These crispy flautas will become your new favorite lunch! They are deep-fried to perfection and served with Mexican cream, crumbled cheese, and a hot salsa. In this recipe, I'll be sharing how to make 4 different fillings!
Why You'll Love These Mexican Flautas
Sometimes, you just crave something deep-fried and crunchy, but don't necessarily want to go out to eat fast food. These Beefy Flautas are perfect for those days!
Flautas are one of my favorite types of Mexican food because there is nothing quite like their crunchy texture and all those incredible toppings.
Why is a Flauta called a Flauta?
The name of these crispy rolled tacos (“Flautas”) is given to them because of their resemblance to a flute, the musical instrument, which in Spanish is called "flauta". The name also fits because you also hold them with your fingers to eat them.
In some parts of Mexico, these tacos are made using thin, long oval-shaped corn tortillas, and are deep-fried in lard. The best flautas I've ever had are from Toluca, when I used to live there back in the late ‘80s!
Those flautas were long, heavily stuffed, and were cooked in a mix of vegetal oil and pork lard. If you live close to some areas of Chicago, Texas, and California, you can buy these tortillas at the tortilla factories (called "tortillerias"). However, for this recipe, we will be using regular corn tortillas like many people in Mexico do.
Flautas are very popular among children and are really easy and affordable to make. My mother still makes them with a potato filling, just the way she used to back when she had eight kids to feed! Nowadays, however, she cooks them for her grandchildren that come to Abuela's house every day for lunch after school.
Before I share my flautas recipe, here are a few questions I’ve been asked about Mexican flautas!
Flautas vs Taquitos - What is the difference?
The size is the biggest difference between a flauta and a taquito, but people use the words interchangeably. Flautas are longer and thicker than taquitos.
Flautas will occasionally be prepared with an oval-shaped tortilla that is specially made for flautas. This is more common for flautas made in restaurants or street stands, not so much for home-made flautas.
How do you store leftover flautas?
Since they are deep-fried, they don't store very well. I suggest eating them fresh. If you have leftovers, keep them in an airtight food storage container for up to three days. To reheat them, pop them in a toaster or oven, to get them warm and crunchy again.
What is the difference between flautas and a tostada?
A tostada is a flat tortilla that you fry (or toast). It is usually served open-faced. Flautas are also fried, but they are rolled up tightly!
Please note: For exact measurements of the ingredients listed below, scroll down to the recipe card located at the bottom of this post!
These are some delicious Mexican flautas - and for good reason! They are made with wholesome ingredients and traditional Mexican spices.
- Corn Tortillas
- Vegetable Oil
- Toothpicks (for holding the tortillas together_
- Flank steak or skirt
- Garlic cloves
- Bay leaf
- Chicken breast
- Garlic clove
To make things easier for you, I will break down the directions for making flautas into sections.
Cooking different types of fillings:
To make shredded beef flautas:
- Cook the meat in a medium-size pot with onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt, and water.
- Simmer covered for about 40-45 minutes or until tender, cool, and shred the meat in a large bowl.
OTHER FILLINGS OPTIONS:
To make shredded chicken flautas:
- Place the chicken, garlic, onion, salt, and water in a pot and simmer covered for about 30 minutes, or until tender.
- Let it cool and shred the chicken. Season with garlic powder garlic and onion powder, salt & pepper. With this chicken mixture fill your flautas.
NOTE: For the chicken flautas recipe, you can use leftover rotisserie chicken and use that as a filling for the flautas.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into large cubes, and cook in salted water until tender, and do not overcook.
- Drain and mash.
- Taste in case it needs more salt!
Black Bean Flautas:
Fried 2 tbsp. chopped onion in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil until hot. Add 1-½ cup of cooked black beans drained. Mash with a potato mashed and cook for about 7-8 minutes until the mixture is fried.
Prepare the tortillas
- Heat the tortillas on a griddle to make them more pliable and easy to roll.
Add filling and roll
- Put some shredded beef close to the edge of the tortilla.
- Roll tightly but not too much to avoid squeezing the filling out of the tortilla.
- Not everyone uses the toothpicks to secure the rolled tortillas, however, if this is your first time making flautas, I recommend you use them.
- Secure the tortilla with a toothpick.
- Roll another tortilla with its filling and again hold the center with a toothpick. You can attach them in pairs as shown in the picture. Place seam side together.
- While you are rolling the tacos, heat the oil in a large frying pan or skillet on medium-high heat.
Fry the flautas
- Deep fry the flautas in the already heated oil until they are golden brown and crispy. You will only need to turn them once (using kitchen tongs or a spatula).
- Remove and drain the excess oil on a rack or plate covered with paper towels.
- It’s also a good idea to let them cool a little since the filling will be very hot. If you make a large batch of flautas, place them on a baking tray in a warm oven, to keep them hot while you finish cooking the rest.
