Flautas Ahogadas | Mexican Drowned Tacos

Flautas ahogadas are crunchy rolled tacos immersed in a flavorful salsa and topped with all-time favorites. Get to know this iconic dish and make it at home with our easy recipe.

Flautas ahogadas served in cups with salsa verde and toppings.

What Are Flautas Ahogadas?

Flautas ahogadas are a super popular Mexican dish that originated in the state of Guerrero. The dish consists of corn or flour tortillas stuffed with a large variety of fillings like shredded meat, mashed potatoes, cheese, beans, etc.

The filled tortillas are rolled up, deep-fried, and then served on a deep plate over a small pool of consomé or salsa, and then it’s finished with toppings. 

The dish has different textures because the deep-fried tacos are crispy, but they are partially covered with consomé, so they get a little soft. The toppings also add different textures.

The name of the dish literally translates to “drowned flutes” because the taco’s appearance resembles a flute, and the fact they are served with lots of salsa seems they are literally drowning.

Flautas ahogadas en vaso, aka drowned flautas served in cups.

Though they can be enjoyed as a fulfilling meal, flautas ahogadas are also a snack. In fact, this dish is one of the most popular street food!

The street food version of this dish is served in a plastic cup, which is also perfect for parties and potlucks.

This is known as flautas en vaso and is normally served with different toppings such as queso fresco, crumbled cotija cheese, avocado, cream, onions, fresh tomato, cilantro, lettuce, and spicy salsa.

The Fillings

When it comes to fillings, you have many different options to choose from, so you can make the dish over and over without getting bored. 

The ones I am sharing with your today are made with leftovers from my grilled chicken with Mexican marinade, but you can also make them with shredded beef, shredded pork, and many other fillings, including vegetarian options. 

To give you a better idea, here are a few of the most popular and delicious recipes you should try to make flautas en vaso:

The Salsa

Salsa is a very important element of this recipe. I normally use tomatillo salsa verde for my flautas en vaso, but there are other options you can try. 

  • Salsa verde de tomatillo. The one I am sharing with you today. Tomatillo is such a great ingredient and it makes one of the best salsas you’ll ever try. Tomatillos are very common in traditional Mexican recipes and they have a lovely sweet and sour flavor that helps to tone down the spiciness in some dishes. 
  • Consomé. This sauce is very versatile, so there are many ways to make it and many different kinds of seasoning. The classic consomé for flautas ahogadas is made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, and beef or chicken stock.
  • Guacamole salsa. Don’t be confused with the famous Mexican dip, salsa guacamole can be drizzled over and is mostly made for tacos. It has a herby flavor and a smooth consistency.

The first two are the most popular to use for “drowning” the flautas, while the last one is mostly for adding on top.

Whatever salsa you decide to try, you will enjoy and savor every bite of this amazing Mexican dish. 

How To Make (step by step)

Place tomatillos, and chilies in a saucepan. Cover lightly with water, and cook until everything is nicely soft (about 15 minutes).

Tip: In you want to leave out the spiciness in the salsa but get all the flavors, cut chilies half lengthwise and remove all seeds and membranes.

Taking cooked tomatillos and chilies with a slotted spoon.

Place the cooked ingredients in a blender and add 2 cups of the cooking water. Add onion, garlic, and cilantro. Blend on high for one or two minutes.

Blended salsa verde for flautas ahogadas.

In a small saucepan heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Carefully pour in the tomatillo sauce and season with chicken bouillon, pepper, and salt.

Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens a little bit, adjust seasonings and turn off the heat. Allow to cool down to room temperature.

Cooked salsa verde for flautas in a pan.

Heat up a comal or cast-iron skillet and briefly heat your tortillas until nicely soft and pliable. Wrap them in a kitchen towel to keep them warm while making the flautas.

Place a tortilla flat on a surface and add some chicken to one side.

A tortilla with chicken placed on a surface.

Roll the tortilla tightly into a tube-like shape. Place it seam-side down or secure it with a toothpick. Repeat until all tortillas and filling are used.

Flautas rolled on a surface, before frying.

Heat a good amount of oil in a large pan and fry the flautas in batches until crisp and golden. Make sure to flip them every 10 seconds or so to get a crispy texture on all sides.

Remove them and place them in a cooling rack or on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat until all tacos are fried.

Fried flautas on a plate lined with paper towels.

