Breakfast Recipe: Southwest Egg Burrito

Occasionally I appreciate a blueberry pancake or a bowl of Captain Crunch. But my standard breakfast at home entails eggs, cheese, toast or a tortilla, with some hot sauce or salsa.

When I delegated the meal preparation this year to David, a local ultra runner who has worked at Boulder’s best restaurants (currently, at Flagstaff House), I tasked him with developing a recipe along these lines.

David came back with this Southwest Egg Burrito. Admittedly, it’s fussier than other backpacking recipes, but it’s still my personal favorite.

The Southwest Egg Burrito, using dehydrated eggs and bean flakes, and either fresh or powdered cheese.

Meal stats

  • 4.6 ounces (130 grams)
  • 474 calories
  • 103 calories per ounce


This breakfast could be made with as few as two ingredients: dehydrated eggs and a tortilla. But it’d be tasteless, and I’d encourage you to at least add cheese and salt. The other ingredients are optional, but they take this meal to another level and give it some geographical affiliation.

The 4.5-ounce serving size is field-tested and is appropriate for most backpacker appetites. But if you’d like to add calories (and flavor), consider crumbled bacon.

For those with a milk/lactose sensitivity, Augason Farms and other vendors offer whole dried eggs (sans milk).

Conveniently, the dried beans are the cornerstone of another recipe, my world famous Beans & Rice with Fritos & Cheese. Odds are that you already have some around, or should.

The powdered cheese is more user-friendly than fresh cheese, since it can be prepared beforehand and since it’s not temperature sensitive. However, fresh cheese is a perfectly acceptable substitute; I recommend sharp cheddar.

Our 10- and 12-person groups will easily use up a 4-ounce can of green chilies. But for smaller groups and soloists, dried green chilies or hot sauce may be a better option.

Ingredients for the Southwest Egg Burrito

At-home preparation

Combine all of the dry ingredients for a single serving, and pack them in a plastic snack bag.

Do NOT combine dry ingredients for multiple meals, like on a multi-day trip or on a group trip. You will be unable to divide the ingredients precisely in the field, and this recipe calls for a very specific ratio of water to egg mix.

Pack the dried ingredients together in a snack bag.

On group trips, we keep the green chilies and tortillas together, and distribute them in the field at meal time.

Field preparation

With most of my meals, the instructions are simple: boil water and add the ingredients (to paraphrase). This meal is an exception. Follow these instructions closely:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients and spices with exactly 4 ounces (a half cup, or 120 ml) of cold water.
  2. Bring to a simmer, scraping the eggs regularly to avoid scorching them to the bottom of your pot. At times, you may want to remove your pot from the flame.
  3. Once fully cooked, remove from heat. Add chilies and possibly cheese, and transfer to the tortilla.
Scrape regularly to avoid scorching eggs to the bottom of your pot.

I want to emphasize three points, because this meal can be easily ruined by glossing over the cooking instructions:

  • 4 ounces of water. If you use too much, you’ll get egg soup.
  • Cold water. If you add the dry ingredients to hot water, the eggs will harden into nuggets, leaving you with egg nugget soup.
  • Scrape regularly. Act as if you’re cooking scrambled eggs at home without a non-stick pan or cooking spray. But don’t stir them so vigorously that they become whipped either.
After the egg mixture is scrambled, transfer it into a tortilla.

Have questions or an experience with this meal? Leave a comment.

Disclosure. I strive to offer field-tested and trustworthy information, insights, and advice. I have no financial affiliations with or interests in any brands or products, and I do not publish sponsored content

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  1. Paul on August 13, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    Looks great. One of my staples is pretty much what you describe, inspired by your Frito beans, rice, and cheese, but using instant polenta rather than tortillas, sacrificing texture for simplicity, volume, and shelf (pack) stability. I’ve also taken to drying fresh salsa, spreading it on parchment paper in the sun like fruit leather, in place of taco seasoning.

