What’s the Difference Between Chipotle Salad vs. Bowl?

Coming to Chipotle Mexican Grill and finding only 53 ingredients, put together in different ways? Certainly, the Chipotle menu confuses you when you look at the presentation of bowls and salads. 

And that’s where you start wondering about the difference between a Chipotle Bowl and a Salad. My friend, it’s nothing but a collection of 53 ingredients put together in different ways. Not only this, the freedom to build your meal adds more perplexity.

The good news is that this article will end all the uncertainty about what you eat: salad or bowl?

Besides this, we’ll also make a detailed comparison between Chipotle Salad Vs. Bowl to help you choose the right option for you. Here we come!

A Quick Answer to What’s the Difference Between Chipotle Salad vs. Bowl?

The main difference between a Chipotle salad and a bowl is the base. The Chipotle salad starts with a lettuce base. In contrast, the Bowl has a rice base. Besides this, you can customize both with the same ingredients, such as beans, meat, vegetables, salsas, and dressings. Moreover, the basic prices remain almost the same: $6.50 to 7.50, depending on your chosen options.

Chipotle Salad vs. Bowl: What are they?

Warmed up? Now you can get into further details about the difference between Chipotle Salad and Bowl.

What is Chipotle salad?

Chipotle Mexican Grill is famous for its customizable meal options, and Chipotle Salad is one of those meals. The Chipotle Salad can be the best choice when you need a light, refreshing, but Mexican taste.

You can make your salad by topping it with different ingredients on the primary base of fresh and crunchy lettuce. The food ingredient that you can choose from various food groups include:

  • Lettuce (Romaine, or a mix of Romaine and iceberg)
  • Protein (grilled chicken, steak, carnitas, barbacoa, sofritas, or vegetarian option)
  • Beans (black or pinto beans)
  • Rice (white or brown rice)
  • Cheese (shredded Monterey Jack cheese)
  • Sour cream (creamy, tangy sour cream)
  • Guacamole (freshly made, creamy avocado dip)
  • Salsa (chunky tomato-based sauce, available in mild, medium, hot, or corn varieties)
  • Fajita veggies (grilled onions and peppers are available as a vegetarian option)

You can also add tortillas, burritos, or rice to your salad, although they have not been included. Yet, it’s best to keep it healthier–it’s salad, my dear!

What is a Chipotle Bowl?

A Chipotle bowl is another popular dish served at Chipotle Mexican Grill. The Bowl primarily has a base layer of rice or serves as a building bed. On it, you can stack the ingredients like:

  • The base of white or brown rice
  • Proteins like grilled chicken, steak, carnitas, barbacoa, and sofritas (spicy vegan tofu)
  • Black beans or pinto beans
  • Various toppings, like lettuce, tomatoes, corn salsa, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.
  • Flavorings like the Chipotle signature smoky and spicy sauce (comprising chipotle chilis), salsa verde, hot salsa, or mild salsa.
  • Extras, which include fajita vegetables, queso, or extra meat.

Hence, the Chipotle bowl makes you a quick and easy but highly customizable meal–and healthy if picked the right items.

Chipotle Salad vs. Chipotle Bowl: Quick Comparison

Before making a detailed comparison between Chipotle Mexican Grill’s 2 hot-selling foods, let’s have an overview of the differences.

CriteriaChipotle BowlChipotle Salad
BaseCilantro-lime rice and/or beansRomaine lettuce
Protein optionsChicken, steak, carnitas, barbacoa, sofritas, or veggiesChicken, steak, carnitas, barbacoa, sofritas, or veggies
ToppingsChoice of salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, and moreSame toppings as the Bowl, but less room for additional toppings
Serving sizeTypically largerTypically smaller
CaloriesCan be higher due to larger serving size and rice/bean baseCan be lower due to smaller serving size and lettuce base
ProsBowls are typically more filling than salads.Salads are typically lower in calories and fat than bowls.
Bowls are a convenient and portable meal option.Salads are a good source of fiber and nutrients.
Can be customized as healthy or unhealthySalads can be customized to your liking.
More flavorfulSalads are a refreshing and healthy meal option.
ConsHigher in calories, carbs, and fat than saladsSome dressings can be sodium and fat-loaded
Some ingredients can have higher sodium.More expensive than bowls being less filling
Limited healthy optionsLess flavorful, especially when you choose all veggies
Some Variations can be messy to eat on the go.Messy to eat
PriceSame as bowlSame

