We seriously ate two batches of these air fryer beef taquitos with corn tortillas and they were devoured in minutes by our team. Then we tested another batch air fried beef flautas or taquitos, it’s hard to eat the store bought frozen ones.

air fryer beef taquitos in basket

Fresh Air Fryer Beef Taquitos vs Frozen Taquitos

A few years ago we have an article talking about how to air fry frozen taquitos and it’s been super helpful to newbies. These frozen flautas and taquitos in the air fryer definitely were easy and came out super crispy. But the filling is barely existent and that’s the only critique we have for frozen ones. Now we have this fresh homemade taquitos recipe version that’s loaded with flavorful ground beef and lots of it. So that’s the main difference is that the fresh flavors of everything really come through. It’s worth the time to make and fill your own from scratch beef taquitos in the air fryer.

holding air fryer beef taquitos

Are Taquitos vs. Flautas Different?

Everyone asks this and you might get different answers. But generally, it’s all about the tortillas. Generally taquitos are made with corn tortillas and flautas are with flour tortillas. These rolled goodies are so loved that regardless of what tortilla you use, it’s always amazing. Here’s what Wikipedia says: “A taquito, tacos dorados, rolled taco, or flauta is a Mexican food dish that typically consists of a small rolled-up tortilla that contains filling, including beef, cheese or chicken. The filled tortilla is then crisp-fried or deep-fried. The dish is often topped with condiments such as sour cream and guacamole.” If you want to make a chicken version, here’s our air fryer chicken flautas recipe. And here’s more culinary history reading about taquitos vs flautas.

Potential Problems with Corn Tortillas? Soften First

It’s all personal preference. Doesn’t matter if you use corn tortillas or flour tortillas, these crispy Mexican chicken rolls are always great. So for the tortillas if you are used to eating flour, then use flour tortillas. And vice versa: if you love the flavor of corn tortillas, then certainly go for those! Best part about corn tortillas is that you have a choice between white corn or yellow corn.

  • Potential issues with corn tortillas: They are hard to roll without breaking or tearing because they can be stiff and dry. You should soften them and we tested two versions: microwave and hot oil. We prefer the hot oil method to soften the firm corn tortillas. corn tortilla cracked
  • How to Soften the corn tortillas in pan with oil: We like to quickly soften them in a little warm oil on the pan. Don’t fry the corn tortillas for too long or else they will fall apart. Just a few seconds in a little hot oil on each side of the tortilla will make it soft enough for you to roll the filling. softening tortilla in oil
  • Keep the corn tortillas from un-rolling: we like to use a toothpick to keep the rolls from coming apart. Just make sure to remember to remove them before eating! toothpick i tortilla

Video: Air Fryer Beef Taquitos Recipe

How to Air Fry Beef Taquitos (Tips)

  • If you love spice, add about 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder to the beef mix. If you like it really spicy, add 1/2 teaspoon. Crushed red chili flakes will also add a nice spicy flavor too if you don’t have cayenne pepper powder.
  • Chipotle powder adds a great smoky AND spicy flavor to the beef taquito filling.
  • For a less greasy beef, use a lean organic beef.
  • Flour tortillas are easy to roll but if you’re using corn tortillas, ready our suggestions above in the article about pre-frying the tortillas quickly.
  • Add extra cheese if you like in the beef mixture.
  • Don’t roll them too big or else they would be like a burrito. There’s nothing wrong with that but just know you’ll get less rolls if you roll them really thick.
  • All air fryer beef taquito recipe details are in the recipe box below.

Quick & Easy Prepared Taco Seasonings

It’s an easy recipe because we use prepared taco seasonings. They’re budget friendly and really taste great. Here’s a good selection of seasonings that you can find at your local grocery store.

air fryer beef taquitos in basket

Air Fryer Beef Taquitos or Flautas

Use corn tortillas for taquitos or flour tortillas for the flautas.
The sour cream, cream cheese, and greek yogurt all provide a nice tang as well as adds a nice moistness to the filling. If you can find crema Mexicana, all the better.
5 from 4 votes

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  • 1 Tablespoon oil , for cooking filling
  • 1 pound (240 ml) ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion , diced
  • 1 ounce (15 ml) taco seasoning (1 packet – 3 Tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup (60 ml) sour cream , or crema Mexicana, cream cheese, or greek yogurt
  • 1 cup (180 ml) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8-12 corn or flour tortillas (about 5—7 inch sized)
  • Oil for spraying

Topping Ideas:

  • Guacamole, Shredded Lettuce or Cabbage, Salsa or Pico de Gallo, Sour Cream, Cotija or Cheddar Cheese, Hot Sauce, Wedges of Lime



