Crispy, crunchy, and oh-so-incredibly easy, these chipotle pepper flavored chicken taquito roll-ups call for just 5 ingredients and can be baked or fried for a super fast appetizer, dinner or snack.
When I was a teenager in high school, my friends and I would sprint from 4th period class and load into my friend Brenda’s car (lucky for us she had a very early 16th birthday and a mom who gave her free use of the car), roll down the windows, and crank up Madonna’s “Borderline” as we high-tailed it to one of our two favorite spots for lunch.
The first spot was Rax Roast Beef where I always ordered the Fried Chicken Sandwich. The second spot was Taco Time, where the crispy bean burritos with extra packets of mild salsa would always leave me with blisters in my mouth because they were hot out of the fryer and it was torture to wait until they cooled to eat them. I can STILL smell their crispy aroma lingering in my memory bank.
Taco Time was usually first on our list because in the newspaper each week they would include a promotional brown paper sack that when you took to Taco Time, you could get 5 tacos, crispy bean burritos, or soft beef burritos for $1.00. Or was it $2.00? Either way, as a high schooler with no money, it was a total steal.
Back then I didn’t know that my crispy bean burritos loved by cheap teenagers are known in more authentically-inclined parts of the country as taquitos, or even more authentically known world wide as flautas.
Either which way, they’re simple to make and deliciously good and this time around, made with chile-spiced shredded chicken.
In researching what the difference is between taquitos and flautas, I found reports that taquitos originated in Texas. Other reports stated flautas as taking their origins from Spain, the name coming from the fact they resemble flutes. Considering their mass appeal, they could indeed be considered the Pied Piper of Mexican cuisine.
The main difference I could discern from my findings is that taquitos are made of corn tortillas and flautas use flour tortillas. However, of the many, many recipes I’ve seen on the www, and in cookbooks, and in magazines, it seems to me that at this stage in our Mexican food-loving game, the use of both styles of tortillas have become interchangeable. I’m sure a few of you out there have an opinion on this, so please, do share in the comments below.
If I have my druthers, and because I’m the cook and so I can, I will usually choose flour tortillas over corn. I like to work with their pliable and flexible ways, and I prefer their soft, pillowy bite better. And even more, flour tortillas crisp up like dream.
This time around I fried my chicken taquitos but they are just as easily (or even easier) made baked in the oven. You won’t get quite the same luxe and flaky crunch factor with the baked version, but you’ll also be skipping the extra calories that come from frying as well.
Yes, these are fried, but in a shallow amount of oil, and cooked quickly and drained well, so when made and enjoyed in moderation, can be an extremely satisfying treat. Hey, I’m all in for skipping dessert for these babies.
But of course, these are your taquito/flautas, so please, choose which tortilla and frying/baking method you like best for your own cooking pleasures.
The taquitos themselves require just 5 ingredients, simple ingredients I can often find while foraging through the fridge. Tortillas. Cheese. Chicken.
And I always have a bag of leftover chipotle chiles that I store in the freezer, left over from that can I opened for that one recipe that only called for one chipotle chile. So what in the heck do you do with the rest? Freeze them individually in plastic wrap and store in a freezer safe bag, then use in dishes like this one. Simple! And efficient.
I used two chipotle chiles in this recipe along with a fair amount of adobo sauce. I like things spicy. But if you are of a more temperate palate, start with one chipotle and add more to your liking.
These can certainly be enjoyed on their own (and a great finger food option for a party) but I enjoy them most when they’ve been doctored up with drizzles of this and shreds of that, including my Creamy Avocado Salsa Verde for drizzling, and…
My Easy Pico de Gallo for dipping (plus 15 more salsa recipe links at the end of this post). Because, we have tortillas. And that means we must dip.
And because I was making this a meal, I garnished with shredded lettuce for more veggie crunch, and a drizzle of Mexican cream and grating of Mexican cotija cheese, because, well, it’s a taquito/flauta fiesta!
- 3 cups shredded chicken (I used one large boneless chicken breast)
- 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
- 3 cups shredded cheese, such as Monterey jack, cheddar or a combination of your favorite cheese
- 12 7-inch flour tortillas (you can use corn tortillas if you prefer)
- 2-3 cups canola oil for frying (optional) or 1 tablespoon canola oil to brush the tortillas with if baking
- Creamy Avocado Salsa Verde (recipe here)
- Pico de Gallo (recipe here)
- Shredded lettuce
- Shredded cotija cheese
- Mexican crema or sour cream
- In a medium bowl, toss the shredded chicken breast with the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce until well combined. Add more or less peppers and the adobo sauce to your liking.
- To assemble , lay the tortillas on a work surface and fill the bottom third of each tortilla with ⅓ cup of the shredded chicken mixture and sprinkle with ¼ cup of the shredded cheese. Roll the tortillas up tightly and secure the end with a toothpick inserted into the seam.
- If frying, pour enough oil in a heavy bottom fry pan or pot to cover ½ inch or so enough oil reaches halfway up the sides of the tortillas when frying. Heat the oil to 350°F — use a candy thermometer to measure the oil without touching the bottom of the pan. If you don't have a thermometer, test the oil temperature by dropping a piece of the tortilla into the oil. If it sizzles it should be hot enough.
- Add the filled tortillas to the hot oil and cook in batches so not to crowd the pan. Fry each side until golden brown, about 2 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate or cutting board lined with paper towels.
- If baking, preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the tortillas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, and lightly brush the filled tortillas with canola oil. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp then transfer to a plate.
- To serve, remove the toothpicks from the taquitos and serve on their own or serve with avocado salsa verde, pico de gallo, sour cream or Mexican crema, shredded lettuce, and grated or crumbled cotija cheese.
Keep the Taquito Recipes Rolling
They’re so simple to prepare, all the cool kids are creating all sorts of crazy fillings for them. Roll on my Mexican-inspired croutons!
Slow Cooker Jalapeño Popper Taquito
The ultimate gas station snack mash-up.
Get the recipe | Creme de la Crumb
Baked Shrimp Taquitos
Weighing in at just 245 calories per serving (that’s 2 taquitos folks!) you can eat your tortilla and feel guilt-free too.
Get the recipe | Skinnytaste
Sweet Potato and Lime Taquitos
Vegan and gluten-free, these crispy critters fit every diet.
Get the recipe | This Mess Is Ours (Beard + Bonnet)
Cheesy Short Rib Stuffed Taquitos
These roll-ups will truly, seriously, literally, stick to your ribs.
Get the recipe | Climbing Grier Mountain
Slow cooked insides, crispy outsides. The perfect combination.
Get the recipe | Seasons and Suppers
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