This Chipotle Buffet Menu Includes My Best Restaurant Copycat Recipes

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Why order takeout for your tailgate, graduation party or other festive gatherings? For a customizable budget-friendly party menu, whip up a spread of easy Chipotle copycat recipes so guests can build their own bowls, burritos, tacos, or salads.

A table with Chipotle copycat food.


 

In addition to spreads of charcuterie and barbecue, one of the most popular graduation party themes in the Midwest is a build-your-own taco bar. With a guest count of 100 (plus or minus 50, depending on the weather), a menu you can stretch and customize is clutch for grad parties, or honestly any time you’re hosting a crowd.

Considering you already have to deal with tidying up your home and coordinating drinks and decor, many hosts opt to outsource to a caterer or restaurant. I’m all for delegating, but once you consider that Chipotle catering clocks in at $8 to $13.50 per person not including chips, salsa, and guac, you might be considering cancelling the festivities all together.

Before you call things off, take a deep breath, brush up on my budget-friendly hosting tips, and then read on for a DIY Chipotle buffet menu. My restaurant copycat recipes taste just like the fast casual fare you know and love, but that payoff comes at a fraction of the price. Choose a protein or two, add rice and beans, warm up some store-bought tortillas, set out a big bowl of lettuce, sprinkle in some cups of shredded cheese, salsas, and guac (bonus scoops never cost extra here!), and round things out with a cooler full of sodas and pitcher of margaritas.

Rather than canceling, you might just want to pull out your calendar to see how soon you can recreate this Chipotle buffet menu again.

Chipotle Buffet Proteins

A table with Chipotle copycat food.

Chicken, pork, or beef? Nope, I’m not asking your preference for a wedding prix fixe; I’m offering up your centerpiece options for this Chipotle buffet! You can’t go wrong with any or all of the above, but I’m particularly partial to barbacoa and carnitas for parties since both of these Chipotle copycat recipes come together (and can stay warm in) a slow cooker.

For plant-based guests, consider my copycat Chipotle Sofritas, a delicious, spicy braised tofu.

Position your protein next to bowls or plates, then reserve space for a stack of small and large tortillas and a big bowl of chopped greens. Before guests arrive, I like to post a sign with a “checklist” to walk guests through the stations to build their own bowls, tacos, burritos, or salads.

A bowl of Chipotle copycat Barbacoa beef with black beans, cilantro-lime rice, and pico de gallo salsa.

1

Chipotle Barbacoa (Copycat)

You'll love this Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe! Start with an easy marinade, then slow cook the beef until it's meltingly tender. It tastes even better than the real thing!
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A burrito bowl filled with Chipotle copycat Carnitas, white rice, black beans, salsa, and fajita veggies.

2

Chipotle Carnitas Copycat

Make this Chipotle Carnitas Copycat recipe at home to fill tacos, burritos, or a homemade Chipotle Burrito Bowl. All you need is one secret ingredient and a slow cooker or Instant Pot for delicious, authentic carnitas.
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Chipotle chicken in a white serving bowl.

3

Chipotle Chicken (Copycat)

Skip the restaurant and make your own copycat Chipotle Chicken recipe at home. The marinade is quick, easy, healthy, and tastes even better than the real thing! Make white meat or dark meat and follow my instructions for either baking or grilling. 
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A bowl of Chipotle steak, pinto beans, cilantro-lime rice, and pico de gallo.

4

Chipotle Steak (Copycat)

This copycat Chipotle Steak recipe tastes even better than the real thing. The marinade is quick and easy and full of the smoky, spicy flavors you love!
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A white bowl with rice and Chipotle Sofritas.

5

Chipotle Sofritas (Copycat)

This Chipotle Sofritas recipe tastes just like the original! Shredded tofu braised in spices makes a great vegan option for burritos, tacos, and salads.
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Chipotle Buffet Side Dishes

Whether you’re building a bowl, salad, or burrito, rice and beans are a must in my opinion. Plus they can act as sides for tacos. Station these after the proteins and foundation-setting carbs or greens, along with fajita veggies to act as bonus toppings or a “protein” for those who’d prefer a vegetarian option.

A bowl of Cilantro-Lime Rice.

6

Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice (Copycat)

Learn the secrets to making Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice in the comfort of your own kitchen. This copycat recipe starts with getting the right type of rice and cooking it in a non-traditional way. This rice is soft and fluffy with just the right amount of chew and no stickiness.
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A pot of Chipotle copycat black beans.

