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One of the most impactful events to grip my tiny college town was the opening of Chipotle. Every bite of this homemade chicken Burrito Bowl recipe takes me back to those glorious moments in a strip mall four miles from campus. This easy homemade version is even better (and better for you!).

Avocado slices on top of a chipotle burrito bowl

Why You’ll Love This Burrito Bowl Recipe

  • It’s Better than a Burrito. Only a person with a mouth wide enough to swallow a bowling ball could bite all the way through a Chipotle burrito. That leaves most of us nibbling separate bites of cold sour cream and hot beans—womp womp. A burrito bowl, on the other hand, lets you get a little bit of everything in each bite.
  • You Can Have It Your Way. Chipotle has a lot of burrito bowl options, but you have way more when you DIY it. Want to add black olives? Use leftover Instant Pot Pulled Pork instead of chicken? Swap in vegan cheese? The world is your oyster, friends.
  • Ideal for Making in Advance. As an additional bonus, this recipe is excellent for healthy meal prep, whether it’s for an effortless weeknight dinner or satisfying work week lunch. See below for tips.
  • Homemade Burrito Bowls Are a Healthy Fast Food Alternative. While Chipotle is one of the better fast food options out there, to call a burrito bowl from Chipotle “healthy” can be a stretch, especially when you factor in toppings (and we know Taco Bell burrito bowls are not typically associated with health). This homemade burrito bowl, however, delivers a total nutritional package that’s slimmer on calories without sacrificing an ounce of flavor.
  • Cost Effective. A burrito bowl from a restaurant costs between $8 and $10, depending upon the protein you choose. Factor in extra toppings and multiply if you are feeding a family, and it adds up quickly. Making your burrito bowl at home offers a far more friendly price point per serving.
A bowl of healthy burrito ingredients

5 Star Review

“I am seriously obsessedddddd with these bowls! These could easily put Chipotle outta business. Awesome!”
-Sarah

How to Make a Burrito Bowl

The Ingredients

  • Quinoa. The base of our wholesome chicken burrito bowl is my healthy spin on Chipotle’s signature cilantro lime rice. Quinoa offers far more fiber and protein than white rice.

Substitution Tip

If you prefer rice, you can use cooked white rice or brown rice in this recipe in place of the quinoa. Cooked farro or another hearty whole grain of your choice would be tasty as well.

  • Chicken Breast. A delicious lean protein choice for this burrito bowl. It’s seasoned and grilled to perfection.
  • Lime. Lime juice adds flavor and acidity to both the quinoa and the chicken. I also used the lime zest on the chicken breasts.
  • Red Onion. Crisp and lively for a burrito bowl.
  • Cilantro. Added to our quinoa to mimic the beloved Chipotle cilantro lime rice.
  • Black Beans. Black beans help make this bowl ultra satisfying and give it a distinct southwest flair. If pinto beans are your go-to at Chipotle, feel free to use those instead.
  • Corn. Sweet, juicy corn is a must-have in our burrito bowls. Either canned, fresh, or frozen corn will work great.
  • Cherry Tomatoes. Add a burst of sweetness to every bite.
  • Jalapeño. For a touch of heat.
  • The Dressing. A mixture of olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper, the dressing for these bowls is bright, light, and full of warm spices.
  • Avocado. Because at home, we do not get charged extra. Pile it on for the perfect burrito bowl. (Or add Homemade Guacamole instead!)
Red onion, tomato, corn, green pepper, and black beans on a plate

The Directions

  1. Prepare. Pound the chicken breasts.
Two chicken breasts in a glass container
  1. Season. Rub the oil, spices, lime zest, and juice on the chicken. Let it rest in the marinade.
  2. Make the Quinoa. Cook the quinoa, then fluff it with a fork.
Sauce in a bowl
  1. Mix the Dressing. Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
Herbs and quinoa in a bowl
  1. Finish the Quinoa. Toss the dressing with the quinoa and cilantro.
Two chicken breasts on a plate
  1. Cook the Chicken. Grill the chicken over medium-high heat.
Chicken and quinoa being stirred in a bowl
  1. Cut the Chicken. Dice the chicken, then add it to the quinoa with the red onion.
Ingredients being stirred for a burrito bowl
  1. Combine. Stir the beans, corn, tomatoes, and jalapeño into the mixture. Serve with desired toppings. ENJOY!
Healthy chipotle bowl with beans

