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Opinion: Inside Scoop on Chipotle’s Menu From a Former Crew Member

Here is my go-to Chipotle order: a bowl, white rice, half and half beans, steak, mild salsa, corn, extra cheese, extra lettuce, guacamole, sour cream on the side, and a hibiscus lemonade with a dash of Sprite. As a former Chipotle Crew member, trust me when I say you could eat my order three times a week without getting sick of it. I know my order may seem a bit complicated, but once you know the ins and outs of the menu, you can customize your order to perfection. With that being said, this is the inside scoop on what to get at Chipotle.

1. Toppings 

One of the best things about eating Chipotle is the glorious heap of toppings you can get on each bowl or in each burrito. Although it costs extra for guacamole in addition to meat and queso, you can ask for extra or light amounts of any of the other cold toppings free of charge. Add a light amount of hot salsa for a mild kick or extra cheese since there can never be too much cheese. You can get so much more value for your money, so if you are feeling extra hungry, load up those toppings.

2. Rice, Beans, and Meat

Especially if the employees are being stingy on probably the cheapest ingredients in-house, don’t be shy to ask for extra rice or beans either for no additional charge. You can also ask for a half-and-half combination of white and brown rice or black and pinto beans. If you are one of those weird people who hate cilantro, white and brown rice without it available in the back, all you have to do is ask. Double or extra meat will cost more, but you can order half of one meat and half of another. You will be charged for the more expensive meat, but at least you can have the best of both worlds when it’s too hard to choose.

3. Tacos

An order of tacos normally consists of three flour tortillas. However, there are free corn hard-shell tacos for those craving a crunch. You can still customize your tacos like a normal order, and they will be packaged neatly in a bowl to catch any falling food rather than wrapped in aluminum foil. Although a side of a high tortilla costs extra, you can also add a side of taco tortillas to your bowls for free, so make your own tacos and even have some Chipotle leftovers.

4. Quesarito

For an additional charge, turn your burrito into a cheesy delight. A quesarito starts off as a quesadilla that is then opened to add toppings and protein and is finally wrapped as a burrito. Essentially, it’s a burrito with a base layer of melted cheese. For all of you cheese lovers, you can get a cheese pull from your burrito without warming up the cold ingredients.

5. Nachos

Instead of using chips to scoop food out of a bowl, order nachos. The bag of chips you were gonna order anyways would be poured into a bowl that you can then pile other ingredients on top. Let the employees do the work for you and assemble your nachos.

6. 3-Pointer

A 3-pointer consists of any main entree order that includes three ingredients, but there are exceptions with premium elements. A typical 3-pointer would be a combination of rice, beans, or toppings. For example, a bean and cheese burrito or a bowl with just rice, beans, and fajitas. Each ingredient would be considered “1 point,” and an entree with up to three points costs less. However, meat, guacamole, queso, and other special ingredients count as “2 points,” so you would only be able to get one additional point in your order. If you do not have a big appetite or do not find most of the options appetizing, a 3-pointer is the way to get the right food for the right amount for a lower price.

To end on an important note, I am sharing what I have learned since working at Chipotle in 2020 through a couple of months in 2021. With that in mind, policies may have changed, and there may be discrepancies between your local Chipotle and mine in California. I also refrained from naming specifics about additional costs because I was unsure if they increased with inflation. So next time you find yourself at Chipotle, remember guac and queso are extra…but there are hacks to get the most out of your money.