Photo by Cindy Kennedy

Taquitos with a Twist

Cuisine: Tex Mex
Servings: 6-10 servings

Taquitos – those crunchy rolled-up corn tortillas with tasty fillings – are the perfect snack food. They’re easy to make and you can serve them as dippers and appetizers or turn them into a full meal buried underneath lettuce, salsa, and sour cream. Even better, you can use beef, turkey, chicken and pork as fillers – that means a great way to utilize leftovers!

Their exact origin tends to trigger debate. They’re an “authentic” Mexican treat, but others believe they surfaced first in California. Some call them flautas, while others strongly defend this term for its cone shaping and use of flour tortillas instead of corn. You’ll find them dripping with grease and buried in a mushy sea of green sauce – all have their fans. As “little tacos,” taquitos are simply wonderful no matter what is said about their origin – or how they’re made.

In this recipe, I’m adding a couple of twists. I’m going to bake them, although they’re usually fried. Second, I’m softening the tortillas first in the microwave, rather than using hot oil. Then, a tomatillo sauce jazzed up with jalapeño and onion is spread across the inside. This will keep them moist and can help if fillings are drier, too. Salsa or an enchilada sauce are also great if you have them on hand. These are optional steps that you can skip – just be sure the taquitos are hot enough to soften and avoid cracking.

Of course, you can also find taquitos in the grocery freezer section, all boxed up and ready to go. We all know fresh is better, though, so save those less-healthy options for a 3 a.m. snack attack when taste doesn’t matter so much. On the other hand, homemade taquitos freeze nicely, so why not make a large batch and stash them away for the next late-night, home-from-partying food foray?


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  1. If preparing meat from scratch, simmer in plain water. You’ll be seasoning later, unless it’s leftovers. A 1-pound tenderloin, trimmed and cut in half will take about 1 hour at a simmer.
  2. Let the meat cool and shred with a fork. Lightly coat with a blend of chili powder, black pepper, dried oregano, cumin, and salt.
  3. Dampen two paper towels and place 3-4 tortillas in at a time. Microwave on high for about 1 minute. It may take more – if they begin to crack, they’re not hot enough.
  4. Coat the inside of the tortilla with about 1 teaspoon of the sauce (or just start filling the heated tortilla without a sauce.
  5. Place about 1 heaping teaspoon full of meat filling on the tortilla in a thin line, just off-center.
  6. Carefully roll the tortilla as tightly as possible. Seal closed with a toothpick for baking.
  7. Preheat oven to 425º F.
  8. Line cookie sheet with foil then coat with cooking spray.
  9. Add tortillas, keeping them separated. Coat on top with a light layer of cooking spray.
  10. Bake for about 16-18 minutes.

Chef Notes

To freeze pre-cooked taquitos, coat with a cooking spray and place in a single row in large freezer bag. taquitos-how-to  

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