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What’s the difference between flautas and taquitos?

Flautas and taquitos are both delicious Mexican appetizers, but they have some key differences. In this article, we’ll examine what defines each dish, their ingredients, how they’re made, their taste profiles, and how to serve them. We’ll also provide some recipe recommendations so you can try making both at home.

What are Flautas?

Flautas are made from corn tortillas that are filled with shredded chicken, beef, or other fillings, then tightly rolled up into flute-like tubes. The rolled tortillas are then fried to crisp them up. Flautas are typically longer and skinnier than taquitos, with tapering ends resembling a flute, which is how they get their name. They are also sometimes called “taquitos dorados” or “doraditas.”

Traditional flautas are filled with shredded chicken or beef, but you can also find flautas stuffed with fillings like cheese, beans, or potatoes. They are often served as appetizers or side dishes and may be topped with ingredients like guacamole, sour cream, cabbage, salsa, and cotija cheese. Flautas have a crispy exterior and soft, savory interior with each bite.

Traditional Flauta Fillings

  • Shredded chicken
  • Shredded beef
  • Cheese
  • Refried beans
  • Potatoes

Typical Flauta Toppings

  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Salsa
  • Cotija cheese

What are Taquitos?

Taquitos are made from filled, tightly rolled corn tortillas that are also fried until crispy. However, taquitos are generally smaller and stubbier than flautas. The word “taquito” means “little taco” in Spanish, describing their petite cylindrical shape. Taquitos are typically bite-sized and served as appetizers.

Taquitos are traditionally filled with shredded beef or chicken, but cheese, beans, and potatoes are also common fillings. They can be served on their own or with sides like guacamole, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, rice, or beans. The fried exterior of a taquito provides a satisfying crunch, contrasting with the soft, savory filling within.

Common Taquito Fillings

  • Shredded beef
  • Shredded chicken
  • Cheese
  • Refried beans

Popular Taquito Toppings and Sides

  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Mexican rice
  • Refried beans

Differences Between Flautas and Taquitos

While flautas and taquitos share some key characteristics, there are some differences between the two appetizers:

  • Shape: Flautas are long, thin, and tapered like a flute while taquitos are short, stubby, and cylindrical.
  • Size: Flautas are larger and typically served individually while taquitos are smaller and served in groups as appetizers.
  • Filling: Fillings can be the same, though flautas may use more vegetable fillings like potatoes.
  • Name: “Taquito” means “little taco” while “flauta” means “flute” in Spanish.
  • Origin: Flautas are especially popular in central Mexico while taquitos are common throughout Mexico.

How to Make Flautas and Taquitos

Making both flautas and taquitos at home is easy. Here are the basic steps:


  • Corn tortillas
  • Filling of your choice (shredded chicken, beef, cheese, etc.)
  • Oil for frying (canola, vegetable, etc.)
  • Toppings like guacamole, salsa, sour cream, etc.


  1. Cook filling if using raw meat like chicken or beef.
  2. Warm tortillas in the microwave or pan to soften them and make them pliable.
  3. Place about 2-3 tablespoons of filling into each tortilla.
  4. Roll up tortillas around filling tightly into flute (flauta) or cylindrical (taquito) shapes.
  5. In a skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil over medium heat.
  6. Fry rolled tortillas for 2-3 minutes per side until crispy and golden brown.
  7. Drain on paper towel lined plate.
  8. Serve warm with desired toppings.

Making Flautas

For flautas, use smaller 6 inch tortillas and less filling so you can tightly roll them into long flutes. Fry them individually and serve them lying flat on a plate or platter.

Making Taquitos

For taquitos, use larger 8-10 inch tortillas and more filling to achieve a stubbier shape. Fry them in batches and serve them standing up on a platter with toothpicks.

Flautas vs. Taquitos: Taste and Texture

In terms of taste and texture, flautas and taquitos are quite similar since they contain most of the same ingredients. However, there are some subtle differences:

  • Crunch: Taquitos are smaller and stubbier, so they tend to be crisper than flautas.
  • Fillings: Flautas may use more vegetable fillings, imparting different flavors.
  • Shape: The tapered shape of flautas allows for a gradient of textures from crispy tip to soft center.
  • Size: Taquitos’ smaller size makes them perfect bite-sized poppable appetizers.

But for the most part, both flautas and taquitos offer a delicious contrast of a crispy, fried exterior with a soft, savory filling inside. They make excellent additions to a Mexican meal or as starters for a party.

How to Serve Flautas and Taquitos

Both flautas and taquitos are very versatile and can be served in many ways:

As Appetizers

Taquitos especially are perfect finger foods for serving guests before a meal. Arrange bite-sized taquitos on a platter with toothpicks. Flautas can be plated individually as starter appetizers.

As Sides

Serve flautas and taquitos on the side of a main Mexican entree like enchiladas, tacos, or fajitas. They make great alternatives to typical sides like rice or beans.

With Dips and Toppings

Serve flautas and taquitos with tasty accompaniments like guacamole, salsa, sour cream, shredded lettuce, cotija cheese, and Mexican crema. Dips and toppings add extra flavor and texture contrast.

For Snacking

Both flautas and taquitos hold up well at room temperature, making them ideal for snacking. Serve them on a tray for parties or pack them to go.

For Entrees

For heartier appetites, flautas and taquitos can be served as entrees, accompanied by sides like Spanish rice, refried beans, and salad.

Flautas and Taquitos Recipes

Once you understand the basics, flautas and taquitos are easy to make at home. Try these delicious recipes:

Chicken Flautas


  • 20 small corn tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Combine chicken and cheese in a bowl.
  2. Warm tortillas in microwave or pan until soft.
  3. Place 2-3 tablespoons filling into each tortilla.
  4. Tightly roll into flute shapes.
  5. Fry in 1/2 inch oil until golden brown, 2-3 minutes per side.
  6. Drain on paper towels.
  7. Serve with guacamole and salsa.

Beef Taquitos


  • 24 corn tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded beef
  • 1 cup shredded Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Combine beef and cheese in a bowl.
  2. Warm tortillas in microwave or pan until soft.
  3. Place 2-3 tablespoons filling into each tortilla.
  4. Tightly roll into stubby cylinders.
  5. Fry in 1/2 inch oil for 2-3 minutes per batch until crispy.
  6. Drain on paper towels.
  7. Serve with guacamole, lettuce, salsa, and crema.


Flautas and taquitos both make for amazing Mexican appetizers and share general ingredients, but differ in their shapes and sizes. Flautas are longer flute-like tubes perfect for individual starter plates. Taquitos are smaller, stubbier cylinders ideal for passing around on platters. Both provide a tasty contrast of a crisp exterior with a soft, savory interior. Feel free to get creative with fillings and toppings to make these dishes your own. Now that you know the difference between flautas and taquitos, it’s time to start frying up these delicious Mexican eats!