Taquitos remind me of a less-messy version of crispy tacos. Traditionally, you make them by rolling tortillas around a savory filling and then frying them until crispy and ready to be dunked in salsa, guacamole, or crema. To be honest, I held off on making them at home because I didn’t want to bother with frying — but the air fryer changed everything. Using your air fryer for homemade taquitos requires less oil and less mess.
Reasons to make taquitos in the air fryer
An air fryer circulates hot air around food, making it a great choice for crisping up foods and mimicking regular frying to a certain degree. Just spraying the tortillas with a little cooking spray before air frying gives them enough oil to brown and crisp up. It’s much less messy and can actually be faster than frying if you have a toaster oven-style air fryer that can cook a larger amount of taquitos at once.
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The ingredients you’ll need for air fryer taquitos
- Tortillas: Corn tortillas are traditional, but you can also use flour. Get a small tortilla about 5 or 6 inches wide. Corn tortillas are often labeled “soft taco” size and flour are labeled “fajita size.”
- Cream cheese: Cream cheese binds the filling together and makes it easier to stuff into the tortillas.
- Chicken: Finely shred cooked chicken. If the pieces are too chunky, they’ll be harder to mix into the filling evenly.
- Diced green chiles: Canned mild green chiles add a little bit of tang and much-needed moisture to the filling.
- Shredded cheese: Get shredded Mexican-blend cheese, or use a combo of cheddar and Monterey Jack.
- Spices: Cumin and chili powder add some savory flavors.
- Chipotles in adobo sauce: Canned chipotles add some spice and smokiness, but you can skip this if you want a non-spicy taquito.
- Cooking spray: Spray one side of the tortillas with cooking spray so they crisp up and brown in the air fryer.
How long do I cook taquitos in the air fryer?
Taquitos will take anywhere from five to 10 minutes in an air fryer set to 400 F. One of the testers on this recipe found that flour and corn tortillas cooked at the same rate in her basket-style air fryer, but I found that corn tortillas took longer in mine.
How to serve air fryer taquitos
Serve taquitos on a bed of lettuce with some chopped tomatoes and a drizzle of crema or sour cream on top for a meal. Guacamole, avocado crema, and salsa are also great toppers, or use them as dips if you’re serving the taquitos as a snack or appetizer.
Air Fryer Taquitos
Serves 4 to 6; makes 14 to 16
For the taquitos:
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon canned chipotle in adobo sauce
- 1 (4-ounce) can mild diced green chiles
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces cooked boneless chicken (about 3 cups, from 1 rotisserie chicken)
- 4 ounces shredded Mexican blend cheese (about 1 cup)
- 14 to 16 (5 to 6-inch) corn or flour tortillas, divided
- Sour cream or crema
- Avocado crema
- Shredded iceberg lettuce
- Diced tomatoes
1. Place 6 ounces cream cheese in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high until softened but not melted, 15 to 20 seconds. (Alternatively, let sit at room temperature until softened.)
2. Finely chop 1 canned chipotle in adobo sauce (about 1 tablespoon). Add the chipotle, 1 teaspoon of the sauce, 1 (4-ounce) can mild diced green chiles (do not drain), 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt to the cream cheese. Stir and smash together to combine.
3. Finely shred 12 ounces cooked boneless chicken with your hands. Add the chicken and 4 ounces shredded Mexican blend cheese (about 1 cup) to the bowl and stir and mash to combine.
4. Heat an air fryer to 400 F. Meanwhile, assemble the taquitos.
Option 1: Corn Tortillas
1. Stack 5 of corn tortillas on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a very damp paper towel and microwave until warmed through, 30 seconds.
2. Assemble the taquitos on a work surface or cutting board: Coat 1 tortilla lightly with cooking spray (keep the remaining covered). Flip the tortilla over. Place 3 tablespoons of the filling across the lower half of the tortilla in a rough log shape that’s about 1-inch wide. Starting at the bottom of the tortilla, roll tightly up and secure closed with a toothpick (it’s OK if the tortilla cracks a little).
Option 2: Flour Tortillas
1. Assemble the taquitos on a work surface or cutting board: Coat 1 flour tortilla lightly with cooking spray. Flip the tortilla over. Place 3 tablespoons of the filling across the lower half of the tortilla in a rough log shape that’s about 1-inch wide.
2. Starting at the bottom of the tortilla, roll tightly up and secure closed with a toothpick.
3. Repeat assembling as many taquitos as will fit in the air fryer basket in a single layer with space around each one (corn tortillas will crack as they sit, so only assemble one batch at a time).
4. Place the taquitos seam-side down in the air fryer basket. Air fry until crisp and the ends are browned, 5 to 10 minutes (corn tortillas may take longer). Meanwhile, assemble the next batch of taquitos, making sure to start with warm corn tortillas.
5. Transfer the taquitos to a plate (or baking sheet if you want to keep them warm in a 200 F oven). Repeat air frying the remaining taquitos. Let cool for 2 minutes before removing the toothpicks and serving. Serve with toppings or dipping sauces as desired.
Make ahead: The filling can be made up to two days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four days. Reheat in a 325 F oven, flipping halfway through, until warmed through,15 to 17 minutes total. Alternatively, reheat in an 400 F air fryer, flipping halfway through, until warmed through, 4 to 6 minutes total.
(Christine Gallary is food editor-at-large for TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to email@example.com.)
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