Why Chipotle Will Probably Never Sell Breakfast Burritos

Part of Chipotle's mission is ensuring that each ingredient is prepped fresh daily, meaning hours of kitchen prep time are needed before even opening the doors for the day. Most Chipotle locations open between 10:30-10:45 a.m. — just in time to make orders for the lunch rush. But, to ensure each location is ready at opening, employees currently clock in as early as 6 a.m. to start slicing up veggies, grilling proteins, and preparing freshly made guacamole to serve throughout the day. 

To accommodate breakfast prep, however, the timeline would dictate that employees would need to clock in as early as 3 a.m. to get breakfast ingredients ready — and then start another round of prep ahead of lunchtime. Employees have even chimed in on social media, stating that offering breakfast options would be too overwhelming alongside prepping the lunch and dinner ingredients. Not that the chain didn't try on at least one occasion.

One Chipotle location did previously serve breakfast

Despite the lack of breakfast options at Chipotle, a now-closed location inside the Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. attempted to give it a fair shot. Airports will often require in-terminal restaurants to operate during breakfast hours to appeal to customers with early flight times; to accommodate this requirement, the Chipotle location adjusted its menu accordingly — and it seemed to work for a while.

This spot served breakfast from 6-10 a.m., offering breakfast tacos with scrambled eggs, meat, salsa, cheese, and sour cream. Breakfast burritos and bowls both featured the same ingredients, but with an added base of crispy herbed potatoes.

The breakfast burritos at the location were reportedly so good, they were nearly the catalyst to convince CEO Brian Niccol that the chain should offer breakfast at more locations. "Our chorizo is fabulous," he told CNN in 2019. "You put chorizo with eggs in a burrito, that's pretty good. Right? So down the road maybe, but not right now."

The former airport menu seems to be part of a test for the restaurant. The inclusion of eggs and coffee on menus in a location that required breakfast options gave Chipotle the opportunity to see just how many patrons would be interested in the offerings. It appears that the items weren't successful enough to warrant a rollout to other locations nationwide, however, despite quite a few positive reviews online. The airport location is no longer open, and has since been replaced with another restaurant.

DIY your own Chipotle breakfast burritos

If you find yourself craving the flavors of your favorite Chipotle meal in the morning, there is still hope. Of course, you can simply stop into Chipotle when it opens to order a burrito and enjoy a late breakfast — especially if your location opens at 10:00 a.m. But there are also plenty of copycat recipes available online so you can cook up your own version.

If you want to try making your own wrap, Chipotle's tortillas are made using only wheat flour, water, canola oil, and salt. Though store-bought works just as well.

To make the chain's salsa, employees chop up onions, tomatoes, and cilantro each day, a process that's pretty simple to do in your own home kitchen. You can also mash up some avocados, then mix them with jalapeños, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice to create a dupe for Chipotle's guacamole. Of course, you can always add in your own preferred ingredients to make the guacamole even better.

To recreate the flavors of the chain's chorizo, blend pork and chicken, season with paprika, cumin, and chipotle peppers, then grill. When you're ready to roll up your breakfast burrito, you can combine your Chipotle copycat fillings with some scrambled eggs for a filling, hearty breakfast burrito.