Chicken Taquitos (Great Way To Also Use Up Leftover Turkey Or Other Meats)

Prep Time
Cook Time
1d 6h 25m
Ready In

Recipe: #21910

November 28, 2015

"These taquitos are a great way to use up that leftover chicken, Thanksgiving turkey, pork or beef that you may have in your fridge. I make these often to recycle leftovers and my family loves them. They are not only good to be served for dinner, but are superb served as an appetizer for any celebration. I have also made these using leftover shrimp which is also a hit with my family."

Original is 6 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (181.7 g)
  • Calories 315.2
  • Total Fat - 8.4 g
  • Saturated Fat - 3.9 g
  • Cholesterol - 89.5 mg
  • Sodium - 268.8 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 43.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 6.3 g
  • Sugars - 1.9 g
  • Protein - 18.7 g
  • Calcium - 338.8 mg
  • Iron - 2 mg
  • Vitamin C - 10.4 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.1 mg

Step by Step Method

Step 1

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.

Step 2

Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 - 5 minutes. Add the taco seasoning mix. Add the chicken (or other leftover meat) turning to evenly distribute all ingredients. Taste for seasoning and adjust with taco seasoning mix and black pepper.

Step 3

Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt if necessary and/or add extra taco seasoning mix and/or black pepper (I normally don't add salt if I've added enough taco seasoning mix.)

Step 4

Turn off the heat and transfer to a large bowl.

Step 5

Once cool, stir in the cheese, tomatoes, and cilantro. Set aside.

Step 6

Stack tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a damp paper towel, and microwave in 30-second increments until they're warm and pliable, about 1 minute. (This will keep them from breaking when rolling.)

Instead of the microwave method to soften the tortillas, I find that steaming them by stacking the tortillas in a bamboo steamer with sheets of wax paper in between each works great.

Step 7

Set a tortilla on a cutting board and place 1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons of the chicken filling in the middle. Roll into a thin cylinder and seal it shut using a toothpick or trimmed wood skewer. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.

Over time and practice, I find that using a toothpick is not necessary, as long as you place the tortillas seam-side down in the hot oil. Once the seam is fried the edge stays shut with no issues of meat coming through.

Step 8

Line a large plate with paper towels. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the oil into a large skillet (if the oil isn't at least 1/2 inch deep, add another 1/2 cup) and warm it over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the oil reads between 350 - 375 degrees Fahrenheit. (Drop in a small piece of tortilla and if bubbles surround it the oil is ready).

Step 9

Add 2 - 3 taquitos to the pan and fry, using a couple of forks or slotted metal spatula to help turn the taquitos until they are crisp and brown on all sides, about 3 minutes.

Step 10

Transfer the taquitos to the paper towel-lined plate, sprinkle with a little salt, remove the toothpick, and set aside to cool. Repeat with the remaining taquitos.

Step 11

Serve with salsa and sour cream (if desired) on the side.

NOTE: In my area it is no longer easy to find Chi-Chi's taco seasoning mix, therefore I order it from Amazon. I prefer Chi-Chi's over many other brands, but you can use whatever you prefer. Note that Chi-Chi's measures about 1/2 - 3/4 ounces for each package vs. other brands which measure approximately 1 1/4 ounces. Therefore is using Chi Chi's a full package is what you would use in this recipe.


No special items needed.

Editorial Notes

The ingredient tips, suggestions, variations, facts, questions and answers below are not edits to the original author's recipe. They are not meant to imply any change would improve the recipe. They're offered for convenience, alternative ideas, and points of interest. If you have any comments about them, please post in the Help & Ideas forum.

  • When selecting jalapeno pepper, choose one that is firm, smooth and bright green in color.
  • When selecting the taco seasoning mix, look for one that is low in sodium if you are trying to watch your salt intake.

  • Substitute vegetable oil with olive oil for a heart-healthy option. The benefit of using olive oil is that it is a healthier alternative to vegetable oil, as it contains monounsaturated fatty acids which can help reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Substitute taco seasoning with homemade taco seasoning for a more flavorful option. The benefit of making your own taco seasoning is that you can customize the level of spiciness and flavor to your preference. Additionally, you can control the amount of sodium in the mix, as most store-bought seasoning mixes are high in sodium.

Vegetarian Taquitos Replace the chicken with 1 1/2 cups of cooked black beans. Omit the taco seasoning mix and instead use 1 teaspoon of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder. Instead of the cheese, use 1 1/2 cups of vegan cheese.

Mexican Rice: This flavorful side dish is the perfect accompaniment to the taquitos. The rice is cooked with onion, garlic, and spices, then simmered in a flavorful tomato broth for a comforting and delicious meal.

Black Beans: Black beans are a classic Mexican side dish that pairs perfectly with the taquitos and Mexican rice. The beans are cooked with onion, garlic, and spices, then simmered in a tomato sauce for a savory and hearty flavor. This dish is a great source of protein and fiber, and adds a delicious depth of flavor to the meal.


Q: How do I soften the tortillas?

A: You can soften the tortillas in the microwave by stacking them on a microwave-safe plate and covering with a damp paper towel. Microwave in 30-second increments until warm and pliable, about 1 minute. Alternatively, you can steam them by stacking the tortillas in a bamboo steamer with sheets of wax paper in between each.

Q: How do I store tortillas?

A: Store tortillas in an airtight container or zip-top bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, warm in a dry skillet over low heat or in the microwave.

1 Reviews


We loved this recipe. We didn't add the jalapeno for personal tastes. These are so much better than what you can get in the frozen section. Thank you for a great recipe.


review by:
(30 Jan 2019)

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Fun facts:

The taquito is a famous Mexican dish that was first created in the 1950s. It is believed to be a variation of the traditional Mexican taco.

The taquito has become a popular dish in the United States and was even served at the White House during the Obama administration. President Obama was known to enjoy Mexican cuisine and the taquito was a favorite of his.