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Cheesy Beef Baked Taquitos

These oven baked beef taquitos make a great lower calorie game day appetizer or meal prep snack, as each baked taquito has 8 grams of protein with only 10 grams of carbs and 115 calories. They’re crispy, crunchy and filled with cheesy seasoned ground beef. You can easily make them in bulk and customize them to work with other filling options. 

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How to Make Healthier Beef Taquitos

These baked beef taquitos are what I think is an upgrade of my infamous baked beef tacos. If you’ve made the tacos, you’ll breeze through this recipe, with the only differences being minor seasoning changes and bake time. 

On the other hand, if you’re new here, I’ve included a visual recipe walkthrough below with extra recipe and troubleshooting tips, ingredient substitution notes, and more. I’d highly encourage you to skim through before arriving at the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post. 

Cook ground beef with diced white onion and minced garlic.

cooking ground beef and onion in a skillet

My only beef (See what I did there?) with the original baked tacos recipe is that it calls for cooking ground beef, onion, and garlic all at the same time. While it’s totally fine to do it this way, the moisture from the onion and beef as it cooks prevents any browning via Maillard reaction from occurring. 

And if you’ve made any of my Kinda Healthy ground beef recipes, you know I’m passionate about browning ground meats. There’s so much flavor development there! 

So these beef taquitos take a slightly different approach that still saves time by creating a well in the onions to brown the beef in the center. It’s not perfect, as you’ll still get some moisture that impedes browning, but it’s better than nothing. 

Season the beef and add enchilada sauce.

adding spices and enchilada sauce to the cooked ground beef, onion, and garlic

You’ll only need a few spices for seasoning but if you keep a bare spice cabinet, a little taco seasoning will do the trick. 

You’re welcome to use any enchilada sauce you like. But if you can get your hands on Trader Joe’s red enchilada sauce, it has 30 calories per 1/4 cup and has a great flavor profile. 

Remove from the heat and fold in shredded Monterey jack and cheddar cheese.

adding shredded cheese to seasoned ground beef

The original beef taco use a combined 6 ounces of shredded cheese, whereas these baked taquitos only call for 4 ounces. This reduces the fat and calorie content. But if you have calories to spare, I think an extra ounce or two should be fine in your filling. 

And as always, go with freshly shredded cheese if possible. 

Meal prep note: If you wanted to extend your filling to make more than 16 taquitos to freeze for later, you could add rice, beans, or cauliflower rice after the cheese has been incorporated. Check out my ground beef and rice skillet for inspiration. 

Fill extra thin corn tortillas with the beef, roll tightly, and place on a baking sheet.

filling and rolling the beef taquitos

Repeat after me. The microwave is the key.

You want your tortillas to be borderline too hot to handle when filling and rolling, especially if you’re using the extra thin corn tortillas. When the tortillas are warm, they’re very malleable and easy to roll. If you have any of your beef taquitos bust when rolling or baking, there’s a 90% chance your tortillas weren’t warm enough. The remaining 10% chance would be overfilling.

If it’s your first time making something like these baked taquitos, I’d recommend heating your tortillas in two batches. Heat the first 8 tortillas, fill and roll, and get them on the baking sheet. Then heat the remaining 8 and repeat. Unless you’re quick, tortilla number 14, 15, and 16 will likely start to cool and have some cracking.

How to heat tortillas without a microwave.

If you don’t have a microwave, you can heat them on a griddle or nonstick skillet. A few seconds should do the trick.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. 

rolled beef taquitos on a baking sheet before baking

Roll the taquitos tight and place them seal side down on a baking sheet, and you shouldn’t have any issues with unraveling. And be sure to give your taquitos some room to breath on each side. Don’t crowd the baking sheet.

Can I air fry these beef taquitos?

Totally, but you’ll likely need to do it in batches unless you have a huge air fryer. I used a 6.5-quart Ninja Foodi to make my air fried chicken taquitos, and I could only cook 7 taquitos at a time. Those batches took about 10-12 minutes at 375ºF. 

