A classic Mexican breakfast, huevos rancheros (translated “ranch eggs”) are fried eggs served on hot corn tortillas and smothered in cooked salsa. When you cut into them, the egg yolks mix in with everything—the salsa, tortillas. So good!
You can also make the eggs scrambled instead of fried. In that case the dish is known as Huevos a la Mexicana. Either way, salsa with eggs and tortillas makes a wonderful breakfast.
One benefit of being raised in California by a mother with Mexican heritage is that we grew up eating and loving Mexican food. From the age of 5 it was my job to prepare the salsa for our family. You may not always find bread at our house, but you can always find tortillas. And more often than not, huevos rancheros for breakfast.
The recipe is flexible, sometimes we use canned salsa and just add a few more chopped tomatoes and some chopped pickled jalapeños to make the sauce.
Sometimes if we have some leftover refried beans, we'll spread some on the tortillas before topping them with the eggs and salsa. My mother has been known to add a pinch of sugar to the salsa sauce if she feels it's too acidic for her taste.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped (about a half cup)
- 1 15-ounce can whole or crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted, (or 1 -2 large fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, when in season)
- 1/2 6-ounce can diced green Anaheim chiles
- Chipotle chili powder, adobo sauce, or ground cumin to taste (optional)
- 4 corn tortillas
- 4 fresh eggs
- 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 Make the sauce: Sauté the onions in a little olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Once the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes and their juices. If using whole canned tomatoes, break them up with your fingers or a spatula as you put them in the pan.
If you are using fresh tomatoes, chop them first, then add. Note that fresh tomatoes will take longer to cook as canned tomatoes are already cooked to begin with.
Add chopped green chilies. Add additional chili to taste, either chipotle chili powder, adobo sauce, regular chili powder, or even ground cumin.
Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and let simmer while you do the rest of the cooking, stirring occasionally. Reduce to warm after it has been simmering for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste if needed.
2 Warm the plates: Heat the oven to a warm 150°F, place serving plates in the oven to keep warm.
3 Prepare the tortillas: Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium high, coating the pan with the oil.
One by one (or more if your pan is big enough) heat the tortillas in the pan, a minute or two on each side, until they are heated through, softened, and pockets of air bubble up inside of them.
Then remove them and stack them on one of the warming plates in the oven to keep warm while you continue cooking the rest of the tortillas and the eggs.
4 Fry the eggs: Using the same skillet as was used for the tortillas, add a little butter to the pan, about two teaspoons for 4 eggs. Heat the pan on medium high heat. Crack 4 eggs into the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes for runny yolks, more for firmer eggs.
5 Assemble and serve: To serve, spoon a little of the sauce onto a warmed plate. Top with a tortilla, then a fried egg. Top with more sauce, sprinkle with cilantro if desired.
Serve either one or two eggs/tortillas per plate, depending on how much you want to eat. I'm a 2-egg 2 tortilla person myself.