Baked taquitos are a much healthier option than their fried cousins – and they’re super easy to make for a quick weeknight meal.
Who doesn’t love a taco and who doesn’t love a taquito, or rolled taco? Nobody I know! Too bad those deep-fried taquitos are so not good for us. I have learned to make a baked version that is actually Hubs approved! I think he even said he prefers them to the old-fashioned deep fried kind…or maybe I dreamed that… but he really does like these lighter taquitos.
The trick is using corn tortillas instead of flour because the corn are much lower in fat and calories (and if you use flour tortillas, you end up with flautas, not taquitos). The hard part about using corn tortillas is that they like to crack and fall apart when you roll them up. No worries! I have a solution that makes rolling them much more user-friendly.
Of course you can stuff your taquitos with anything you like: beef, chicken, pork, veggies, cheese, beans, etc., so whatever your favorite taco or taquito filling, roll it up in the corn torts and bake ’em up!
I made a simple chicken taco filling by combining a couple of cups of cooked chicken (I cooked off a whole chicken in the crock-pot using this method) with some salsa (I think I used some of my preserved cherry tomatoes with green chiles), seasonings, diced onion and bell pepper in a skillet and cooking until the onions and peppers softened. Then I added some diced yellow squash and chopped cilantro and cooked a few more minutes, until the liquid was cooked down. Too much liquid will cause your tortillas to crack, so drain it off if you have too much.
To make the corn tortillas pliable, begin by laying out about 6 on the torts on the foil covered baking sheet you will use to bake the taquitos. Then lightly spray both sides of each tortilla with cooking spray. I use canola or olive oil spray. If you don’t have cooking spray, you could very, very lightly brush the torts with some canola or olive oil instead – just keep it light.
Next, stack up the torts and fold them up into a very lightly dampened light-weight kitchen towel. We’re going to steam them in the microwave, but we don’t want the towel to be sopping wet because the torts will turn to mush.
Place the wrapped up tortillas in the microwave and cook for about 1.5 minutes. Very carefully unwrap the package as the steam will burn you as it’s released. Don’t leave the torts wrapped in the hot towel very long because they will get mushy. NOTE: if you like soft tacos, use the same method to steam the tortillas, then fill and eat immediately rather than baking them.
Spoon filling down the middle of a tortilla and carefully roll up and secure with a toothpick and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the torts. I usually only steam about 6 tortillas at a time because I find that if I do more, the ones in the middle don’t get enough steaming – or they get cold before I can fill and roll them. So, repeat the steps above until you’ve used up all of your filling. My filling made about 18 taquitos. If your torts crack a lot, you probably need to cook them a little longer in the microwave as cooking temps may vary.
You can give them another light spray of cooking oil, if you like. Bake the taquitos at 425 for about 15-20 minutes, until pretty crisp. If you want them to be really crispy, broil them for the last minute or so – just don’t leave them unattended or you’ll have chicken briquettes instead! Some of the tortillas may crack a little, but since they are crispy, they will hold their shape after they’re baked. Be sure to remove the toothpicks before you serve so you don’t spear anyone in the nose!