These crispy birria flautas are made with leftover beef from my quesabirria tacos! They are packed with tender meat, melty cheese, and then topped with pico de gallo salsa, guacamole and pickled red onions. Finish it all off with a squeeze of fresh lime juice!
I make quesabirria tacos fairly often and one of my favorite things to do is freeze extra meat to use at a later date. The tender taco meat freezes incredibly well, and doing this makes it easy to whip up “fancy” Mexican dinners with minimal prep. I’ve used extras to make everything from birria pizza to birria quesadillas and even mulitas!
Today we’re talking about another way to use up extra birria beef: flautas. I have a vegetarian flautas recipe made with black beans that is one of the most popular recipes on this site, but just as often I make flautas with whatever kind of meat I have on hand.
You can too: all you need are flour tortillas, some cheese and cooked meat. Roll everything up in a tortilla, briefly fry them in some olive oil, then serve with your favorite toppings! It’s super easy, super delicious, and ready in about 20 minutes.
What Are Flautas?
Flautas are flour tortillas that are filled with meat or a vegetarian protein like black beans, as well as cheese. The rolled tortillas are fried in a bit of oil on the stovetop, then served with whatever fixings you like. Flautas are not fried for as long as taquitos so they are not crunchy, rather the tortillas become crisp on the outside while remaining tender on the inside.
What is the difference between flautas and taquitos? Flautas are usually made with flour tortillas, while taquitos are usually made with corn tortillas. Because flour tortillas are larger, flautas also tend to be longer than taquitos.
Flautas can be eaten with your hands, similar to a taquito, or served on a plate, topped with fixings, and eaten with a fork and knife. There are no hard and fast rules, so do whatever feels right to you!
Can I Use Other Kinds of Meat?
Of course! If you don’t have birria meat on hand or just want to try a different kind of filling, you can also make flautas with any of the following:
- Roast Chicken – I will be sharing my favorite pollo rostizado (roast chicken) recipe soon!
- Pork Carnitas – These are made in the Instant Pot so they are super easy to make.
- Carne Asada – I recommend cutting the steak into small cubes.
- Leftover Turkey – Have some extra Thanksgiving turkey to use? Make flautas!
- Chorizo – Or sausage in general. Cook it up, maybe add some potatoes too, then stuff the cooked sausage meat into flautas. I have a vegetarian chorizo recipe that I’ll be sharing soon!
- Chilorio – Spicy Mexican pork in chili sauce.
- Cochinita Pibil – Smokey Yucatan oven baked pork.
Tips for Success
There are really only a few things you need to keep in mind when making flautas:
- Don’t over fill your tortillas. This is probably the hardest thing to do. Obviously you want to add as much tender meat and cheese as possible, but you also need to be able to roll your tortilla up.
- Make sure there is enough oil in the pan. You will probably need to add a bit of extra oil between batches. You don’t need a lot, just enough to lightly fry the flautas and let them crisp up.
- Keep the warm. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to work in batches. In this case, I like to place the cooked flautas on a baking sheet and keep them warm in an oven pre-heated to 150F.
What Goes with Flautas?
You can serve flautas with your favorite Mexican toppings and sides. Here are some suggestions:
- Homemade guacamole
- Pico de Gallo salsa
- Salsa Macha
- Pickled red onions
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
- Chopped, fresh cilantro
- Instant Pot Mexican rice
- Refried beans
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
If you have extra flautas, you can store them and reheat them for later – if you have not added any fixings yet. Once you have added toppings you’re committed! Loosen that belt friends. 🙂
But if you have not added toppings to your flautas, you can save extras. Let the flautas come to room temperature, then store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, zap them in the microwave for about 1 minute, then crisp them up in an oven preheated to 350F for about 5 minutes.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes, you can freeze these flautas. Let them come to room temperature, then store them in an airtight, freezer safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat as described above when you are ready to eat them. You will need to add about 30 seconds to the microwave time.Print
Beef Birria Flautas
These crisp beef flautas are made with leftover meat from my quesabirria tacos! They are packed with tender birria meat, melty cheese, and then topped with pico de gallo salsa, guacamole and pickled red onions. Finish it all off with a squeeze of fresh lime juice!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 12 flautas
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican
- About 2–3 cups leftover birria taco meat, drained
- 12 flour tortillas
- About 1 1/2 cups Shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese
- 3–4 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Fixings: Pico de gallo salsa, guacamole, pickled red onions, lime wedges
Heat the meat. Warm the birria meat briefly in a small skillet, until the juices have mostly evaporated and the meat is heated through.
Fill the tortillas. Place a small amount of the birria meat in the center of each flour tortilla and spread down the middle. Use about 2-3 tablespoons of meat, according to your preferences and the size of your tortillas. Top with a sprinkle of cheese, about 2 tablespoons, according to your preferences. Don’t add so much filling that you can’t roll the tortillas up.
Shape the flautas. Roll up each tortilla, folding over each side so that the filling is in the center. Set aside, seam side down.
Coat with a touch of oil. Spray each filled tortilla with olive oil (I use a Misto), or use your fingers to rub a small amount of oil on the outsides of each rolled tortilla.
Cook. Heat about 1 tbs olive oil in a large, clean pan over medium high heat. Add the filled tortillas to the heated pan seam side down. There should only be one layer of filled tortillas in the pan at a time so you may need to cook these in batches depending on the size of your pan. Cook the flautas 1-2 minutes per side, turning with a spatula when each side is golden brown and crispy. Don’t leave these unattended because they cook quickly! Add additional oil if needed between batches.
Keep the flautas warm. If you are cooking in batches, you can keep flautas warm in an oven preheated to 150F until all the flautas are done cooking.
Dig in. Serve with pico de gallo salsa, guacamole, pickled red onions and lime wedges.
Keywords: beef flautas, birria flautas, mexican flautas