If you’re a fan of Chipotle burrito bowls, these easy Barbacoa Chicken Burrito Bowls are for you! Made with an incredible shredded Mexican chicken and all of your favorite toppings, you’ll be making homemade burrito bowls all the time! I have no doubt the entire family is going to love this completely customizable dinner!

A serving of Barbacoa Chicken Rice Bowls in a shallow white bowl.

The first time I made barbacoa beef, I immediately knew I needed to adapt it into a chicken recipe. The flavors of that beef were just so outstanding, but truthfully, we don’t eat a lot of beef at home.

So I got to working on a barbacoa chicken recipe! 

Cooked barbacoa chicken in the bottom of the Instant Pot ready to make Barbacoa Chicken Rice Bowls.

What is Barbacoa Chicken?

My Barbacoa Chicken is shredded Mexican chicken cooked in a pressure cooker – I used the Instant Pot – with a sauce made with onions, garlic, smoky chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and chicken broth.

At the end of a quick cooking time, you’re left with the most tender chicken that you can immediately serve in burritos, tacos, burrito bowls, quesadilla, or on top of salads.

A bowl of barbacoa chicken is ready to make Barbacoa Chicken Rice Bowls.

It’s also a great recipe to make ahead for easy weekday meal prep or to freeze for meals months from now.


Here’s the basic grocery list for these homemade burrito bowls. Be sure to keep scrolling down to the recipe for the full Ingredients list and full printable recipe card!

For the chicken:

  • 1 full Barbacoa Chicken recipe. You can make this up to 4 days ahead of time and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge!
Ingredients for Barbacoa Chicken Rice Bowls are laid out in bowls on a white marble counter.

For the burrito bowls:

  • Cooked rice: brown or white rice – it’s up to you.
  • Pinto beans or black beans
  • Your favorite salsa: I love homemade salsa verde Store-bought red salsa, salsa verde, pico de gallo, or corn salsa (or a combination of any of them) would be perfect too!
  • Pickled red onions
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro

On the side:

  • Tortilla chips for scooping, of course! My absolute favorite tortilla chips are the Mi Niña Pico de Gallo chips!!
Overhead photo of two Barbacoa Chicken Rice Bowls.

How to Make Rice Bowls like Chipotle

Here are the basic steps to make these rice bowls just like Chipotle does. Remember though, these bowls are completely customizable! Be sure to keep scrolling down to the recipe for the full Instructions list and full printable recipe card.

Building the Barbacoa Chicken Rice Bowls, starting with a layer of rice followed by some pinto beans.

STEP 1: Divide the rice between 4 to 6 plates or shallow bowls.

STEP 2: Top the rice with a scoop of beans, the shredded barbacoa chicken, salsa of your choice, a few pickled red onions*, a good sprinkle of shredded Mexican cheese, a few dollops of guacamole and sour cream, and then finish with a sprinkle of cilantro* on top.

A layer of shedded chicken has been added to the Barbacoa Chicken Rice Bowls.

*Note: Sadly, pickled red onions and cilantro are not a toppings options at Chipotle. But again, since I’m making homemade burrito bowls, I can make them however I please. You do you!

Barbacoa Chicken Burrito Bowl Meal Prep

One of the best things about making a meal like this is that you can take a few minutes with the leftovers and do some chicken burrito bowl meal prep for future meals. 

Barbacoa Chicken Rice Bowls topped with guacamole and sour cream with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

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These couple of minutes you’ll spend after dinner will make your weekday mornings so much smoother!

After dinner, simply pull out separate airtight containers that you’ll use for individual servings. Think about who will be eating the leftovers. You may need smaller and larger containers. And make sure they are microwave-safe containers if you’ll be bringing them to work.

Two Barbacoa Chicken Rice Bowls are ready to serve.

If you have kids or grandkids who would love to have a burrito bowl for lunch at school, consider using a small thermos. 

When Riley is up for this, I will store the burrito bowl components in a glass dish and heat the food in the microwave in the morning. Then, I slide the hot food into her thermos where it will stay toasty warm until lunchtime.

A Barbacoa Chicken Rice Bowl has a fork in the bowl and is ready to be eaten.

What We Love About this Recipe

As you may already know, we’re big, big fans of homemade Tex-Mex and Mexican food from Shredded Taco Chicken and Tequila Lime Chicken Tacos to lesser known recipes like Mexican Street Corn for a summer dinner and Baked Ranchero Eggs for a weekend breakfast.

These Barbacoa Chicken Burrito Bowls, however, have soared to the top of our regular rotation of meals. The chicken is such an incredibly simple and delicious recipe to make and the bowls can be made exactly how each of us want our dinners to be.

A hand is scooping some of the Barbacoa Chicken Rice Bowl filling with a tortilla chip.

More Great Bowl Recipes You’ll Love!

A serving of Barbacoa Chicken Rice Bowls in a shallow white bowl.

Barbacoa Chicken Burrito Bowls

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Barbacoa Chicken Rice Bowls are a fantastic weeknight meal or one to meal prep for even faster lunches during the week. Filled to the brim with rice, beans, salsa verde, and barbacoa chicken, you can top these burrito bowls to your heart's delight. It's the kind of meal that will make the whole family happy!


  • 1 full recipe of barbacoa chicken
  • 4 cups cooked white rice or brown rice
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed, and heated through
  • 1 jar salsa verde
  • Mix of 1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese and 1 cup finely shredded Monterey jack cheese, or a bag of shredded Mexican cheese
  • Pickled red onions
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips, for scooping


  1. Divide the rice between shallow bowls for serving.
  2. Top the rice with beans, barbacoa chicken, salsa verde, pickled onions, and cheese. Dollop sour cream and guacamole over the top of the cheese. Serve with tortilla chips for scooping.

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