The Easiest Way To Elevate Burritos Using 2 Canned Ingredients

Burritos are likely a northern Mexican invention with such overwhelming popularity in the US that every southwestern state lays claim to a proprietary recipe, from Californian Mission-style burritos to the disputed chimichangas. The basis of the modern-day burrito's appeal is not just its massive size but also its customizability; you can stuff an oversized flour tortilla with as many or as few ingredients as possible before neatly wrapping it into a portable meal.

If you're making burritos at home, the two canned ingredients that will streamline and elevate your burritos are black beans and chipotles. Both are fundamental Mexican ingredients, and you can find them anywhere from local grocery stores to the canned section in a gas station convenience store. Black beans have a more flavorful taste and hold their shape better than pinto beans, adding both depth of flavor and texture to a burrito. While they may look like a unique chili variety, chipotle peppers are simply smoked jalapenos. Canned chipotles are rehydrated and marinated in adobo sauce, a mixture of tomato paste, onions, vinegar, and ancho chilies. The result is a sweet, smokey, spicy, and saucy ingredient that pairs well with the heartiness and rich flavor of the black beans.

Because they're both canned ingredients, they'll save you the time and effort of making all your fillings from scratch. They need little elaboration or preparation and will elevate any other burrito filling you have in mind, from grilled meats and vegetables to cheese and guacamole.

How to add black beans and chipotles to your burrito

Canned chipotles in adobo come as whole chilies in sauce, but some brands also sell blended chipotle sauce. Both types of chipotles are perfect for a burrito. The best way to add whole chipotles to your burrito is by roughly dicing them for more equal dispersal throughout the burrito. While vinegar and tomato paste help neutralize these chilies' heat, there are a few hacks to further tame the heat; you can remove the pepper ribs from the whole chipotles before dicing them, or you can blend the chipotles with fresh tomatoes and a sugar-based sweetener of your choice.

Canned black beans come in whole, refried, or black bean soup varieties. If you use whole black beans, you should drain and rinse the beans of their brine before adding them to your burrito. Refried beans and black bean soup are both more flavorful as they've been pre-seasoned with spices and fat. They also have creamier textures — though the soup may be best added to a starch, like rice, to soak up some of the liquid.

If you want more control of your burrito's flavor profile and like the mouthfeel of individual beans, whole black beans are a great option. Refried beans are creamier and richer due to their oil content while black bean soup has a variable consistency with a flavorful yet thin broth. If you use black bean soup, you can reduce it over the stove or simply let solid ingredients like rice, guacamole, and melted cheese absorb the flavorful broth to save you the messy drip.