How to Make Smoky Pork Taquitos in Your Air Fryer

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taquitos in air fryer

What’s Up, Hungry People

Who else got an Air Fryer for Christmas? Oil-less fryers are all the rage right now as they are the perfect alternative to deep frying foods to achieve that desired crunch. These devices function like mini convection ovens, circulating hot air around the food to make it perfectly crisp.

While air fryers are a favorite among health food enthusiasts for their “oil-free” cooking method, it’s worth mentioning that some recipes benefit from a touch of oil. For these taquitos, I misted them lightly with cooking spray just before baking.

The taquitos are packed with tender, smoky pork tenderloin that I cooked using my Instant Pot. The cooking method for your pork loin is flexible—whether you don’t have an Instant Pot and opt for a slow cooker or choose to roast your pork loin in the oven, the results will be delicious.

The Secret Ingredient

The secret to the deep, smoky flavor of these taquitos lies in a special ingredient called “liquid smoke,” which I’ve noticed popping up more frequently in grocery stores, usually near the BBQ sauces or condiments. Liquid smoke imparts a rich umami flavor, enhancing the meat’s taste with a complexity similar to Worcestershire sauce, which you can use as a substitute if liquid smoke is unavailable. Paired with the satisfying crunch that the air fryer provides, this method creates an irresistible and healthier way to enjoy some of the best taquitos you’ve ever had.

Let’s Cook

First up, cook your pork loin by your favorite method the day before you want to make your taquitos. This could be in an Instant Pot, slow cooker, or just roasting it in the oven—whatever floats your boat. Once it’s cooked, give it a good shred.

Whip Up the Marinade

Grab a small bowl and whisk together your hot honey, soy sauce, liquid smoke, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, cumin, and paprika. This mix is going to give your pork that irresistible smoky-sweet flavor that makes these taquitos something special. Once it’s all mixed up, pour it over your shredded pork to get every strand nicely coated.

Broil for Perfection

Line a baking sheet with foil—this makes cleanup a breeze—and spread out your sauced-up pork. Pop it under the broiler for about 10 minutes. You’re looking for the pork to get hot and start to char around the edges, which adds a fantastic depth of flavor.

Roll and Secure

Now, warm up your corn tortillas in the microwave for about 30 seconds—this makes them more flexible and less likely to break when you roll them. Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of your pork mixture onto each tortilla, then roll them up tight. If they’re being stubborn and trying to unroll, just pin them with a toothpick to keep everything together.

Air Fry to Crispy Glory

Set your air fryer to 400°F and arrange your taquitos in a single layer, or stack them up if you’ve got an expansion ring. You’ll want to cook them for 15-20 minutes until they’re crisped up just right and the edges start to brown. That’s when you know they’re perfect.

Tips for Perfect Taquitos

  • Choosing the Right Tortillas: Corn tortillas are traditional for taquitos, but they can be prone to breaking. To avoid this, make sure your tortillas are fresh and warm them up before rolling. This makes them more pliable and less likely to crack when you roll them with the filling.
  • Achieving the Perfect Crunch: The air fryer is key to getting that desirable crispy texture without the oiliness of deep frying. For the best results, don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. Give the taquitos some space so that the hot air can circulate effectively, ensuring even cooking and crispiness.
  • Sauce Creativity: While the recipe calls for specific sauces, feel free to experiment with other ingredients if you like. Adding a bit of chipotle in adobo can introduce a smoky heat, or a sprinkle of cheese inside the taquitos before rolling can add a melty richness.
  • Serving Suggestions: These taquitos are great on their own, but they can be elevated with a few simple sides. Consider serving them with guacamole, salsa, or a bean salad for a more robust meal. These additions introduce new textures and flavors that complement the smoky and spicy notes of the taquitos.
air fryer taquito recipe

Wrapping up, if you’re someone who enjoys a bit of crunch without the grease, these mesquite pork taquitos made in the air fryer might just be your new go-to recipe. The key to their success lies in the smoky flavor that the liquid smoke brings, blending beautifully with the sweet and tangy notes of the marinade. They’re a breeze to whip up and even easier to devour. Ideal for a family snack, a friendly get-together, or just a casual dinner, these taquitos promise crispy perfection in every bite.


Mesquite Pork Taquitos | Air Fryer Recipes

The Starving Chef
Enjoy these smoky pork taquitos, crisped to perfection in the air fryer with a hint of liquid smoke.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine Air Fryer, American, Mexican
Servings 4



  • Cook the pork loin by your desired method a day ahead, then chill. Shred the cooked pork loin. In a small bowl, whisk together the hot honey, soy sauce, liquid smoke, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, cumin, and paprika. Pour the sauce over the shredded pork.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and spread out the shredded meat. Broil for about 10 minutes, until hot and beginning to char in places. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  • Warm the corn tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds. Measure out about 2-3 tablespoons of the pork onto each tortilla. Roll the tortillas tightly. Use a toothpick to secure the edges, as needed.
  • Place the taquitos into the air fryer in a single layer (or dual layers with the expansion ring, if your fryer has one) and bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, until the taquitos are crispy and the edges are just beginning to brown. Serve hot with a side of sour cream and enjoy!


Keyword air fryer, pork, tortilla
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