Crispy and delicious air fryer flautas are filled with seasoned shredded chicken and cheese, then air-fried to perfection. Quick, easy, and full of flavor!Jump to Recipe
The air fryer does so many things well and that includes flautas. These offer all the crispy goodness of traditional deep-fried flautas with less oil and a quicker cooking time, making them a healthier and convenient choice than traditional flautas.
What Are Flautas?
Flautas are a delicious Mexican dish made from tortillas that are filled, rolled tightly, and then fried until they become crispy and golden brown. The word "flauta" translates to "flute" in Spanish, and the dish is named for its resemblance to a flute or a rolled-up scroll due to its slender shape. Flautas are often served as a snack, appetizer, or main course in Mexican cuisine. They are also commonly referred to as air fryer taquitos.
Why You’ll Love These Air Fryer Flautas
Healthier Alternative: Air frying flautas significantly reduces the amount of oil used in cooking compared to traditional deep frying. This means fewer calories and less saturated fat, making them a healthier option.
Crispy Texture: Despite using less oil, air fryers produce flautas with a wonderfully crispy exterior. The hot air circulating around the food ensures even browning and crunchiness.
Faster Cooking Time: Air fryer flautas cook faster than their oven-baked counterparts. They are perfect for when you're short on time or craving a quick snack.
Customizable Fillings: You can fill air fry flautas with a wide variety of ingredients, including shredded chicken, beef, pork, cheese, or vegetarian options like beans and veggies. We will get more into this later.
Less Mess: Air frying reduces the mess associated with traditional deep frying. There's no need for large amounts of oil, and the air fryer is easier to clean than a deep fryer.
Kid-Friendly: Air fried flautas are kid-friendly due to their crispy texture and customizable fillings. They can be a great way to introduce children to different flavors and ingredients.
Appetizer or Main Course: Air fryer flautas are versatile and can be served as an appetizer, snack, or main course. Pair them with your favorite dipping sauces, salsa, or guacamole for a satisfying meal.
Easy Cleanup: Air fryers are known for their easy cleanup. Many parts are dishwasher safe, and the lack of excessive oil splatter means less mess in your kitchen.
Seasoned shredded chicken - This is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover shredded chicken. It also saves a step. If you don't have leftover chicken you can simply season chicken you have on hand, cook it, and shred it for this recipe. I suggest slow cooking chicken in a dutch oven or slow cooker if you have the time. It will make it juicy and tender.
Cream cheese - To make the chicken mixture nice and creamy. You'll want to use softened cream cheese for the best results.
Shredded cheese - Any type of cheese can be used. I suggest using monterey jack, sharp cheddar cheese, queso fresco, oaxaca, pepper jack, or mozarella. All of these cheeses melt so well and add the perfect creaminess to the recipe. Choose your favorite or try blending two or more to make your own blend.
8 inch flour tortillas - The 8 inch tortillas are just big enough to fit everything inside and leave room to roll in the correct shape. Using flour tortillas will allow them to bend and take shape easily. If they're a little stiff, try microwaving them with a damp paper towel for a few seconds before rolling so they don't break.
Cooking spray - To prevent the flautas from sticking to the air fryer basket and to make the flautas extra crispy. Try using canola, vegetable, or avocado oil.
Hot sauce - If you like a little kick with your flautas try addng your favorite hot sauce for elevated flavor and spice.
Pico de gallo - Place this over top of the air fryer chicken flautas after they've been cooked for a refreshing, tangy and slightly spicy addition.
Crumbled queso fresco - These flautas already have cheese on the inside but you can't go wrong with adding a little bit more over the top. Especially some creamy crumbled queso fresco.
Shredded lettuce - For a little crunch and contrast to the other ingredients. I used shredded iceberg for this.
Limes - Adds a bit of brightness and tanginess to the falutas. Slice and serve with the flautas to elevate the plate.
How They're Made
Step 1. In a mixing bowl combine the shredded chicken, softened cream cheese, and shredded cheese. Stir until well combined.
Step 2. Warm the tortillas in a microwave with a damp paper towel to make them more pliable.
Step 3. Place 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture on the widest part of the tortilla. Roll it up and set aside. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Step 4. Spray the air fryer with cooking spray then place the flautas in air fryer fold side down. Spray the tortillas one more time with cooking spray.
Step 5. Air fry at 380 for 10 minutes. Flip the flautas at the 5 minute mark to where the folded side is facing up. They should be starting to brown at this point. Spray with cooking spray and air fry for the remaining 5 minutes.
Step 6. Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce, topped with hot sauce, pico de gallo, crumbled queso fresco, and fresh lime juice.
Choose the Right Tortillas: Use corn or flour tortillas, depending on your preference. Corn tortillas tend to give a more traditional flavor, while flour tortillas may result in a slightly softer texture. I chose to make the air fryer flautas with flour tortillas because they're softer and don't crack as easily.
