Chilaquiles Rojas With Fried Eggs

Chilaquiles Rojas With Fried Eggs

We all have a dish that reminds us of a person or place. For me, the salsa roja (red chile sauce) used in this recipe conjures memories of my abuelo. He was born in a small pueblo just outside of Mexico City, and if there is one legacy he left behind, aside from his glory days as a luchador (Mexican wrestler) back in the 50s, were his culinary creations; especially salsas, which he always made hot, hot, hot. 

I’ve toned back the heat in his original recipe and poured it over tortilla chips, resulting in chilaquiles that are slightly spicy, slightly crunchy, and entirely delicioso.

When To Eat Chilaquiles

Although you can eat them any time of day, chilaquiles are traditionally served for breakfast. And if you’re second-guessing eating chile at breakfast, don’t. Mexicans love chile and we eat it at any time of the day. After all, chiles have been cultivated in Mexico for thousands of years and have been used to flavor our foods ever since. 

What Type of Chiles Are Best for Chilaquiles?

The chiles my grandfather preferred for this particular salsa roja are guajillo chiles—a dried form of mirasol chiles—that have fruity and smoky undertones, and chile de àrbol, or “tree chili," a slender dried chile that packs some serious heat.

How To Make and Serve Chilaquiles

The chiles are boiled with tomatoes and garlic, allowing them to release their robust flavors, before being blended with a few seasonings. The sauce is then used to smother freshly fried tortilla chips, transforming them in the process. 

Placing a fried egg on top is traditional, as are garnishes of cilantro, queso fresco, and avocado slices. But you can certainly eat chilaquiles right out of the pan—in fact, I recommend enjoying them this way if you really want to taste all of the depth this sauce has to offer. Omit the egg, add sour cream—just eat them!

Is Migas the Same as Chilaquiles?

In short, no. Chilaquiles is a Mexican breakfast dish of totopos (homemade tortilla chips) tossed in a chile-based sauce, often served with fried eggs on top. For migas, beaten eggs are scrambled with crushed up tortilla chips. Both dishes are great ways to use up stale tortillas to provide crunch and texture.

Tips for Making the Best Chilaquiles

  • Where to find dried chiles—Dried chiles can be found in the international aisle of most supermarkets or in specialty Latin markets.
  • How to know when the oil is hot enough—To test if the oil is hot enough to begin frying, dip a corner of a tortilla triangle into the oil. If it begins to bubble immediately, the oil is ready to go.
  • Don’t crowd the pan—When frying the tortillas, make sure not to crowd the pan. If the oil begins to smoke or if the tortillas are browning too quickly, lower the heat slightly.
  • Clean plate club—Serve prepared chilaquiles immediately to maintain a slightly crunchy texture and keep them from becoming soggy.
  • Eggs are optional—Eggs can be served on the side or omitted altogether.
  • Make ahead—The sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead of time. Let cool slightly after making and then refrigerate in an airtight container.

“The homemade chilaquiles were delicious and easy to make from scratch. I loved the flavor of the sauce and appreciated that they were mild rather than overly spicy. I topped the saucy chips with over-easy eggs and plenty of cilantro and queso fresco for a fantastic lunch dish.”—Diana Rattray

Tortilla chips coated in a bright red sauce and topped with fried eggs, sliced avocado, cilantro, and crumbled queso fresco A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 4 guajillo chiles, seeded and stems removed

  • 2 chiles de árbol, stems removed, if any

  • 5 Roma tomatoes

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 12 tortilla corn tortillas

  • 4 fried eggs, optional

  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, for garnish

  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco, for garnish

  • 1 avocado, sliced, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Line a large plate with paper towels and set aside.

    Ingredients to make chilaquiles

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  2. Add 4 guajillo chiles, seeded, 2 chiles de àrbol, stemmed, 5 Roma tomatoes, and 2 garlic cloves to a medium pot and cover with water. Cook on medium-high heat for approximately 10 minutes or until the chiles begin to soften and the tomato peels begin to split.

    A pot of water with guallijo chiles, chile de arbol, Roma tomatoes, and garlic

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  3. Drain water and transfer the chiles, tomatoes, and garlic to a blender. Add 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, and blend until smooth. Set aside.

    A blender with a sauce made from blended chiles de arbol, guallijo chiles, Roma tomatoes, and garlic

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  4. Heat 1 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking.

    A pan with hot oil

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  5. While the oil is heating, cut 12 corn tortillas into triangles by dividing the tortillas into 2 stacks and cutting each into 8 equal pieces.

    A cutting board with a two stacks of corn tortillas cut into eight equal wedges

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  6. Fry approximately 1/4 of the tortilla triangles at a time until golden brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Move fried tortillas to the paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon.

    Wedges of tortillas frying in a pan of oil

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  7. After all of the tortillas are cooked, carefully remove most of the oil from the pan, leaving roughly 1/4 remaining, and return to low heat. Add the sauce to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

    A pan with simmering chile-tomato sauce

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  8. Add the tortilla chips to the sauce and toss gently until fully covered in the sauce.

    A pan of fried tortilla chips tossed in a chile-tomato sauce

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  9. Serve immediately, placing a fried egg on top of each serving, and garnish with cilantro, crumbled queso fresco, and avocado slices.

    A plate of chilaquiles topped with a friend egg, cilantro, queso fresco, and sliced avocado

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

Feeling Adventurous? Try This:

  • Chilaquiles shortcuts—To save time, your favorite canned enchilada sauce and freshly fried tortilla chips from the bakery section of the supermarket are good substitutions.
  • How to use less oil—Stale tortillas (left out to dry for 1 to 2 days) can be lightly fried and help cut back on the amount of oil used in this recipe.
  • Fry the eggs in the oil—Did you know eggs can be deep-fried? Well, they can be! After frying the tortillas, carefully crack the eggs into the oil. They will puff up and turn golden.

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