UPDATE: This has been one of my most popular recipes since I first published it back in 2015. It’s also perhaps the most controversial. Controversial? I thought I had it rough with the Forgotten Once Jambalaya recipe with the use of chicken breast, but with this recipe, it was the addition of beans. I 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. Have you tried to make a copycat version of the chilito? Share with us. I’d love to try it.
Below is the original post.
My formative years where in the ’90’s. 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, who ever 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 then 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 served it, I was going to keep buying it.
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 to 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, crack up the Pearl Jam, put on reruns of Friends, and enjoy this recipe!
Pour in the water and make sure that the seasoning is well mixed in and dissolved.
Add the refried beans and tomato paste to the pot and stir until smooth and everything is well combined.
Slowly add the shredded cheese to the pot. Keep folding the cheese in until it has all melted.
Let the chili cheese sauce slowly simmer for about 10 minutes. Keep stirring so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
Run each of the tortillas under 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.
Pull one end up to the center to cover the sauce.
Tuck the ends of the tortilla in.
Pull the opposite end down to make a finished burrito. Repeat until all the burritos are made.
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!
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 tbsp water
1 can refried beans
1 can tomato paste
1-1/2 lbs mild cheddar cheese
10-inch flour tortillas
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.
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.
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.
Run each of the tortillas under faucet to wet. Place the tortillas on a microwave safe plate and microwave them for 1 minute.
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!
Tell us what you think of this recipe in the comments below.
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