As a general rule, I avoid a lot of specialty appliances in my kitchen.
While I’ve been tempted in the past to consider a rice cooker or a cake pop baker, I haven’t given in—mostly because I have no idea where I would store such contraptions.
But I do have a couple trendy pieces that make me feel like I fit right in on the food blogs, mainly an electric pressure cooker and most recently, an air fryer.
If you’re not familiar, air fryers are all the rage these days, making it possible to get crispy “fried” foods with little to no oil. Really, it’s just a mini convection oven, but it does seem to work as advertised.
With my new purchase on hand, I decided to try a recipe I’d been eyeballing for awhile: chicken taquitos. The recipe reminded me a lot of some chicken flautas my favorite Mexican restaurant makes, and I needed to see if I could recreate the experience at home.
If you don’t have an air fryer, don’t worry. You can still make these by frying them traditionally in oil or by baking them, and I’ll give you the details for all three methods.
This recipe comes from the blog “Chili Pepper Madness” by Mike Hultquist You can find the original post at https://www.chilipeppermadness.com/recipes/chicken-taquitos/. I added some seasonings to my version.
- 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 large jalapeno diced (remove seeds and ribs if you want milder flavor)
- 6-8 cloves garlic minced
- 1.5 pounds chicken breast cooked and shredded
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1 packet sazon seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese
- 20-24 small soft corn tortillas
- 2 cups vegetable/canola oil if frying
- vegetable/canola spray if air frying or baking
- In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion and jalapeno, stirring regularly, until they are both soft, about six to eight minutes.
- Add the garlic and saute for another two minutes or until it slightly browns and becomes fragrant. Remove the pan from heat.
- In a large bowl, combine the contents of the saute pan with the shredded chicken, seasonings and cheese, and stir to coat the chicken evenly.
- To properly heat the tortillas and make them pliable, wrap the stack in a damp paper towel and microwave for about 30 seconds. Keep them covered with the damp towel while you work.
- If you are frying, heat your oil in a deep pan over medium heat to about 350 degrees. If you are baking, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. If you are air frying, you’ll set it to air fry at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes (you may have to experiment with the timing a bit).
- To assemble the taquitos, place a spoonful of the chicken filling on the middle of each tortilla and then roll it up tightly, leaving the ends open. Secure it by placing a toothpick through the center of the taquito.
- If frying or air frying, cook the taquitos in batches. If frying, fry them for about three minutes until they are golden brown. If air frying, mist the taquitos with cooking spray before frying them.
- If baking, place the taquitos on a baking sheet and lightly spray them with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the taquitos halfway through.
- Remove the toothpicks and serve hot taquitos with your favorite salsa and sour cream.
We loved these, and they were really easy. I ended up deboning a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking my own to make the process go even more quickly, and I paired these with some Mexican rice. They also reheated really nicely in the air fryer or the oven. They do reheat in the microwave, but they lose their crispiness.
Making this recipe solidified for me that the air fryer won’t be taking up unnecessary space in our house, and I’m looking forward to playing with it more.
Many people claim it’s a great way to cut a lot of extra oil and fat out of your diet. Of course, as Joey helpfully pointed out, if I keep buying frozen French fries now that I have the option, it may have the opposite effect.
This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 30, 2020.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.