While generally consider a food item of Mexican origin, burritos have very much become an institution unto themselves at this point in human history. There are gourmet burritos, frozen burritos, breakfast burritos, and even dessert burritos if you are looking to indulge yourself.
But no matter how fancy or how simple a burrito is, there is one question that every human being needs to have answered: How do you reheat a burrito?
A burrito can be reheated in a number of simple and easy ways including the oven and microwave. Unlike many foods that are limited to the oven and microwave, a burrito’s small discrete components means it can be reheated on a skillet as well.
Reheating In The Oven
Reheating a burrito in the oven is the method of choice if you want the burrito to taste like it was made fresh. This method does take more time than the others however, so there is a bit of a trade-off there.
Start by preheating the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. When reheating any food, the ideal internal temperature (as determined by the United States Food and Drug Administration) is 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
For this reason, many foods will be reheated at temperatures as high as 350 degrees. This ensures that they are cooked all the way through. Burritos, however, are not that dense (as compared to, say, chicken). They are usually made out of a combination of smaller parts that make it easier for them to get heated up.
Once your oven is preheated, wrap your burrito in aluminum to help it heat up faster. Aluminum will conduct heat into the burrito, making the process much easier.
Put the burrito in the oven and keep it there for ten minutes. Check it after that much time and see if it is as hot and dry as you would like it to be. Ten minutes is the minimum for safety, but every minute after that is a matter of taste. Some people prefer their burritos with a small amount of grease, some prefer them bone dry.
After that, your burrito should be done and edible. Careful with the aluminum though, it will be hot!
Reheating In The Microwave
The microwave is the perfect choice for reheating a burrito in a hurry. Like with the oven however, there is a bit of a tradeoff involved. You give up a degree of control over the burrito’s quality, and in exchange you get the expediency to make it fast enough to take it on the go with you.
Similar to reheating a burrito in the oven, you will want to cover the burrito up before you actually begin heating it. It is very, very important, however, that you cover it in something other than aluminum. Putting aluminum in a microwave is a great way to destroy your microwave. Use a paper towel instead.
Next, heat it up for 45 seconds. You do not have to worry about whether it is on high or low heat. No one knows how to modify the heat level anyways, and articles like these only mention doing it to make it sound like there is some complexity to using a microwave to justify the existence of the article telling you how to use one.
Use a knife to open up the middle of the burrito to check and see if it is done. If it steams, the middle is probably hot, which means it is good to eat. Otherwise, throw it back in for another thirty seconds.
Reheating On The Skillet
This is a heating method for particularly flavorful burritos. Burritos that contain lots of meat and spices are preferable here. This is as compared to burritos with lots of vegetables and organic sauces, like guacamole.
If your burrito does contain things like guacamole, lettuce, or any other cold veggies, remove those first before trying to heat it. Trying to heat those on a skillet will make your burrito inedibly soggy.
Start by putting the skillet on a medium flame. Let it heat a little, then put some oil or butter on it. Water can also work, but oil and butter will affect the texture of the burrito less.
This method is a little high maintenance, as you have to flip the burrito every two minutes to make sure it cooks evenly. This will also let you check and see if it is getting too oily from the oil, butter, or water it is sitting in. If it is, then set the burrito aside, wash the pan out, and resume without it.
Like with the microwave method, cut the inside open to see if it steams. This will indicate to you whether or not it is prepared to be eaten. If it does steam though, it is ready to eat!
Are Burritos Safe To Reheat?
Burritos occupy a funny sort of place in the kingdom of frozen and reheated foods. They are not nearly as prone to bacteria as meats like chicken and beef. But at the same time, they will likely contain those kinds of meats. Luckily, there is a slight different in the meat that goes into a burrito.
Most burrito meat will be grilled all the way through before actually being added to the burrito. This means that it has a longer shelf life that meats like fried chicken or restaurant beef.
There is a science to how food spoils. A food contains bacteria, especially before it is cooked. This bacteria multiplies, and the more it multiplies the faster it multiplies. That means that if left uncared for, food can quickly reach a tipping point where no amount of cooking will help the food be edible.
Freezing food slows the growth of bacteria down. Not only that, but the bacteria that can survive the cold of a freezer can almost never survive the heat of an oven, microwave, or skillet. The thing is, raw meat, fried meat, cooked meat, and grilled meat all contain different kinds of bacteria.
The grilled meat of a burrito is more resistant to bacteria than the cooked meat of a restaurant-quality steak, for instance. This is because grilled meat usually has a charred outer layer that bacteria have trouble penetrating. This makes burritos pretty safe to freeze and reheat if they have meat in them.
If they have vegetables in them then they are actually even safer to freeze. Vegetables can have bacteria in or on them, but it is incredibly unlikely that it happens in such a way that you will have to worry about. Vegetables have more water in them, and bacteria find it nearly impossible to get into water once it is frozen.
Burritos are some of the most varied foods out there, and it is an absolute godsend that they can be reheated as easily as they can. Just remember to be careful with the meat, do not drown the tortilla in oil, and be gentle with the veggies. There are many kinds of burrito, and as many ways to make them, if you put in the time.