Homemade taquitos (or rolled tacos as we call them) are so much easier to make than you might think. In just a few easy steps you will have delicious, crispy tacos that are so much better than frozen store bought.
How to Make Authentic Mexican Food
When I was just out of high school, maybe 19 or 20 or so, I was quite close with my cousin who lives in Southern Arizona and I would visit often. Her husband was from San Luis, Mexico and she was always cooking fantastic Mexican dishes. She taught me a lot of them, like how to make Sopes, Mexican Rice, Pozole and these fantastic Rolled Tacos (or taquitos or flautas depending on where you live). They quickly became my go-to for potlucks, and I was constantly being asked to make them for parties.
Homemade Taquitos Recipe
We would usually make them with canned roast beef, because it was easier, but I have since added the extra step of cooking the meat in a slow cooker to create an amazing flavor to the meat. The great thing is this recipe is versatile so you can use any type of meat – beef, chicken or pork – as long as it shreds easily.
Slow Cooker Beef or Chicken Filling
- For the beef, I place a 2-3 pound chuck roast in my slow cook and pour a cup or 2 of jarred salsa and sprinkle in a couple teaspoons of salt. This makes the most tender and flavorful roast!
- Cook it on high for several hours and you’ve got perfect Mexican shredded beef that can be used for tacos, burritos or yes, rolled tacos!
- Add a couple spoonfuls of the juice to the meat as you shred it, and if you have leftovers, spoon a little bit of the juice in the container to help keep the meat moist. This meat is great for tacos too!
- You can cook chicken or pork the same way. To save time with chicken, you can use rotisserie or shredded chicken you have on hand and add tomato sauce and seasonings instead of salsa (I’ll share both recipes/methods below).
How to Make Taquitos
- To make the rolled tacos, start with warm corn tortillas. To make them pliable, wrap a stack of up to 2 dozen corn tortillas in a kitchen towel (not paper towels as they tend to get damp from the steam) and microwave on high for a couple of minutes, flipping once from the middle. Keep them wrapped in the towel as you work to hold in the warmth.
- Start heating some corn oil in a deep pan while your tortillas are warming. You’ll want a good 2-3 inches of oil so it’s deep enough to cover the tacos each time.
- Using a large cutting board as your surface, work quickly spooning about 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture onto a tortilla, off to the side, not in the middle. Fold the filled side over and continue rolling. Stick a toothpick through the tortilla to hold it into place. It took me a while to get just the right method for this, but once you’ve got the hang of it it’s super easy. If one toothpick isn’t working, use two. Continue this method until you’ve either made your desired amount of tacos or your meat is gone. If you have leftover meat it keeps quite well in the freezer.
- Your oil should be nice and hot at this point, and your taquitos should sizzle immediately when you put them in.
- Fry the tacos for about 5-7 minutes or until they are starting to look browned and feel crispy. Remember that they will continue to crisp as they sit. Place them on a paper towel lined surface to drain, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt
- Serve with salsa, sour cream or guacamole.
Top Tips and Questions
- Can you bake them instead of frying them? Absolutely! If you aren’t sure about the frying or just want to save the calories for the guacamole and sour cream, you can bake your rolled tacos! Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray the tops of the tacos with cooking spray (I recommend avocado oil) and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until they’re golden and th shells are crispy.
- How to freeze and reheat leftovers: Taquitos freeze quite nicely for up to 4 months. Store them in a freezer bag and thaw them in the refrigerator, then heat them as described above. To reheat leftover taquitos, place them in a hot skillet with a little bit of corn oil and turn often. You can actually brush them with the oil if you like. This is the best method I have found to reheat taquitos and it works quite well. The oven is another option, but it takes awhile to heat them completely through, and the microwave will just make them soggy.
- What are the best tortillas to use? In my experience, Mission tortillas have more of a tendency to crack than Guerrero. However, there can be a variety of reasons for cracking. Make sure your tortillas have been warmed to make them nice and soft. If they cool down, reheat them again.
- To shred your meat, use two forks, or put the meat in a large mixing bowl and use beaters for a quicker method.
For more delicious Mexican style recipes, try these:
- Mexican Sopes
- Oven Baked Tostadas
- One Pan Mexican Chicken & Rice
- Loaded Chicken Nachos Recipe
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
- Slow Cooker Mexican Beans
- Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake
Slow Cooker Beef or Pork
- 2-3 pound beef chuck roast or pork butt/shoulder
- 2 cups jarred salsa
- 2 teaspoons salt
Canned or Pre-Cooked Meat Method
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken OR 3-12 ounce cans Roast Beef, drained and shredded
- 8 ounces canned tomato sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 4 cups Shredded meat mixture of choice
- 36 Corn Tortillas
- 48 ounces bottle of corn oil or other oil with a high smoke point
Slow Cooker Beef or Pork
- Trim any excess fat from the meat and cut into large chunks. Sprinkle with salt and pour salsa to coat the meat. Cook on high for 5-7 hours, or until meat is cooked through and shreds easily.
Canned or Pre-Cooked Meat Method
- Shred ingredients in a bowl using two forks, or in your stand mixer. Gently mix in other ingredients.
- Pour about 2-3 inches of oil into a large, deep pan and heat over medium-high heat.
- Wrap tortillas in a kitchen towel and heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, until they are soft enough to roll easily. Keep them wrapped as you work.
- Place about 1-2 tablespoons of the meat mixture on one side of a tortilla and roll it tightly into a tube-like shape. Secure with 1 or 2 toothpicks.
- Continue this method until you've either made your desired amount of tacos or your meat is gone. (If you have leftover meat it keeps quite well in the freezer).
- Once the oil is hot, fry the tacos for about 5-7 minutes or until they are starting to look browned and feel crispy. Remember that they will continue to crisp as they sit. Place them on a paper towel lined surface to drain, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
- Serve hot with salsa, sour cream or guacamole.
- These can also be baked in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
- To reheat leftover tacos, place them in a hot skillet with a little bit of corn oil and turn often or reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Nutritional information is approximate and based on using the slow cooker beef.