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. In this recipe, we will pan fry the chimichangas, but you can use an air fryer as a healthier alternative.

shrimp chimichanga plated with sour cream 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.

shrimp chimichanga photographed from above, plated with salsa and sour cream


This salsa is quick and easy to whip up and it’s delicious. It can be used in an array of recipes, such as with nachos, wraps, breakfast eggs, and it makes for a great side in several dishes. It is a pantry staple and keeps well for 5 days in the fridge.

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

freshly made salsa in a bowl

Shrimp Marinade

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

raw shrimp marinating in a bowl

Pan Fry vs Air Fry

We chose to pan fry the shrimp chimichangas to get an extra-crispy result. However, 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 12 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.


The chimichangas can be served alone or with a fresh garden salad on the side. We also recommend serving the chimichangas with some extra salsa, sour cream, or guacamole.

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 minutes.

How many calories are there in chimichangas?

This recipe is 379 calories per chimichanga. For an easy way to lower the calories per chimichanga, cook them in an air fryer or oven instead of pan-frying.

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 🌶
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 then cooking at 400°F for 20 - 25 minutes.

shrimp chimichanga photographed from the side with a golden brown finish

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.

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379 kcal

Prep time
15 minutes

Cook time
5 minutes

Total time
20 minutes



    • 14 ounces chopped tomatoes (both fresh or canned chopped tomatoes work in this dish)
    • handful roughly chopped cilantro
    • 2 teaspoons lime juice
    • 2 whole roughly chopped red chilies (optional)
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ small minced red onion
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • ¼ teaspoon crushed chili (optional)

    Shrimp Marinade

    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • handful roughly chopped parsley
    • 2 teaspoons lime juice
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 2 teaspoon olive oil
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • ¼ teaspoon crushed chili

    Tortilla Filling

    • 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.


  • Calories 379 kcal | 
  • Carbohydrates 41.3 g | 
  • Protein 19.8 g | 
  • Fat 16.3 g | 
  • Saturated fat 7.7 g | 
  • Cholesterol 90.5 mg | 
  • Sodium 939.2 mg | 
  • Fiber 3.2 g | 
  • Sugar 9.2 g |