Unlock The 2 Ingredients Secret To Easy Homemade Beef Taquitos

pickled jalapeño spiked ground beef and a blend of cheddar and pepper jack cheese rolled in a corn tortilla and baked or fried until crispy

Tired of the flimsy, flavorless taquitos in the freezer section? You’ve come to the right place. This Mexican street food staple, a close cousin to the taco (taquito literally means lil’ taco), is made by filling a corn tortilla with seasoned beef or chicken, rolling it tightly, and frying until crispity-crunchy. To keep this cheap and simple and lessen the mess, we turned to ground beef for the filling and included an option for baking the taquitos instead of frying them. Grab one for a quick snack or three or four with a side of avocado salsa and refried beans if you’re looking for a full meal.

What’s the difference between a taquito and a flauta?
Taquitos and flautas are prepared the same way—a tortilla rolled with savory filling and fried or baked. It comes down to the type of tortilla. Taquitos are made with small corn tortillas, while flautas are made with large flour tortillas.

How can you get taquitos to stay rolled up?
One of the most frustrating parts of taquito assembly is getting the darn thing to stay tightly rolled, especially if you’re working with high-quality nixtamalized corn tortillas, which tend to be slightly stiffer. There are two crucial steps to keep the tortillas from unraveling.

1. Microwave the tortillas in batches of 5 to 6 in a wet paper towel for at least 40 to 45 seconds before you begin assembly. As you start to fill and roll the tortillas, keep the rest of them wrapped in the paper towel and covered with a kitchen towel as you work. Warming the tortillas with damn heat makes them pliable and easier to tightly roll.

2. Seal the taquitos with flour paste. In the right ratio, a blend of flour and water creates a paste that basically acts like tortilla glue. Brushing that on the edge of the tortilla as you finish wrapping it will help the tortilla stay sealed during cooking. While working at Ovenly bakery, Chef Karen DeMasco taught me that adding water to a recipe is a missed opportunity to add flavor. So instead of water, we used lime juice to create the flour paste and add a hint of lime to the taquitos. If you want to keep things gluten-free, opt for a 1:1 gluten-free flour to make the paste.

Is it better to fry or bake taquitos?
This part is totally up to you. Shallow- or deep-frying is certainly the more traditional Mexican method for cooking taquitos, but baked taquitos come out just as crispy with a fraction of the time and mess. Baking is also a safer method if you’re still learning your way around the kitchen or teaching someone new to cooking. We’ve included instructions for both so you can choose your own adventure.

Can you freeze taquitos?
Please do! Taquitos freeze very well and make for a great after-school/after-work/midnight snack. Once you have the taquitos rolls, arrange them in a single layer on a sheet tray. Place the sheet tray in the freezer for at least an hour to set the taquitos in their shape 1 hour, then transfer to a freezer-safe zip-top bag or airtight container to keep for up to 4 months.

Did you try making this? Let us know how it went in the comments!

Yields: 4-5 servings

Prep Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 1 hour


  • 1 tbsp.

    neutral oil, plus more for brushing or frying

  • 1

    small yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 1/3 c.

    finely chopped pickled jalapeños

  • Kosher salt

  • 2

    cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp.

    tomato paste

  • 1 lb.

    ground beef (preferably 90% lean)

  • 1 tbsp.

    taco seasoning

  • 3 oz.

    cheddar, shredded

  • 3 oz.

    pepper Jack cheese, shredded

    all-purpose flour

  • 3 tbsp.

    all-purpose flour

  • 6 tbsp.

    fresh lime juice, divided

  • 20

    small corn tortillas, divided

  • 1/2 c.

    sour cream

  • 2 tbsp.

    chopped fresh cilantro

  • Store-bought or homemade guacamole and pico de gallo, for serving


Filling & Assembly

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil until shimmering. Add onion, jalapeños, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until paste starts to caramelize, 2 to 3 minutes. Add ground beef, taco seasoning, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.

  2. In a small bowl, toss cheddar and pepper Jack cheeses. In another small bowl, whisk flour and 4 tablespoons lime juice until smooth.

  3. Wrap 5 tortillas in a damp paper towel or kitchen towel and microwave until softened and pliable, 40 to 45 seconds. Working one at a time, fill each tortilla with 2 tablespoons beef filling and 1 tablespoon cheese mixture. Tightly roll 1 tortilla three-quarters of the way; brush remaining exposed tortilla with some flour mixture, then continue to roll to enclose. Arrange on a sheet tray. Repeat with remaining tortillas, filling, and cheese.

  4. In a small bowl, combine stir sour cream, cilantro, a pinch of salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  5. Make Ahead: Taquitos can be assembled (but not cooked) 4 months ahead. Freeze uncooked taquitos on sheet tray until they hold their shape and stay rolled, about 1 hour. Transfer to a freezer-safe zip-top bag or airtight container and continue to freeze.

To Bake

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Brush tops of tortillas with oil.

  2. Bake taquitos, turning halfway through, until tortillas are crisp, golden, and beginning to brown, 18 to 20 minutes.

To Fry

  1. In a large, heavy skillet heat over medium-high heat, heat 2 cups oil until an instant-read or deep-fry thermometer registers 375°.

  2. Working in batches, fry taquitos, turning halfway through, until tortillas are crisp, 4 to 5 minutes.

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