Difference Between Enchilada And Burrito Explained

Ever wondered what’s the difference between enchilada and burrito? Both these dishes are practically twins and have a very similar appearance and cooking method. So, why do they have different names? Well, as with burritos and chimichangas, there are subtle differences that set burrito and enchilada apart.

These are Mexican foods that have gained quite a bit of fame in America and throughout the world. However, much like the pizza, the American version of the enchilada and burrito is somewhat different from the original Mexican recipe. 

It’s not way too far off, but it certainly is different. The fillings and texture get a change to fit the American preferences and palate. If you’ve had burritos and enchiladas and aren’t from Mexico, there’s a good chance you’ve had them American-style. So, for the most part, the foods we discuss here are based on American cuisine, with some references to their original Mexican heritage.

Enchilada VS Burrito – The Showdown

Why do these very similar foods have different names? Well, they do have their differences. Let’s take a glance at what these famous foods are and how they differ from each other.

The Ingredients And Preparation

Typically, a burrito has its ingredients wrapped in a four tortilla. There are several choices for these ingredients, though the popular ones are guacamole, beans, rice, meat, and a few others.

Enchiladas follow the same basic process. However, the tortilla here is made from corn and can be thicker than the flour tortilla used for burritos. 

Additionally, the filling focuses on meat and some chili, though it is technically possible to use any kind of filling you like. In TexMex cuisine, enchilada filling usually avoids the use of chilies, leaving it for the sauce. 

Tortillas used for enchiladas are usually smaller than those used for burritos. As such, an enchilada is smaller than a burrito.

Serving And Texture Of These Foods

The key to the differences between burritos and enchiladas is the serving style. Burritos are served in a wrapper and ready to eat right away. You can walk away while taking bites off your burrito.

Enchiladas require a more formal serving. They’re served on a plate and smothered with some sauces, usually, chili sauce. Notably, this is where TexMex cuisine adds the chili sauce gravy to the enchilada giving it the spicy and hot flavor it needs.

You’ll need a fork, knife, and maybe a spoon to eat enchiladas. The serving also includes side dishes. This role is usually filled by rice, though other foods can be used too.

As for the texture, a burrito is dry and wrapped in a flour tortilla. Enchiladas use a corn tortilla, which gives them a different color and texture. Besides, enchiladas are served smothered in sauce, so the texture of the serving is remarkably different from burritos.

What Is A Burrito?

The commonly available burrito includes a rich filling made with several ingredients wrapped in a flour tortilla. The filling can include several ingredients like rice, veggies, beans, guacamole, cheese, salsa, and meat. This is also where the American burrito departs from the conventional Mexican burrito. The latter usually includes 1-2 fillings and is relatively smaller.

What Is An Enchilada?

Enchiladas are similar to burritos, as in they include a tortilla wrapping food ingredients. However, enchiladas use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas, which can be a point of visual difference between these two foods.

Generally, enchiladas are eaten using a fork and knife. The conventional serving is on a plate where the enchilada is soaked in delicious sauce. While it is possible to stuff the enchilada with any filling you prefer, the conventional filling is usually meat.

The sauce used with enchiladas is usually a chili sauce. In fact, the word enchilada literally means food “seasoned with chili”. And they do bring the culinary goodness of chili to the forefront. 

Interestingly, the Tex-Mex version of enchilada avoids the use of chili in making the food. The idea is to create a non-spicy enchilada. However, in no way does this mean that Tex Mex cuisine ignores the chili for this food. 

Enchiladas end up being smothered by a wonderfully thick and flavorful chili gravy sauce that fills up the chili and spice requirements. Of course, those who prefer the non-spicy route can choose to pick other sauces or condiments.

It’s worth noting that enchiladas are usually smaller and thinner in size as compared to burritos. You could (theoretically) fit 2-3 enchiladas inside a burrito tortilla!

Enchiladas And Burritos – The Full Wrap

Twins as they are, as we see, enchiladas and burritos have a significant difference. While there is a theoretical difference between their fillings, they can actually be similar. The biggest difference between enchilada and burrito lies in their serving and use of tortilla flour. Both of them are delicious, so make it a point to enjoy them if you haven’t already!

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