These crispy air fryer chicken taquitos are a perfect appetizer or keep’em frozen for a quick meal on the go! Pull apart these crispy taquitos and find the gooey, spicy, creamy perfection hiding inside! Just a fair warning, you will probably eat too many.
Eh, it happens.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
These taquitos are super easy to make and require minimal hands on time! Since I am using precooked chicken, they can be made from start to finish in less than thirty minutes!
This is a three step cooking process, involving making the filling, rolling the taquitos, and then baking them in an air fryer or oven. It sounds WAY more difficult than it actually is, I promise! I’ve got a few tips that save PLENTY of time.
Maybe I’ve really done a good job of talking up my taquitos, but here is one more thing I feel like I need to share: CAN WE JUST TAKE A MOMENT TO APPRECIATE THE FILLING???? Seriously. Pepper jack cheese, mild yellow onion, fresh cilantro, roasted peppers… It’s like fair-food meets healthy(-ish) homemade.
Feeling like pressing the easy button? I sure do. If being Martha Stewart and roasting a whole chicken is tickling the ‘ol fancy, by all means go for it. I’m just gonna tap that button and buy a fully cooked deli chicken from the grocery store.
- CHICKEN For this recipe, plan on using about two cups of shredded cooked chicken. This can be dark meat, light meat, or a combination of both. I have also made this recipe using roasted chicken thighs and it was cheaper and had a more robust flavor.
- TORTILLAS We debated the merits of corn tortillas vs. flour tortillas, and it was a close call. The corn tortillas fell apart in the air fryer, but we liked the crunchy chip-like texture. The flour tortillas were easier to handle and made a more satisfyingly crispy-yet-chewy taquito. What I’m saying is use whichever you like, they are both good!
- CHEESE Monterrey Jack or pepper jack is my top pick for Mexican dishes. Today I used pepper jack because we like a spicier taquito, but if the kids were eating with us I would have used Monterrey jack.
- PEPPERS What flavor are ya thinking? I had some roasted hatch chilis in the freezer and I used about two tablespoons. They made SPICY taquitos! And good, too. My second choices would be canned green chilis or chipotle’s in adobo. A little goes a long way, so start with just a tablespoon (or less) and then work up to more.
- ONION Mmm… yellow onion, all the way. It’s mild and just adds a bit of flavor. The onion doesn’t get fully cooked in this recipe, so I chopped it pretty fine. Plan accordingly!
- CILANTRO Wait, this is a tricky one. Personally, I loooooove it. Not a fan? Leave it out!
MAKING AIR FRYER TAQUITOS
Mmm… getting hungry? We are almost there! The next step is to finely chop all of the ingredients and mix them together. Let me fill you in on a little secret: I use my blender! A food processor would work even better.
I like to spread the tortillas out before I add the filling and roll them into taquitos. This helps me to visualize how much filling can be spread on each tortilla. I use a one inch baking scoop to help keep the portions as even as possible. If I have plenty of filling, each tortilla gets an extra scoop or two!
The fun (and messy) part is smushing the filling onto the tortilla and rolling it by hand. Spread it out, roll it up.
Set the air fryer to 390°. Spray the frying basket with cooking spray and place the taquitos in the basket. Cook for about thirteen minutes depending on desired crispness.
HELP! MY AIR FRYER TAQUITOS KEEP UNROLLING!
This was the trickiest part of the recipe, in my opinion. Corn tortillas are my favorite, but they kept unrolling and breaking on me. I found that securing the corn tortillas with toothpicks helped to hold them together during the air frying process, but a few still came apart. The good news? They still tasted GREAT!
The flour tortillas were much easier to manage. While a few did try to unroll on me, I was able to weigh them down with a glass bowl to keep them tightly snuggled together before frying. After struggling through the first batch, I remembered the old cookie dough trick, which is to chill before baking. This gives the filling a bit more rigidity and helps it to naturally keep it’s shape until the cooking process is well underway.
If using toothpicks, remember to remove them before serving!
MY HONEST THOUGHTS ON OUR AIR FRYER
- PRO It doesn’t heat up the house like running my oven at 400° would.
- PRO The air fryer is excellent for reheating frozen foods like corn dogs, egg rolls or chicken nuggets.
- CON Looking to make zucchini noodles? Don’t bother. It’s not going to fry them they way you want.
- PRO Yukon gold potatoes cut into thin strips and tossed in oil & seasonings will make the best air fried French fries ever.
- CON My oven can literally do the same thing as an air fryer on a broil or convection setting.
I asked the question in my instagram stories, “What are your honest thoughts about having an air fryer?” I received so many messages that said one of two things: it is perfect and I love it for my small family or it takes up space and we don’t use it as often as we thought we would. BUT... Air fryer taquitos definitely push the dial towards 'love.'
Prior to buying our air fryer, we researched brands and sizes extensively. We decided to purchase a Philips air fryer for our family of five. I can easily cook four chicken breasts or reheat leftovers in a snap. Check out my direct links at the bottom of this post!
VARIATIONS FOR TAQUITOS
Try using thighs or breasts instead of a whole chicken to make this recipe a little less expensive. Just plan on using about two cups worth of shredded meat. The thighs are darker and have more flavor, while the breasts are leaner and have a whiter meat.
Picky eaters? Make taquitos with cheese filling and ground taco meat! This is a perfect after school snack for hungry kiddos.
It seems to me like this would be a good use for leftover meat after pork carnitas. I personally haven’t tried this yet, but the next time I have extras I am planning to make these!
If you make this recipe, please leave a comment below! This provides helpful feedback to both me and other readers. For more delicious recipes from scratch and homesteading tips, follow me on instagram @NinnescahHomestead
Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos
- Air Fryer
- Glass mixing bowl
- Scoop (optional)
- 2 fully cooked chicken breasts, shredded
- 8 flour tortillas or 12 corn tortillas
- ½ chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon roasted & diced peppers green chilis, hatch or adobo to taste
- 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese or substitute Monterrey jack
- chopped cilantro, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Mix together all ingredients except the chicken. For a smoother filling, pulse the ingredients in a food processor until desired texture is reached. Add in the chicken and pulse two more times to combine.
- Divide the filling equally between the tortillas. Smear it over have of the tortilla, then roll the tortilla into a tight taquito shape. To keep the taquitos from unrolling before cooking, place a heavy bowl on top of them or use a toothpick.
- Preheat the air fryer to 390° and allow it to run for a few minutes. Spray the cooking basket in the air fryer with cooking spray. Place the taquitos in the air fryer, touching slightly. Slide the baking drawer closed and let them cook for about thirteen minutes. I recommend setting a timer to check on them at ten minutes.
- Serve with fresh cilantro, chips and salsa, or spicy mayo.
S H O P T H E H O M E S T E A D
As an amazon associate, this post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure here.
OUR PHILIPS AIR FRYER https://amzn.to/3lM1YnH
GLASS MIXING BOWLS https://amzn.to/3nU5yid
MY FAVORITE SPATULAS https://amzn.to/3o5FTTA
STAINLESS STEEL SCOOP https://amzn.to/3CwID0g
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