7

Chipotle Black Beans (Copycat)

These copycat Chipotle Black Beans are easy to make, inexpensive, and healthy! Add to burritos and salads or serve with rice for a tasty vegetarian meal.
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Fajita veggies cooking in a silver skillet with a wooden utensil.

8

Fajita Veggies (Chipotle Copycat)

An easy recipe for grilled Fajita Veggies, just like they make at the Chipotle restaurant. Colorful, tender-crisp, and healthy, these grilled veggies are ready in minutes. And you can add in your other favorite vegetables, too!
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A large pot of Chipotle copycat pinto beans.

9

Chipotle Pinto Beans (Copycat)

These copycat Chipotle Pinto Beans are easy to make, inexpensive, and healthy! Add to burritos and salads or serve with rice for a tasty vegetarian meal.
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Chipotle Buffet Sauces and Snacks

A table with Chipotle copycat food.

Just like no outfit is complete without a piece of flair or two, no Chipotle buffet is guest-ready until you add the accessories. Tortilla chips, guacamole, and salsa(s) are a must, and if you’ll be recommending salad as an option, don’t forget a bottle or jar of the most addictive dressing you’ll ever drizzle.

Chipotle tomato salsa in a black bowl on a blue plate with tortilla chips.

10

Chipotle Tomato Salsa (Copycat)

Also known as Pico de Gallo, this copycat Chipotle Tomato Salsa is ready in minutes and a great way to top off all your burrito bowls, tacos, and nachos.
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Bake your own Homemade Tortilla Chips in 10 minutes! Extra thin tortillas ensure crunchy snacks every time, perfect for salsa and guacamole.

11

Homemade Tortilla Chips

Bake your own Homemade Tortilla Chips in 10 minutes! Extra thin tortillas ensure crunchy snacks every time, perfect for salsa and guacamole.
Read More
Chipotle guacamole in a bowl on a white plate with tortilla chips.

12

Chipotle Guacamole (Copycat)

This Chipotle Guacamole recipe is the real deal. With just seven ingredients and a few minutes, enjoy as much Chipotle Guacamole at home as you can mash!
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Copycat chipotle hot salsa in a white dish on a black plate with tortilla chips.

13

Chipotle Hot Salsa (Copycat)

Chipotle Hot Salsa, a tomatillo and red chili salsa based on Chipotle's famous version, puts a little fire on your burritos, tacos, and salads. Break open that bag of tortilla chips; this salsa is ready to dip in just under twenty minutes.
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Chipotle tomatillo green chili salsa in a red bowl and a bowl of chips.

14

Chipotle Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa (Copycat)

An easy, spot-on copycat recipe for Chipotle's Tomatillo-Green Chili Salsa, their medium-heat version of Salsa Verde.
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Chipotle vinaigrette in a clear bowl on a countertop.

15

Chipotle Vinaigrette

Make the smoky-sweet Chipotle Vinaigrette you love and crave at home (a copycat from the restaurant of the same name). It comes together in minutes with easy pantry ingredients, and it tastes exactly like it should.
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Chipotle corn salsa in a black bowl.

16

Chipotle Corn Salsa (Copycat)

A sweet salsa with medium heat, copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa recipe is made roasted poblano peppers, jalapeños, red onion, citrus juice, and plenty of corn. Use frozen corn like Chipotle does, or follow my easy tutorial for fresh corn. 
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Chipotle Buffet Drink Pairings

3 glasses of Margarita Slush.

Alongside a cooler or two of sodas and sparkling waters for those under 21 and a few cases of beer, I like to mix up a signature cocktail that matches the Tex-Mex theme. Tequila certainly says “party time,” if you ask me!

If you don’t want to commit to a full batch of spiked sips, consider making pitchers of Watermelon Agua Fresca to offer alongside bottles of tequila, vodka, or rum so the adults can dial in the strength and flavor of their cocktail.

Two margaritas in blue-rimmed hand-blown Mexican margarita glasses.

17

Margarita

A good Margarita needs no frills: just high-quality tequila, triple sec, and the freshest citrus juice. Simple syrup is optional, and use a blend of lemon and lime for deeper flavors.
Read More
Glasses of Agua de Jamaica on a tray with hibiscus flowers and straws.

