Here’s my quick and easy method for making taquitos or flautas in your air fryer! Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos take only five ingredients and they’re a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken!
If you were anything like me growing up, you probably tried those boxed taquitos from the freezer section.
I think the brand was El Monterey? We cooked them in the oven when feeling fancy, and the microwave when we wanted something quick.
Recently, we’ve been making lots of chimichangas in the air fryer, so this movement over to taquitos seemed natural. I wanted to make the same ones I had as a kid but made of chicken with actual texture (not sure what part of the chicken is really in those ones from the store), and not deep fried.
Our fridge had some extra cooked chicken breast, salsa, shredded cheese, cream cheese, and a few extra tortillas. Threw it all together one night (after the air fryer chimichanga discovery) and OMG.
Why was I surprised? So crispy and amazing in less than 15 minutes.
Is it a flauta or a taquito?
First of all, I want to clarify that I do not claim my “recipe” is authentic or anything close. It’s just a simple and delicious thing to eat when you have the ingredients leftover! It’s fun to use air fryers to imitate deep fried foods. Also, very very delicious.
Flautas vs Taquitos: Here is my understanding about the difference between the flautas and taquitos
- The difference in name is usually regional.
- The fillings are usually the same – meat and cheese or a close combo.
- The size of the tortilla matters: Taquitos are usually smaller (made with small taco size tortillas); Flautas are usually bigger/longer (made with large burritos size tortillas)
- The type of tortilla matters: Taquitos are generally made with corn tortillas; Flautas can be made with either, however taquitos or flautas made with flour tortillas are more Tex-Mex and non-traditional.
So what happens when you make them with small taco size flour tortillas, like me? It’s up to you!! Call them whatever you want, they are delicious.
Total Time: 15 minutes
Method: Air Fryer
Prep: 5 Ingredients or Less
Watch how to make this Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos (or Flautas!) recipe (1 min 15 secs):
How do you make these Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos?
To make Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos, you need five (six including the oil) main ingredients:
- about 1 cup of leftover cooked chicken breast – you can also use ground taco meat, cook shrimp, or you can make my salsa chicken thighs and then omit the extra salsa when mixing up the filling.
- your choice chunky salsa – I really like using a corn and bean salsa blend for this recipe, but it’s really up to you! Trader Joe’s Cowboy Caviar is good too (a little thicker, so use a bit more). Whatever you already have on hand should work!
- cream cheese – helps bring the filling mixture together and gives it a nice creaminess to the inside of the taquito! You can omit this and it would still be good; add more regular cheese.
- shredded cheese – any shredded Mexican blend or cheddar works perfectly.
- taco size tortillas – the only real reason for this requirement is because larger tortillas wouldn’t fit into my air fryer. You can try a bigger size if you have a bigger air fryer. Also note that based on my research, taquitos are made with corn tortillas; flautas are made with flour tortillas.
- Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray – I prefer to use avocado oil spray because of the high smoke point. The spray container helps you use only a little bit of oil at a time. If you don’t have access to the spray canister, you can always brush the taquitos with oil before placing them into the air fryer.
Brian from Pinterest says:
“I used corn tortillas but turned down the air fryer to 350F for 6 mins. Perfect”
First, mix up the filling by combining the cooked meat, cheese, cream cheese and salsa together in a bowl until the cream cheese is blended and no chunks remain.
The recipe makes four taquitos (that’s how many fit into my air fryer at one time), but you can easily double or triple it for larger batches.
Use your spoon to loosely mark the bowl of filling mixture into four quarters, sort of dividing with lines on top. This helps you make each taquito about the same size.
Arrange the filling in a line across the widest part of the tortilla as shown. Roll them up and place them into the air fryer, then give a quick spray over the entire thing with your spray oil.
Air fry for around 7 minutes at about 375F (my air fryer is analog so it’s not exact). Check them at 5 minutes so see how fast they’re cooking. You want the taquitos to be nice and golden brown all around.
Top with your faves – I love guacamole so that was an obvious choice. Serve over some greens for a full meal 🤩
How long do you cook taquitos (or flautas) in the air fryer?
Following my method described above or in the recipe card below, cook your freshly made taquitos or flautas in your air fryer at 375F for about 7 minutes or until they’re golden brown and crispy to your liking!
What kind of air fryer do you have?
For all my air fryer recipes, I use the Philips 2.75 qt Viva Air Fryer , and I love it! Frozen things that are normally baked or fried come out crispier than I’ve ever tasted. Plus you always save time by not having to heat up the oven, so that’s definitely a win.
Update 2021: Now I use and recommend this Cosori XL 5.8 qt Air Fryer ! It’s larger and I like the basket better. See new recipes such as Air Fryer Chicken Tenders or Air Fryer Croutons for more on the new air fryer!
How do you freeze homemade taquitos?
Make the filling and roll up the taquitos, but instead of cooking them, lay them on a baking sheet and stick them into the freezer for at least four hours.
Place them with the edge of the tortilla facing down so they stay rolled. After frozen, they’ll stay rolled just fine.
Transfer the frozen taquitos into a storage container with an airtight seal and keep them for 3-6 months!
How to reheat:
From the fridge: Place taquitos into the air fryer basket and spritz with a bit of avocado oil spray. Cook at 380F for 6-8 minutes or until hot and crispy.
From frozen: Place frozen taquitos in a single layer in your air fryer and spray with a quick spritz of avocado oil. Cook at 350F for 12-15 minutes, checking at 10 minutes to see how fast they’re cooking.
All air fryers will be slightly different so just pay attention to the appliance when you first try cooking frozen taquitos.
A quick and easy method for making taquitos (corn tortillas) or flautas (flour tortillas) in your air fryer! Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos take only five ingredients and they’re a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken!
- 1 cup cooked chicken breast (any leftover or rotisserie chicken works)
- 1/3 cup shredded cheese (Mexican blend or cheddar)
- 2 ounces (1/4 cup) cream cheese
- 2–3 tablespoons chunky bean & corn salsa (any salsa works – less if thinner, more if thicker)
- 4 taco size tortillas (8 inches – flour or corn)
- avocado oil spray
- Make the filling: Combine the cooked meat, cheese, cream cheese and salsa together in a bowl until completely blended.
- Roll up the taquitos/flautas: Use your spoon to loosely mark/divide the bowl of filling mixture into four quarters (this helps make each taquito about the same size). To make it easy, use flour tortillas because they don’t rip (flautas). If using corn tortillas (taquitos), warm them by wrapping in a paper towel and microwave on medium power for 10 second intervals until just barely warm to the touch (20 or 30 seconds max). Arrange a quarter of the filling in a line across the widest part of each tortilla (lots of pictures in the post above!). Roll them up and place them into the air fryer, then give a quick spray over the entire thing with your spray oil.
- Cook: Air fry for 7-10 minutes at about 375F (my air fryer is analog so it’s not exact). Check them at 5 minutes so see how fast they’re cooking. You want the taquitos to be nice and golden brown all around. Top with your faves: guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, salsa, tomato, etc. Serve over some greens for a full meal.
- To freeze: Make the filling and roll the taquitos, but instead of cooking them, place each taquito on a small baking sheet with the edge of the tortilla facing down so they stay rolled. Transfer the frozen taquitos into a storage container with an airtight seal and keep them for 3-6 months! Cook from frozen: Place frozen taquitos in a single layer in your air fryer and spray with a quick spritz of avocado oil. Cook at 375F for 12-15 minutes, checking at 10 minutes to see how fast they’re cooking.
Instead of chicken, you can also use ground taco meat, cooked shrimp, or you can make my salsa chicken thighs and then omit the extra salsa when mixing up the filling.
The recipe makes four taquitos (that’s how many fit into my air fryer at one time), but you can double or triple it for larger batches of 8 or 12! You can also prep the filling ahead of time so all you have to do is roll up the tortillas and air fry them. That’s dinner in 10 minutes!
Nutrition information estimated with My Fitness Pal using flour tortillas.
- Serving Size: 2 taquitos/flautas
- Calories: 559
- Sugar: 4g
- Fat: 24g
- Carbohydrates: 51g
- Protein: 36g