Flautas Toppings and Side Dishes
To serve, remove the toothpicks and place the flautas on a plate, and the toppings you prefer. When it comes to the vegetables, I like to add lettuce, onion, and tomato. On top of the vegetables, we usually add a cream (Mexican crema or sour cream) and some crumbled cheese (Queso Fresco or Cotija cheese). My son also likes to add ketchup! In my case, I love adding some avocado slices; they help to add a creamy texture to the whole bite!
Finally, finish by toppping the flautas with the salsa of your choice. You can also serve the flautas alongside some guacamole, pico de gallo, or pickled carrots (and pickled jalapeños, too).
- We love to top these crispy tacos with Queso fresco or Cotija Cheese, however, if you can't find it, you can use Shredded Monterrey Jack, Monterey Jack, Parmesan cheese, or even crumbled feta cheese (I advise against using cheddar cheese since that is not common in Mexico).
- Flautas, as well as other crispy fried tacos in Mexico, are commonly topped with lettuce, tomato, cream, and crumbled cheese. This is in contrast to soft tacos (like street tacos) which are commonly topped with onion, cilantro, and (sometimes) fresh lime juice.
- When you remove a crispy flauta from the oil, it is important to have a surface to place them where they can drain their excess oil. You can use a rack or a plate covered with paper towels. If, throughout the cooking process you see the towels becoming too soaked in the oil, remove the damp paper towels and replace them with clean dry ones.
- For those of you using an air fryer: Preheat your Air Fryer to 380ºF (190ºC) Place the flautas in the air fryer basket, making sure that they are not touching each other, and spray with a mist of cooking spray oil. Air Fry for 6-8 minutes, then turn the taquitos over and spay with more oil, and cook for 3 more minutes or until they are golden brown.
- To reheat leftover flautas, place them on a baking sheet wrapped in aluminum foil (or parchment paper) and reheat them in a preheated oven at 350ºF (175ºC) for about 8-10 minutes. Avoid using the microwave, since that will make the tacos become chewy and hard to eat.
- Flautas are considered one of the many types of "antojitos", and are usually sold at places called "cenadurias", which regularly open for dinner. Sopes, Tlacoyos, and Empanadas are also considered as antojitos. Flautas are also made at home, and sometimes they are offered as an appetizer at parties.
- To make vegan flautas you can use the black bean option given above, or use a mashed potato filling. Or use a vegan protein of your choice.
📚 More Authentic Mexican Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe for Mexican flautas, take a look at some of these other authentic Mexican recipes:
I hope you make these flautas! If this recipe was of any help to you, come back to let me know your experience. Please leave us a comment below and tell us all about it on Instagram,, Facebook & Pinterest.
Receta en Español Taquitos Dorados Mexicanos.
- 12 corn tortillas the thinner the better
- 2 cups of the filling of your choice Beef, chicken or potato (see instructions bellow)
- 12 to othpicks to hold the tortillas together
- Vegetable oil to fry the flautas
- 1 cup of “Cotija” Cheese shredded or fresh Mexican Cheese Crumbled
- ½ cup Mexican cream or creme fraiche
For the beef filling
- 1 Pound of Flank steak or skirt cut in cubes
- ¼ of an onion
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 bay leave
- Enough water to cover the meat.
- Salt to taste
For the chicken filling:
- 1 large chicken breast bone in
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 slices of onion
- Enough water to cover the chicken
- salt to taste
For the potato filling:
- 2 Large potatoes
- salt to taste and enough water to cover the potatoes.
For the beef filling
- Cook the meat in a small pot with the onion, garlic, bay leave, salt, and water. Simmer covered for about 40-45 minutes or until tender, cool and shred the meat.
For the chicken filling:
- Place the Chicken, garlic, onion, salt, and water in a pot and simmer covered for about 30 minutes.or until tender. Let it cool and shred.
For the potato filling:
- Peel and cut the potatoes in large cubes, cook in salted water until tender, do not over cook. Drain and mash. Taste in case it needs more salt.
- Heat the tortillas on a griddle to make them more pliable and easy to roll. Put some shreds of the meat close to the edge of the tortilla.
- Roll tightly but not to much to avoid squeezing the filling out of the tortilla.
- Secure the tortilla with a toothpick. Roll another tortilla with its filling and again hold the center with a toothpick. You can attach them in pairs as shown in the picture.
- While you are rolling the tacos, heat the oil in a frying pan on high heat.
- Deep fry the flautas in the already heated oil turning once until golden and crisp.
- Remove and drain the excess oil on paper towels, as shown in the picture at the top.
- It’s also a good idea to let them cool a little since the filling will be very hot.
- Serve on a plate and top with the salsa of your choice, Mexican cream, and cheese. My son likes them with cream and cheese (and ketchup) only. I prefer to eat them with lettuce, onion, tomato, cheese and salsa.