You are watching: How To Make Chilaquiles Rojos
Where have these red chilaquiles been all my life? Chilaquiles (pronounced chee-lah-key-less) are a traditional Mexican breakfast made with tortilla chips simmered in sauce. Typically, they’re made with green salsa (in Spanish, salsa verde, which yields chilaquiles verdes) or red enchilada sauce (chilaquiles rojos).
I love how the chips soak up some of the sauce and become a little tender. Fresh toppings, including cilantro, radish or onion, crumbled cheese and oftentimes, fried eggs, make this chip-based dish more of a complete meal. This simple recipe is not 100 percent authentic, but I believe it’ll satisfy your chilaquiles cravings.
When it comes to chilaquiles, the sauce is everything. I’ve already perfected my chilaquiles verdes recipe with homemade salsa verde. I finally tried making chilaquiles with my favorite homemade enchilada sauce, and holy smokes, I’ve been missing out!
Chilaquiles are a fun weekend breakfast or brunch. They’re also a comforting and quick breakfast-f0r-dinner option, and a great way to use up a bag of leftover tortilla chips. Ready to learn how to make them?
Chilaquiles Rojos Ingredients
Let’s break this chilaquiles recipe down into three parts:
1) Enchilada sauce
Sauce forms the backbone of flavor in chilaquiles, so you need to use a great one. I’m a big believer in my go-to red enchilada sauce recipe, so I’ve incorporated it into the recipe below. My red sauce is full of rich, long-simmered, chili-pepper flavor, yet it’s so easy to make in a big skillet before adding the chips.
If you want to use your own red enchilada sauce recipe, or a store-bought option (Frontera brand is the only semi-decent option I’ve found), you’ll need 2 cups.
2) Tortilla chips
Authentic Mexican chilaquiles are made with fried tortilla chips. I’ve tried homemade chilaquiles with freshly baked tortilla chips and store-bought tortilla chips—more details on those options below.
Tangy crumbled cheese, crisp radish, fresh cilantro, and creamy avocado all offer welcome contrast to saucy chips. If you’re topping your chilaquiles with eggs, you’ll want to either prepare them in advance of making the sauce, or while your sauce is simmering (if you are great at multitasking).
Watch How to Make Chilaquiles Rojos
How to Make Chilaquiles
Chilaquiles are easy to make—if you’re prepared! Chilaquiles come together quickly, so prep all of your ingredients before you get started. That includes garnishes, too.
Once your ingredients are ready to go, we will:
1) Make the enchilada sauce in a large skillet.
We’ll use the same skillet throughout the recipe. Once the enchilada sauce is good to go, we’ll reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting, then…
2) Add the tortilla chips and stir, stir, stir.
It might seem like your tortilla chips will never be fully coated, but they will eventually. If your chips haven’t softened up during the stirring process, cover up the skillet for a few minutes.
3) Add toppings and serve immediately.
Chilaquiles aren’t complete without a generous amount of fresh toppings. The chips can get soggy over time, so serve your chilaquiles right away.
Homemade Tortilla Chips vs. Store-Bought Tortilla Chips
Many chilaquiles recipes suggest frying your own tortilla chips. Big pots of oil scare me, so I don’t deep-fry at home.
Baked tortilla chips work great in chilaquiles, so that’s another great option. As a bonus, baked chips don’t require nearly as much oil. You’ll find instructions in the section below.
When I first experimented with chilaquiles, I was disappointed by the results with store-bought tortilla chips. Some brands taste oily or stale, and they impart those flavors to the chilaquiles.
However, I’ve since discovered a brand of tortilla chips that I actually like in chilaquiles—Late July’s chia and quinoa variety. You’ll see those chips used in this post.
How to Bake Crispy Tortilla Chips
You’ll need 16 thin corn tortillas, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Here’s how:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Brush both sides of each tortilla lightly with oil. Stack the tortillas, 4 at once, and slice them into 8 wedges. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Divide the wedges between the two baking sheets and arrange them evenly across the pans (it’s ok if the chips overlap; they’ll shrink significantly as they bake). Sprinkle half the salt over one pan and half over the other.
- Bake, swapping the pans on their racks every 5 minutes, until the chips are curling up at the edges and some are starting to turn golden on the edges. This could take as little as 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the top rack especially, as those tend to finish baking first. Once you see the chips on the top rack turn golden on the edges, remove that pan and move the pan on the lower rack up to the top. Bake until those chips start turning golden on the edges, then remove from the oven.
To Add Eggs, or Not to Add Eggs
That is the question. In Mexico, chilaquiles don’t automatically come with eggs. I ordered some epic green chilaquiles at Lardo in Mexico City, and I was surprised when they arrived without eggs—I was supposed to request them!
In the U.S., chilaquiles are almost always served with fried eggs on top—and they’re delicious. I love serving my homemade chilaquiles with olive oil fried eggs, which develop the most irresistible crispy edges.
I like adding eggs to my chilaquiles because they make them more substantial. Scrambled or poached eggs are great, too.
Want a hearty plant-based option? Serve your chilaquiles with a side of refried beans. These chilaquiles are easily made dairy free/vegan, by the way—see the recipe notes for details.
Please let me know how your chilaquiles turn out in the comments! I always love hearing from you.
Craving more Mexican breakfast options? Some of these are more authentic than others, but they’re all delicious:
- Favorite Breakfast Tacos
- Fresh Huevos Rancheros
- Simple Breakfast Quesadillas
- Breakfast Tostadas (with scrambled or fried eggs)
- Vegetarian Breakfast Burritos
I have more! Browse all of my Mexican recipes here.