Is it a taquito or a flauta? What is the difference? If you are a lover of Mexican food you may have wondered about this topic.
At first glance taquitos and flautas appear to be similar. Both are served stuffed, rolled into a cylinder shape and fried until golden and crispy. However, there are subtle differences between them.
What is a taquito?
Taquitos (literally 'little tacos') are small rolled tortillas filled with beef or chicken and a sprinkling of grated cheese, which are then deep-fried or shallow-fried until they are crisp. Also called rolled tacos, these Mexican snacks are made to be held in the hand and enjoyed in the street or on the run. Generally speaking, taquitos are prepared with corn tortillas, and served with a dollop of guacamole or sour cream. They are often flattened somewhat so they can be fried in less oil. Taquitos could be considered more typical of central and southern Mexico, where corn has a storied history and is widely cultivated and used.
What is a flauta?
On the other hand, flautas are usually made with flour tortillas. They are stuffed with much the same ingredients as taquitos, but are often larger and rolled round, so they retain their cylindrical shape while being deep-fried. The tortilla used for flautas often has a special, elongated shape to give it its characteristic length. While usually tubular, some fashion their flautas into a more of a cone. Flautas are more likely to be found in the northern states in Mexico, where, not coincidentally, wheat is a more common crop and ingredient. Fun fact: flautas derive their name from the Spanish word for flutes. Read our favourite Mexican Flautas recipes.
So, what's the difference between flautas and taquitos?
Well, here’s the thing: taquitos are made of corn tortillas while flautas are made of flour tortillas, but some people use the word interchangeably. They may not be wrong necessarily. That’s because some restaurants make taquitos with flour tortillas and flautas with corn tortillas.
A more reliable way to distinguish between the two dishes is size. Flautas are usually long and thin, like their namesake, using a burrito-sized tortilla. A standard length for a flauta is 20 centimetres, but they can be up to 40 centimetres long. Meanwhile, taquitos will be shorter, with a normal sized tortilla or even mini ones if they are intended to be appetisers.
It really depends on whether or not you find yourself north or south of the border. So next time you are served this Mexican delicacy, glance at the tortilla for answers.
In the meantime, here is a must-try recipe for shredded beef and cheese flautas from Noreen's Kitchen that will help you further differentiate the two: