Chilaquiles. Chee-lah-KEE-less! I mentioned I wanted to make chilaquiles to a Mexican friend the other day and you should have seen the smile and look of rapture that came over his face.
This is true Mexican comfort food, what your mom made you for breakfast when she had some stale tortillas that needed to get used up.
What Are Chilaquiles?
Chilaquiles are basically corn tortilla pieces that are fried, cooked in salsa, and sprinkled with cheese. They are often served for breakfast with eggs and a side of beans or nopalitos.
My mother grew up with her mother making them with green chile tomato salsa and grated longhorn cheese, a Tex Mex version.
Red or Green Sauce for Chilaquiles?
I recently brought some homemade salsa verde over to my friend Arturo's house and he made two traditional Mexican versions for me, one with the salsa verde, and one with a red chile sauce made with dried ancho chiles. Recipes for both follow.
Do you like enchiladas? Chilaquiles are basically the same ingredients, but with a lot less work. No rolling.
How to Make Chilaquiles
This quick breakfast takes just a few easy steps:
- Fry tortilla wedges until they're crisp and golden.
- Simmer the fried tortillas in salsa.
- Serve the dish with garnishes and fried eggs, beans, or nopalitos.
More Salsas for Chilaquiles
Feel free to use store-bought salsa in this recipe, but if you're inclined to make your own from scratch we've included recipes for homemade salsas at the end of our recipe. Here are a few more options:
Ways to Top Chilaquiles
Make your chilaquiles your own — here are some popular toppings:
Finish your dish with some of these tasty garnishes:
- Crumbled cheese, such as cotija or queso fresco
- Crema Mexicana or crème fraîche
- Chopped cilantro
- Chopped red onion
- Sliced avocado
What's the Difference Between Chilaquiles and Migas?
Chilaquiles and migas are both popular comfort breakfast dishes that incorporate fried tortillas and eggs. While chilaquiles, which originate in Mexico, typically feature fried tortillas that have been drenched in salsa, migas is a Tex-Mex dish in which the tortillas are mixed with scrambled eggs.
5 More Ways to Use Salsa
If you enjoy cooking with bright, flavorful salsas, here are more dishes to try:
For easy homemade salsa verde and red chile sauce recipes, look at the bottom of the page.
- 1 dozen corn tortillas, preferably stale, or left out overnight to dry out a bit, quartered or cut into 6 wedges
- Corn oil
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups red chile sauce or salsa verde, store-bought or homemade (see end of recipe for homemade versions)
- A few sprigs of epazote (optional)
- Cotija cheese or queso fresco
- Crema Mexicana or creme fraiche
- Chopped cilantro
- Chopped red onion
- Avocado, sliced or roughly chopped
Fry the tortillas:
In a large sauté pan, coat pan generously with corn oil, (1/8 inch), heat on medium high to high. When the oil is quite hot, add the tortillas, fry until golden brown.
Remove tortillas to a paper towel lined plate to soak up excess oil. Sprinkle a little salt on the tortillas.
Wipe pan clean of any browned bits of tortillas.
Heat the salsa:
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to pan, bring to high heat again. Add the salsa and let salsa cook for several minutes. If you have a few sprigs of epazote, add them to the salsa.
Add fried tortillas to the salsa:
Add the fried tortilla quarters to the salsa. Gently turn over the pieces of tortilla until they are all well coated with salsa. Let cook for a few minutes more.
Remove from heat. Serve chilaquiles with garnishes and fried eggs and beans or nopalitos.
Red chile sauce
Take 4 dried ancho chiles, remove seeds, stems, and veins. Heat chiles lightly on a skillet on medium heat to draw out their flavor. Put chilies in a saucepan, pour boiling hot water over to cover. Let sit for 15 minutes. Add chiles, 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1 1/2 cups of chile soaking liquid to a blender. Hold down lid of blender tightly while blending, blend until completely puréed. Strain through a mesh sieve into a frying pan to make the chilaquiles.
Put 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, into a saucepan, cover with water by an inch. Add 1 jalapeno, stems and seeds removed. Add 2 cloves garlic. Bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes until tomatillos have changed color and are cooked through. Use slotted spoon to remove tomatillos, jalapeno and garlic to a blender. Add a cup of the cooking liquid. Blend until completely puréed. Add salt to taste.