burrito: Here's How To Tell The Difference!

November 25, 2020 3 min read

Enchilada vs. Burrito: Here's How To Tell The Difference!

Mexican restaurant menus are packed full of choice, and for the inexperienced, it can be challenging to know the difference between all those different Mexican foods you from where you can choose. 

Enchilada vs. burrito, chimichanga vs. taco, and fajitas vs. quesadillas. With so many tortilla dishes, it can be difficult even to know where to start!

All these types of Mexican food might seem similar, but the reality is they can be very different. In today's article, we take a look at two of these popular types of Mexican dishes. Here's the difference between burrito and enchilada! 

What is a burrito? 

The Mexican burrito is arguably the most popular food to have found its way across the border and then around the world. At its simplest, you take a large flour tortilla, and you wrap up a number of different burrito fillings inside. 

You're probably used to wrapping up your traditional burrito tortilla with rice, beans, salsa, guacamole, cheese, and meat or veggie fillings (or both). Your burrito is then served in foil, and you'll unwrap it and eat it with your hands. 

But what much of the world (apart from Mexico) commonly sees as a standard burrito isn't actually so traditional. This idea of a burrito evolved in California, and it's this 'Mission' style burrito that's made it big outside of Mexico. 

The Mexican burrito is thought to have originated in the north of the country (not so far from California), and while it does use a flour tortilla, it's more limited when it comes to fillings. Traditional types of burritos are likely to have only one or two fillings (beans and vegetables), rather than being packed full of ingredients. 

This is one Mexican dish that's taken on a life of its own, though, and you'll see that what is in a burrito varies from one place to the next. You'll find veggie and vegan burritos, seafood burritos, and burritos inspired by local ingredients in each country that offers it. 

What is an enchilada? 

Enchiladas are another popular Mexican food. Enchiladas, like burritos, consist of a large tortilla wrapped around different fillings and salsas. However, this is a simple enchilada definition that overlooks the many different ingredients that can potentially go into this Mexican dish, which makes it very different from a burrito. 

Enchiladas have a long history, but they've evolved gradually over time into the dish you find today. It's thought that enchiladas were eaten by the Aztecs before the Spanish arrived, although they wouldn't have too much resemblance to the enchiladas you'll be ordering at the restaurant today. 

Enchiladas consist of a large corn tortilla, which is used to hold in the different fillings. Like burritos, these fillings are usually a combination of rice, beans, meat, veggies, and lots of salsa. Enchiladas will be wrapped up, and then they will be covered in extra salsa and cheese before being served on a plate. This is one saucy dish, and you'll need a knife and fork to eat an enchilada style burrito! 

Enchilada vs. burrito: what's the difference?

Right, so you've got your cast iron tortilla press set up in the kitchen, and you're trying to decide between an enchilada and a burrito for dinner. 

So, what's in an enchilada that makes it so very different from a burrito? After all, aren't they both the same ingredients wrapped up in a tortilla? 

The major difference is in the type of tortilla and how the tortilla and the fillings are served. While both have similar ingredients and sauces, burritos almost always use flour tortillas, while enchiladas use corn tortillas. 

Enchiladas are smothered in sauce, while burritos are wrapped up and eaten with the hands. In restaurants, enchiladas are often served with more side dishes, and you'll find there might be extra rice and more salsa on the plate too. Burritos are almost always served straight up and eaten straight from the wrapper. 

Enchilada vs. burrito: which is better?

Now you know where burritos are from and what's in an enchilada, but is one really better than the other? We'll admit that both are similar, with fillings varying only slightly between the two dishes, but the differences, though few, are really what set these two apart.  

If you prefer flour tortillas, then go for a burrito. If you're into corn (which is the traditional Mexican way), then you should go for the enchiladas. 

Burrito sauce vs. enchilada sauce is often the dealbreaker, though. Do you prefer your tortillas smothered in sauce like an enchilada, or do you prefer your tortilla to be wrapped up nicely so it's easy to eat with your hands? 

Care to learn more about Mexican cuisine? Check out our chimichanga vs. burrito article or discover types of tacos

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