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This easy Chicken Taquitos recipe is a healthier version of a Tex Mex favorite because there’s no frying in oil. Yes, you can make air fryer taquitos that are still crispy and crunchy on the outside, plus cheesy and just a bit spicy on the inside. Enjoy them as an easy dinner or party appetizer with salsa and guacamole for dipping!
Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos Recipe
I just can’t get enough of this air fryer taquitos recipe! Kids love it, adults love it. And it’s so simple to make!
Toss a handful of simple pantry ingredients in your slow cooker and let it cook all day. Then when you get home, just shred the slow cooker Mexican chicken, assemble the taquitos, and pop them in your air fryer.
Having a party? The chicken can cook overnight, and you can roll and fry right before guests arrive. You can even keep them warm in the oven.
What are taquitos?
The word taquito literally means “little taco”. Much like traditional tacos or rolled tacos, taquitos are made from filling a tortilla with beef, chicken, cheese, or a combination. Taquitos are made with corn tortillas, then typically either deep-fried or shallow fried in oil until they are crispy on the outside and seal in the moisture on the inside.
Since they are rolled tightly and don’t have room on the inside for a lot of fillings, you’ll often find them served with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream for dolloping on top or for dipping.
Taquitos are sometimes confused with similar dishes.
- Classic folded tacos can allow more room for fillings and toppings since they are left open, and can be made with corn or flour tortillas.
- Rolled tacos, although sometimes fried or occasionally baked, usually use larger tortillas so can include more fillings like rice or beans in addition to the meat and cheese.
- Flautas, though very similar to taquitos, use flour tortillas so they are usually longer.
Now, with the rise in popularity of air fryers, it’s possible to make air fryer taquitos that have the same crispy texture without the work and grease of frying. It’s a healthy way to enjoy this fried food favorite!
Are taquitos gluten free?
Since they are made with corn tortillas, it is possible to get gluten free taquitos. If you are ordering them at a restaurant, you’ll want to be sure they are not fried in the same fryer as breaded items. This would be a cross-contamination risk.
But by making them at home, you can definitely make gluten free air fryer taquitos. I’ll show you how!
Let’s get the chicken in the slow cooker and gather the other ingredients. Here is a quick overview of what you’ll need. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card for the full amounts and detailed instructions.
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Spices: Season the chicken with chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper
- Salsa: You can use your favorite kind, and as mild or hot as you prefer.
- Black beans: Drained and rinsed.
- Cheese: Cheddar, Monterey Jack, pepper Jack, or a combination.
- Corn tortillas
- Olive oil: For brushing on the outside of the taquitos.
How to Make Chicken Taquitos in the Air Fryer
Cook the chicken
Cook the chicken: Add the chicken breasts to the slow cooker, and season with chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Pour the salsa over the top. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Finish it off: Remove the chicken breasts from the slow cooker and shred with two forks. Return it to the slow cooker and add the rinsed and drained black beans. Stir everything together.
Air fry the taquitos
Preheat the air fryer: Start by preheating the air fryer to 400°F.
Roll the taquitos: Lay the tortillas out flat on your work surface. Sprinkle with cheese and spread a layer of the chicken mixture over the tortillas. Roll up tightly and brush lightly with olive oil.
Air fry: Place in the air fryer. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you can cook 4 to 6 at a time. Cook at 400°F for about 5 minutes or until golden and crispy. Remove and repeat with the remaining taquitos.
What do you dip chicken taquitos in?
As mentioned, taquitos are too small to place many fillings inside, so be sure to serve with your favorite dips or toppings.
Tips for Success
Roll without breaking. Working with about four tortillas at a time, wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave for about 30 seconds. The steam will soften the tortillas so that they roll more easily.
Keep them rolled. Be sure to roll them tightly then place seam side down in the air fryer. If you use softened tortillas, roll them right, and work quickly, this should keep them sealed.
Do a double-check. You can also check them after about 2 or 3 minutes in the air fryer, and if they are starting to unroll, roll them up again and turn the air fryer back on for another 2 or 3 minutes. The melting cheese will help “seal” them.
Keep them crispy. To keep your air fryer taquitos warm and crispy, place them on a sheet pan or wire rack in a warm oven (about 200°F) until ready to serve.
Make it a Meal
Of course, these are a fun party appetizer to put out with a spread of barbecue meatballs and pizza rolls. But they also make a great dinner recipe when add some easy side dishes. Here is what to serve with air fryer taquitos.
- Add some rice. Tex Mex meals often include this staple, so you can go with basic white rice or brown rice. Or add more flavor with Instant Pot Spanish Rice.
- Don’t forget beans. You can’t have rice without beans. Open up a can of refried beans if you need something quick or make a batch of Instant Pot Pinto Beans.
- Have a veggie. Let’s balance things out with some Pepper Jack Cauliflower Tots or simply Sauteed Summer Vegetables.
- Kick things up. Serve a side with some spice like Chili Lime Sweet Potatoes or Peruvian-Style Street Corn.
What air fryer do I use?
I am a huge fan of my 5.8 Quart Cosori Air Fryer. I use it several times a week for fries, veggies, chicken, and more! The large size fits a ton of food, and it cleans up very easily. I definitely recommend you pick one up for yourself.
Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos
- 1 1/2-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1-2 teaspoons chili powder, to taste or preferred level of spice
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 16 oz. jar of your favorite salsa, mild, medium or hot, as desired
- 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 corn tortillas
- 2 cups shredded cheese (about 8 oz.), white or yellow cheddar, Monterey Jack, pepper Jack, or a combination
- 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
- salsa, guacamole, sour cream, etc., for dipping
- Season your chicken with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder, and place in your slow cooker.
- Pour salsa over the chicken.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Shred the chicken with forks and stir in the rinsed and drained black beans.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
- Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30-60 seconds or until soft and pliable. Lay out on your work surface. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup shredded cheese onto each tortilla and scatter a thin layer (about 2-3 Tablespoons) of the chicken mixture on each.
- Roll up tightly and place seam side down in the air fryer basket. Brush lightly with olive oil.
- Once you have 4-6 taquitos in the basket, air fry at 400°F for 5-6 minutes. You may want to check after 2-3 minutes to see if any are unrolling, then just reroll and continue cooking.
- Serve with your favorite dips.
More air fryer recipes
- Air Fryer Zucchini Fritters
- Cheesy Hot Dog Taquitos
- Air Fryer Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer Falafel