    • Macy on May 20, 2020 at 1:27 pm

      Paul, that sounds good. I assume you’re cooking the corn meal right in with the rest off it?

  2. Hunter Hall on August 16, 2019 at 11:24 pm

    Pretty good first try…

    I’m not sure I would go through all this trouble in the field but it’s a nice option to have. Making it correctly is definitely an art AND a science.

    Had to add the Fritos…

  3. Bob on August 17, 2019 at 10:17 am

    What brand is that collapsible spoon you’re using?

    • Andrew Skurka on August 17, 2019 at 10:33 pm

      Not sure, not mine.

    • Bob S. on August 18, 2019 at 11:25 am

      MSR Alpine Collapsible Utensils

  4. E.C. on August 28, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    My 12y.o. boy is kind of a picky eater…espeically when it comes to breakfast. At home he usually eats toast and a pancake. I make a bunch and freeze them. To minimize high-fructose corn syrup, I just make chocolate chip pancakes which he eats without syrup.

    In the backcountry, I use Kodiak cake mix and chocolate chips. I enjoy the change up from the heavy Backpacker’s Pantry meals as well; especially on a day where we aren’t hiking much. I just bring a little fry pan in addition to the standard pot.

    But on basketball game days…which is just about every Saturday or Sunday, I make breakfast burritos so he has a little extra bulk and protein. On our last trip I thought about making them but thought of using the backpacker’s pantry scrambled eggs as the base. It’s 2 servings and I could easily split it between us.

    Maybe I’ll try giving the above a go.

    The rest of your ideas look great.

  5. Colorado Jones on April 27, 2021 at 9:12 am

    Hi, Andrew! These recipe ideas look great, and I’ll likely be trying out a few this summer. I notice, however, that the Google doc lists of ingredients have been deleted. Any possibility those will be restored soon?

    In the meantime, thanks for making this resource available!

    • Andrew Skurka on May 3, 2021 at 10:01 am

      It should be fixed.

  6. Philip on May 20, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    Hi Andrew this is amazing! I’ve made it numerous times on backpacking trips with my daughter. We both love it. Thanks for posting it!

    As a previous comment noted the Google list of ingredients doesn’t show up – it had a message that Google Docs encountered an error. It appears to be happening on several of the meal pages. I hope that can be fixed – your recipes are spot on perfect!

    • Andrew Skurka on May 21, 2021 at 10:11 am

      Are the ingredient lists showing up now? I just purged the cache for the entire website, so you should be getting a fresh read on the page.

  7. Jeff d on July 5, 2021 at 10:32 am

    We are still unable to see the google docs section of the actual recipe. This is happening across all the recipes. You may need to check the google doc links sharing permissions.

    Google Docs encountered an error. Please try reloading this page, or coming back to it in a few minutes.

    To learn more about the Google Docs editors, please visit our help center.

    We’re sorry for the inconvenience.
    – The Google Docs Team

    • Andrew Skurka on July 6, 2021 at 5:22 pm

      It’s not on my end, and everything displays just fine for me.

      You might try using incognito mode, clearing your browswer’s cache, or using another browser or device. Apologies for the inconvenience — I’m looking for a solution that will work for everyone, but so far have not found it.

      • Jeff D on July 6, 2021 at 10:39 pm

        Incognito mode worked. Thanks! Was having the issue across multiple devices but incognito mode worked both times. Have a good one!

    • Hunter Hall on July 6, 2021 at 5:26 pm

      Works fine for me too. I think Andrews recommendations are a good place to start.

    • Colorado Jones on July 6, 2021 at 7:45 pm

      Incognito mode did the trick for me.

  8. Splash on August 17, 2021 at 10:43 am

    Just made this for my lunch at home to try it out. I was surprised by how tasty it is. I am going to try it out on this weekend’s one overnight backpacking trip to see if it’s worth the effort in the field.

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