Recipe Variations

  • Chicken and Rice Burrito Bowl. If you prefer using rice in your burrito bowl, swap in either long grain white or brown rice for the quinoa in this recipe.
  • Chipotle Steak Burrito Bowl. Swap the chicken for diced pieces of cooked steak. (Grilled Flank Steak would be excellent here!)
  • Chipotle Vegetarian Bowl. Omit the chicken, or add in pieces of cooked and crumbled tofu, or my Air Fryer Tofu.
  • Low Carb Burrito Bowl. Swap the quinoa for cauliflower rice (cilantro-lime cauliflower rice would be scrumptious) or romaine lettuce.
  • Taco-Style Burrito Bowl. Love old-school tacos? Use ground beef or ground turkey to make seasoned taco meat and add this to your burrito bowls instead of grilled chicken.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm burrito bowls in a large skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

Grill the chicken, cook the quinoa, chop the jalapeño, tomatoes, and red onion, and whisk the dressing ingredients together up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate each component in a separate container until you’re ready to combine.

Easy chipotle burrito bowl with avocado

Leftover Ideas

Turn leftovers into a true burrito by wrapping them in a tortilla. This burrito bowl recipe would also be tasty served over a bed of lettuce for a hearty salad (Taco Salad-style), or you can scoop up leftovers with tortilla chips.

What to Serve with Burrito Bowls

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Make Sure the Quinoa Is Dry. If it’s wet, it won’t be fluffy—and all the flavors you add to it will be watered down. You can continue cooking the quinoa uncovered until the liquid cooks off if you need to.
  • Rinse the Beans Well. The liquid in the can has a distinctive smell and flavor that can distract from everything else going on in the recipe. Place the beans in a sieve and rinse them until the water runs clear and they’re no longer foamy.
  • Use Gloves With the Jalapeño. Jalapeños are relatively mild compared to other hot peppers, but every once in a while, you get one that’s extra spicy and your hands will burn for a day or two afterwards. Don’t risk it! Wear a pair of disposable latex gloves to be safe.
A bowl of healthy burrito ingredients

Burrito Bowl

4.80 from 35 votes
This homemade burrito bowl recipe with grilled chicken tastes like Chipotle, but even better! An easy, healthy dish perfect for meal prep.

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

For the Burrito Bowls:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts about 1 pound
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lime zest and juice
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus additional for serving
  • 1 (14-ounce) can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14-ounce) can corn drained, or 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn (thawed if frozen)
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes about 1 pint
  • 1 jalapeño seeded and diced

For the Dressing:

For Serving (optional):


Instructions
 

  • Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board with some space between and cover with a large piece of plastic wrap. With a mallet, lightly pound the meat to an even thickness so. Place in a shallow dish.
  • Top the chicken with the olive oil, salt, pepper, lime zest, and lime juice. Rub and turn to coat. Let rest at least 15 minutes while you prep the other ingredients or refrigerate for up to 8 hours (let stand at room temperature at least 10 minutes prior to cooking). Preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium high (about 425 to 450°F).
  • Place the red onion in a small bowl and cover with water (this takes off some of the red onion's bite while preserving its flavor. You can skip if you like raw red onion just as it is). Set aside.
  • Prepare the quinoa according to package directions. Once cooked, fluff with a fork, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • To make the dressing, in a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, salt, cayenne, and black pepper.
  • Drizzle over the warm quinoa, then add cilantro, and toss to combine.
  • Lightly oil the grill. Grill the chicken until completely cooked through and the temperature on an instant read thermometer reads 160 to 165℉, about 8 to 12 minutes total, flipping once or twice throughout. The amount of time you need will vary based on the size and thickness of each breast. Remove to a plate, cover, and let rest 5 minutes.
  • Cut into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl with the quinoa.
  • Drain the red onion, then add to the bowl with the quinoa.
  • Gently stir in the black beans, corn, tomato, and jalapeno. Serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and any desired toppings.

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm burrito bowls in a large skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6), without toppingsCalories: 385kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 19gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 24mgPotassium: 665mgFiber: 8gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 440IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 3mg

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Best Burrito Bowl Toppings?

We love topping our burrito bowl recipe with pico de gallo, shredded cheese, avocado, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), salsa, or tortilla strips. If you like things spicy, a little hot sauce is great too!

Can I Use Chicken Thighs instead of Chicken Breast?

