Shrimp Chimichanga

This shrimp chimichanga dish is a treat - the salsa is refreshing, the tortilla is crispy, and the juicy shrimp are delectable! It’s an easy meal to prepare and can also be made as an appetizer for a bigger feast. We will pan-fry the chimichangas in this recipe, but you can use an air fryer as a healthier alternative.

Crispy, golden-brown shrimp chimichangas stacked on a plate served with limes and salsa.

Mexican cuisine

Mexican cuisine is vibrant, spicy, and all-around delicious! Mexican food incorporates fresh staples, such as corn, avocados, tomatoes, agave, beans, and chili peppers. Some well-known dishes include tacos, burritos, and enchiladas.

The chimichanga’s origin is Mexican cuisine, but this is a typical Tex-Mex dish. Chimichangas are usually served as an appetizer and are made with machaca or dried meat, such as spicy pork or beef. This is an alternative recipe made with shrimp.


This salsa is quick, easy to whip up, and delicious. It can be used in various recipes, such as with nachos, wraps, and breakfast eggs, and it makes for a great side in several dishes. It is a pantry staple and keeps well for five days if refrigerated in an airtight container.

We add chili to the salsa, but you can adjust the amount of chili depending on your spice preference. The salsa also works well if there is no chili added to it!

We suggest you let the salsa sit for at least 30 minutes before use because this helps bring out the ingredients’ flavor. You can even make the salsa the night before to save time while preparing the chimichangas.

Shrimp Marinade

In this recipe, we marinate the shrimp for roughly 30 min. This packs the shrimp with garlic, herbs, and spices flavor. We recommend that you take the time to marinate the shrimp. The marinade can also be prepared the night before to save time when cooking the chimichangas.

Pan fry vs air fry

We chose to pan fry the shrimp chimichangas in a non-stick frying pan to get an extra-crispy result.

If you have an air fryer, you can also air fry the tortillas as a healthier method. Pan-frying makes the tortillas crispier, but air frying is a strong contender!

To air fry the tortillas, place the filled tortillas in the air fryer and brush with neutral-flavored oil, such as vegetable oil. Cook the filled tortillas in the air fryer at 390°F for roughly 12 min or until golden brown and crispy.

Stacked shrimp chimichangas garnished with cilantro and served with corn.

Dips & sides

Chimichangas pair well with dips, and sticking to the Tex-Mex theme, here are some go-to sauces to serve;

  • Guacamole: A creamy and rich dip made from ripe avocados, often mixed with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.
  • Salsa: Choose from various salsas, like fresh tomato salsa, sweet mango, or pineapple salsa for a tropical twist.
  • Sour cream or spicy crema: A dollop of cool sour cream or a drizzle of spicy crema can add a creamy texture and balance the flavors.

We think the chimichanga is pretty filling by itself, but if you’re looking for more of a spread, try out these sides;

  • Mexican or Spanish rice: A flavorful and colorful side dish seasoned with tomatoes, garlic, and spices, adding a hearty element to the meal.
  • Cilantro lime rice: This zesty and fresh rice variety, infused with the tang of lime and the freshness of cilantro, complements shrimp flavors.
  • Refried beans: Creamy and rich, these beans are cooked and mashed, often flavored with onions and spices, providing a smooth texture.
  • Black beans: Simple yet flavorful, either seasoned and cooked or served as a cold salad with herbs and spices, adding a wholesome touch.
  • Fresh green salad: A light and crunchy assortment of greens, perhaps with tomatoes, cucumbers, and a tangy dressing, offering a refreshing contrast.
  • Avocado or corn salad: Featuring ripe avocados or sweet corn, often mixed with onions, peppers, and a zesty dressing, this salad adds a creamy or sweet crunch.
  • Grilled or sautéed peppers & onions: Adding a sweet and smoky flavor, perfect for complementing the shrimp in the chimichangas.
  • Roasted corn on the cob: Sweet, smoky, and a bit charred, this side adds a great texture and taste, enhancing the overall meal.

Other recipes

We love different Tex-Mex recipes, and if you do too, here are some recommendations for you to try;

Two golden-brown shrimp chimichangas served on a plate with slaw, garnished with cilantro and salsa and lime wedges in the background.

Can I air fry chimichangas?

