8 Scary Fast Food Burritos

By Vicki Santillano, DivineCaroline

Burritos have a lot of calories. That’s not exactly “news at eleven,” but even the most calorie-conscious among us would be surprised by how quickly the numbers add up between the flour-tortilla folds. Sure, we could cut out the shredded cheese and even the tortilla itself and save a few calories, but that’d be ignoring one important fact–life is short. Too short, in my opinion, to waste it worrying about the occasional foil-wrapped indulgence. (Unless “occasional” means multiple times a week, in which case you probably don’t give a flying fiesta bowl about calorie counts.) When it comes to burritos, I say go big or go home. And at these Mexican fast-food chains, it’s hard to do otherwise.

Qdoba lets patrons build their own burritos, offering a plethora of meat, bean, and sauce options. So, what if you order ground beef on a flour tortilla with cilantro-lime rice, black beans, lettuce, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, and roasted chile corn salsa and top it with 3-Cheese Queso sauce?

Oddly enough, if you replace the cheese sauce with Ancho Chile BBQ, it’s only a ten-calorie difference.

Photo: zarprey (cc)

The Green Burrito (Carl’s Jr.)
Its One Pound burritos are the most caloric items in the group, but the Ground Beef version–with sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, rice, refried beans, hot sauce, salsa, and jack and cheddar cheeses–outdoes the rest.

Somehow, the same thing at Red Burrito (the East Coast’s Carl’s Jr. outpost) clocks in at only 840 calories.

Like at Qdoba, diners can customize burritos. For example, you could get a flour tortilla filled with carnitas, cilantro-lime rice, pinto beans, corn salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and romaine.

Replacing the tortilla with three crispy taco shells actually loses 110 calories! Or you could also cut out the lettuce and save five. Every effort counts, right?

Photo: Skeptict

Taco Del Mar
The Mondo Burrito has ground beef, refried beans, rice, salsa, and cheese. Sounds basic, but it packs a shockingly salty punch.

Calories: 1,070; Total Fat: 36 g; Saturated Fat: 12.5; Sodium: 2,560 mg

Baja Fresh
You’d think the pork carnitas Bean & Cheese burrito would be the worst health offender, but charbroiled steak Bean & Cheese takes the cake.

Breaded Fish Bean & Cheese has the same amount of calories, but surprisingly, it boasts fewer grams of fat and significantly less salt.

Del Taco
For the truly hungry, Del Taco makes a hefty burrito on the cheap. The Macho Beef burrito comes with beans, red and green sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, cheddar cheese, onions, sour cream, and something called “taco meat” on the menu.

Lest we forget about the most important meal of the day, this chain has a Loaded Breakfast Burrito with eggs, sausage, diced ham, bacon, cheddar cheese, and zesty salsa. At least this one’s not as bad as Hardee’s former Country Breakfast burrito, which came with hash browns, sausage gravy, and 920 calories.

Taco Bell
If you’re looking for the most caloric bang for your buck, Taco Bell’s Grilled Stuft Burrito with ground beef, beans, seasoned rice, three cheeses (cheddar, pepper jack, and mozzarella), Pepper Jack sauce, and salsa has your name on it.

Compared with the rest of these chains, Taco Bell seems like the bastion of health.

What’s even scarier about this information is that it doesn’t even factor in the chips and salsa you invariably eat while waiting for the burrito! After looking at the alarming fat and sodium contents of some of these burrito behemoths, maybe going sans sour cream once in a while or cutting portions in half aren’t such bad ideas. Life may be short, but there’s no need to make it even shorter.


Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R12 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Elena Poensgen
Elena P2 years ago

Thank you :)

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan H2 years ago


Robert O.
Robert O3 years ago

Best thing to do: eat them in moderation (if you must) or better yet skip them altogether and make your own. Without all the processing and additives it's sure to be healthier no matter what ingredients you use or how you cook them.

Elena T.
Elena P3 years ago

Thank you :)

Bill and Katie D.

Make your own it cuts out a lot of the Unhealthy salt.
Even better make it chicken! Give up the sours cream! Fix it your way!

Sarah Cushing
Sarah Cushing5 years ago

chipoltle was the only one that looked good, though I only get the bowls...not that it's much better. :)

Karen F.
karen Friedman5 years ago

I too only eat at Chipotle , and then I eat like Heather. Healthy (outside of my home) eating to me is Loving Hut, I believe they are franchaised, but not sure, also they are concerned with the environment, and are all Vegan and even offer gluten free.

Sylvia W.
Sylvia W6 years ago

I simply cannot imagine who but a teenage boy (AKA hollow legged eating machine) or construction worker or similarly physically active person needs a one pound burrito (or could eat one)! Happily I make my own (occasional) burritos at home so I can control portions, salt and fat - and they taste great!

Marvela P.
Marvela P6 years ago

As with most things, moderation is the key. These giant burritos really could be cut in half and made into 2 meals. Most restaurants oversize their portions these days, too. My answer to that one is to only eat half and take half home for another meal to warm up for a lunch or dinner. So I think that the new legislation about posting the caloric level of their food is something that will help us all stay more aware of how many calories, fat grams, and sodium we are ingesting with some of these "grande" portions. If you don't see the nutrition information available or clearly posted, then you can always check their websites before going out to eat.

Moderation is the secret of survival.---Manly Hall