Chipotle Bowl vs. Chipotle Salad: What are the Key Differences?

Other than base ingredients: lettuce for Chipotle salad and rice for Chipotle bowl, they have few other differences as well. Knowing these differences can help you make better choices when you’re concerned about your health, especially.

Portion size

The Chipotle bowl is mounted with more filling than the Chipotle salad. It’s why the Chipotle Bowl can be better for you if you have a more appetite–yet, it’ll be more calorie and carbs-dense.

And, if small portions are filling for you, go for Chipotle salad. It has less filling and calories–it’s only Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette that can add significant calories and sodium to your Chipotle salad.

Calories and nutrition

The calorie and healthiness of your Chipotle meal depend on your selected ingredients, we agree. Yet, overall, the Chipotle bowl has higher calories and fat than Chipotle salad. 

It’s just a general idea because Chipotle’s Nutrition Calculator gets you the actual picture of your meals.


At first glance, it seems that both dishes are customizable. Yes, they’re, but the Chipotle bowl allows you to choose between more customization options. It has an extensive range of ingredients including, toppings, additional proteins, and vegetables.


Texture can vary from softness to crispness in your platter. Some ingredients crack in your mouth, while others feel gentle to your palette. 

In this regard, the Chipotle bowl has a versatile texture–the rice is soft, but the vegetables and tortillas are crunchy. This variation takes your eating experience to the next level. On the other hand, the Chipotle salad has a more uniform texture.

Eating experience

As a secondary factor, the ease of eating can affect your decision when choosing between a Chipotle Bowl and Salad, chiefly when you want to satiate yourself on the go. Here, the Chipotle bowl ingredients contained with thick toppings like guaco, salsa, queso blanco, and rice are easy to mix and spoon. 

Conversely, the salad can be more challenging to consume using a fork as the ingredients can slide around on the plate. 

What are the Similarities Between Chipotle Salad and Chipotle Bowl?

While there are some differences between the chipotle salad and the chipotle bowl, there are also some similarities between the two dishes:

Common ingredients

The chipotle salad and the chipotle bowl share the same key ingredients, Which include grilled chicken, black beans, corn, and chipotle dressing. This makes it easy for customers to customize their meals by selecting their favorite ingredients.

Common unhealthy ingredients

  • White rice, being refined grain, has more calories and carbohydrates, and less fiber
  • Sour cream has few nutrients but more calories
  • Cheese and Guacamole, despite being keto-friendly are high-fat ingredients that can affect your fat-loss process if you’re not following a low-carb or ketogenic diet. 
  • Salsa is high in sodium.
  • Tortilla chips and burritos have high carbohydrates.
  • Meat options like carnitas or barbacoa have more sodium though they’re protein.

Mexican-inspired flavors

Both dishes feature Mexican-inspired flavors, such as spicy chipotle dressing, tangy salsa, and flavorful seasonings. These flavors are a hallmark of the Chipotle brand and are what make the dishes so popular with customers.

Customizable options

Both the chipotle salad and the chipotle bowl are highly customizable, allowing customers to choose their favorite ingredients and toppings. This makes it easy for customers to create a meal that suits their taste preferences and dietary needs.

Fresh and healthy options

Both dishes are made with fresh ingredients, such as lettuce and vegetables. Thus, these dishes are healthier options than many other fast-food choices. 

This focus on healthy ingredients makes the Chipotle brand so popular among health-conscious customers.


