Thursday, September 27, 2012

Frozen Bean and Cheese Burritos ($0.11 each)

$0.11 each          76% savings          save $39.66 yearly

I ate a shameful number of frozen burritos in college.


Particularly my freshman and sophomore years while still figuring out the balance between school, work, and learning "cooking skills." The bland-brown filled bricks were quick, they were easy... they exploded in the microwave and leaked brown goo all over the plate... and... uh... they tasted like feet... wrapped in soggy cardboard.


I still turn to frozen burritos on days my girls have gymnastics and we don't get home till dinner time, or for quick easy lunches that everyone will eat and enjoy.

Only now, I make my own frozen burritos. So much healthier. So much tastier. So much cheaper.

When I told my husband I was going to do this post, he took a peek at the pictures I took in preparation. After looking through the camera, he decided it was absolutely hilarious that I felt it necessary to take photos for each step of folding a burrito. I'm sure many of you will find it equally hilarious... In which case, I'm glad I could provide you with a good laugh. I even used the perfectly round store-bought kind for pretty pictures. :)

I've folded about a billion burritos in my life, so if you want some visual aides to make some very good-looking, uniformly-shaped, practically-folded burritos that don't allow for any filling to squeeze out the ends when your kids start eating them... well, then you've come to the right photo line-up... otherwise just look and laugh. Either way, I put a smile on your face.

Frozen Bean and Cheese Burritos
Printable Version

*Makes 40

1/2 recipe Crockpot Refried Beans (or 4 cans refried beans)
1 recipe Simple Flour Tortillas (or 40 soft-taco sized tortillas)
8 oz. cheese (grated)


Place about 3-4 TBSP of beans and a sprinkling of grated cheese on one side of the tortilla, leaving 1 - 1 1/2 inches of empty tortilla space above, below, and to the side. Fold top and bottom inward.

Fold the bean and cheese side of the tortilla inward... you can see where I'm going with this...

Fold bean and cheese side completely over. Nice and neat so far...

Tuck the last flap of the tortilla over the top of the burrito to finish. TA DA!! Now aren't you glad I did the silly step-by-step photos? It's so cute!... (Maybe cute isn't the right word, but still...)

Brown both sides of the burrito on MEDIUM heat. Brown the flap side first, to help it stay closed. I use a non-stick skillet or griddle. No oil or cooking spray necessary. You can skip this step, but I find it helps the tortilla stay firmer, and not become slightly soggy after being microwaved.

The finished products... okay these pictures are making me hungry. I know what I'm having for lunch!

Put into freezer bags. Reheat as desired in the microwave at 50% power for 3 minutes, or thaw and reheat on a skillet or griddle (my favorite way). Serve with salsa, sour cream, sliced avocado, pico de gallo, cilantro, or guacamole.

Mmmmmmm... beany cheesy goodness!

~ Savings ~

Cost Breakdown of Crockpot "Refried" Beans:
4 lbs dry pinto beans - $3.68 = $0.92/lb = $1.84
3 lb onion - $1.96 = $0.245 each = $$0.49 for 2 small
26 oz. salt - $0.42 = 122.75 tsp = $0.003/tsp = $0.023
32 oz. jarred minced garlic - $4.48 = 181 tsp = $0.025/tsp = $0.216
8 oz. black pepper- $3.84 = 37.75 tsp = $0.102/tsp = $0.204
2 oz. cumin - $3.12 = 22 tsp = $0.142/tsp = $0.284
Total Recipe Cost: $3.06
Cost per Cup: $0.19

Cost Breakdown of Simple Flour Tortillas:
25 lb all-purpose flour - $6.78 = 94.5 cups = $0.071/cup = $0.568 
12 oz baking powder – $1.69 = 70.875tsp = $0.024/tsp = $0.144 
26 oz. salt – $.42 = 122.75 tsp = $0.003/tsp = $0.009 
48 oz. vegetable shortening - $4.28 = 227 T = $0.019/T = $0.304
Total recipe cost = $1.03
Per tortilla = $0.03

Cost Breakdown of Frozen Bean and Cheese Burritos:
1/2 recipe Crockpot Refried Beans = $1.53
1 recipe Simple Flour Tortillas (40) = $1.03
8 oz. block cheese (sale price) = $1.67
Total recipe cost: $4.23
Cost per Burrito: $0.11

The Contender:
El Monterey Bean and Cheese Burritos frozen (8 ct.): $3.49
Cost per Burrito: $0.44

Savings: 76%

"Over a year" scenario:
Make Frozen Bean and Cheese Burritos 3 times = $12.69
Buy equivalent El Monterey Bean and Cheese Burritos = $52.35

*Money Saved: $39.66


  1. As one who also ate a shameful amount of frozen burritos in college, I may have to try this. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Leslie! We burrito-eaters gotta stick together. :)

  2. I don't usually comment, but this is genius! We've been trying to avoid buying junk food, but junk food that's a healthier, these would be great to keep in the freezer!