18

Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)

Made from dried Hibiscus Flowers, this Agua de Jamaica recipe is one of my favorite all-ages drink recipes and is a tart herbal tea you can serve hot or cold. Sweeten Hibiscus Tea with sugar or honey for a refreshing summery sip.
Read More
A cantarito in a clay pot.

19

Cantarito

Served in a small clay pot with the same name, a Cantarito is a classic Mexican cocktail from the state of Jalisco made with tequila, citrus juices, and soda.
Read More
A collins glass with a Paloma cocktail in it, garnished with a grapefruit wedge.

20

Paloma Cocktail

Mexico’s national aperitif, the Paloma cocktail, is a simple tequila drink with a thirst-quenching, irresistible appeal. Move over Margarita, here comes something better!
Read More
Three glasses of Agua de Horchata with cinnamon sticks in front of them.

21

Agua de Horchata (Rice Water)

Agua de Horchata is a sweet, creamy beverage served in many Latin American countries. This version is from Mexico, and it’s so refreshing with tacos, burritos, and fajitas.
Read More

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A table with Chipotle copycat food.

Chipotle Buffet

Why order takeout for your tailgate, graduation party or other festive gatherings? For a customizable budget-friendly party menu, whip up a spread of easy Chipotle copycat recipes so guests can build their own bowls, burritos, tacos, or salads.
Servings 8 servings
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican
Calories 150
5 from 4 votes

Ingredients 

  • Chipotle Chicken
  • Chipotle Barbacoa
  • Chipotle Carnitas
  • Chipotle Steak
  • Chipotle Soritas
  • Chipotle Cilantro-Lime Rice
  • Chipotle Black Beans
  • Chipotle Pinto Beans
  • Chipotle Fajita Veggies
  • Chipotle Guacamole
  • Chipotle Tomato Salsa
  • Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa
  • Chipotle Corn Salsa
  • Chipotle Hot Salsa
  • Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette

Instructions 

  • Quantities will vary depending on the number of guests.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 150kcal
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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  1. Meggan … Thank you (specifically) and also thank you to all of the Staff at your website and at the Culinary Hill company. So many of us are really appreciative that you made all of these wonderful recipes available. Just in my opinion, Chipotle’s has gotten a little TOO BIG FOR ITS BRITCHES, and they want to charge (get this !?!?!?!) something like almost $12+ dollars and (sometimes) more like $15-$18 for a burrito like I like it.

    Oh yes, do I remember the days when they were like $6.75 and then (later) $8.50. Sure, both of those prices are more understandable. But, not almost TWENTY BUCKS for hardly any goodies inside — if you don’t beg them for “extra rice”, “extra beans”, “another scoop of that”, etc. Thus, most Americans can’t afford being hit-up that hard with every meal.

    It’s $70 / $80 bucks just for myself, wife, Momma (who doesn’t eat much), and our pumpkins (two Dogsters) — by time you get some side chips, extra chicken on wife & mine, more tortillas, and side of queso. It’s just too much, especially if you Teach for a living. So, again, I am appreciative from depths of my heart to the Crew behind Culinary Hill who helps us in the Middle Class try to stay “somewhat” still in the middle class.5 stars

    1. You’re so welcome, DavidF! I’m so happy that you are able to enjoy a delicious meal for everyone for less than the in-store prices! – Meggan

    1. Hi Renee, thank you so much for your question and thank you for your comment! I asked our videographer who shot these photos, and she said that the oval ones are from pottery barn, some of bowls are from CB2, and the little condiment tray is from Amazon. Take care! – Meggan

    1. Hi Lisa, the exact amounts will vary on what you would like to serve and the dietary restrictions of your guests. As a general guideline per person, plan to have 4 to 5 ounces of cooked protein (about 12 1/2 to 15 1/2 pounds total), 1/2 cup cooked rice (25 cups total), 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup cooked beans (12 1/2 to 16 1/2 cups total), at least 2 tablespoons salsa (6 1/4 cups total), at least 2 tablespoons guacamole (6 1/4 cups total), 1 to 2 tablespoons each for cheese and sour cream (6 1/4 cup to 12.5 cups total), and about 2 ounces tortilla chips (about 6 1/4 pounds total). If you’re planning to have tortillas, plan for at least 2 per person (100 total). Also plan to have toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, which could be about 1/2 ounce each per person.

      The amount of each could be split between different options, such as beef, chicken, and tofu (sofritas), or having both pinto and black beans for your guests. I hope this helps and please let me know how your buffet turns out! – Meggan