Cheesy Chicken Taquitos (Baked, Fried, Air Fryer)
Homemade chipotle cheesy chicken taquitos or flautas! Basically, your favorite tortillas stuffed with shredded chicken, shredded cheese, cream cheese, and so much more. You can fry the taquitos or bake them! Serve with your favorite salsa, guacamole, or sour cream!
Easiest chipotle chicken taquitos!
Over the years, I’ve learned that some of our favorite dinners are the ones I’ve thrown together quickly. That happens to be the story behind today’s chipotle chicken taquitos. The story starts with a batch of cooked chicken in the refrigerator, a bag of shredded cheddar, a bottle of salsa, and of course, tortillas that I bought intending to make something completely different. Probably these migas tacos if I’m being honest; they’re always on repeat for breakfast.
What I love most about recipes like my chipotle chicken taquitos is that they’re perfect when you want to make it for a child-approved family dinner, but also as an appetizer for a Cinco de Mayo party, super bowl, or for a casual new years eve get-together. Also, I’d like to point out that homemade taquitos basically give you the right to eat all your favorite dips for dinner. I mean, at this point, I’m just using the taquitos as a vessel to fill up on guacamole, salsa, and pico. Side note, my cheese lovers, this would be so good with melted queso!
Honestly, the other night we sat down with these taquitos for dinner, and I ate an entire ½ cup of guacamole salsa with a single taquito. I double-dipped a whole lot and I’m not even ashamed.
What’s the difference between taquitos and flautas?
Taquitos or flautas are tortillas rolled up with cheese, chicken, or beef filling. Taquitos are what we called them here in Texas, but really, taquitos are flautas. However, flautas are made with larger tortillas, whereas taquitos are made with smaller tortillas.
What ingredients do you need to make chipotle chicken taquitos?
- Cooked Chicken: This can be chicken that you seared and baked in the oven, cooked in your crock pot, shredded rotisserie chicken with two forks, or boil chicken that you just shredded up in your mixer.
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo: You’ll need 1-2 peppers and a couple of tablespoons of adobo sauce for the chicken mixture.
- Spices: I use adobo seasoning, not to be mistaken with adobo sauce that chipotle peppers are packed in. You’ll also need ground cumin and garlic powder. Feel free to use chili powder if you prefer your taquitos spicier, but for us, the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce made it plenty spicy.
- Cheese: You’ll need both cream cheese and shredded cheese for this recipe. The cream cheese makes the filling melty and gooey when the flautas crisp up. It’s something I started adding more recently. However, it is optional, so feel free to omit it if you aren’t a fan. For the shredded cheese, you can use anything you like that will melt well. Oaxaca cheese is an excellent choice. I love using it for steak quesadillas. You can also use a Mexican cheddar cheese blend, Monterey jack, or pepper jack cheese.
- Flour tortillas or corn tortillas: You can use either for this recipe. Traditionally, flautas are made with corn tortillas. But either will work for this, so use one or the other, or you can even use a tortilla that’s a blend of flour and corn if you’d like.
- Oil: If you’re frying these, you’ll need an ample amount of oil to fit your frying vessel. I usually use a frying pan because it’s easier to fish the taquitos out, and they use less oil than a deep fryer. If you’re baking or air frying them, you’ll need cooking spray.
Making cream cheese chicken taquitos
- Cook the chicken. I poach the chicken the same way for all the recipes that require cooked chicken breasts or thighs. I start by heating a 2-quart saucepan with water, along with ½ an onion, a few cloves of garlic, 6-8 black peppercorns, and a tablespoon of salt. When the water comes to a boil, I cook the chicken breasts until they reach 165ºF on an instant read meat thermometer. About 12-18 minutes ballpark depending on the side of the chicken breast/thighs.
- Shred it. Once the protein cooks, you want to let the chicken cool completely before shredding it. If you used a rotisserie chicken or refrigerated chicken, you may want to zap it in the microwave just to bring it to room temperature before using it in the taquitos.
- Make the filling. In a medium bowl, stir together the shredded chicken, cream cheese, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, seasonings, and shredded chicken with some salt. Taste and adjust the filling with more seasonings or adjuting the sodium level as you’d like.
