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California Burrito (Carne Asada Burrito with Fries)

If you’ve never had a California burrito before, buckle up, because you’re in for a treat.

Unlike most traditional burritos out there that contain rice, California burritos contain french fries!

Carne asada california burrito

I’ve never thought to put French fries on my burrito before, but now that I’ve tried it, I’m going to be doing it regularly.

Now, because these burritos are loaded with lots of steak and fries, they’re not the lowest-calorie meal I have on my blog. However, this isn’t as high in calories as you may fear.

Each loaded California burrito contains 640 calories, 30g fat, 54g carbs, and 40g of protein.

If you do want to save some calories, I’ll add some tips to the recipe card below to help ya.


What is a California Burrito?

As you can likely guess, California burritos are native to California (specifically San Diego). I’ve never been to San Diego, but based on what I’ve learned about their burritos, I may need to make a visit just to hit a Mexican restaurant or five.

California Burritos are often huge, and they replace the typical Mexican rice & beans with French fries.

In addition to crispy fries, a California burrito will most often contain carne asada, guacamole, sour cream, Pico de Gallo, and cheese. The burrito filling can vary based on where you go, and you may find different meat (like ground beef or chicken), or different sauces, but you’ll always find French fries inside and a flour tortilla outside.

With the ingredients coming from Mexican and American influence, this may truly be the perfect SoCal fusion food.

PS: If you’re a San Diegan, leave a comment below and let me know where you can find the very best California burrito in San Diego! I’d love to hear who tops the list.


How to make a California Burrito

There are many variations of the California burrito, so the exact ingredients you choose to use may differ from my choices, which is absolutely fine. As long as you have the flour tortilla and fries, the rest can be played with a bit.

Here are the ingredients I used:

  • Burrito-style Flour Tortilla
  • Frozen French Fries
  • Trader Joe’s Guacamole (which has Greek yogurt mixed in)
  • Pre-Marinated Carne Asada from Trader Joe’s
  • Cheddar Cheese

I love the Carne Asada from Trader Joe’s because the marinade is delicious, and the steak is already thinly sliced for easy grilling. If you want to make your own carne asada marinade, I found a great recipe here.

First things first, we need to grill the carne asada. You can cook the steak in a frying pan, but nothing beats the grilled steak flavor in my opinion.

Yes, I needed to make sure my dog (Ace) made an appearance here! He’s my sous chef. 

Since carne asada is thinly sliced flank steak, it does not take very long to cook. All you need is 4-5 minutes per side for this steak.

If you have a meat thermometer, that will be very helpful to determine when the beef is cooked to your desired level of doneness.

I prefer my steak medium, but since I did not use a meat thermometer, my steak ended up a bit more on the well-done side. But since we’re adding so many other ingredients to these burritos, it doesn’t matter too much here!

While the steak cooks, I used my air fryer to crisp up the fries. I followed the same instructions that I used for my Parmesan Truffle Fries and air-fried the frozen French fries for 16 minutes.

If you want to make your own French fry from scratch, they should cook in the same amount of time, you’ll just need to do a bit more prep to slice the potatoes.

As for the rest of the ingredients, you can get creative with what you choose to use. To keep these true to the San Diego versions, guacamole, sour cream, and pico de Gallo (or salsa) is the way to go.

For my burritos, I used guacamole from Trader Joe’s that has Greek yogurt mixed in, so that replaced the sour cream for me. The guacamole has a bit of built-in tang, so I didn’t feel the need to add anything additional.

Now that we’ve covered all the ingredients, it’s time to assemble the burrito. Here’s how the process looks:

You can certainly play with the ratios, but there is a solid visual to see how much of each ingredient I used in my burrito.

Note that I added some hot sauce to my burrito, but I did not add any salsa. I find that when I add too much salsa to my burritos that they get soggy, so I prefer to dip my burrito into salsa instead. If you want to add it to your burrito, it can go right on top of the other ingredients!

You can also add your burrito to a hot pan before serving. This serves two purposes: it sears the opening of the burrito shut so it won’t open up, and it will help make the inside of the burrito nice and melty.

Unfortunately for me, I took way too long taking photos for this California burrito recipe that my ingredients cooled down quite a bit and my cheese didn’t melt very much. It would have made for much better photos with melty cheese, but the taste was still amazing!


More recipes to eat with your hands

Food just tastes better when you use your hands. It’s science.

