No matter the Mexican eatery you visit, there are some dishes that are guaranteed to make an appearance on the menu, the burrito being one of them. While the exact origin of this beloved food is unknown, the burrito made its U.S. debut in Los Angeles back in the 1930s. It’s continued to explode in popularity ever since.
Last December, Grubhub revealed that burritos were the most-ordered dish on the food delivery platform in 2022, noting that four million of them (including bowls) were ordered last year alone. This was a big jump for burritos, as the Mexican staple ranked as the eighth most-ordered dish on Grubhub in 2021.
Savory, filling, and incredibly versatile, burritos can be filled with all sorts of proteins, vegetables, and cheeses, inspiring restaurants and chains to put their own spin on the tortilla-wrapped dish. If you’re looking for a quick grab-and-go meal, there are a number of fast-food restaurants serving up some tempting burrito options.
We can’t talk about burritos without mentioning the behemoth that is Chipotle. With nearly 3,200 restaurants across the country, Chipotle has made a name for itself in this space, standing as one of the top-selling burrito chains in the country. As a customization-driven brand, Chipotle gives customers a choice of grilled meat or sofritas wrapped in a flour tortilla with rice, beans, and/or fajita veggies and a selection of toppings like cheese, guacamole, salsa, queso blanco, and sour cream.
Aside from offering variety, the chain is known for placing heightened importance on its ingredient sourcing. For instance, in 2017, Chipotle announced that it was the first national restaurant brand to not use any added colors, flavors, or preservatives in any of its ingredients. Customers can also take comfort in knowing that Chipotle’s meat is hormone-free, while its ingredients are never frozen.
Another major chain that cannot be ignored is Taco Bell. While “taco” is in the name, Taco Bell has found major success with its burrito offerings, serving nearly one billion burritos per year.
Thanks to the recent addition of its limited-time Volcano menu items, Taco Bell currently offers 10 different types of burritos. These range from simple varieties like the Bean Burrito and Beefy Melt Burrito to more deluxe choices like the Burrito Supreme, Grilled Cheese Burrito, and the Volcano Double Beef Burrito.
Recently coming in as the fifth largest Mexican chain in the country by sales, Moe’s has risen to the top of the fast-casual scene, opening more than 700 locations since its launch in 2000. Like Chipotle, Moe’s lets customers customize burritos to their liking. They can also opt for the chain’s Homewrecker Burrito, which is made with a protein of their choice, rice, beans, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole. Subtly (or not so subtly) poking fun at Chipotle, the chain highlights that “yes, guac is included.”
Last year, the restaurant chain implemented multiple ingredient upgrades, one of which was swapping in proteins that are free of artificial colors and flavors. The brand also changed its tortilla recipe to “include a fresher product with improved flavor and taste.”
Since launching as “Zuma Fresh Mexican Grill” in 1995, this fast-casual restaurant chain has been renamed and grown into a chain with more than 700 locations across the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Similar to Chipotle and Moe’s, Qdoba enables customers to create their own burritos. But unlike those two chains, it also has multiple pre-designed burrito options on the menu. Some of these include the Cholula Hot & Sweet Chicken Burrito, the Southwest Steak Burrito, and the new Mango Chicken Burrito.
As stated on Qdoba’s website, all of its meals are prepared in-house and by hand. The chain writes, “That’s right, no microwaves or can-openers in our kitchens – just quality flavors you can feel great about.”
This California-based fast-food chain, which stands as the second-largest Mexican quick-service restaurant, offers a plethora of choices for burrito fans. From classic options like the Del Beef Burrito to vegetarian items like the 8 Layer Veggie Burrito, Del Taco carries menu items geared toward all sorts of food preferences and dietary restrictions.
If you’re craving something even more adventurous, the chain has several “Epic Burritos,” such as its Epic Loaded Queso Burrito. This features a choice of chicken or carne asada, crinkle-cut fries, queso blanco, house-grated cheddar cheese, and pico de gallo wrapped in a warm oversized flour tortilla.
Unlike many fast-food chains that will use frozen chicken, El Pollo Loco prides itself on serving fresh, never frozen, fire-grilled chicken, which can be found in some of its burritos. There’s the Queso Blanco Burrito, which contains fire-grilled chicken, fresh handmade guacamole, pinto beans, rice, queso blanco, and house-made pico de gallo. Then, there’s the Chicken Avocado Burrito, which is filled with fire-grilled chicken, fresh avocado, pinto beans, pico de gallo, jack cheese, cabbage, fresh cilantro, and creamy cilantro dressing.
Beyond these burritos, the chain boasts five other options, including its Chicken Tinga Burrito and vegetarian-friendly BRC Burrito, which is made with pinto beans, rice, and shredded jack cheese.
If you’re a seafood fan, Rubio’s Coastal Grill is the spot for you. What started out as a walk-up taco stand in Mission Bay, San Diego, in 1983 has transformed into a fast-casual restaurant chain with nearly 160 locations across California, Arizona, and Nevada.
Beyond the typical burrito options like chicken and steak, Rubio’s offers multiple seafood burritos as well. Some of these include the Wild-Caught Mahi Mahi, Ancho Citrus Grilled Shrimp, and the Signature Beer-Battered Fish Burrito. The chain draws attention to its sustainability efforts, highlighting that its shrimp, salmon, and wild Alaska pollock is certified sustainable, while its mahi mahi is wild-caught from “responsible fisheries working toward their Marine Stewardship Council certification.”
Don’t count this taco spot out of the burrito game. This California-based restaurant chain, founded in 1988, now has 45 locations across six states and one in Tokyo. Setting itself apart from its competitors, Wahoo’s puts a spin on traditional Mexican fare by incorporating Brazilian and Asian flavors into its dishes. Among the chain’s menu offerings are multiple burritos, several of which come with a choice of protein. These include chicken breast, carnitas, carne asada, wild-caught wahoo, wild-caught salmon, Alaskan flounder, and shrimp.
While the menus can vary across locations, some of Wahoo’s options are the Banzai Burrito, Hawaiian Onion Ring Burrito, and Mr. Lee’s SCReaM’n Chicken Burrito, which consists of spicy chicken, rice, mushrooms, melted cheese, green sauce, and Mr. Lee’s spicy chili sauce.
Contrary to its name, this fast-casual restaurant chain, playfully nicknamed “Cal Tort,” was founded in Bethesda, Md., back in 1995. Currently operating 37 locations, mainly across the East coast, California Tortilla offers 10 different burritos. In addition to carrying tried-and-true options like the Classic, the chain sells several unique varieties like Crunchy BBQ Ranch, Bacon Chicken Club, and Korean BBQ.
Another distinctive feature of California Tortilla is its Wall of Flame—a selection of 75 hot sauces that enables customers to customize the spiciness of their meal. According to the chain, these range from mild to “tongue-melting.”