Breakfast chilaquiles are the ultimate use of leftovers. They are basically day-old corn tortillas fried to a crisp, dredged in salsa, and topped with eggs. Chilaquiles are so synonymous with breakfast in Mexico that they can be found on nearly every restaurant’s breakfast menu. Some cities even have chilaquilerias – restaurants solely dedicated to the dish. Mexico City street food vendors have even been known to use chilaquiles as a sandwich filling to make a chilaquiles torta (yes, that’s chips and salsa on a sandwich). Obviously, the Mexicans are on to something, and we are 100% on board.
What are breakfast chilaquiles?
Chilaquiles (chee-luh-kee-lays) are a traditional Mexican dish typically served for breakfast or brunch. Leftover corn tortillas are fried until crispy, tossed in salsa verde or salsa roja (or half and half for chilaquiles divorciados), and are served with a drizzle of crema, thinly sliced onions and avocado, and crumbled queso fresco. To add some heft, breakfast chilaquiles are commonly accompanied by fried eggs or refried beans. It’s a meal that nails nearly every flavor and texture possible: crispy-salty from the chips, punchy-bright from the salsa verde, and cool-creamy from the crema. We are in love.
Tips for Great Breakfast Chilaquiles
The ingredient list for breakfast chilaquiles is short and sweet. Here are a few tips on how to turn these few simple ingredients into a ridiculously delicious breakfast.
- The chips. While you could definitely fry your own corn tortillas, we opt for speed and use store-bought corn tortilla chips instead. Use a chip that’s made with 100% corn – a chip that contains any wheat flour is much more likely to lose its crisp structure and immediately turn soggy once the warm salsa verde hits it.
- The chiles. Our recipe offers three chile options. Poblanos are mild, jalapenos provide a medium heat, and serranos are typically quite hot. If you’re spice averse, we recommend only using one pepper or deseeding the peppers before blending the salsa.
- The onion. This seems overly particular but using a white onion instead of yellow or red will give you the most authentically Mexican-flavored salsa verde.
- The assembly. We prefer our chips well doused in salsa (don’t skimp as the chips will soak up a good amount of salsa) with just the right balance of softness and crispiness. To achieve this balance, make sure your salsa verde is piping hot before tossing it with the chips. Let it all sit in the bowl for a few minutes to let some chips collapse together while others remain crispy.
- The sour cream. Thin the sour cream with a bit of milk and drizzle on the salsa-y chips just before plating and before adding the cheese and eggs. This is typically how breakfast chilaquiles are served in Mexico and allows the cream to mingle directly with the tangy salsa verde. It just works.
More Breakfast Recipes
- Classic French Quiche
- Captain Crunch French Toast
- Mexican Avocado Toast with Poached Egg
- Shakshuka with Feta
- 2 lbs. tomatillos; peeled, rinsed, and halved
- 1 medium-sized white onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 poblano, jalapeno, or serrano peppers*
- ½ bunch cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
EGGS & TOPPINGS
- 15 oz. tortilla chips**
- ¼ cup canola oil plus more if needed
- 8 large eggs
- kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- avocado, sliced (optional)
- sour cream for serving
- Preheat oven to 400°F and position rack in the top third of the oven. Place the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and peppers on a cookie sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Vegetables are done when they are soft and slightly charred. Remove from the oven, deseed peppers if desired, and let cool slightly. Place roasted vegetables in a blender and blend until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of hot water, cilantro, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and blend or pulse for a few additional seconds. Taste and add more salt if needed. Cover salsa verde to keep warm and set aside.
EGGS & ASSEMBLY
- Lower the oven to 350°F and place chips on a cookie sheet. Warm chips for 5-7 minutes in the oven, until hot and crispy. While the chips are warming, fry the eggs. Heat 1/4 cup canola oil in a large nonstick pan over medium high heat. Once oil is shimmering, carefully crack four eggs (or however many will comfortably fit) into the hot oil. Cook the eggs for 1 to 3 minutes, tilting the pan slightly in one direction and using a spoon to continuously baste the collected hot oil over the tops of the eggs. Eggs are done when whites are set and yolks are still soft. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining eggs. Salt and pepper eggs and set aside.
- In a large bowl, use tongs to toss the hot chips and the prepared salsa verde together until incorporated (you may need to do this in two batches). If your salsa verde has cooled down to room temperature, heat it up for a few seconds before tossing with the chips. Divide the salsa-tossed chips evenly between four plates. Sprinkle each plate with ¼ of the grated cheese, 2 fried eggs, slices of avocado if using, and a dollop of sour cream. Serve immediately.
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