Chilaquiles

These chilaquiles, made with eggs, day-old tortillas, jalapeños, salsa, and cheese, are a quick, authentic, and unspeakably satisfying Mexican breakfast (also lunch, dinner, and midnight nosh).

A cast-iron skillet filled with chilaquiles on a wooden cutting board with a block of queso fresco and half a jalapeno beside it.

The Mexican dish chilaquiles (pronounced chee-luh-KEE-less) is a quick, satisfying breakfast made from leftover tortillas. Every cook makes chilaquiles differently. Sometimes it’s lightly fried strips of day-old tortilla, mixed with a spicy tomato salsa and served as an accompaniment to fried eggs. Other versions are long simmered and quite saucy, and some add meat, usually chicken. My go-to variation is more like a cross between a stir-fry and scrambled eggs. [Editor’s Note: And yes, chilaquiles can be sustenance either during the a.m. or p.m., taking equally well to a cup of hot joe or a bottle of cold cervesa—even a sippy cup, for that matter, just be judicious with the pepper, the scallion, cilantro, and cheese, depending on your little one’s tastes.]–David Tanis

Chilaquiles

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 25 M
  • 25 M
  • Serves 1
5/5 - 3 reviews
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Ingredients

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Directions

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add enough vegetable oil or lard to generously coat the bottom of the skillet.

Add the tortilla strips and an ample pinch of salt and stir to coat. The tortilla strips will first wilt, then crisp, which is exactly what you want. Taste one and, if desired, add more salt.

Throw in a big handful of cilantro, scallions, and chopped jalapeños in and stir them around. Add a spoonful of red or green salsa if you like. Now add the beaten eggs, seasoned with salt and pepper. Mix and stir the eggs with the tortillas until the eggs are set.

Sprinkle the chilaquiles with a little crumbled queso fresco. Serve straight from the skillet, if desired. Originally published August 1, 2011.

Print RecipeBuy the Heart of the Artichoke cookbook

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    *What If I Don't Have Tortillas?

    • No stale tortillas? A handful of tortilla chips–yes, even the crumbs from the bottom of the bag–suffice quite nicely. And a word to the wise, if you’re the sort who likes your cereal crisp, not soggy, add the salsa to the chips and eggs after you take the chilaquiles off the heat. Trust us on this. (Adding the salsa sooner isn’t a bad thing, it just tends to make the crisped tortillas—or crushed chips—sodden.)

    Recipe Testers Reviews

    Sometimes breakfast just tastes better at dinner. This is one of those recipes, although it’s really not a recipe, as it is a matter of improv steps. I used corn tortilla chips and tossed them with the vegetable oil till they were crisp. The rest of the ingredients go in easily and the whole dish comes together fast. I did use a spoonful of red salsa. I also topped the eggs with extra chopped cilantro and avocado.

    Chilaquiles, where have you been all my life? What an easy and satisfying dish! It’s almost like the Mexican version of fried rice, and it’s easy to see how each cook has their own version. Even this recipe allows a lot of room for interpretation. For example, is it just two tortillas? What size? How thick do I cut the strips? I used two taco-sized corn tortillas cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. That worked perfectly for me.

    The salsa made the strips get soggy after I had worked so hard to crisp them up, so in the future I will find another way to incorporate the salsa.

    This is my favorite kind of recipe, more of a gentle reminder that the ingredients you already have in your refrigerator and pantry might taste well together. And they did! The eggs were a perfect backdrop for the crispy, chewy tortillas, the bite of jalapeños, and the tang of cheese (I used feta because it’s what I had–not sure if it was a suitable substitute, but it tasted great).

    The only real change I made was to use only one six-inch corn tortilla for 2eggs, instead of the 4 called for in the recipe. This was the perfect ratio of tortilla to eggs, in my opinion, and an appropriate serving size for one person, especially if that person doesn’t want to use up her RDA of carbs for the day in one sitting! Also, I have an adventurous stomach and a willing palate, but this was a bit much for breakfast at 7 a.m. Next time, I’ll save this dish for brunch, lunch, or even a light supper.