Yes! The chimichangas come out crispier when fried in a pan, but if you’re looking for a healthier option, then air fried chimichangas are a great alternative. Place the filled tortillas in the air fryer, brush neutral-flavored oil on the tortilla, set the air fryer to 390 °F, and cook for roughly 12 min.

How long can I store the salsa in the fridge?

The salsa can be stored in the fridge for 5 days in an air-tight container.

What can I serve with shrimp chimichanga?

When serving chimichanga, add some extra salsa on the side, guacamole, or sour cream. You could also serve a light salad and some chopped tomatoes.

Can I use the chimichanga salsa with other dishes?

Yes! You can use the salsa with many different snacks and dishes, such as nachos, fresh wraps, or quesadillas.

How much chili should I use in the salsa?

½ teaspoon crushed chilies 🌶🌶 ¼ teaspoon crushed chilies 🌶 Remember: this dish works well without spice so leave out the crushed chilies if you prefer!

Can I use frozen shrimp?

Yes! Swap out fresh shrimp for frozen shrimp and follow the recipe instructions just the same. The cooking time may increase when pan-frying the shrimp.

Can I use prawns instead of shrimp?

Yes! Swap out the shrimp for prawns and follow the steps in the recipe below. Cook until both sides of the shrimp or prawn gain color.

Can I cook shrimp chimichanga in the oven?

Cooking the chimichangas in the oven is a great way to reduce the calories. We recommend brushing a neutral-flavored oil over the chimichangas and then cooking at 400°F for 20 - 25 min.

Shrimp Chimichanga

This shrimp chimichanga dish is a treat - the salsa is refreshing, the tortilla is crispy and the juicy shrimp are delectable! It’s an easy meal to prepare and it can also be made as an appetizer for a bigger feast.



15 mins

5 mins

20 mins

379 kcal

Crispy, golden-brown shrimp chimichangas stacked on a plate served with limes and salsa.


  • 14 ounces chopped tomatoes

  • handful roughly chopped cilantro

  • 4 teaspoons lime juice

  • 2 whole roughly chopped red chilies

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ small minced red onion

  • 4 cloves minced garlic

  • ½ teaspoon crushed chili

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • handful roughly chopped parsley

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 2 teaspoon olive oil

  • 6½ ounces peeled shrimp

  • 4 flour tortillas

  • ½ cup grated sharp cheddar


  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the salsa in a bowl and let it stand for at least 30 minutes.

  2. Mix all of the ingredients for the marinade and add 6½ ounces of shrimp. Mix well so that all the shrimp are covered in marinade. Let this sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

  3. When the shrimp have finished marinating, put a pan on medium heat (approximately 200°F) and add some marinade to the pan. Add shrimp to the pan (the shrimp should sizzle when they touch the pan). Cook the shrimp until they gain color on both sides (approximately 3 minutes cook time on each side).

  4. To assemble the tortillas, lay the tortilla flat, spread a tablespoon of salsa across the tortilla, add around 6-9 shrimp over the salsa and then sprinkle some cheese over the shrimp. Fold the right and left sides of the tortilla and then roll the bottom upwards to close it.

  5. Bring a pan or a skillet of oil to temperature (approximately 350°F). Add the filled tortilla to the pan and fry for approximately 10 - 15 seconds on each side (until golden brown).

  6. Serve the chimichangas with sour cream, salsa or guacamole if desired.


  • Add the shrimp clockwise to the pan. Flip the shrimp in the correct clockwise order for a consistent cook across all the shrimp.

  • If in doubt about the temperature of the oil when frying the chimichangas, add a small piece of plain tortilla in the oil to check the cook. If you’re happy with the crisp of the tortilla, then the filled tortilla is ready to go in the oil.


  1. Calories 379 kcal | 
  2. Carbohydrate Content 41.3 g | 
  3. Cholesterol Content 90.5 mg | 
  4. Fat Content 16.3 g | 
  5. Fiber Content 3.2 g | 
  6. Protein Content 19.8 g | 
  7. Serving Size 1 portion | 
  8. Sodium Content 939.2 mg | 
  9. Sugar Content 9.2 g | 

About the author

Emma Donin is the culinary maestro behind this blog that serves as a melting pot of global cuisines and gastronomic adventures. Her culinary journey began in her grandmother's kitchen, where she learned the fundamentals of cooking and the importance of using fresh, quality ingredients.

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