Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Taquitos

Cinco de Mayo is just a day away, and if you’re celebrating at home like we are, then these crispy oven-baked taquitos are perfect as an appetizer or main course. Spiced shredded chicken, cheese, and flavorings are baked to crunchy golden perfect.

White plate with five crispy oven baked chicken taquitos, drizzled with lime crema. Shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes on the side.

I like to serve these baked chicken taquitos with Chunky Homemade Salsa and Rotel Queso Dip, the Best Guacamole, and of course, a Spicy Chili Lime Margarita

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What Is A Taquito?

Taquito, Spanish for ‘small taco,’ is a Mexican favorite consisting of a tortilla (typically corn) filled with shredded meat, cheese, and various vegetables, herbs, and spices. The roll is then fried to golden and crunchy perfection. They’re basically a rolled-up taco.

Origin Of Taquitos

The humble taquito has a murky story of origin. Many Mexican cities claim the dish as their own. We know taquitos were a way to use and reinvent leftover meats and tortillas.

In Los Angeles in 1934, restaranteur Aurora Guerro servedt her taquito recipe to its patrons. The dish became so popular that Guerro’s daughter used the recipe to open a chain of restaurants throughout Southern California. It wasn’t long before other restaurants followed suit.

Then, in the 1940s, a tortilla maker named Ralph Pesqueira, Sr. was asked by workers who made airplanes to make a portable, easy-to-eat lunch for them. Pesqueira used his grandmother’s taquito recipe, which became very popular. He went on to open a San Diego restaurant called El Indio Mexican Restaurant and continued to serve taquitos during World War II.

Close up of crispy oven baked chicken taquitos, drizzled with lime crema.

Ingredients Needed

  • Chicken – I like using rotisserie chicken to make life simple, but poached chicken works great as well.
  • Black beans: Since canned beans work so well, why go to the trouble of cooking dried beans? I like using seasoned black beans when I can find them for added flavor.
  • Corn – fresh or frozen
  • Ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder – all for flavor. Use fresh spices for maximum flavor.
  • Limes
  • Green salsa or enchilada sauce—I’ve used both equally well. This product also allows you to vary the heat level.
  • Cilantro – not a fan? Parsley works as well.
  • Cheese—I love extra sharp cheddar, but pepper jack, Monterey jack, or colby also works. Please grate your own cheese for the creamiest taquito. Preshredded cheese tends to melt and have a grainy texture.
  • Corn tortillas – use the freshest tortillas that you can find and take the time to warm them, a couple at a time, so they roll nicely and don’t crack.
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray.
  • Kosher, coarse, or flaked sea salt – I like using Kosher salt for cooking and flaked salt to sprinkle on top.
  • Sour cream – for the lime crema. You could also use Greek yogurt.
  • Garlic – for flavor in the crema.

Steps To Make This Recipe

  1. Make the crema by mixing all of the ingredients together, cover, and chill until needed.
  2. Mix the filling by combining the chicken, beans, corn, spices, lime juice, salsa, cilantro, and cheese until well combined.
  3. Warm the tortillas in pairs of two. Wrap up the warm tortillas to keep their shape.
  4. Add the filling to the center of each tortilla and tightly roll them up.
  5. Brush the tops with oil and sprinkle with flaked or coarse salt. Place on a baking sheet, seam side down so they don’t unroll.
  6. Bake until golden.
  7. Drizzle with lime crema before serving.

How To Make The Baked Chicken Taquitos Ahead, Store, Freeze, And Reheat

  • The filling can be made a day in advance, tightly covered, and refrigerated until ready to use.
  • You can premake the taquitos and refrigerate them before baking as needed. This is great as an after-school snack for your teenagers.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Be sure to refrigerate the leftovers within 90 minutes to prevent foodborne illness.
  • To reheat, place the taquitos on a baking sheet and spray with cooking oil. Bake in a 350 degree oven until crispy – about 15-18 minutes.
  • For the crispiest taquitos, freeze them before baking them. Make the taquitos and place them before brushing them with oil on a baking sheet. Freeze them in a single layer. Store them in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. You can bake them straight from the freezer by placing the taquitos on a lined baking sheet, brushing with oil, covering the sheet with aluminum foil, and baking for 15-20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until golden and crisp. You may want to flip them once the tops are golden and brown the bottoms.

Can I Cook Them In An Airfryer?

YES! They get extra crispy and golden in the air-fryer! Spray the taquitos with cooking spray or brush with oil. Place them in a single layer and cook at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Flip the taquitos and continue to cool for another 5-10 minutes until golden brown on all sides. Be sure to watch them closely as timing may vary depending on your airfryer.

White plate with five crispy oven baked chicken taquitos, drizzled with lime crema. Shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes on the side.

Variations

  • Swap leftover taco meat, chopped roast or brisket for the chicken.
  • Try chorizo for a spicier taquito. Cook the chorizo first and drain off the fat very well so your taquitos aren’t greasy.
  • Make vegetarian taquitos by using a combination of beans, onions, peppers, corn, and lots of spices. You can also add a plant-based meat alternative.
  • Breakfast taquitos can be made using scrambled eggs, cheese, sausage, bacon, or ham, and hashbrown potatoes. (These are a big favorite in my home!)
  • Seafood taquitos are also a popular dinner for my family. Cooked shrimp, crab, or flaky fish can be used. Swap out the lime juice for white wine and reduce the spices to taste.
  • For creamy taquitos, swap a ½ cup of cheddar cheese for 4 ounces of cream cheese.

More Recipes For Cinco de Mayo

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