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Why this recipe works:
Starting with uncooked flour tortillas prevents cracking/splitting when rolling and helps prevent the tortillas from burning before the filling is cooked through.
Pan-frying the flautas seam side down prevents them from unrolling while cooking and eliminates the need for toothpicks to hold them shut.
What are flautas?
Ever heard of Mexican flautas? They are one of the lesser-known Mexican foods but no less delicious! I must admit, I had never made these at home before doing research for this blog post. I’m excited to share with you what I learned and introduce this recipe to you if you’ve never tried them before. They are so fun and easy to make!
In Spanish, ‘flauta’ means flute; however, when it comes to food, flautas are a delicious Mexican entree consisting of a flour tortilla rolled around a savory filling that can resemble a ‘flute’. Common fillings can consist of chicken, beef, or potato mixed with chile, cheese, beans, and/or corn.
Flautas can have any filling under the sun that you can imagine. However, I discovered that chicken by far was the most popular filling according to my research. So I decided to make my flautas with shredded chicken and Hatch green chile (because it’s so crazy delicious).
I also mixed in some freshly grated cheese because it melts a million times better than store-bought shredded cheese (which is tossed with cornstarch to keep it from sticking, inhibiting the true meltiness of the cheese). I decided on equal amounts of Monterrey Jack cheese and medium cheddar cheese. If you have access to Mexican cheeses, I would strongly recommend trying Oaxaca cheese or Asadero. They are fabulously melty Mexican cheeses!
What are Hatch Chile Peppers?
Hatch Chile peppers are world famous for their delicious flavors, produced by the unique climate and soil composition that exists only in the Hatch Valley of Southern New Mexico. These factors combine to grow exceptional-tasting chile peppers with smoky, sweet, and hot flavor notes. More people discover Hatch Chiles each year, and their popularity continues to grow.
Growing up in New Mexico where chile peppers are an integral part of the culture, I know that Hatch chiles have earned a reputation for being the best of the best. I personally only use authentic Hatch in all my cooking because it simply tastes amazing. You should be able to find canned Hatch chile in any supermarket these days, or you can order it directly like I do. Frozen chile is much, much better tasting than canned!
The Hatch Chile Store is the premiere website for ordering your Hatch chile– they are incredibly good at shipping fresh authentic chile right to your door, whatever variety and hotness lever you prefer. It’s where I get all my Hatch Chile, and I must say the flavor really does stand out above any other chile pepper variety.
Head on over now to The Hatch Chile Store to stock up on the most delicious Hatch chile you can buy anywhere- they’ve always got great deals on your favorite products!
Did you know I have a full-color cookbook with lots more easy and delicious New Mexican recipes? You can learn more about it here!
What is the difference between flautas and taquitos?
Flautas and taquitos are made the same way, by rolling a tortilla around a savory filling; the only difference between the two is that flautas are made with flour tortillas, whereas taquitos are made with corn tortillas.
This distinction has only recently been made in the USA to help Americans not familiar with Mexican food distinguish between the two. There are still parts of Mexico that will use the terms ‘flautas/taquitos’ interchangeably.
Air fryer flautas
If you don’t like the idea of pan-frying flautas, they can easily be cooked in an air fryer! Here’s how to cook flautas in an air fryer:
- Spray the air fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray.
- Place 3-5 flautas (depending on size) into the basket in a single layer with a little space in between. Spray the tops of the flautas with cooking spray.
- Air fry for about 8-10 minutes. Remove and repeat with the rest of your flautas, frying in batches until they are all cooked!
How do you keep flautas rolled while frying?
Do your tortillas frustratingly unroll before or during frying? The solution is simple, and it doesn’t involve toothpicks! A Mexican neighbor I had years ago taught me how to fix this and I’m happy to share the technique with you!
Ensuring that the tortillas are very flexible AND not overfilled, place freshly rolled tortillas seam-side down right into the hot frying pan, then leave them alone for a few minutes. The tortillas will fry to a stiff crunchy consistency, causing the seam to stay put when frying the other sides. Toothpicks are not necessary!
Usually, people run into problems because their tortillas are not quite flexible enough, or they have tried to roll too much filling up into the tortilla. These simple things can cause a whole lot of problems.
What’s a good side dish for flautas?
Flautas are deliciously served with a side of Mexican rice, or with a side of refried beans. Also, flautas love to be served with garnishes like shredded lettuce, salsa, pico de Gallo, crema, taco sauce, sliced fresh jalapenos or olives, or freshly chopped cilantro.
I have an excellent recipe for homemade refried beans made from canned pinto beans that would be mighty tasty with any flauta recipe. You can find the recipe for the beans here.
How do you keep tortillas from breaking when making flautas?
In my research into the flautas recipe, I came across a YouTuber who used uncooked flour tortillas to make her flautas. (You can find uncooked tortillas in most grocery stores in the refrigerator section.) This is genius because rolling your flautas with uncooked tortillas provides several advantages. Let me explain:
First, they don’t split or crack while rolling because they have more moisture in them. This higher moisture content makes them extremely pliable and easy to work with. Don’t worry, they will cook right in the pan when you go to fry the flautas!
Second, flour tortillas are notorious for quickly burning when pan-frying. Starting your flautas with uncooked tortillas gives you more time to cook them before they will burn, so your filling can properly be cooked through without burning the outside of your tortilla!
If you don’t have access to uncooked tortillas, steam regular tortillas (flour or corn) to a nice and flexible consistency by wrapping them in a damp cloth or paper towels, and microwaving them for about 20-30 seconds. Be careful not to get a steam burn! If they are not flexible enough, wrap them back up and microwave again until they are!
How to make Green Chile Chicken Flautas
Making these delightful flautas is so easy. And don’t we all love easy recipes :0)
- Mix all the filling ingredients together.
- Then pre-heat your nonstick frying pan or cast iron skillet on medium-low and fill with enough oil to just cover the bottom.
- While your pan is heating, place about 1/3 cup of filling onto an uncooked tortilla in a wide strip that is off-center.
- Roll up the tortilla over the filling, starting with the side the filling is closest to.
- Place into the preheated pan, seam side down, and cook until it is golden brown and crunchy on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Repeat with more tortillas and filling, until you have filled your pan with a single layer of flautas.
- Turn flautas to gently fry them golden brown on all sides. Remove and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Repeat until all flautas are fried.
Roll and fill flautas like this:
Substitutions and storing cooked flautas
As I mentioned earlier, I love making my flautas with uncooked flour tortillas. However, you can easily make them with regular tortillas from the tortilla aisle in the store. Wrap a few in a damp cloth or paper towel and microwave until nice and hot. They should become very flexible!
As for filling substitutions, the sky is the limit. You can fill these with everything but the kitchen sink if you want. It’s really up to you which is the fun part!
Cooked flautas can be stored, covered, in the fridge for three days. -OR- I like to make a double batch so I can freeze some for a quick on-the-go meal! To freeze flautas: Place them on a baking sheet lined with freezer paper in a single layer, with some space in between each flauta. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about an hour. Then you can remove them and bag them up all together in a large zipper-lock freezer baggie. Reheat in the microwave (they will be a little soggy) or bake them in the oven at 325 degrees until warmed through.
Now, let’s make some Green Chile Chicken Flautas!
I hope you find joy in making this recipe and please give me a shoutout if you post a pic of the recipe on social! Follow me on Instagram @TheGoldilocksKitchen, Facebook page The Goldilocks Kitchen, or Pinterest @GoldilocksKitch. Don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment- I want to hear your feedback! (This is a blog after all and that’s the whole point right?!)Print