I'm a big believer in prep/make once, eat many times, and flautas are one of the most delicious ways to accomplish this. These are perfectly crispy out of the Air Fryer or the Oven, with no frying required, and have a spicy, meaty filling that is a surefire crowd pleaser.
But what exactly is a flauta?
A flauta is long, rolled up, and filled with meat and cheese. They usually are made with flour tortillas and deep fried. I make mine baked, both for health reasons and because I generally LIKE the baked version better - it's still crispy and delicious, without being completely oil-laden.
And how is that different from a taquito?
Taquitos are, generally speaking, made with corn tortillas, and much shorter than flautas.
how to roll flautas
Don't be intimidated! And don't feel like you need to be super neat about it either. Notice that there are smudges all over my tortillas from the rolling process. It's just more flavor to go around, and helps seal the tortilla!
The main thing you need to know is that the filling tends to migrate a little when baked, so leave room around the edges ( like in the above photo ) so that you don't end up with flauta filling all over your pan.
For the actual roll-up part, place the meat on the cut edge of the tortilla, and start rolling from that same edge. Try to roll as tightly as you can, and then place the rolled flauta seam-side down so that the weight of it holds the roll together. It's a little bit of cooking magic, but works like a charm!
how to freeze flautas
Flautas freeze really, really well! If you want to freeze flautas, all you need to do is cook them for the pre-flipping cooking period, let them cool off, then place in a freezer bag to store.
The "pre-flipping" cooking period is the first part of the cooking process, before the instructions say to flip the flautas. For the oven - this means remove the flautas for freezing after 15 minutes. For the air fryer, after 6 minutes.
how to cook frozen flautas in the air fryer or oven
Okay - so you froze your flautas and you're ready to eat them again.
For the Air Fryer - place the frozen flautas in the air fryer basket, making sure the sides are not touching. Spray with a light coat of oil, and then air fry for 6 to 8 minutes at 400 degrees F.
For the Oven - place the frozen flautas on a sheet pan, making sure the sides are not touching. Spray with a light coat of oil, and then bake for 10 - 12 minutes at 425 degrees F, or until the taquitos begin to brown and the filling is hot.
how should I serve flautas?
I love mine piled up on a plate, with an ever bigger pile of shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, avocado, and other nacho-style toppings on top! I finish with a drizzle of Mexican crema, or Greek Yogurt that has been thinned out with just enough water to make it "drizzle-able", which I don't think is a real word, but is definitely a real thing.
Ground Turkey Flautas
- 1 lb ground turkey 93%
- 1 cup shredded pepper jack
- 1 package taco seasoning ( about 2 Tablespoons )
- 1 cup water
- 4 large burrito-sized flour tortillas cut in half
- In a large pan over medium high heat, cook the ground turkey until it starts to brown, about 4 minutes. Then stir in 1 cup of water and the taco seasoning. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the water and seasoning thicken and reduce, about 2 minutes.
- Once the filling is cool enough to handle ( it's fine if it's still warm ), mix the filling with the shredded cheese. Feel free to add more than 1 cup of shredded cheese!!! If you want extra cheesy flautas, you can add up to another ½ cup of cheese to the filling.
- Place ⅓ cup filling on each tortilla tortilla half, about ½" away from the cut side. You don't need to spread the filling out all the way to the edges, as it will expand when cooked and you don't want it to all fall out!
For the Oven
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the flautas on an ungreased sheet pan, seam side down, with no sides touching each other. Spray the flautas liberally with oil or cooking spray. Bake 15 minutes.
- if you are freezing them, remove them from the oven and let cool, then place in a freezer bag and freeze! Otherwise,
- flip the flautas and spray them with oil again, and bake for 10 more minutes.
For the Air Fryer
- No need to preheat! Place the flautas in the basket, seam side down, making sure the sides are not touching. Spray them with oil, and Air Fryer at 400 degrees F for 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the flautas, spray them again, and cook for another 2 - 4 minutes, or until they are browned and crispy.