If you do air fry, ignore my advice about crowding the baking sheet. You’ll want to almost wedge them in the air fryer basket so the circulating air doesn’t toss them about. And as always with air frying, check on your taquitos early and often. 

Serving Your Baked Taquitos

My favorite dip for taquitos, tacos, quesadillas, and essentially all things Tex-Mex is a simple combination of fat free Greek yogurt and salsa or hot sauce. For these baked beef taquitos, I used about 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons salsa verde, and about a tablespoon of chopped cilantro. 

In the photo above, I used guacamole, pico de gallo, diced jalapeño, and more cilantro in addition to the Greek yogurt dip. This is a great way to serve your baked taquitos when presentation matters. I personally prefer dipping to dolloping. 

Meal Prep Taquitos Tips

In case you skimmed, here’s a quick roundup: 

  • The easiest route for prepping more is doubling the recipe and making two baking sheets of taquitos. Pay attention to oven positioning and timing with a double batch.
  • You can extend your filling by adding things like rice (or cauliflower rice) and beans. Check out my refried black beans.
  • These baked taquitos should freeze fine and reheat well. An oven or air fryer is your best bet to bring them back to life in the crispness department, but a microwave will do the trick in a pinch. 

Meal prep taco tips from the Kinda Healthy Facebook group.

One of the best resources I have to offer is my free-to-join Facebook group. You’ll find threads on best practices for freezing, reheating, and bulk prepping all kinds of recipes from the 16,000+ healthy home cooks in the group. 

Okay, you should be ready to rock. If you have a recipe question I missed, drop a comment at the bottom of the page. And if you try these taquitos, I’d appreciate a recipe review or share! 

Cheesy Beef Baked Taquitos

Cheesy Beef Baked Taquitos

Yield: 16 Taquitos
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Seasoned ground beef with jack and cheddar cheese rolled inside extra thin corn tortillas and baked to crispy golden brown perfection.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground Beef (96/4)
  • 1/2 Tbsp (8g) Olive Oil
  • 1 (250g) White Onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves (25g) Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 C (120g) Enchilada Sauce
  • 4 oz Shredded Cheese*
  • 16 Extra Thin Corn Tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF and spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium- high heat. Add the onion and push to the sides, placing the ground beef in the center. Brown one side of the ground beef for 4-5 minutes before flipping and browning the other side for 3-4 minutes longer. Add the garlic to the onions and stir around the edges while the beef cooks. Mince the beef with a spatula to finish cooking.
  3. Add the dry spices and enchilada sauce, stirring everything together, before turning off the heat.
  4. Add the shredded cheese and stir until evenly mixed. Set aside.
  5. Wrap the tortillas in a paper towel and microwave for 1 minute. Spoon the beef mixture into a tortilla, rolling it tight and placing sealed side down on the baking sheet.
  6. Once all 16 tortillas are rolled on the baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and bake for around 30 minutes until crispy golden brown.

Notes

*I used a blend of Monterey jack and cheddar.

For more taquito filling options, check out my shredded Mexican chicken, pork tenderloin carnitas, barbacoa beef, or ground turkey taco meat.

Each baked taquito has 3 WW SmartPoints (blue).

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Taquitos Serving Size: 1 Taquito
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 115Total Fat: 4gCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 8g

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Kellie

Thursday 8th of April 2021

Any suggestions on how to reheat?

Mason Woodruff

Tuesday 13th of April 2021

5 minutes or so in an air fryer at 300ºF is my favorite method if you have one. If not, the oven works fine. I like going with a lower temp to heat through without burning the outside. Worst case, a microwave gets the job done but doesn't fully bring them back to life in the crispy department.

Megan

Monday 8th of February 2021

about how much of the beef mixture goes in each taquito? can't wait to make these!!

Mason Woodruff

Tuesday 9th of February 2021

About 1/16th of the beef per taquito. ;) Kidding. I'd ballpark it around 1.25-1.5 oz each.

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