What’s the Difference Between a Taco and Burrito?

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Odette Modified: August 2, 2022

Tacos and burritos are stapled foods in Mexican cuisine and you can even have them for a tasty Mexican breakfast! Both taste amazing and are customizable, but what exactly is the difference between taco and burrito? From their fillings, wrapper types, and even their assembly, taco and burrito are uniquely different. So read on and find out which distinct characteristic will suit you more! 

Main Differences Between Taco and Burrito

The differences between tacos and burritos are mainly their serving size and how they’re enjoyed. A taco is eaten as a snack while a burrito is often treated as a meal. Their fillings also affect the type of wrap used and the way they are assembled.

difference-between-a-taco-and-burrito-infographic

Taco and Burrito Have Different Serving Sizes

A key difference between a taco and a burrito is in fact their serving size and purpose. A taco is what many would consider a snack. It consists of some vegetables, seasoned meat, cheese, and sauce. It is generally quite trim and small, about palm-sized (5 to 8 inches long). You’d probably need two or more tacos to fill full.

On the other hand, a burrito (which translates to “little donkey”) is a Mexican or Tex-Mex dish with generous fillings encased in a soft flour tortilla much like this delicious chicken burrito.

Generally, burritos are thicker and larger than tacos, reaching 10 to 12 inches with an oblong shape. Many eat them as a whole meal. It also has very generous and filling ingredients such as rice, refried beans, vegetables, and meats.

Taco and Burrito Have Similar but Different FillingsVegan Burritos Recipe

At this point, you’d probably notice that burritos and tacos have similar fillings. These customizable Mexican dishes, though, have accumulated a number of different and creative toppings over the years.

Tacos have lighter ingredients like salsa, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, and a sort of seasoned meat like beef or chicken. More recent variations also use different kinds of protein like salmon and shrimp, and even eggs, like this easy breakfast taco. It is also important to note that authentic Mexican tacos do not have shredded cheese and sour cream like we usually see in Taco Bell’s tacos

Meanwhile, burritos are packed generously with filling ingredients like rice, refried beans, salsa, avocado, cilantro, sauce, and a range of meats like carne asada, pulled pork, chicken, and even salmon. Some modern burrito recipes can also include creative ingredients such as French fries, kalbi beef (a sort of Korean barbequed beef short ribs), cheese sauce, and the most recent: Cheetos! 

Taco and Burrito Use Different Wraps

fried-shrimp-tacos-with-avocado-relish-recipe

Tacos use either hard corn taco shells or soft flour tortillas. Though there are times you’d find restaurants using wheat tortillas or serving your tacos in fried tortillas for that extra crispiness and flavor too. 

Meanwhile, burritos use large soft flour tortillas. Using such pliable flour tortillas is essential to house all of the fillings in a burrito. Burrito tortillas are mainly plain in color and flavor but in recent years flavored tortillas like spinach, tomato, and even roasted garlic have hit the shelves of grocery stores. These flavored wraps give your burritos an additional touch of color and heartier flavor. 

Taco and Burrito are Assembled Differently

sweet potato and black bean tacos recipeTaco that is assembled with hard corn tortillas is open-shelled. These crunchy tacos are U-shaped and served upright on plates with a dipping sauce like guacamole on the side. Now, it’s a different story for soft tortilla tacos. Soft tacos are served flat with fillings piled on top of it. When served, you can choose to wrap the taco close and eat it like a burger. But either way, both hard and soft tacos, you are able to see their fillings. 

Assembling a burrito is entirely different. If you’ve noticed, burritos are never wrapped in hard corn shells, only soft tortilla wrap to wrap their ingredients like a rolled envelope, so you can’t see the fillings.  Think of it as a whole meal with rice, meat, vegetables, cheese, and condiments all bundled up in a giant roll. Its sizeable serving makes it hard for corn shells to hold everything together. That is why learning how to fold a burrito like a pro with tortilla wraps is both a skill and a talent you need.

READ ALSO: Shawarma vs Gyro: How Exactly Are They Different?

Taco and Burrito are Eaten the Same Wayhow to eat tacos and burritos

We can probably all agree that there is only one way to eat tacos and burritos with your hands! For burritos, eat them like how you would with a hamburger since everything is wrapped tightly. The addition of foil and paper wrappers around it makes eating hassle-free. As for a soft taco, you have to pinch the ends and eat it like a sandwich. Sounds a little strange but trust us, this method goes a long way to prevent the fillings from falling out.

But eating crunchy tacos is not nearly as easy, though it is not entirely impossible. The trick is to hold the taco in the middle, just below the meat line, and take bites from both sides as you munch through the tacos. Keep the taco balanced, not taking a bite too much on either side to ensure that the fillings stay intact. 

Taco vs Burrito: Differences Summarized

Burritos wraps with beef and vegetables on a wooden background. Beef burrito , mexican food. Healthy food background. Mexican cuisine.

Though tacos and burritos are often confused with one another, we can see that they are indeed very different from one another.

  • Taco is more of a snack, about the size of your hand (sometimes even smaller).
  • Meanwhile, a single serving of burrito guarantees a complete meal with its generous and very filling ingredients like rice and refried beans.
  • Tacos’ and burritos’ appearance, wrapper, assembly, and fillings all vary.

This ultimately thrusts us into one dilemma, burrito vs taco: which one is better? Both are amazing on their own because they are customizable based on our preferences. But if you love food as we do, then you should definitely try both of these Mexican delicacies! And maybe more than one taco at a time.

Read Next: How to Cut a Mango (With Video Guide!)

Odette

Odette is a content writer and proofreader by day, and living her inner artist as a poet and singer by night. She's also a former member of a publication who she now mentors from time to time. She likes how sharing a tiny bit of her life and her journey can help others in return. And because she is a curl embassador, she finds joy in empowering fellow curlies to embrace their natural curls. She also loves doing random acts of service to people she loves by cooking for them during her free time. This girl loves anything pasta and French cuisine though she just went through her Japanese and Korean cuisine phase.

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