After many failed attempts at carving out time to eat breakfast, I’ve all but given up on consuming anything more than coffee in the morning. I’ve tried oatmeal bars, overnight oats and even frozen waffles, but I have yet to find a breakfast item that’s both quick to make and something I actually enjoy. Recently, however, I rediscovered the utter delight of the frozen breakfast burrito, which fit both the delicious-breakfast-I-can-enjoy category, as well as the easy-to-prepare-in-a-jif one.
This, according to chef and cookbook author Jim Mumford, firmly places the breakfast burrito on the “Mount Rushmore of foods,” if only because it “plays just as well at 1 a.m. as 9 a.m., if you catch me.”
That said, finding the perfect store-bought frozen burrito is hard. “The culinary problem with frozen breakfast burritos is the egg playing with the meat,” Mumford says. “Eggs are notorious for freezing/reheating poorly and need to be cooked gently, and the meat inside of burritos will heat up slower than the eggs, which will either make the former icy or the latter into rubber.” So, he adds, “the best brands are the ones that focus on meat, potatoes and cheese and less on the eggs, or they eschew meat altogether.”
With that in mind, Mumford, along with a few other experts, took a figurative stroll through the frozen section with me to help determine which breakfast burritos are worthy of the inside of my microwave.
Best Bang for Your Buck: El Monterey’s Simply Breakfast Burrito
“The breakfast burrito is one of the most convenient breakfasts with the potential to provide excellent health benefits,” says Trista Best, registered dietitian for Balance One Supplements. “While some breakfast burritos are packed with high fat ingredients and refined carbs that slow your metabolism, they can be made without them and be just as delicious, if not more.”
Best says her go-to frozen breakfast burrito is El Monterey’s Simply Breakfast Burrito, which is a deal, too — a pack of 12 costs a little over $14. “These burritos are packed with protein-rich eggs, and nutrient-dense ingredients like spinach, peppers, onions and a small amount of cheese,” she explains.
“You have a convenient breakfast that can be bought in bulk, that will keep you full, fuel you with dense nutrition and help boost your metabolism through its protein and fiber,” she says, “Plus, it’s just 230 calories with only eight grams of fat, three of which are from saturated fat.”
Best Low-Sodium Frozen Breakfast Burrito: Good Food Made Simple
For nutritionist and creator of the Candida Diet Lisa Richards, the best frozen breakfast burrito is from Good Food Made Simple. “They make the rare healthy frozen breakfast burrito with hormone-free turkey sausage,” she tells me. “The ingredients are simple and honest, including cage-free eggs, organic white cheddar cheese, hormone-free turkey, green peppers, onions and potatoes.”
Whereas many frozen breakfast burritos contain nearly 400 calories per serving, Good Food Made Simple’s $2.49 breakfast burrito is a scratch above 300 calories and provides 14 grams of protein. “At three grams of dietary fiber and zero added sugar, this burrito will keep the consumer feeling full without a blood sugar crash later in the day, and unlike other frozen foods, the sodium is relatively low at just 22 percent of the daily value,” Richards explains. “The best part is that it’s easy to prepare and actually tastes good.”
Best Kid-Approved Frozen Breakfast Burrito: Trader Joe’s Breakfast Burrito
“While my eight-year-old son’s favorite flavor seems to be constantly changing, his overall favorite is Trader Joe’s Chicken Sausage Breakfast Burrito,” says Jessica Randhawa, the head chef and recipe creator for The Forked Spoon. “It’s packed with scrambled eggs, potatoes, sauteed onions and white cheddar cheese in a flour tortilla. So when we’re running a bit late in the morning, these are great as we can toss them in the microwave and get back on track.”
Healthiest Frozen Breakfast Burrito: Amy’s Frozen Breakfast Burrito
“From a health standpoint and taste-wise, my favorite brand of frozen burritos is Amy’s,” says registered dietitian Jenna Volpe. “Amy’s burritos are nutritionally balanced in that they provide whole grain corn and complex carbohydrates from the tortillas and rice, protein and fiber from the beans, nutrients from the veggies and fat from the cheese for extra sustenance.”
The cheese, which isn’t included in Amy’s vegan option, “also provides a good amount of calcium and phosphorus,” Volpe continues, adding that when she wants some extra flavor, she’ll add her own “veggies, salsa and avocado or guacamole.”
All-Around Best Frozen Burrito: EVOL’s Vegetarian Frozen Breakfast Burrito
Mumford’s favorite frozen breakfast burrito is from EVOL’s line of vegetarian/vegan options, which he says is shocking, given his affinity for meat. “Whether the package says it or not, a lot of breakfast burritos will say they should be heated to 165 degrees, so size and shape play a huge factor,” he tells me. “Plus, leaving out the meat also means the heating is generally even, which the roof of my mouth always appreciates, and the texture of EVOL’s frozen breakfast burritos are usually the least offensive. The flavor is carried by the veggies — though the egg and green chile one rocks too.”
If, however, you still can’t quite find a frozen breakfast burrito that suits your needs, Mumford offers a completely different solution as well. “When faced with a subpar frozen breakfast burrito,” he says, “just remember that a handful of shredded cheese and half a bottle of hot sauce can make anything delicious at 1 a.m.”