The price of Chipotle Bowl and Salad are almost the same for standard servings. They range from $6.50 to $7.50. Yet, adding extra ingredients like steak, chips, guacamole, or salsa can cost you $1.30 to $2.50 per extra.

In short, these similarities between Chipotle salad and the Chipotle bowl create real confusion. However, by considering their differences and similarities, you can order the healthiest meal for yourself.


How should I choose the healthy ingredient for my Chipotle Bowl or Salad?

It can be challenging to choose healthy ingredients for your Chipotle bowl or salad because there are dozens of options available. Yet you can follow a few tips to make healthier choices:

  • Start with a healthy base that has high fiber and nutrients, such as brown rice or lettuce.
  • Choose lean protein like chicken or steak with a few seasonings instead of high-fat options like carnitas or barbacoa.
  • Load up your Bowl of veggies to increase the vitamin and antioxidants in your meal. In this regard, you can have fajita veggies, lettuce, peppers, and onions.
  • It’s pretty common to choose extra toppings or sauce for a few bucks because you love their taste. It can be, ultimately, unhealthy. So, please, stick to serving sizes when you add honey Vinaigrette, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.
  • Finding so many ingredients, it’s less surprising that you tend to pick extras that can be entirely unhealthy. Such extras include tortilla chips, queso, and dressings. These small choices add extra calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats to you.
  • Watch out for hidden calories and nutritional information. Some items like corn, can be high in calories, fats, sugar, and sodium. 
  • No matter how you customize your Salad or Bowl at Chipotle, please check the nutritional information of your chosen ingredients at Chipotle’s Nutrition Calculator for fats, carbs, calories, and sodium.

Since Chipotle Restaurant allows you to choose the ingredients freely, please don’t hesitate to put your health first.  

Is Chipotle’s Honey Vinaigrette healthy?

Chipotle’s Honey Vinaigrette is generally unhealthy. It’s because the dressing is high in calories and fat, with 173 calories and 17 grams of fat per 2-tablespoon serving. It also has 6 grams of sugar and no fiber. 

If you’re someone trying to lose weight or eat a healthy diet, dressing may not be the best choice. However, if you prefer a tasty meal occasionally, you can have Honey Vinaigrette.

For your knowledge, here is an instant breakdown of the nutritional information for Chipotle’s Honey Vinaigrette:

  • Calories: 173
  • Fat: 17 grams
  • Saturated fat: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Sugar: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 172 milligrams

These precise guidelines give you a clue on how much calories and sodium you’ll be consuming additionally. So, it’s better to be wise!

Are Chipotle burritos unhealthy?

A Chipotle burrito can be unhealthy for a few reasons:

Burritos can be unhealthy for several reasons, including:

  • High in calories – a single burrito has 300 calories
  • High in sodium. The tortilla, beans, and salsa all contribute to the sodium content of a burrito.
  • They are often low in fiber. The tortilla and rice are both low in fiber which can contribute to constipation.

Yet, if you love burritos and don’t want to skip them, you can follow a few tips to get you a healthy Chipotle burrito bowl:

  • Choose lean protein, such as chicken, steak, and barbacoa, and avoid carnitas, as they’re high in fat.
  • Choose a small portion of brown rice or beans, or skip them altogether.
  • Don’t add sour cream and cheese. Thus, you’ll cut on calories and sodium that you’ve already got by adding burritos. 

By following these tips, you can make a Chipotle burrito that is both healthy and delicious.

Cashmere M
Cashmere M

Cashmere M is a passionate culinary explorer and food writer with 25 years of home kitchen experience. This blog is a treasure trove of her insights into worldwide cuisine, cooking techniques, and expert knowledge of kitchen tools and gadgets. What's more... she's always seeking the healthiness of ingredients before putting them on her plate because she believes what you eat creates your internal environment: either healthy or unhealthy. So, to her, food isn't just a passion; it's a lifelong journey to taste and healthiness that you're welcome to join.

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