Step aside, taco Tuesday. Flautas have captured our hearts and our stomachs. Maybe it’s the crispy, golden-brown tortillas. More likely, it’s the juicy, tender brisket filling. In this recipe, shredded beef, onions, peppers, oregano and marjoram create a rich, bold flavor that’s wonderful when rolled into flour tortillas and deep-fried until crispy and crunchy.
This beef filling would taste fantastic served in a wrap or rice bowl, but it’s absolutely unforgettable when it’s rolled inside golden, crispy tortillas. This meal is a perfect reason to learn how to deep-fry at home with confidence.
What are flautas?
Flauta is the Spanish word for “flute.” It refers to the rolled tortilla’s long, cylindrical shape. No one really knows where flautas originated. Some say they’re an authentic Mexican food. Others maintain they were created in a San Diego, California, restaurant. Depending on where you live, the name may differ, too. These could be called tacos dorados (golden tacos) or “rolled tacos.”
We do know one thing for certain: Today you can find this dish in restaurants all over Mexico and the United States. And now, you can learn how to make your very own beef flautas at home!
Beef Flautas Ingredients
- Fresh beef brisket: You can use the fatty point cut or the lean flat cut of brisket for this recipe. Just make sure to pick up a fresh beef brisket (not a corned beef brisket).
- Onions and green peppers: These aromatic vegetables cook alongside the brisket, becoming soft and tender. They add a boost of flavor to the beef filling.
- Corn or flour tortillas: You can use either type of tortilla to make beef flautas. Traditionally, flautas are made with flour tortillas, and taquitos are made with corn tortillas.
- Oil for deep-frying: The best oil for frying has a high smoke point and a neutral flavor. Look for an oil with a smoke point of over 400°F, like canola oil or vegetable oil.
Step 1: Cook the beef brisket
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Brown the brisket on all sides. Add the onions, peppers, water, salt, oregano, marjoram and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes or until meat is tender.
Step 2: Make the beef mixture
Remove the brisket from the Dutch oven, and allow it to cool slightly. Shred the meat with two forks. Drain the onion mixture, and add it to the meat.
Step 3: Fill the flautas
Spoon 1/4 cup beef mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll each tortilla up, and secure with a toothpick.
Editor’s Tip: Wondering how to make flautas without breaking the tortillas? Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds before filling and rolling. They will become more pliable and easier to roll.
Step 4: Fry the beef flautas
In a cast-iron or electric skillet, heat the oil to 375°. Fry the flautas in batches for one minute on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Remove the toothpicks. If desired, serve with toppings.
Editor’s Tip: For the crispiest beef flautas, avoid the common cooking mistake of overcrowding the skillet. Adding too many flautas at once will drop the oil’s temperature. That means the tortillas won’t crisp up properly, and they could turn out soggy.
- Use leftover beef: Instead of cooking the brisket from scratch, use barbecue brisket or slow-cooker brisket. Leftover pot roast would work well in this recipe, too.
- Change the filling: You can use any type of cooked meat to customize this flautas recipe. Use seasoned ground beef, shrimp or pulled pork. You can even use leftover rotisserie chicken to make chicken flautas. For a vegetarian version, try a black bean-and-sweet potato filling, or mix mashed potatoes with green chiles and cheese.
Can you make beef flautas ahead of time?
You can make the brisket filling for beef flautas in advance. Prepare the beef mixture, and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat the beef mixture in the microwave or over gentle heat on the stovetop until warmed through. Then fill the tortillas as directed.
How to Store Beef Flautas
Beef flautas taste best right after you fry them. They will get softer and soggier as they sit. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. It’s best to reheat them in the oven or air fryer to crisp up the exterior.
Beef Flautas Tips
How do you serve flautas?
Flautas are considered finger food, so you don’t need to serve them with a fork and knife. Pair them with different toppings and dipping sauces for a casual meal. Or turn them into a more formal meal with side dishes like Mexican rice and refried beans.
What are the best toppings for flautas?
Garnish the crispy shells with your favorite taco or nacho toppings. Add dollops of guacamole, sour cream or salsa. Sprinkle on grated cheese, minced cilantro, chopped onions, pickled jalapenos, sliced olives, radishes, shredded lettuce or cabbage. Drizzle them with freshly squeezed lime juice, hot sauce, Mexican crema or a cheese sauce like chili con queso. The possibilities are endless!
What is the difference between flautas and taquitos?
Flautas and taquitos are both crispy, deep-fried dishes made by rolling tortillas around a savory filling (usually chicken or beef). Flautas are larger than taquitos and are generally made with flour tortillas. Because of their larger size, we often serve flautas as a main course. The smaller-sized taquitos are usually made with corn tortillas. Most taquitos are enjoyed as an appetizer or snack. Try the difference for yourself with our pork taquitos, chicken taquitos or air-fryer taquitos.
Can you make beef flautas in the air fryer?
If you love making air-fryer recipes, try making air-fried beef flautas. Preheat the air fryer to 350°. Arrange the flautas in a single layer in the basket, and spritz them with cooking spray. Cook for 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.