You know how you crave crispy beef flautas, with the crunchy shell and soul-satisfying filling, but wish they were just a little bit healthier? These are it! Stuffed with tender shredded beef AND shredded zucchini, plus fresh cilantro and garlic— they are beef flautas to feel good about, or at least a bit less guilty.
As with all corn tortilla flautas, this beef flauta recipe is all about the texture. The crunchy shell, the tender chew of the meat, the ever-so-subtle bite of the just-barely-cooked strips of zucchini. Add an easy avocado dip or a drizzle of sour cream and you’ll have the perfect texture trifecta of well-executed Mexican beef flautas.
How Do You Make Beef Flautas?
Flautas (also called taquitos) are crispy rolled tacos that are lightly fried or sometimes baked. Like anything, they are pretty simple once you get the hang of the rolling bit, but here are my best tips:
- Make sure your tortillas are warm before trying to roll them, this will prevent them from cracking and breaking. I like to create an assembly line situation with my hot comal for warming the tortillas on one end and frying pan with bubbling oil on the other but that might be a little complicated if this is your first time making them.
- If you feel intimidated by this process do each step all the way through before moving on to the next one. Meaning, warm all your tortillas first and keep them warm in a clean kitchen towel or tortilla warmer. Then move on to filling and rolling each one and placing on a baking sheet. Then heat the oil and fry them.
- Keep the fried flautas warm in a low (200°F) oven while you finish the remaining ones.
Let’s Talk Filling
The meat of this recipe (#momjoke) is a beautiful chuck roast marbled with fat. It is slowly braised in the oven with tomatillos, onions, garlic, and jalapeños. Cook this long enough that the meat just falls apart on the slightest touch. Then let it cool a bit and shred it with your hands into small pieces.
You can stop there but I like to add tender threads of fresh zucchini and fragrant cilantro. More vegetables in my kiddos is always a good idea and I like the different layers of crunch the zucchini add to this beef flautas recipe. The zucchini gets lightly cooked in the oil so its not raw but still maintains a little texture.
Word to the wise: When you are stuffing the tortillas with the filling, more is not more. Keep the filling amount to about 3 tablespoons or even a little less. You don’t want the filling to come out while you are frying them and cause a splattering oily mess.
How To Roll The Flautas
Like I mentioned, a little filling goes a long way, so when it comes to rolling them you simply:
- Add about 3 tablespoons of filling to one side of the warm tortilla.
- Close the tortilla around the filling and roll as tightly as you can without pushing the filling out.
- Secure closed by threading a toothpick in one side of the tortilla, through the flap, and out the other.
Tips For Frying
Don’t let anyone tell you frying is intimidating. Sure hot oil is dangerous but so are really sharp knives and we use those all the time, right? Here are my tips for successful frying:
- Keep the oil at about 350°F. This is easy to do with a frying thermometer but also if you dip one end of a uncooked flauta into the hot oil and it is immediately covered with bubbles—the oil is ready.
- If the flautas seem to be browning too fast, turn the heat down and vice versa if they are cooking too slow.
- Place the flautas in the oil toothpick-side-down first. This will seal them closed so they don’t unravel.
- Have a box of baking soda near by just in case of grease fires. Never use water to put out a grease fire!
Tools You’ll Need
Making the best homemade beef flautas is so much easier when you have the right equipment. Check out this list before you get started:
- Toothpicks for holding the flautas shut.
- Deep-fry Thermometer for gauging the oil temperature. Not a necessity but super helpful.
- A deep, heavy-bottomed pot or large frying pan for braising the meat and frying.
- Metal tongs
What To Serve With Mexican Beef Flautas
The nice thing about shredded beef flautas is that they are great for dinner but also make excellent party food. Here’s how I like to serve the two options:
- FOR DINNER SERVE WITH
Other Filling Options for Shredded Beef Flautas
While I firmly believe this beef-zucchini filling is worth eating an entire basket of flautas over, there are some other options you may wish to explore.
- Slow Cooker Carne Adobada is an excellent beef adobo filling with lots of onions to tuck into your flautas.
- Jalapeño Slow Cooker Beef. Another cook-while-you-work slow cooker shredded beef recipe that packs a little kick and is so moist and juicy.
- Slow Roasted Achiote Beef. This recipe was originally the turf part of my Surf and Turf Nachos so scroll down to the recipe for details.
In The Very Likely Event You Make These FlautasPrint
Crispy Beef Flautas with Shredded Zucchini
You know how you’re craving crispy beef flautas but just a little bit healthier? These are it, stuffed with tender shredded beef AND shredded zucchini.
- Prep Time: 50 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
- Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Fried
- Cuisine: Mexican
2 pounds chuck roast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 jalapeños, stemmed and chopped (remove seeds if you are sensitive to spice)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 cups beef broth
3 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
42 corn tortillas
2 cups vegetable oil
Heat oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the bottom of the stove with plenty of room above it for the covered pot to fit.
Generously season chuck roast on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1/4 cup olive in a large Dutch oven with a lid over medium-high heat. Once oil is shimmering add roast and brown on all sides, about 10-12 minutes. Remove roast to a plate and add onion, tomatillos, garlic, jalapeños, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6-7 minutes.
Add broth and scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Return roast to the pan, cover and transfer to the oven. Braise until meat is very tender, about 3 hours.
Transfer roast to a plate to cool. Save liquid and vegetables in the pan. Once roast is cool enough to handle, shred meat into bite-sized pieces. Return to cooking liquid. Add zucchini and cilantro and stir to combine.
Warm tortillas in a dry pan or comal. Transfer to a tortilla warmer or wrap tightly in a clean kitchen towel to keep warm. Take one tortilla at a time and place 3 tablespoons of filling on one edge. Roll tortilla tightly around the filling and secure closed with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling making sure to keep tortillas warm as you go.
Heat 2 cups of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot (test by dipping a tortilla edge into the oil, it should bubble immediately), add flautas, toothpick-side down, a few at a time. Cook about 2 minutes per side, or until crisp and golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking pan. Repeat with remaining flautas.
Enjoy immediately, or let cool, cover, and refrigerate. Flautas can be eaten cold, at room temperature, or warmed in a 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes.
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