Assemble your flautas ahogadas in a large glass by making layers with salsa verde, lettuce, chopped onions, cream, and cheese. Insert 3-4 flauta on each glass, making sure they are nicely immersed in the salsa.

Assembling flautas ahogadas en vaso (cups).

Enjoy immediately with your favorite drink.

Useful Notes And Tips

  • Use flour tortillas. If you don’t have corn tortillas available, just take in mind that those don’t get as crispy as corn ones. But they will be delicious anyway!
  • Serve on regular plates. If you don’t want to serve them in cups, just use plates and top them with lots of salsa, lettuce, cream, and cheese.
  • Drinks to pair. For an authentic Mexican eating experience, serve with some favorites like strawberry water, tamarind water, or a cold michelada.
Taking a flauta from the cup.

How To Store

This recipe can be prepared ahead and served for parties and potlucks. Here’s how you should store all ingredients:

Flautas:

  • Roll them and place them over a kitchen towel to absorb any moisture they can create while cooling down. Do not fry them.
  • Place them in a container making 2-3 layers and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • You can also place them in a single layer on a plate, and freeze them until firm. After that, transfer to a resealable bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

NOTE: Already fried flautas can be also stored and reheated in the oven over 360°F/180°C until cripsy again. However, I really recommend to fry them right when you want to eat them, they taste a lot better!

Salsas:

  • Tomatillo and consomé salsas can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Or they can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Salsa guacamole freezes wonderfully, but in the fridge will last only a few hours.

Toppings:

  • Lettuce and onions can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days, make sure lettuce is nicely dry before placing it in an airtight container as any moisture could spoil it quickly.
  • Dairy products will last for a couple of days in the fridge. Cotija cheese lasts longer than queso fresco. Related: Keep your dairy products safe – eatright.org

Similar Recipes

Flautas ahogadas recipe.

Flautas Ahogadas

author Maricruz
20 flautas
Crispy flautas ahogadas served with lots of salsa verde and topped with lettuce, cheese, and cream.
prep 20 minutes
cook 20 minutes
total 40 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 3 ½ cups shredded chicken
  • 20 corn tortillas (read notes)
  • vegetable oil for frying

For the salsa

  • 1 lb tomatillos (quartered)
  • 3 jalapeno or serrano chilies (seeded and cut into chunks)
  • 1 medium onion (quartered)
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 1 Tbsp powdered chicken bouillon
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt (to taste)

For toppings

  • lettuce (shredded)
  • onions (chopped)
  • Mexican cream or sour cream (as needed)
  • queso fresco (or any cheese you prefer)

Instructions
 

Make the salsa verde

  • Place the tomatillos, onion, and chilies in a saucepan.
  • Add water to slightly cover the ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes or until everything is nicely cooked.
  • Place all ingredients in a blender and add 1 cup of cooking water.
  • Add garlic and cilantro and blend until smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and pour in the tomatillo sauce.
  • Season with chicken bouillon, pepper, and salt.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens, adjust seasonings and turn off the heat. Allow to cool down to room temperature.

Make the flautas:

  • Heat the tortillas on a pan or cast-iron skillet until soft and pliable.
  • Place a tortilla flat on a surface and add some chicken to one side.
  • Roll the tortilla tightly into a tube-like shape. Place it seam-side down or secure it with a toothpick. Repeat until all tortillas and filling are used.
  • Heat about 1 ½ cups of oil in a pan and fry the flautas in batches until crisp and golden.
  • Remove them and place them on a lined paper plate or a cooling rack.

Assemble:

  • Add some salsa in the cups where you'll serve flautas (read notes).
  • Place 3-4 flautas nicely immersed in the sauce and then add lettuce, onions, cream, and cheese.
  • Drizzle with more salsa if you want and serve immediately.

Notes

  • You can also use flour tortillas to make this recipe, just be aware that flour tortillas don’t get as crispy as corn ones, they also fry faster and tend to burn easily if you don’t pay attention to the oil temperature.
  • You can also serve those flautas on plates, just add first some salsa, place flautas, then top with lettuce, onion, cream, and cheese. Generously add more salsa and that’s it.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 266mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 64IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    flautas ahogadas are my favorite tacos from Mexico City so I had to try the recipe and am glad I did, they were perfect! Indeed the salsa is what makes the difference in this recipe. I made a mix between your recipe for salsa verde but also added a few chile de arbol and it was delicious! Topped with lots of queso fresco and crema and me and the wife devoured them in seconds haha