    1. I'm flattered you'd take time to comment, :) I hope you love these as much as my family does.

  3. I just found your blog. I love it! My kind of food! I also make frozen burritos for eating on the run - breakfast, lunch, supper, or snacks. I also use my leftover taco meat, pinto beans, black beans, or even leftover sloppy joes for making frozen burritos. They're fast to pack in my lunch bag, require no thinking or decision making first thing in the morning, and are delicious! I've even put slices of leftover meatloaf wrapped in tortillas into the freezer (when I've eaten as much leftover meatloaf as I can stand), and they are also delicious. This is a great way to save money and eat up those leftovers! Your blog is delightful! Love it!

  4. How long can they stay in the freezer for? Also I made your re-fried beans and I love it!!!!

    1. I use mine within 4-6 months. Glad you like the beans! :)

  5. This is the next thing of yours I plan on making. I just finished making two loafs of your bread, they don't look as smooth and pretty as yours but they still taste great. And thank you for showing the step by step pictures, I'm a big visual learner and love to see how others do things and then when I get comfortable enough I find my own way.

  6. This is the next thing of yours I plan on making. I just finished making two loafs of your bread, they don't look as smooth and pretty as yours but they still taste great. And thank you for showing the step by step pictures, I'm a big visual learner and love to see how others do things and then when I get comfortable enough I find my own way.

  7. I have made both your beans and the burritos. Delicious! Thanks for sharing! Just made a batch of burritos for a friend who just had a baby. I'm so happy she will have a frozen meal to go to in the future! That is if her family doesn't gobble them all up tonight!!

    PS: thank you for the step by step pictures! They really helped!

  8. Actually, I'm one of those people who can't figure out how to fold burritos so this was incredibly helpful for me! Thank you for being brave and posting the pictures. :)

    Can't wait to try these burritos. They look like the perfect thing for lunches!

    1. Hooray! My post was NOT in vain! ; ) I'm so glad you found it helpful. Let me know how it goes for you, okay?

  9. I made some freezer burritos (chicken, bean, & bean and chicken) and they turned out nicely except they were soggy when we microwaved, so glad to see the idea of browning before freezing....will have to try that.

  10. I also very much appreciate your pictures showing how to fold the burritos. I am looking forward to trying this recipe for my family.

  11. My husband and I are both college students right now and have started to try to keep to a stricter budget. This is such a great way for us to save money! I made your crockpot beans last night (SUPER easy!) and they turned out delicious. And then with those, I made a dozen burritos for the freezer! This is an easy-to-grab and cheap option for us!! Thank you!! I'm excited to keep doing this in the future!! :)

  12. I made this today for breakfast and they are heaven! Only have 8 pcs of flour tortilla leftover and they are the small ones so I had a hard time rolling them but browning them in the pan helps seal the burritos. Hubby likes this as well, he's not a big fan of any kind of beans because of his gout. I didn't told him what's inside, but he found out still and ate them anyways without complaint. Now I have to wait for my 2 girls to wake up and taste this!

  13. Thank you!! I just made a batch of frozen burritos last week, but I got too fancy with my ingredients. I figured there must be a cheaper way (to be similar to the frozen kind!) The most frustrating part was folding the tortillas! I thought I knew how, but I found it so irritating that I couldn't get it to work! So... thank you for the photos. It was a BIG help :) Looking forward to following your blog more!!

  14. I too found your blog the other day and made a gigantic batch of burritos but added beef to them too! I am in university and trying to be frugal with my money so your ideas are very helpful. Next I am going to try to make your Grandma's Country White Bread since it saves me $2 each loaf compared to buying from the store, and besides I get to learn a little about cooking, which only gets easier each time and that bread idea looks a lot simpler than I anticipated. I made 20+ burritos just now and put almost all of them in the freezer for busy days. Thank you so much for your blog!!!

  15. I have been looking for tips on healthy meal planning and I came across your site. I have spent the past hour looking through your recipes and tips and I am in love. My name is Minnie and I am in blog love. I have searched and searched for a single place to find realistic tips that would fit into our families life. I can't wait to start encorporating your recipes into our life! Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Minnie, thank you for your kind words. I am happy to help! I hope the tips/recipes come in handy for you and your family. Good luck! :)

    2. I made your wheat pancakes for dinner and my kiddos went bananas for them. :) Tomorrow I am making your refrained beans and homemade tortillias! Can't wait!

  16. These are AMAZING!! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  17. THANK YOU so much for your amazing, frugal and delicious recipes we all truly admire you and are appreciate you sharing:)

  18. I'm going to make these today! Is there a printable version of this recipe?

    1. No, there's not. But there should be. Maybe I'll remedy that today. :)


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