Portion Police: Burritos

Why just a slightly wider tortilla can add a lot more calories to your dinner than you might think.

Burrito Portions

Randy Mayor

  • Restaurant Portions

    Many burrito bars use whopping 12-inch tortillas. That triples the calories of our 6-incher, even using similar fillings (i.e., hold the queso).

    • Moe's: 690 calories
    • Chipotle: 740 calories
    • Qdoba: 840 calories

If it's burrito night at home and you upgrade from a 6-inch-wide tortilla to an 8-inch-wide tortilla, that's a 2-inch difference; 2 is a third of 6 so the burrito will be one-third bigger, right? Ah, not so fast, grasshopper. Long-forgotten math insists that when diameter gets a little bigger, area gets a lot bigger. (You must take half the diameter, the radius, square it, and multiply by pi.) The area increases by much more than a third, and so do the calories if you fill that area with tasty filling. Below, we reveal the math for a chicken, black bean, salsa, and cheese burrito.




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