I’ve only made this recipe with chicken breasts, but you could swap chicken thighs if that’s what you have on hand. Since the cook time may differ a little, I suggest using an instant read thermometer to know when they’re cooked through.

What Cheese Is Used in Burrito Bowls?

While cheese is an optional addition to this recipe, you can certainly pile it on as desired. You can use shredded Monterey Jack, cheddar cheese, pepper jack, or queso blanco. I think Vegan Queso would also be a tasty option.

What’s Healthier, a Burrito or Bowl?

A burrito bowl is healthier simply by virtue of eliminating the tortilla. Not only are big burrito tortillas high in calories, they’re also made with white flour, which is low in fiber and nutrients.

Are Burrito Bowls Good Cold?

If you have leftovers, you can totally eat them cold like a salad.

More Healthy Bowl Recipes

You’ll also love these other healthy and fantastic bowl recipes:

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

4.80 from 35 votes (20 ratings without comment)

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56 Comments

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  1. This looks delicious! I’m planning on making it this weekend! Could this be prepared in a casserole dish and heated the next day? Trying to make all my meals over the weekend for easy reheating during the week. Thanks!

    1. Hi Elizabeth! I haven’t prepped it that way myself, but I think you could try it. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  2. I made this week and loved it! I think next time I will add more chicken. The only change I made this week was to use some easy pickled onions. I chopped the onions, placed them in a jar, then boiled a 50/50 water and white vinegar mixture and poured it into the jar. Wait 2hrs until they’re vibrant pink and put on top of the bowl. It added an amazing tanginess!4 stars

  3. This was fantastic! I love Chipotle bowls and usually get them with brown rice. I didn’t miss the rice at all! The quinoa was perfect. I added pico and guac to the topping. Your recipes are always amazing!5 stars

  4. today we did the copycat chipotle beef fajita bowls! Wow! I bought a 2.5# skirt steak, marinated it with soy sauce, siracha and seasonings. I then sauteed separately several sliced bell peppers, sliced onions, mushrooms. We also had shredded cheese, black beans, diced jalapeno slices, I also made homemade cilantro/lime brown rice. We added salsa, chopped raw red cabbage and crushed tortilla chips along with light sour cream on top with chopped tomatoes!! Amazing!! Since we did all this, we cooked and prepped enough for 3 days of meals!! We did bowls tonight, will do soft tacos another time along with hard tacos and then maybe quesidallas. I luv copycat chipotle. We trying to eat healthier. I have made this previously with grilled chicken breasts. Cook once, eat 3 days & not eat out!! yay!5 stars

  5. This is my favorite!
    I do it without the quinoa (i don’t really like it), and also have done it with lettuce. It tastes soooo delicious! My boyfriend always wants me to prepare this specific recipe since he loved it too.

  6. Oh my gosh, Erin—THANK YOU. I wish I could post a picture of my husband’s face right now. He can’t stop talking about it…and I LOVE it, too. So so easy…affordable…flavorful…and nutritious. It’s just bursting with fresh, healthy flavors and the variety of textures is delightful. I printed this recipe a while ago and am so glad I finally made it an hour ago. AMAZING. Not just to eat, but also the smells as I prepped and cooked. Will make again and again and can’t wait to share recipe with friends and serve to guests. Big thanks from us in Northern MN. -Amy & Steve5 stars

  7. I made this Sunday morning for work lunch meal prep. I ate a bowl for breakfast and it was the highlight of my weekend. The lime zest on the chicken and the dressing really make this recipe top notch. I kept the dressing separate and put all the ingredients next to each other in the containers instead of mixing it all together. I am so impressed- this is actually better than Chipotle, healthier and cheaper! Life changing! I’ll keep you posted about meal prep details. Thank you 🙏5 stars

    1. Hi! I stopped including sodium info because it can vary so much depending upon what products you used, and I found a lot of conflicting info online, so ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it because sometimes it wasn’t even in the ballpark. If you’d like to calculate it yourself, there are lots of free tools online (myfitnesspal.com is popular). I hope that helps!

  8. This is one of my favorite family recipes! There are always leftovers and my kids love to take it to school the next day! I prefer to make it with white rice and top it with sour cream and guacamole5 stars

  9. This is our 3rd time making this in the last few weeks. Great flavors and huge bonus- easy and quick to make! Also makes great leftovers. Our only change has been using tenderloins and cooking stovetop. Thank you for this delicious recipe!5 stars

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