- Roll the taquitos. Place a tortilla in front of you, and scoop 1/4 cup of filling on your tortilla. Roll the tortilla up and either secure it with a toothpick and place seam side down. It’s easier to fry or bake if you have that toothpick in place. Cut down on prep time by having someone help load up the taquitos if you’re making these for a party!
- Fry, bake, or air fry the taquitos. Cover the taquitos with a damp paper towel and place in the refrigerator if you plan on frying or baking these later. Line the taquitos on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to bake, or make them in the air fryer if you want to cut down on calories. If you’re frying these, be sure to drain them on a paper-towel lined plate. Serve with your favorite dips, shredded, lime juice, and sour cream.
FAQs about flautas
Adobo seasoning is available in most grocery stores in the spice or ethnic foods aisle. It’s a general all-purpose dry seasoning with ingredients like black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and turmeric. It’s important to note that the seasoning is different from the adobo sauce that the chipotle peppers come packed in. I know, it can get a little confusing if you don’t use these ingredients very often so I just wanted to take a second to point that out.
Yes, absolutely! Using rotisserie chicken anywhere cooked chicken is called for is a great hack to get dinner on the table much faster. I’ve got a recipe for a 1-hour oven roasted chicken recipe that you can make for dinner one night and use the leftover chicken in these cheesy chicken taquitos for another dinner during the week. You’ll need roughly 2½ cups of shredded chicken.
We’ve made these in an air fryer loads of times! Preheat to 400ºF and cook them for roughly 6-10 minutes, flipping around the halfway mark or until the flautas are golden and crispy.
What to serve with this recipe:
- Toppings: pico de gallo, crumbled cotija cheese, shredded lettuce
- Sauces: guacamole salsa, salsa verde, blender salsa, sour cream, avocado dip
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Slow Cooker Honey Chipotle Chicken Meatballs
- Spicy Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Super Crispy Garlic Parmesan Wings
- The Best Air Fryer Fried Pickles
- Crunchy Chicken Caesar Wraps
Recipe published April 2019, updated with new post January 2022.
- 2 ½ cups cooked shredded chicken (see notes)
- 1-2 minced chipotle peppers + 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
- 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese (optional)
- ½ teaspoon EACH: adobo seasoning, ground cumin, AND garlic powder
- 2 ½ cups shredded cheese (use shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, pepper jack, etc.)
- 16-18 flour tortillas (taco sized)
- Oil, for frying/baking
- FILLING: in a medium bowl, stir together the shredded chicken, softened cream cheese, chipotle peppers + adobo sauce, adobo seasoning, garlic powder, ground cumin, shredded cheese, and a big pinch of salt together. Taste and adjust with additional seasonings as desired.
- ROLL: Place a tortilla on a clean work surface and fill with about ¼ cup of filling or more depending on the size of your tortilla. Roll the tortillas up and either secure with a toothpick or place seam side down. It’s easier to fry/bake if you insert a toothpick to hold the taquito together.
- FRY: preheat 1 cup of oil in a medium frying pan over medium-low heat until it reaches 350ºF. You don’t want to deep fry, so just enough oil to come ½ way up the frying pan. Once heated, slowly lower 4-6 taquitos in the oil at a time and allow them to fry for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a baking tray lined with a cooling rack and allow them to rest while you fry the rest.
- OR BAKE: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Pour 3-4 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl. Place an oven-safe cooling rack on a large baking sheet (line with foil for easier cleanup). Place all the taquitos seam-side up on the cooling rack brush them with the oil. Then, flip them all over (seam-side down) and brush them with oil again so the entire taquitos are coated. Bake the taquitos for 14-17 minutes or until the taquitos are golden brown and crispy!
- OR AIR FRY: Preheat air fryer at 400ºF. Open the air fryer, spray the inside basket with cooking spray. Place the taquitos in the basket, do not overcrowd or allow them to touch; depending on the size of your air fryer, you can probably fit 3-5 taquitos at a time. Spray the tops of the taquitos with additional cooking spray.
Air fry for 6-10 minutes, flipping halfway or until crispy and golden. Repeat with the remaining taquitos.
- Remove toothpicks before serving. Serve alongside all your favorite taquito toppings - guacamole salsa, blender salsa, pico, sour cream, shredded lettuce, and cotija cheese.
- if you do not have cooked and shredded chicken already, it will take you an additional 20 minutes to make this recipe