Air Fryer Tacos Dorado are a delicious and healthier twist on the traditional crispy taco. By using an air fryer instead of deep-frying, you can achieve the same crispy shell and golden brown color without all the added oil! Perfect for a lower calorie diet.
If you are a fan of Mexican cuisine you'll love this authentic recipe for rolled chicken tacos using an air fryer! It's a family favorite and a fun twist from traditional tacos. Great for Taco Tuesday (any taco night), Cinco de Mayo and any other day.
Top your chicken tacos with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, salsa, and light sour cream for a traditional and flavorful finish. With the air fryer, you can enjoy the crispy goodness of tacos dorado in a healthier, skinnier and more convenient way.
What makes this skinny?
- Air frying instead of deep frying. The benefit of air frying is getting the crispy end result as in deep frying but without the calories from excess oil.
- Corn tortillas vs. flour tortillas. Corn tortillas are traditional for these rolled chicken tacos and fewer calories than flour.
- Using lean chicken breasts filling. The filling of these Tacos Dorado is flavored shredded chicken. All other ingredients are added on top.
- Easy to control toppings. You are in charge of adding toppings which makes it easier to control rather than having them adding inside these rolled chicken tacos. This is especially good with higher calorie ingredients like shredded cheese.
What are Tacos Dorado?
Tacos dorados, also known as crispy tacos or fried tacos, are made by filling a corn tortilla with meat, cheese, or beans, and then rolling it tightly and deep-frying until it is crispy and golden brown. The taco is then topped with lettuce, cheese, and salsa.
With this recipe we've used the air fryer to keep the calories low and still get the crispy outsides.
Difference between Tacos Dorado and Taquitos or Flautas
These three Mexican food favorites are similar in many ways in the fillings and that they are traditionally rolled and fried. A key difference with Tacos Dorado is adding the toppings on the outside when serving.
Tacos dorados are typically smaller than flautas and have a cylindrical shape. Taquitos are typically larger than tacos dorados and have a more tubular shape, resembling a cigar or a small burrito.
Boneless skinless chicken breasts. You'll need to start with 1 pound raw boneless chicken breasts to cook and shred to yield 2 cups shredded chicken. We share two ways to make it in the instructions below.
Red onion. One quarter of a medium onion is added to the cooking liquid for the chicken to give more flavor.
Corn tortillas. You'll need 14 corn tortillas medium size (around 5-inches diameter). They can be yellow corn or white corn tortillas. The tortillas should be around 50 calories per tortilla.
Here are some of the most common toppings for tacos dorados:
- Shredded lettuce: This is a classic topping for tacos dorados that adds a fresh and crispy texture.
- Diced tomatoes: Tomatoes add a bright and juicy flavor to the taco.
- Grated cheese: A sprinkle of grated cheese, such as queso fresco (366 calories per cup) or shredded reduced-fat cheddar or Mexican blend (360 per cup), adds a creamy and salty flavor.
- Salsa: Salsa is a common topping for tacos dorados that can be mild or spicy, depending on your preference. Our Mango Pico de Gallo and Pineapple Pico de Gallo are delicious!
- Guacamole: A dollop of guacamole adds a rich and creamy texture to the taco. Sliced avocado works well too.
- Light sour cream: Sour cream adds a tangy and cool flavor.
- Chopped red onions: Onions add a crunchy and pungent flavor.
- Cilantro: Fresh cilantro, chopped or torn, adds a bright and herbaceous flavor.
How to Make it
STEP 1. Cook the chicken
Boiling on the stove top
In a medium saucepan, combine the onion and water (photo 1). Bring to a boil water to boil on medium-high heat.
Add the chicken breasts and cook for 12-15 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees measured with an instant read thermometer (photo 2). Do not overcook to avoid the chicken becoming tough.
Using an Instant Pot
- Combine the water, onion and chicken breasts in the Instant Pot.
- Close the lid, set the valve to SEALING. Select MANUAL HIGH PRESSURE and adjust the time to 10 minutes.
- After the cooking completes, allow a Natural Release for 10 minutes or until the pressure is released (it may be shorter than 10 minutes).
STEP 2. Shred the chicken
Method 1 (our favorite method): add the cooked chicken to the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Process for 30 seconds or until chicken is shredded (do not shred it to be overly fine consistency).
Method 2: use two forks (photo 3). This method is best done after allowing the chicken to cool slightly.
STEP 3. Preheat the air fryer
Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees.
STEP 4. Warm the tortillas
Place the tortillas between two damp paper towels and heat them in the microwave for 2 minutes (photo 4). NOTE: this allows the corn tortillas to be rolled without breaking them.
STEP 5. Roll the Tacos Dorado
Place about 2 tablespoons of the shredded chicken on one side of each tortilla (photo 5) leaving a space at the edge of the tortilla so the chicken doesn't squeeze out. Roll tightly (photo 6).
STEP 6. Air Fry
Gently place the rolled chicken tacos seam side facing down, in the air fryer basket in a single layer with some space in between (photo 7). Depending on the size of your air fryer you may need to cook in batches.
Spray all the rolled tacos with olive oil spray or nonstick cooking spray and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until golden brown (photo 8). Repeat for remaining tacos.
Serve golden tacos with desired toppings!
- Use our Instant Pot Shredded Mexican Chicken. This easy recipe cooks the chicken with salsa for great flavor.
- Use rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken. As a time saver and to use up leftovers you can still make the best tacos without making the chicken from scratch.
- Use chicken broth or chicken stock for cooking. To add more flavor, substitute chicken broth for water when cooking the chicken (either method).
Air fryer cooking. Every brand, size and type of air fryer cooks slightly differently. Be sure to monitor during cooking and and adjust time as needed. This is true for any air fryer recipes.
How to Store and Freeze
These best enjoyed right after cooking. To store: allow the chicken tacos to fully cool before adding to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Pop back into the air fryer to crisp up before serving.
HOW TO FREEZE:
- Place cooled taquitos on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours until frozen.
- Place in a plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. NOTE: flash freezing first prevents them from sticking together in the bag so any amount can be used.
- Defrost in refrigerator or place straight into the air fryer and cook for 4 to 5 minutes at 375 F degrees.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The step of warming the tortillas with a damp paper towel in the microwave before starting is key. This makes them soft corn tortillas, warm and pliable. If you skip this step they will crack.
Yes! Assemble the tacos, and place on a rimmed baking tray, seam side down with space between them. Spritz with cooking spray and cook at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the outsides are crispy.
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