Chicken Burrito Bowls are one one of the best options when serving guests because of how versatile this recipe is and it’s enjoyed by all, even picky eaters. It starts with a bowl of fluffy rice, grilled chicken and then all kinds of complementary toppings.
Chicken Burrito Bowls is such a popular recipe, both homemade versions and as a takeout option. Who else likes Chipotle as much as our family? This is where I borrowed the idea for this recipe initially many years ago when we first started enjoying it at home with our family. Start with a bowl of rice (either white or brown, quinoa, couscous, barley, etc.), pair it with a protein, such as grilled chicken, or many others and finish it off with endless combinations of your favorite burrito toppings.
I think the versatility and all the fresh components of this recipe are what make it so irresistible. This recipe is so dependable that most people will enjoy it, even picky eaters, but there are also endless options of how you can serve it. I’m so excited to share how you can customize Burrito Bowls to fit most diet and taste preferences.
You know what else I appreciate about this recipe? It’s one of the best recipes to give new life to your leftovers and repurpose them into something exciting. This is exactly why I often purposefully make extra rice so I can make Burrito Bowls the next day as well as extra grilled chicken, slow cooker chicken, pulled pork or grilled steak.
Not only will you enjoy a delicious dinner, but you will save time and money when you use smart menu planning to cut out a lot of work by making your effort pay off when you make the different components once but then eat then at least twice.
Video of How To Make Chicken Burrito Bowls
Many of the components of this dinner are a compilation of several other stand alone recipes – the rice, grilled chicken, guacamole and pico de gallo. I will give you a list of ingredients that you will need to put it all together, but you can go to each post separately to get more detailed information about each of them.
Cilantro Lime Rice
- long grain white rice– I recommend basmati or jasmine rice, although you can also use brown rice (I’ll give substitution options for the recipe below)
- butter or oil
- boiling water
- cilantro – since we’re going with a cilantro lime theme, it will repeat several times in this recipe, but you can use parsley instead of the cilantro if you don’t like cilantro. Omit the cilantro and lime and simply make the rice on it’s own. Since there are so many fresh flavors, the recipe will have plenty of flavors, so the plain white rice will be delicious too.
- lime juice and zest – lemon juice will work as well.
Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken
(In the original recipe, I prefer using bone-in, skin on chicken thighs. However, for Burrito Bowls, it’s easier to serve when you use boneless/skinless chicken thighs, since it’s so much easier to cut and serve.)
- boneless skinless chicken thighs – chicken thighs are so juicy and tender, that I think they are the best option for this recipe. Chicken breast is also an option, as well as many other proteins.
- olive oil
- salt, ground black pepper
- poblano pepper – poblano peppers are less spicy, bur jalapeños will also work. Hatch Valley salsa from Trader Joe’s is one of my pantry staples, so I often use it instead, which taste delicious and saves so much time and effort too.
- cilantro – parsley is another alternative.
- lime – lemon is just as great.
- dry herbs and spices – you can use a mix of your favorites. The spices and seasonings that I recommend are granulated garlic and onion, cumin, ground coriander, dry parsley, thyme, chives, basil, oregano, etc. Any combinations that you like will work when seasoning the meat.
Toppings For Burrito Bowls:
- pico de gallo (fresh tomato salsa)
- corn (grilled on the cob along with the chicken and then cut off the cob)
- grated cheese
- sour cream
- Other options: beans, chickpeas, sautéed or grilled mushrooms, cabbage, jalapeños, tomatoes, avocados, grilled vegetables (bell peppers, onions, zucchini, etc.)
How To Assemble Chicken Burrito Bowls:
- Marinate the chicken. For the Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken, I put all the marinade ingredients into the blender and mix it until combined, then pour it over the boneless skinless chicken thighs. Mix to combine.
- Prepare all the toppings. Make the guacamole and pico de gallo, cut up the lettuce, shred the cheese, chop up the fresh herbs.
- Cook the rice. When the rice is cooked, add some fresh lime zest and juice and some freshly chopped cilantro. Mix to combine.
- Prep the corn. Drizzle the corn with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
- Grill the chicken and corn. Once cool enough to handle, cut the corn off the cobs and cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces.