    What a wonderful use for those corn tortillas I always seem to have left over in the fridge. I have David Tanis’ wonderful book, Heart of An Artichoke, and had made this one before. At the time I didn’t have queso fresco, so I used a Mexican cheese blend. It was very good that way but even better this time since I had the queso fresco. I made it once with cilantro and once without. I like it both ways; hubby doesn’t like his with since he has that gene that makes cilantro taste soapy. Delicious!

    Using “chips” for breakfast certainly gets the kids interested and turns out a pretty tasty dish that takes about 4 minutes to cook. I would definitely suggest the use of salsa; without it, the chilaquiles are a little dry. It is a great starter recipe that has little chance of failure.

    This was a great savory way to start the weekend. I liked it so much I made another one the next day.

    I had some corn tortillas hanging out in the fridge (not quite 4 days old) that I cut into strips. I also had a couple of Mexican chorizo sausages left over. I took the casing off one of the sausages and cooked it in the oil until almost done. Then I added the onion and cooked it until the onion was soft. And I added the tortilla strips and waited to see what would happen. I was amazed to see the strips wilt and then miraculously crisp up, just as written. I then lightly scrambled the eggs and added them and the chopped cilantro to the pan. When the eggs were almost set, I spooned the salsa over top and crumbled a little cheese over top.

    It was a taste delight with crunch from the tortilla strips and spiciness from the salsa and sausage. I would highly recommend this for a weekend breakfast or weeknight dinner.

    The only hesitation I had in awarding this recipe a TC designation, is that it’s hardly a recipe at all, but rather more of a general description of how the dish should be thrown together. Folks who like highly detailed recipes may balk at this one, but I found the author’s description of the dish and cooking method perfectly adequate. I urge you all to throw off the shackles and not worry about teaspoons of this or tablespoons of that. No worries here about a chop, dice, or mince…prep as you like, chuck it all in a pan, and let it rip!

    I made a double batch to feed 2 for dinner and included 4 eggs,5 sprigs of cilantro, 2 chopped scallions, 1 diced shallot, 1 diced jalapeños, 4 corn tortillas, 2 spoonfuls of red salsa, and about 1/4 cup queso fresco. I’ll be honest, this is not the prettiest dish you’ll ever eat. In fact, you’ve heard the phrase “a face only a mother could love”? I think it may have been coined to describe this dish. The salsa in particular renders the eggs a rather unnatural and unappealing color. But the flavor? It’s addictive.

    I’m glad I only cooked 4 eggs for the 2 of us because had I cooked 6, we would have eaten them. The varied textures and flavors of the crispy tortilla strips, the slightly crunchy onions and pepper, and the softly curdled egg were perfection. The finish of a sprinkling of queso and a few fresh cilantro leaves made this a dish that we devoured in record time. I’ll never look at leftover tortillas the same way again. Bravo!

    I used corn tortillas rather than chips. It did not take that much longer to make. I put out several types of salsa on the table so that everyone could choose what they liked. Overall the dish was very good. It needed the salsa to ease the dryness and add a little oomph.

    I included this as a Tester's Choice only for the reason that I listed above. It's a great starter recipe that has little chance of failure. Using "chips" for breakfast certainly gets the kids interested and it turns out a pretty tasty dish that takes about 4 minutes to cook. I would definitely suggest the use of salsa as without it it is a little dry.

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    Comments

    1. This recipe leads me to ask why I’ve been forgetting the last few tortillas in my fridge when I make enchiladas or tacos. This recipe is so easy to pull together and tastes bright and fresh. I have tried it with both leftover tortillas and leftover tortilla chips, and find while the tortillas take longer, they are worth it because when they fry up they stay the most crunchy in the finished product. I added my salsa once removed from the heat, and absolutely regretting having to share with my family. Will make again and again!

    2. I abosultely loved this incredible breakfast treat! I’ve always wanted a good recipe to try and now I found one, when I saw this post I knew I had to make it. I had some of the ingredients but not all, but it didn’t stop me from having an absolutely enjoyable breakfast which amounted to a sum of ingredients which was better as a whole rather than each part on its own.

