This easy Chipotle Bowl Recipe will make you think you’re enjoying a meal from a popular restaurant! The best part? All the ingredients are simple and budget-friendly, and the whole dish takes just a few minutes to make. Quick, affordable, and delicious, you’ll want to eat this homemade chipotle bowl over any name-brand version any day of the week! 

What Is a Burrito Bowl? 

Imagine a classic burrito. You know, a soft tortilla shell wrapped around rice, beans, tomatoes, onions, protein, salsa, cheese, and even guacamole. 

Now, imagine that deconstructed and served in a bowl without the tortilla. That’s ultimately a burrito bowl! 

Not only are they delicious and easy to make with minimal prep time and a quick cook time, but burrito bowls are also completely customizable. That means you can add as much protein, vegetables, and/or salsa options as you wish and easily create a meal that will satisfy everyone around the dinner table. 

No matter how you customize your homemade chipotle bowl, you’ll have a quick, easy, and nutritious meal in minutes! 

A Homemade Chipotle Bowl So Good You’ll Never Go Back to Takeout

We don’t know about you, but we’re obsessed with Chipotle. Nutritious and packed with flavor, Chipotle is pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to fast food. 

Although we’d be happy to eat it every day, and we wouldn’t blame you if you did, it can get expensive! So, to save our wallets, we decided to make our own homemade Chipotle bowl recipe instead, and the results were even better than the original! 

These bowls are: 

  • Budget-friendly. 
  • Great for meal prep
  • Customizable to fit your flavor preferences and dietary needs. 
  • High-protein and full of fiber to keep you full. 
  • Excellent for feeding a hungry crowd.
Chopped chipotle chicken

What Is Usually In a Chipotle Bowl? 

The nice thing about creating a homemade burrito bowl is that you can add whatever you want to it. There’s no right or wrong answer! 

You’ll likely have some staples: brown rice, white rice, pinto beans, black beans, pico de gallo, salsa, or guacamole, to name a few. As far as protein, choose between beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, tilapia, tofu, or none at all! 

You can easily customize your burrito bowl to fit your dietary goals and needs as well as your flavor preferences. As a result, you can easily make your bowl pescetarian, vegetarian, or vegan.-friendly, meaning this recipe is great for everyone! 

Building a Homemade Chipotle Bowl Recipe

Once you learn how easy it is to make Chipotle bowls at home, you’ll never go back to the restaurant version again! Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Prepare the Chicken. Add the chipotle peppers, salt, and pepper to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse to combine. Place the chicken in a bowl, and pour the sauce on top. Cover, and marinate up to overnight. When you’re ready to cook, slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Heat it in a skillet over medium heat, flipping halfway through until it is cooked through and has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Cook the Rice. Combine the rice, water, bay leaves, olive oil, lime zest, and salt in a rice cooker, and set to cook. Once cooked, remove the bay leaf. Then, fluff the rice with a fork, and stir in the lime juice and cilantro. 
  3. Make the Salsa. While the rice and chicken are cooking, slice the produce for the salsa, and toss everything together in a bowl. 
  4. Assemble Your Bowl. When you’re ready to eat, arrange your rice in a bowl followed by the chicken and salsa. Then, add your favorite toppings, and enjoy! 

In just four easy steps you can make your own chipotle burrito bowl from scratch! This dish is great for a quick lunch, healthy dinner, or simple meal prep for the rest of the week.

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Flavor Variations

Although we find chicken to be a hearty protein, you can easily substitute it for other meats, plant-based meats, or tofu! There are endless possibilities for creating a burrito bowl you enjoy.

And feel free to switch up the additions and toppings mixing and matching different beans, greens, veggies, salsas, cheeses, queso, and whatever else you have on hand! 

Tips for the Best Flavor

  • Rinse the Starch Off the Rice. The easiest way to get fluffy rice is to rinse off the starch before cooking it. Starch binds the rice together. While great for sushi or poke bowls, you don’t want clumpy rice in your burrito bowl. Give the rice a good rinse to remove excess starch for separate, fluffy rice grains.
  • Don’t Forget Your Spices. No one wants bland, boring chicken in their bowl. To get the most out of your homemade chipotle bowl, add some seasonings! Salt, pepper, chipotle powder, and smoked paprika are all great spices for seasoning the meat but feel free to mix and match whatever you like best. 
  • Let the Chicken Marinate for 24 hours. You can also soak the chicken in your favorite marinade overnight for a richer flavor. The extra liquid also helps moisten the chicken as it cooks!

What Do You Serve This Homemade Chipotle Bowl With? 

