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Burrito vs. Taco: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 19, 2023
A burrito is a large, rolled tortilla filled with various ingredients, while a taco is a folded or rolled tortilla filled, typically open-faced.

Key Differences

A burrito and a taco are both popular Mexican dishes that use tortillas as a primary ingredient. However, a burrito typically uses a larger tortilla, often flour-based, which is rolled to enclose various fillings, ensuring none of the contents spill out. In contrast, a taco usually employs a smaller tortilla, either corn or flour, which is typically folded around its filling, leaving one side open.
When it comes to fillings, both burrito and taco can be quite versatile. A burrito can be packed with ingredients like rice, beans, meat, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream. Tacos, due to their smaller size, generally have fewer fillings, often consisting of meat, lettuce, cheese, and maybe a salsa or sauce.
The presentation is another distinguishing factor. A burrito is often served wrapped in foil or parchment paper, making it easier to eat on the go. Tacos, however, are usually served flat on a plate, with the open side facing up, showcasing the vibrant fillings.
The origins of both dishes trace back to Mexico, but the burrito is believed to have originated from the northern parts of the country. The taco, being a more traditional dish, has deeper roots in Mexican culture and has been around for a longer time. However, both have undergone significant adaptation and transformation, especially in American culinary contexts.
In terms of variations, while the burrito has derivatives like the "breakfast burrito" or "wet burrito," the taco offers a wider range, including soft tacos, hard-shell tacos, fish tacos, and even taco salads.

Comparison Chart

Tortilla Type & Size

Typically larger and often flour-based.
Smaller, can be corn or flour-based.


Fully enclosed.
Open on one side.

Common Fillings

Rice, beans, meat, cheese, guacamole, sour cream.
Meat, lettuce, cheese, salsa.


Often wrapped in foil or parchment for portability.
Served flat, open side up.

Origin & Variations

Originated in northern Mexico; has fewer variations.
Deep roots in Mexican culture; numerous variations.

Burrito and Taco Definitions


A rolled tortilla enclosing various fillings.
He ordered a chicken burrito with extra guacamole.


A small hand-held food item consisting of a soft or crispy tortilla wrapped around fillings like meat, beans, or cheese.
At the street fair, they served the best shrimp tacos I've ever tasted.


Often complemented with sauces or dips.
The burrito was smothered in a spicy red sauce.


A taco is a traditional Mexican dish made of a folded or rolled tortilla filled with various ingredients.
For lunch, I'm craving a chicken taco with lots of guacamole.


A portable, wrapped meal.
She grabbed a burrito for a quick lunch on the go.


A tortilla envelope containing a mixture of ingredients, often flavored with spices and salsas.
Every Tuesday, our office orders a variety of tacos from the local taqueria.


A Mexican dish often filled with rice and beans.
The vegetarian burrito was packed with flavors.


A staple of Mexican cuisine, where a tortilla serves as the vessel for a range of savory fillings.
While traveling in Mexico, I discovered the authentic taste of tacos al pastor.


A larger tortilla-based dish.
If you're really hungry, go for the burrito.


An open-faced or folded edible wrapper, typically made from corn or flour, encasing a selection of seasoned ingredients.
For a quick dinner, nothing beats a homemade beef taco with fresh salsa.


A flour tortilla wrapped around a filling, as of beef, beans, or cheese.


A corn tortilla folded around a filling such as ground meat or cheese.


A Mexican dish consisting of a flour tortilla wrapped around a filling of meat and/or beans, cheese etc.


(culinary) A Mexican snack food made of a small tortilla (soft or hard shelled) filled with ingredients such as meat, rice, beans, cheese, diced vegetables and salsa.


(slang) To wrap someone or something up like a burrito.


The vulva.


A flour tortilla folded around a filling.


A yellow stain on a shirt armpit caused by sweat or deodorant.


A flour tortilla folded around a filling


(slang) To fold or cause to buckle in half, similar to the way a taco is folded.


Offensive terms for a person of Mexican descent


A tortilla rolled cupped around a filling


What is a burrito?

A burrito is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of a large flour tortilla wrapped around various fillings, typically including meat, beans, rice, and cheese.

What does "burrito" mean in Spanish?

"Burrito" translates to "little donkey" in English, possibly referencing how the stuffed tortilla might resemble a donkey's bundled pack.

What is the difference between a burrito and a chimichanga?

A chimichanga is essentially a deep-fried burrito.

Where did the burrito originate?

The burrito has its roots in Mexican cuisine, though the exact origin is debated. Some say it originated in the northern parts of Mexico, while others believe its popular form was adapted in the U.S.

What is a taco?

A taco is a traditional Mexican dish made of a folded or rolled tortilla filled with various mixtures, such as meat, cheese, beans, and vegetables.

Where did the taco originate?

The taco is believed to have originated in ancient Mexican civilizations, with various regions having their own traditional versions.

What does "taco" mean in Spanish?

The word "taco" originally referred to paper wrapped around gunpowder in small charges, but its culinary meaning isn't directly related to this definition.

What is a taco al pastor?

"Al pastor" refers to tacos filled with spit-grilled pork, often flavored with adobo seasoning and served with pineapple, onions, and cilantro.

Is a burrito always wrapped in a tortilla?

Yes, a defining feature of a burrito is its wrapped flour tortilla, which encloses its fillings.

Are burritos spicy?

They can be, depending on the ingredients and sauces used, but not all burritos are spicy.

What is a wet burrito?

A wet burrito is smothered in a red or green sauce and often topped with cheese.

Is a wrap the same as a burrito?

While both involve wrapping ingredients in a tortilla or flatbread, wraps typically have more varied ingredients and might not be of Mexican origin.

What's the difference between a soft taco and a hard taco?

A soft taco uses a flexible, often freshly cooked tortilla, while a hard taco features a pre-fried, crunchy tortilla.

Are all tacos spicy?

Like burritos, tacos can be spicy depending on the ingredients and salsas used, but not all tacos are inherently spicy.

What's the difference between a taco and a burrito?

While both are Mexican dishes involving tortillas, tacos are generally smaller, open-faced, and hand-held, whereas burritos are larger and fully wrapped around their fillings.

Is a taco traditionally eaten by hand?

Yes, tacos are typically hand-held foods, designed for easy consumption without utensils.

Is a taco bowl a type of taco?

A taco bowl uses similar ingredients but is served in a bowl, often with a crispy tortilla as the base. While it's inspired by tacos, it doesn't fit the traditional taco definition.

Can you eat a burrito cold?

While burritos are typically served hot, they can be eaten cold, though the experience might be different in terms of taste and texture.

Is a taco always served in a tortilla?

Yes, the defining characteristic of a taco is its tortilla, which can be soft (usually made of corn or flour) or hard (fried until crispy).

Are burritos commonly eaten for breakfast in Mexico?

While burritos can be consumed at any time of day, "breakfast burritos" with ingredients like eggs and sausage are more of an American innovation.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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