Sneak Preview: Make Baked Flautas with Chicken and Spinach (aka Taquitos) with rolled flour tortillas, rotisserie chicken, spinach, and cheese. Serve with your favorite salsa and guacamole, and get ready to hear, “More, please!”
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Baked flautas are my go-to solution whenever I have a partial package of fresh spinach hanging out in my fridge. In addition to spinach, you’ll need some flour tortillas, leftover rotisserie chicken (which I freeze for occasions like this), and spicy cheese like Pepper Jack.
Four Reasons Why You Will Appreciate This Recipe
- It calls for only four ingredients. However, feel free to add onions, jalapenos, garlic, beans, cumin powder, or other spices to kick up the flavor.
- This is a good recipe for singles and couples. It’s easy to scale the recipe up or down.
- Instead of heating a full-size oven, use your toaster oven or a portable grill like a Ninja Foodie for baking these up quickly.
- You won’t need a recipe after you make these one time.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- FLOUR TORTILLAS: I start with my favorite TortillaLand uncooked flour tortillas, which are available dependably at Costco and other grocery stores. I like the TortillaLand tortillas because of the way they bake up flaky and crispy.
- Another option is to make the tortillas yourself. This is my favorite homemade tortilla recipe. Obviously, you can use store-bought, already-cooked flour tortillas. I encourage you to look for and buy the thinnest ones at the store. They will bake up crispier than thick tortillas.
- CHICKEN: Shredded rotisserie chicken is my first choice. Ground beef, leftover roast beef, or turkey would make great substitutes. Lunch meat will work as well.
- CHEESE: Use Pepper Jack cheese for the heat and flavor it adds. Choose Monterey Jack for a milder flavor. Cheddar cheese also works.
- If you can’t find Pepper Jack, I would consider adding fresh or pickled jalapenos to provide some spice. After all, Tex-Mex should never be bland.
- SPINACH: Fresh spinach is the easiest in my book. If you use frozen spinach, be sure you squeeze it dry after heating and before adding it to a tortilla. If you are feeding a spinach hater–leave it out. That’s what I do for the grandkids.
- If you have leftover spinach, fresh spinach is great in this Spinach Bread with Parmesan or these Marvelous Cheesy Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Shells.
What To Serve on the Side
These are simple flautas. They aren’t the same without condiments. Fresh guacamole, salsa, sour cream, or ranch dressing are all appropriate dips for your flautas.
Another way to serve flautas is on a bed of lettuce with shredded cheese on top and your choice of condiments.
By the way, you can read the secret to buying good avocados here if you like to make guacamole but get frustrated when buying avocados.
Can I Freeze Flautas?
Yes. Let baked flautas cool to room temperature. Then, double-wrap to prevent freezer burn.
I like to wrap them in foil, plastic wrap, or plastic bags. When ready to eat, remove from the freezer and bake at 350˚F (180˚C) for 8-10 minutes until warmed through.
Crispy Egg and Sausage Breakfast Taquitos are similar to these flautas. However, don’t limit them to breakfast because they contain eggs and sausage.
Assembling Baked Flautas with Chicken and Spinach
Prepare the ingredients
If using frozen spinach, microwave the spinach just long enough to defrost. Squeeze out as much water as you can.
Assembling Baked Flautas
If you want a crispy and flavorful crust, give the rolled tortillas a quick spritz of oil or a light spray of aerosol oil. (Coconut oil is especially nice.)
Bake in a preheated 450˚F oven for 8 minutes on one side. Flip over and bake an additional 5-8 minutes until the flautas are toasty golden brown.
FAQ About Flautas
Some people refer to rolled-up tortillas with filling as taquitos. Others say they are flautas. The official difference seems to depend on the type of tortillas used. However, restaurants have blurred the lines by using both terms interchangeably no matter what kind of tortillas are involved. If what you are eating is especially long and skinny like a flute, you are probably eating a flauta.
Unless your corn tortillas are fresh off the griddle, they are not as easy to roll (and stay rolled) as flour tortillas. If you need a recipe that uses corn tortillas, see these Green Chile Enchiladas.
If your tortillas are very fresh, you probably won’t need to soften them. Otherwise, wrap six tortillas in wet paper towels and microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds.
Nothing seems to stick to a silicone baking sheet that fits into the bottom of a cookie sheet. These sheets are fairly inexpensive, and you can throw them into the dishwasher. Another option is parchment paper in place of the silicone mat. A heavy baking pan like this one from USA Pans(paid link) is another option.
Tortillas break because they are too dry, cold, or thick. Use fresh, warm, and thin tortillas. Many people and restaurants fry corn tortillas briefly before filling them to make them less likely to break. That is not an option at my house because of the mess and the smell. Baking is healthier, too.
Parting Thoughts: I hope you enjoy these easy flautas as much as we do. If you still have leftover chicken, consider making this Thick Chicken Tortilla Soup, soothing Leftover Rotisserie Chicken Soup, or this family favorite, Weeknight Potato Chip Casserole with Chicken and Cheese.
Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.
Simple Baked Flautas with Chicken and Spinach
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- 6 flour tortillas 6 to 8-inches in diameter
- 3 cups (113 g) fresh spinach, chopped 4 ounces
- 1½ cup (170 g) rotisserie chicken, shredded 6 ounces
- 1½ cups (170 g) Monterrey Jack cheese or Pepper Jack, shredded 6 ounces
- Olive oil or coconut oil spray
- Preheat oven to 450˚F (230˚C).
- If you are using uncooked tortillas, cook 6 flour tortillas per the directions on the package. If using cooked tortillas that are larger than 6 inches in diameter, you may want to cut them in half.
- Place 3 cups (113 g) fresh spinach, chopped into a hot skillet, and heat just until wilted. Or microwave fresh spinach in a small covered bowl until the leaves wilt. Drain off all liquid.
- If using frozen spinach, defrost in a small bowl in the microwave. Press out as much liquid as you can.
- Distribute equal amounts of 1½ cup (170 g) rotisserie chicken, shredded, 1½ cups (170 g) Monterrey Jack cheese or Pepper Jack, shredded, and spinach down the center of each tortilla. See the picture above.
- Starting with one side (or the long side if using a tortilla cut in half), tightly roll each tortilla and place it onto a cookie sheet seam-side down. The cheese will melt and stick as these flautas bake, so I recommend lining a cookie sheet with non-stick aluminum foil, parchment paper, or a silicone baking mat for easy removal of the flautas and quick clean-up.
- Spray both sides of rolled tortillas with olive oil or coconut oil.
- Bake at 450˚F (230˚C)for 8 minutes or until the flautas turn golden brown. Carefully flip flautas so the seam-side is up and continue to bake for another 5-8 minutes until flautas are golden brown and crispy all over.
- Note: If seams start to pop open after you flip flautas, gently press them back together with your tongs while flipping.
All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a Jar.com