Make your own Chipotle chicken burrito bowl | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

My homemade Chipotle chicken burrito bowl

Throughout the pandemic, we let our taste buds do what we couldn’t—travel. Luckily, many of our favorites from abroad have found a home in the Philippines. But not Chipotle.

Many times during the lockdown, I found myself playing a game: If I could teleport myself anywhere in the world, where would I go? And my answer was always Chipotle.

It sounds ridiculous but I really, really love Chipotle’s burrito bowls. I keep wishing someone would bring Chipotle here. People go to Chipotle for their burritos, quesadilla, tacos, but I always get the bowl. And I always order the same thing: chicken, cilantro-lime rice, pinto beans, black beans, pico de gallo, corn salsa, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, plus a side order of chips and guacamole.

I was missing Chipotle so much that a friend, taking pity on me, promised to bring home a bowl when she flew to Manila from Los Angeles. I got excited until we realized it would be impossible because she’d have to quarantine upon arrival. I wouldn’t be able to get the bowl unless she tossed it out of her hotel room window.

Frustrated, I asked myself something I should have a long time ago: Why don’t I just make it at home?

And so I did.

Copycat recipes

Step one was researching copycat recipes. There are plenty online. I studied many of them and decided to use a mix of recipes from and

Step two was buying ingredients. This was challenging, because a number of the fresh peppers required for the recipes aren’t readily available here. One pepper is absolutely crucial: chipotle in adobo sauce. While you won’t easily find this in your favorite supermarkets, you can order it online—I’ve bought cans from Mexiloco Phph on Facebook and also Builtamart on GrabMart. Another good source is

Step three was cooking, of course.

Chipotle’s chicken burrito bowl

There are multiple recipes you need to follow but trust me, it’s worth the effort.

You’d want to start by marinating your chicken so you can prep the rest of the elements of your bowl while it’s soaking up all the juices.

Chipotle Chicken

6 chicken thighs or 4 chicken breasts—make sure they’re boneless and skinless (I prefer breasts)

For the marinade: ½ medium yellow onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Juice of 1 lime

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 chipotle pepper

1 sauce from can of chipotle pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

½ c chicken broth

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade. The recipes dictate that you blend them until they’re smooth but I usually don’t. I just put them all in a bowl with the chicken.

Marinate the chicken for at least an hour but not more than four hours.

The marinade

Cook the chicken on a heated grill pan. Since I don’t have a grill pan, I just cook it on a nonstick pan. The pepper fumes can get pretty intense—a face shield could come in handy if it becomes too much to bear.

Let your chicken rest for five minutes before slicing it. The size is up to you, but I usually like the chicken pieces small so I can get a piece with each bite.

Cilantro-Lime Rice

You can make this with your rice (or grain) of choice; I like to use basmati. You can cook this in a pot or rice cooker.

2 c rice

1 bay leaf


1 tsp olive oil

2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced (if you hate the taste of cilantro, use parsley instead)

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Cook your rice on the stove or in a rice cooker with water, bay leaf, olive oil and salt.

Once the rice is cooked, remove bay leaf. Mix in the lime juice, lemon juice and cilantro. Season with salt.

Pico de gallo on the Chipotle chicken

Pico de Gallo

This fresh salsa recipe is so easy and delicious, you’ll find yourself whipping it up again and again even if you aren’t making a Chipotle bowl. I just use jarred jalapeño peppers.

½ kg fresh tomatoes, chopped ¼ c red onion, finely chopped

¼ c fresh cilantro, finely chopped

3 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp lime juice


Put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix and season with salt.

I told you it was easy. The best way to figure out if your salsa is perfect is to try it with a tortilla chip. Tortilla chips go great with the Chipotle bowl. I usually just grab a bag of Tostitos.

Corn Salsa

Another easy recipe that you can whip up for parties. Chipotle uses roasted poblano peppers in their version, but since I couldn’t find any, I just made the corn salsa without them. It still turned out great.

1 can whole kernel corn

¼ c red onion, finely chopped

2 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped

¼ c fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix and season with salt. Do the tortilla taste test with this as well.


Once you make this, you’ll find yourself making it again and again. Who knew making guacamole was this easy?

2 large avocados, halved and pitted

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp fresh lime juice

¼ c red onion, finely chopped

½ jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

SaltCombine avocado, lime juice and lemon juice in a bowl. Mash until smooth. Stir in onion, cilantro and jalapeño. Season with salt. Again, use a tortilla chip for tasting.

And finally, it’s time to build your Chipotle bowl.

Building the bowl

Chipotle chicken

Cilantro-lime rice

Pico de galloCorn salsa


Black beans or pinto beans or both (I buy the Cadia brand from Healthy Options and use them straight out of the can.)

Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, shredded

Lettuce, shredded

Sour cream

Start with a scoop of rice, then beans, then chicken. Add your pico de gallo and corn salsa. Top with lettuce, cheese, sour cream and guacamole.Dig in!

My tip: Don’t use a spoon or fork to eat your burrito bowl. Instead, use tortilla chips as your spoon.

When I first tried my homemade Chipotle chicken burrito bowl, I had to break my mother’s rule of never talking when your mouth is full to say, “Oh my god, it tastes just like Chipotle.”

And to make sure I wasn’t high on pepper fumes and had just deluded myself, I sent bowls to my Chipotle-loving cousins, who also said the same thing.

One of the things I love about this recipe is how customizable it is. No avocados available? Fine, skip the guac. You want no pico de gallo and more corn salsa, go ahead. Not in the mood for sour cream? Don’t add it. You want to use Quickmelt cheese instead? Go ahead, live your best life.

Also, I need to stress that I normally don’t like eating onions, but I really love them in this recipe. So even if you’re usually an onion hater, don’t be afraid to try it.

The best thing about this is you can make a big batch and then keep the ingredients in your fridge so you can assemble a bowl any time you have a hankering for it. I once spent an entire week eating nothing but my homemade Chipotle burrito bowls, and I have no regrets. INQ