      I love the idea of cutting the tortillas into strips (as opposed to triangles), it allows for beautiful crisping but also a nice presentation. I left the tortialla strips in the pan for about 10 minutes to get nice and crispy, with flecks of golden color from the frying, turning them a few times.

      Next, a couple of tablespoons of salsa hit the hot pan but didn’t make the fried tortilla strips soggy or mealy which is what I was afraid of. Finally, I scrambled the egg right in the pan with the tortilla strips and salsa, the topped with shredded cheddar cheese.

      The ingredients I had on hand were: corn tortillas, eggs, cilantro, jarred green salsa, and cheddar cheese. With no jalapeno or green onion/scallions on hand, I was wondering if I would miss out on taste, but the medium spiced green salsa helped hit all those flavor notes beautifully. My only mistake with this recipe was cutting it in half, I used two tortillas and one egg and now that my plate is licked clean, I wish I made a bigger batch.

      I was excited to share a bite with my adult son when he was visiting, who said he didn’t want any, but couldn’t believe how good it was when he tasted it. I have now forwarded the recipe to him. This just may be a great reason to keep a stash of corn tortillas and a jar of green salsa around more often than not. I can’t wait to make this again!

    3. I love this recipe! I grew up with my mother’s chilaquilas – corn tortillas cut and passed through hot oil, then passed through red chili; layered in between cheese and green onions, and baked. HOWEVER . . . I loved the simplicity of your version and have made it many times. This is my go to Sunday breakfast when guests come over. Can’t live without the cilantro. I’ve made it with and without salsa, but always with the eggs. Thank you so much for sharing.

      1. JC Marc, what a lovely thing to hear on a Sunday morning, as it were! Many, many kind thanks for taking the time to let us know. We’re so pleased this recipe has made it into your regular routine. Oh, and you’re very, very welcome.

    4. I lived in Mexico for a number of years, married to a Mexican. We would make these with left over tortillas. There we would spread out the tortillas till they were dry: here I would bake them. They are amazing to use up left overs or vegetables. In reality they are like natchos baked, or like enchiladas:not rolled. When using tortillas for enchiladas or for chilaquiles, you need to lightly fry the tortillas or they will become like porridge when the salsa is put on top and then baked. For additions try black olives, corn nibblets, chicken, fish etc. The version with eggs it more like Huevos Rancheros. I cut the tortillas in rectangles, in otherwords, break the tortillas diagonally several times.

    5. I did not know this was actually a “real” dish with a name: chilaquiles. My husband introduced this dish to me over 25 years ago. He is a 3rd generation farmer (another story) and his employees would cook the tortillas and eggs on their shovels out in the fields. We make this dish often in a regular frying pan, crisping up the (fresh or days old) corn tortillas first, throwing in whatever meat we have leftover, mixing in the eggs, spices/seasonings, and always using one or two types of cheese (cheddar, Pepper Jack, etc.) at the end. And we don’t just make this dish for breakfast — this is our quick go-to meal when we want something fast, easy and simple (with an emphasis on simple). Thank you.

    6. I have been making a version of this for years with leftover chips, eggs, salsa, etc., and didn’t have a name for it. It is a good meal to use leftovers.

    7. I’m pretty embarrassed to admit how much I love chilaquiles, and how I could easily eat 3 or 4 servings of this recipe! I love even more that this recipe is so easy!! I could have this every day [if I exercised at all, that is]!

    8. Funny we call this “migas” in South Texas! The only big difference I do (compared to this recipe) is that I actually shred some hash browns and fry them with the old tortilla. Everyone who stays over at my house has had this (or a variation of) this and I have yet to find a friend who has not requested it every time after!

    9. This recipe looks delicious! Everything about it sounds perfect for breakfast. Yum!

    10. This looks really fantastic, and the photograph is (of course) beautiful. I know what I want to make for dinner once I can buy some tortillas and get them nice and stale. =)

    11. Chilaquiles are probably my favorite dish to have for breakfast or brunch! As a matter of fact, I think I’ll wake up early tomorrow to make some. Thanks for the inspiration!

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