Burritos are the ultimate handheld food, and since you clearly love eating food with your hands, here are some other recipes you’re sure to love:


Carne asada california burrito

California Burrito (Carne Asada Burrito with Fries)

Yield: 2 Burritos

California Burritos are one of the most underrated foods out there. These burritos replace classic rice & beans with French fries to create the perfect American/Mexican food hybrid.


  • 1 package of Trader Joe's Carne Asada (pre-marinated & thinly cut steak) - Will make more than needed for 2 burritos
  • 4oz Frozen French Fries
  • 1/4 Cup Guacamole (I use Trader Joe's brand that has Greek yogurt mixed in)
  • 2 Large Burrito Tortillas (I use Mission brand)
  • 56g (2oz) Cheddar Cheese
  • Salsa or Pico De Gallo for Topping
  • Optional: Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees to make the fries, and preheat your grill on medium-high heat for the carne asada.
  2. After a few minutes, add your fries to the air fryer, and place the carne asada on the grill.
  3. Air fry the French fries for 16 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through to ensure they crisp up evenly.
  4. Every grill is different, and the size of your steak may differ, but the thinly sliced steak will typically only require 4-5 minutes per side. If you have a meat thermometer, I recommend using that to help make sure the meat doneness is how you'd like it.
  5. Once the steak is done, remove it from the grill and let it sit on a plate for a few minutes before slicing. When ready, slice the steak into thin strips or dice it up.
  6. In the meantime, prep your burrito ingredients. I used Mission Burrito Tortillas (200 calories each) and warmed them slightly in a warm pan. Note that you don't want to completely toast them up or they'll tear as you roll the burrito.
  7. Spread 2 Tbsp of guacamole slightly off-center on each tortilla, add roughly 4 oz of steak, 2oz of fries, and 28g (1oz) cheddar cheese. You can also add salsa or piceo de Gallo to your burrito, but I prefer saving the salsa on the side to keep the burrito from turning soggy. If you want to add any additional sauce like sour cream, Greek yogurt, or chipotle mayo, you can add that directly on top as well.
  8. Roll the burrito tightly while tucking the ends in. There's a great (and short) video on how to roll a burrito here.
  9. Optional: Sear both sides of the burrito on a hot pan before serving. This helps keep the burrito closed and will make the cheese nice and melty if the contents of your burrito cooled before assembling.


  • You can swap the french fries out for another starch, such as rice, but then this won't be a California burrito!
  • This is definitely not the lowest calorie recipe on my site, but it's worth every last calorie. If you want to bring the calories down a bit, you can use fat-free cheese and and/or smaller tortillas.
  • If you prefer a taco to a burrito, you can use these same ingredients to make tacos instead. You can use flour or corn tortillas, add your filling, then top with lettuce.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 2 Serving Size 1 Burrito
Amount Per Serving Calories 640Total Fat 30gCarbohydrates 54gProtein 40g

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Monday 5th of June 2023

next time you should try it with some pico de gallo, but for sure that’s a great recipe for a cali burrito! Also you should try JV’s in morena!

Sofia Graf

Friday 18th of November 2022

I have tried air fry of the burrito with ghee to add ghee's high flavor and nutrition. I have used grass-fed ghee for cooking the platter. Not only flavor, ghee nutrition is potentially rich. I prefer using Milkio grass-fed ghee for all my recipes.


Monday 10th of October 2022

For sure Nachos Taco Shop in La Mesa. People drive cross states to revisit. It's right next to Helix HS. While ur there, gotta grab the Carne asada fries too!


Monday 17th of October 2022

Thanks for the recommendaions!!

Caden Tomlin

Tuesday 7th of June 2022

Ortiz’s Taco Shop in Point Loma, San Diego. Has the #8 ranked burrito in the nation. It’s a California burrito. A go to stop for all college students in the area and others!


Monday 13th of June 2022

Noted! I'd love to make it out there, and if I do, it's definitely gonna be on the must-stop list.

About Matt Rosenman

With over 15 years of experience in health and fitness, Matt Rosenman is the expert voice behind Matt’s philosophy is simple: no foods are off-limits, and a healthy lifestyle shouldn't be complicated or restrictive. As a former certified personal trainer with a bachelor’s degree in Health Behavioral Sciences, Matt brings well-rounded expertise to his blog. From revamping classic recipes with a nutritious twist to breaking down fast food menus, his goal is make healthy living less confusing for everyone. Featured in major publications and with a strong following on social media, Matt is committed to making “healthy” uncomplicated—no matter where you are in your health journey. Join Matt on his mission to simplify health without sacrificing flavor. Learn More

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