Cook Beef Taquito Filling

  • Heat pan on medium high heat, add oil and beef. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the beef is mostly browned, breaking the beef into small chunks as it cooks. 
    browning taquito meat filling
  • Add the onion and taco seasoning and cook until onions are softened and beef is fully cooked.
    adding onion and taco seasoning to beef mix
  • Remove from heat and allow beef mix to cool. 
    cooling the meat on a cutting board
  • Once beef is cooled, stir in sour cream and cheddar cheese. 
    stirring in cheddar cheese and sour cream to meat mix

If Using Corn Tortillas Soften For Rolling:

  • Preheat air fryer at 400°F/205°C for about 5 minutes.
    Touching screen to preheat air fryer
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add a a tablespoon or so of oil and then add a corn tortilla to the pan. Warm each side of tortilla for several seconds to until warmed and softened. Repeat for the remaining tortillas, adding more oil as needed.
    heating corn tortilla
  • Place about 2-3 tablespoons of beef filling on near edge of each tortilla and roll tightly. Or divide the filling between the tortillas.
    rolling beef filing
  • Skewer the taquitos with a toothpick to keep them from unrolling.
    skewered beef taquitos
  • Gently place taquitos side by side in a single layer in the air fryer basket/tray (cook in batches if needed). Leave a little space between the rolls. Check for dry spots on the tortillas and spray or brush with oil if needed.
    rolled chicken taquitos in basket
  • Air Fry at 400°F/205°C for about 6-8 minutes. Gently turn taquitos over, spray or brush again with a light layer of oil if the tortillas look dry.
    turning chicken taquito
  • Continue to Air Fry at 400°F/205°C for about 3-5 minutes or until the taquitos are crispy. If your air fryer cooks hot, you might only need an extra 1-2 minutes of cooking.
    cooked taquitos
  • Remove toothpicks and allow taquitos to cool a bit.
    toothpicks removed
  • Allow to cool slightly and serve with your favorite toppings.
    cooked beef taquitos

If Using Flour Tortillas:

  • Preheat air fryer at 380°F/193°C for about 5 minutes.
    Touching screen to preheat air fryer
  • Place about 2-3 tablespoons of beef filling on near edge of each tortilla and roll tightly. Or divide the filling between the tortillas.
    rolling beef flautas
  • Skewer the flautas with a toothpick to keep them from unrolling.
    toothpick to hold beef flautas
  • Spray or brush light layer of oil over flautas.
    oil spray over flautas
  • Gently place flautas side by side in a single layer in the air fryer basket/tray (cook in batches if needed). Leave a little space between the rolls. Check for dry spots on the tortillas and spray or brush with oil if needed.
    oil spray
  • Air Fry at 380°F/193°C for about 5-6 minutes. Gently turn beef flautas over, spray or brush again with a light layer of oil if the tortillas look dry.
    turning chicken flautas
  • Continue to Air Fry at 380°F/193°C for another 3-5 minutes or until the flautas are crispy.
    finished chicken flautas
  • Remove all the toothpicks. Allow the beef flautas to cool and bit and enjoy!
    removing toothpicks

If your air fryer is preheated or if you are cooking multiple batches, you may need to reduce timing by a few minutes (unless preheating is called for in the recipe).


YouTube video

Nutrition Information per Serving

Calories: 225kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 33mg, Sodium: 497mg, Potassium: 174mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 301IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 99mg, Iron: 2mg
halved air fryer beef taquitos

We love different toppings! These make each taquito bite unique and delicious. The fun part about eating flautas or taquitos are all the topping options. Add what ever you like and make these customized to your preferred flavors. From different types of salsas, to pico, to hot sauces it’s always fun to customize these air fried smash tacos. Here’s some of our favorite taco toppings:

  • Different types of salsas or pico de gallo. We love salsa verde! It’s a tangy flavor and we love the bright green colors.
  • You need something creamy to dip the air fryer taquitos into. You always gotta have quacamole and sour cream.
  • Hot sauces are what take taquitos and flautas to another level!
  • Different types of cheeses, including queso.
  • Add a handful of chopped fresh lettuce on top on these air fried beef flautas

Freezing leftover taquitos or flautas

If you have leftovers, freezing is ok. They’re always better when eaten soon after cooking. You can fridge them for up to 2-3 days. If you still have leftovers, then freeze them in air tight containers or plastic bags. Let them thaw in the fridge the night ahead. We suggest microwaving them for about 1 minute to heat them through. Then crisp them in the air fryer at 360F for about 3-5 minutes or until to your desired crispy texture. If you’re air frying leftover taquitos with corn tortillas, they might take a little longer to be crispy. Flour tortillas always crisp up quicker. Hope you enjoy our air fried beef flautas recipe!

Best Air Fryer Taquitos

We really love these beef taquitos and really believe they are the best recipe ever. Make a batch for your family and enjoy. It’s so great to make these fresh and homemade. It’s better than buying them from a restaurant because these are restaurant quality and budget friendly. Enjoy!

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