Here are a few of our favorite sides to add to your meal:

  • Tortilla chips and guacamole
  • Tortilla chips and salsa
  • A side salad
  • Mexican salad
  • Mexican street corn (elotes)
  • Slow cooker queso 

Alternative Serving Suggestions

These homemade chipotle bowls are complete meals on their own, but feel free to get creative with how you serve them! For instance, some of our favorite options include: 

  • In a tortilla shell as a burrito. 
  • Over a bed of lettuce as a salad.
  • On top of tortilla chips for homemade nachos. 
  • With cheese in a quesadilla. 

Make Ahead and Storage Options

When stored in airtight containers, these homemade Chipotle chicken bowls will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to three days

For the best results, we recommend storing all the components in separate airtight containers to keep everything fresh. Then, all you have to do is assemble, reheat, and eat! 

Common Questions About Homemade Chipotle Bowls

What’s the difference between a bowl and a salad at Chipotle? 

A bowl uses rice as its base. A salad uses leaves and greens.

Are burrito bowls actually healthy? 

Yes! Chipotle bowls are made with high-quality protein, healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients making them super nutritious and filling. 

What’s the difference between a burrito bowl and a taco salad? 

While both are similar Mexican American dishes, there is a difference between burrito bowls and taco salads. A burrito bowl is a deconstructed burrito–all the ingredients found in a burrito–in a  bowl with rice as the base and no tortilla. Meanwhile, a taco salad may use similar proteins, salsas, and garnishes, but features a base of salad greens instead of rice.

Is a burrito bowl served hot or cold?

Burrito bowls are usually served hot so you can better enjoy the flavor combinations and textures of the meats, vegetables, and other ingredients. Believe us when we say the combination of warm protein, rice, and beans topped with cool salsa or guacamole leaves your mouth drooling. Of course, you can easily enjoy one of these bowls cold too!

More Chipotle-Inspired Recipes

Love Tex-Mex flavors as much as we do? Try out more of these easy Chipotle-inspired recipes! 

homemade chipotle bowl with chicken topped with cheese and black beans

Homemade Chipotle Bowls Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Marinade Time: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Skip the line and make dinner at home with this Homemade Chipotle Bowl recipe!

Ingredients  

Chicken Marinade

  • 1 6 ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 chicken thighs

Cilantro Lime Rice

  • 1 ½ cups long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice juice from about 1 lime
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 Bay leaf

Tomato Salsa

  • 2-3 medium fresh tomatoes stems removed
  • 1/2 medium red onion chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper stems, ribs, and seeds removed (less or more to taste)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Optional: black beans, queso fresco, Monterey Jack cheese for garnish

Instructions 

For the Chicken

  • In a food processor, add the chipotle peppers, salt, and pepper. Pulse until smooth.
    1 6 ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Place the chicken in a large bowl or sealable bag, and pour the marinade on top, coating it evenly. Refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
    8 chicken thighs
  • Heat a non-stick grill pan over medium heat. Spray with coconut oil spray. Place the chicken on the pan, and cook for 3-4 minutes on one side.
  • Flip over, and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.

For the Rice

  • Rice Cooker Option:
  • Add the rice, water, oil, lime zest, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon salt to a rice cooker. Set to cook.
    1 ½ cups long-grain white rice, 3 cups water, 1 ½ Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, Zest of 1 lime, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt
  • Fluff the rice with a fork, and transfer it to a large bowl.
  • Add the chopped cilantro and lime juice, stirring to combine. Season with extra salt and pepper, if desired.
    1/3 cup fresh cilantro, Juice of 1 lime, Black pepper to taste

Stovetop Option:

  • In a medium-sized saucepan, add the rice, water, bay leaf, lime zest, garlic powder, and olive oil. Bring the ingredients to a boil.
    1 Bay leaf
  • Cover the saucepan, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or as instructed by the package.
  • Uncover the pan, fluff the rice with a fork, and remove the bay leaf. Then, stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Season with extra salt and pepper, if desired.

For the Salsa

  • Using a sharp knife, chop the tomatoes, red onion, and jalapeños.
    2-3 medium fresh tomatoes, 1/2 medium red onion, 1 jalapeño pepper
  • Add all the ingredients to a large bowl, and toss to combine.

For the Bowls

  • Portion the rice into bowls.
  • Layer the chicken on top followed by the tomato salsa and any extra garnishes of choice. Enjoy warm!
    Optional: black beans, queso fresco, Monterey Jack cheese for garnish
  • Store ingredients in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Equipment

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 423kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 678mg | Potassium: 378mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 480IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Food Dolls

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