- Assemble the burrito bowls. Rice on the bottom of the bowl, chicken and corn next, followed by your toppings of choice.
- To store leftovers, store all the different components separately in the refrigerator.
Substitutions For Long Grain White Rice:
Barley, quinoa and couscous are also great options. Cauliflower rice is something else you can use.
Other Protein Options:
- Rotisserie or any leftover chicken, steak or pork. Heat it up just until warm and serve it on top of a burrito bowl.
- Slow cooker barbecue pulled chicken. Using a slow cooker makes it so easy.
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork. The Instant Pot is another easy option that makes pulled pork much faster.
- Grilled Steak
- Grilled Beef Flank Steak
- Grilled Chicken Breast (bone in, skin on)
- Grilled Lemon and Herb Chicken Breast (boneless, skinless)
- Brown up any ground meat (beef, turkey) with some taco seasoning, add some onion and salsa, if you’d like for extra flavor.
Vegetarian Burrito Bowls:
Omit the meat and use all vegetarian and vegan toppings to make the Burrito Bowls to fit any diet.
Other Topping Ideas:
- Instead of making guacamole and pico de gallo, make it even easier by simply chopping up some fresh avocados and tomatoes.
- Make a quick batch of salsa from canned tomatoes in your blender or food processor.
- Canned beans or chickpeas – to add some flavor, sauté an onion in a skillet until tender, then add the canned beans, season to taste with salt, pepper, fresh lime juice and some taco seasoning.
- Fire Roasted Corn Salad – this is so delicious to serve with Burrito Bowls.
- Use canned corn or frozen corn to make it even easier. Warm it up in a skillet or microwave, if you’d like.
- Sautéed mushrooms – brown some mushrooms in a skillet.
- Grilled veggies and/or mushrooms. Bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, red onion, etc.
Meal Prep Tips:
Guacamole and Pico de gallo use the same ingredients, so you’ll save yourself some time by chopping all of them up at the same time.
Make extra rice and chicken when you’re already cooking them for other meals to plan for Burrito Bowls another night. Store the leftover rice and chicken in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and then simply reheat. You can also freeze extra rice and chicken for up to 3 months and then make burrito bowls on a busy weeknight.
You can also cut up the lettuce, make canned tomato salsa, grate the cheese and so much more in advance and then just reheat everything and assemble the burrito bowls.
Chicken Burrito Bowls
Chicken Burrito Bowls are one one of the best options when serving guests because of how versatile this recipe is. It starts with a bowl of fluffy rice, grilled chicken and then all kinds of complementary toppings.
- Prep Time: 35 mins
- Cook Time: 35 min
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Entree
Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken (recipe HERE)
use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead, otherwise follow the same recipe.
Cilantro Lime Rice (detailed recipe for how to cook rice HERE.)
2 cups long grain white rice
1 Tablespoon butter or oil
3 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1/2 Tablespoon lime juice
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
- 2–4 ears of corn, drizzled with oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, grilled and kernels cut off the cob (you can also use canned corn)
- 4–6 oz shredded cheese (Colby, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc.)
- a few handfuls of shredded lettuce
- sour cream
- Other optional toppings: cooked beans, chickpeas, jalapeño, sliced cabbage, sautéed mushrooms, grilled vegetables.)
- Marinate the chicken in the Cilantro Lime marinade. You can grill the chicken right away or let it marinate overnight.
- Prepare all the toppings. Make the guacamole and pico de gallo, or simply chop up a tomato and avocado. Cut up the lettuce, grate the cheese. Chop the fresh herbs.
- Drizzle the corn with oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook the rice. Add the cilantro and lime after the rice is cooked. Mix to combine.
- While the rice is cooking, grill the chicken and the corn. Grill the chicken until it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the center.
- When the chicken and corn are cool enough to handle, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and cut the corn off the cob.
- Assemble the burrito bowls. Place rice on the bottom of the bowl, followed with the chicken and corn and then all the other toppings of your choice.
Keywords: chicken burrito bowls, chipotle chicken burrito bowls, cilantro lime chicken and rice, how to make burrito bowls
This is an updated version of the Chicken Burrito Bowl recipe that was published originally on June 15, 2015.