Properly Fill and Roll: Add your chosen filling ingredients along the center of each tortilla. Don't overstuff the flautas to ensure they roll easily and don't burst open during cooking.
Don't Overcrowd: If you're making a large batch, cook the flautas in batches rather than overcrowding the air fryer. Overcrowding can result in uneven cooking.
Monitor Cooking Time: Keep an eye on the flautas as they cook. Cooking times can vary depending on the size of the flautas and your specific air fryer model. It's better to check for doneness and adjust the cooking time as needed.
Serve Immediately: Air fryer flautas are best enjoyed right after cooking, while they are still hot and crispy.
Air fryer flautas recipes are incredibly versatile, and you can create various delicious variations by changing the fillings and seasonings. Here are some ways to get creative with this recipe.
BBQ Chicken Flautas: Toss shredded chicken in barbecue sauce, then top the air fryer roasted flautas with coleslaw, for a sweet BBQ twist.
Buffalo Chicken Flautas: Add your favorite buffalo sauce to the shredded chicken before stuffing. Serve with sour cream, blue cheese, or ranch dressing for dipping.
Chicken and Black Bean Flautas: Throw in some black beans with diced tomatoes, onions, and cilantro for extra substance and added nutrition.
Mediterranean Chicken Flautas: Mix the shredded chicken with hummus instead of cream cheese. Garnish the air fry flautas with a diced cucumbers, tomato, and kalamata olive salad.
Creamy Pesto Chicken Flautas: Toss shredded chicken with cream cheese, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and grated Parmesan cheese.
Sriracha Lime Chicken Flautas: Season shredded chicken with a zesty sriracha-lime sauce with a touch of honey for sweetness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are these the same as taquitos?
Flautas and chicken taquitos are very similar dishes, and the terms are often used interchangeably, but there are subtle regional and size differences between the two. The main differences between flautas and air fryer chicken taquitos are the size of the tortillas used. Flautas are typically larger and longer while taquitos tend to use 3-4 inch tortillas. You can air fry chicken taquitos the same way you do with flautas. The taquitos air fryer time may be slightly shorter since they're smaller.
How do you keep tortillas from cracking in flautas?
Keeping tortillas from cracking when making flautas or rolled tacos is essential to achieve a well-rolled, crispy result. Below are some ways I prevent the tortillas from cracking.
Warm Tortillas: Cold tortillas are more likely to crack when rolled. Warm them slightly to make them more pliable.
Use Fresh Tortillas: Fresh tortillas are less likely to crack than older ones.
Moisten the Edges: Before rolling, lightly moisten the edges of the tortilla with water or a wet paper towel. This can help soften the edges and prevent them from cracking.
Don't Overfill: Avoid overstuffing the tortilla with filling. Overfilling can put pressure on the tortilla and cause it to crack. Aim for a moderate amount of filling.
Evenly Distribute Filling: Distribute the filling evenly along the center of the tortilla, leaving some space at the edges. This helps distribute the pressure evenly when rolling.
Roll Tightly, but Not Too Tight: Roll the tortilla tightly around the filling, but be careful not to roll it too tightly, which can cause cracking. A firm but gentle roll is ideal.
Seam Side Down: When placing the chicken taquitos in air fryer or frying pan, make sure the seam side is facing down. This helps seal the flautas and prevents them from unrolling during cooking.
Can you reheat flautas in the air fryer?
Yes, you can absolutely reheat these easy chicken flautas in the air fryer. To do so, place the flautas in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Make sure they are not touching or overlapping to allow for proper airflow. Cook at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes or until heated through.
How do you store air fryer flautas?
To store air fryer flautas properly, allow them to cool to room temperature before storing. Placing hot flautas directly in an airtight container can create condensation and make them soggy.
Place cooled air fryer flautas in an air tight container. Layer with parchment or wax paper if you have extras that require stacking. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
More Air Fryer Recipes
The Best Air Fryer Flautas
- 2 cups seasoned shredded chicken
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- 4 8 inch flour tortillas
- cooking spray
- hot sauce
- pico de gallo
- crumbled queso fresco
- shredded lettuce
- In a mixing bowl combine the shredded chicken, softened cream cheese, and shredded cheese. Stir until well combined.
- Warm the tortillas in a microwave with a damp paper towel to make them more pliable.
- Place 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture on the widest part of the tortilla. Roll it up and set aside. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
- Spray the air fryer with cooking spray then place the rolled tortillas in the air fryer fold side down. Spray the tortillas one more time with cooking spray.
- Air fry at 380 for 10 minutes. Flip the flautas at the 5 minute mark to where the folded side is facing up. They should be starting to brown at this point. Spray with cooking spray and air fry for the remaining 5 minutes.
- Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce, topped with hot sauce, pico de gallo, crumbled queso fresco, and fresh lime juice.