This chilaquiles recipe is the ultimate Mexican style breakfast with crispy tortilla chips tossed with zesty chili sauce, topped with avocado, jalapenos, tomato, queso, and fried eggs.
Chilaquiles Rojos Recipe
We're cooking up a big batch of Chilaquiles in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen today, my friends. This is a recipe you'll want to keep on hand, with crispy tortillas tossed in a bold red sauce, topped with fried eggs and all sorts of other delicious toppings.
Chilaquiles are hugely satisfying, and quite easy to make. You may have enjoyed them in Mexican restaurants, but making the Mexican dish at home is somewhat simple, provided you're comfortable with lightly frying tortillas.
They are pure perfection with homemade tortillas, but if you're not comfortable making them at home, you can always use chips from a bag.
What are Chilaquiles?
Chilaquiles a traditional Mexican breakfast made from fried corn tortillas tossed with a spicy red or green sauce, then loaded with your favorite toppings.
While it can be served anytime of day, it is popularly served for breakfast with a fried egg over the top. It's great hangover food.
There are numerous regional differences in how chilaquiles are served, mostly differing in topping choices, though many argue whether the tortilla chips should remain crispy or allowed to soften in the sauce.
This is a matter of personal preference, as it is with much Mexican food.
A reader from Mexico offered his personal experience with chilaquiles. "In Mexico City, chilaquiles are a common street breakfast. Most stalls have fried tortillas ready to go, and when you order them, they pour the hot salsa on them, so, regardless of how far you go, they won't be a soft paste - which is the way I prefer them.
There's this restaurant near my neighborhood which sends you the fried tortillas cut in pieces, with cheese, sour cream and onions, and salsa on a separate container, ready to pour."
For this recipe, I've opted for the rojo, or "red" version, with a homemade red chili sauce made with anchos that isn't very spicy, yet is filled with bold flavor, very much like an enchilada sauce.
Ancho peppers are probably my favorite dried pepper to work with. They make a great Homemade Adobo Sauce.
It's such a delicious recipe.
Let's talk about how to make chilaquiles rojos, shall we? This is how I make my own personal version of the dish.
- FOR THE CHILAQUILES ROJO SAUCE
- Ancho peppers. Ancho peppers add earthy richness to your red sauce that you will never forget.
- Oil as needed.
- Vegetables. White onion, red onion, garlic and Roma tomatoes.
- Seasonings. You'll need red wine vinegar, cumin, Mexican oregano, honey and salt and pepper to taste.
- Tomato Sauce. For extra sauciness.
- FOR THE CRISPY FRIED TORTILLA CHIPS
- Corn tortillas. You can use store bought to save time, but to make your own, start with fresh corn tortillas.
- Canola oil or other neutral oil
- FOR SERVING. I use more of an American Tex-Mex selection of crumbled queso fresco, diced tomato, chopped jalapeno peppers, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro and fried eggs for topping. More regional favorites include Mexican crema or cream, epazote, and onion.
How to Make Chilaquiles Rojos - the Recipe Method
Make the Tortilla Chips. First, add canola oil to a wide pot and heat to medium. Do not let it boil or smoke.
Fry the Tortillas. Slice the tortillas into 6 wedges. Add the tortillas and fry them in the oil in batches a couple minutes per side, until they begin to slightly brown. Remove and drain them on a paper towel lined plate.
Seasoning. Season them with salt while they are hot. Use more salt than you might think. The salt clings to the warm oil and guarantees a huge flavor burst. Done! Easy, right?
See a video of how to make your own chips here - How to Make Homemade Crispy Tortilla Chips - Frying and Baking method.
Make the Red Chili Sauce. You can make this sauce ahead quite easily. Simply toast the ancho peppers on a hot pan a couple minutes per side.
The peppers will puff slightly and the skins will begin to turn red. Some people like to char the skins, though I prefer only a light toasting. Set the toasted ancho peppers into a pot of boiling water and remove from heat.
Let them soak covered in water for 15 minutes to 20 minutes, or until they are softened. The soaking liquid will change color as some of the ancho leeches into it.
There are nutrients within this liquid, so don't throw it away. Reserve some of it to use to help make the sauce.
Remove the stems and coarsely chop the anchos. Add them to a food processor, then cook down the onion along with your cooked onion, garlic, tomato, herbs, vinegar and the reserved soaking liquid. I also added just a bit of honey to balance it with a bit of sweet.
Cook down the Vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a pan to medium high heat and add the onion. Cook about 5 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and tomato and cook another minute or so, until you can smell the garlic. Add them to the food processor.
Get the Sauce Going. Add the vinegar, cumin, oregano and a bit of salt and pepper along with about 1 cup of the soaking liquid and honey. Process until it smooths out.
Strain the sauce through a sieve then combine it with tomato sauce for a full bodied, rich red ancho sauce. I will often make an extra large batch of this sauce to keep on hand for other recipes.
See my Ancho Chili Sauce Recipe that you can use for so many things.
Assemble the Chilaquiles. Next, warm up your ancho red salsa in a pan, toss in the crispy chips, and serve with all of your favorite toppings. You can also toss it all together on a baking sheet.
I used jalapeno slices, avocado, chopped tomato, fresh chopped cilantro, a fried egg on top, and some cotija cheese or homemade queso fresco. Wait, you've never made queso fresco? What?
Here's a recipe - How to Make Homemade Queso Fresco. Awesome stuff!
Boom! Breakfast or brunch is served! I hope you enjoy your chilaquiles rojos, my friends! This is my favorite chilaquiles recipe made with red sauce.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Toast the Peppers. One important key in making a successful ancho sauce is to lightly toast the ancho peppers before rehydrating them. Toasting the skins in a dry pan loosens up the oils and heightens the overall flavor of your final sauce. They're so earthy and rich and any resulting sauce carries over that richness and depth that will draw you to the ancho like it does for me.
- Big Batch the Sauce. Make an extra large batch of the Ancho Chili Sauce and store it in the refrigerator in a sealed container. You can use it for many other recipes through the week.
- Store Bought Chips. Want to save some time? You can use your favorite brand of store bought corn tortilla chips. Just toss them in the sauce and skip the frying. Grab a bag from the store. Still very good.
- Add Proteins. Add a protein to make a larger meal of this. Ideas include shredded chicken, crumbled chorizo, crispy pork shoulder. Black beans are always a nice addition.
- Chilaquiles Verdes. You can also make a green version of this recipe with salsa verde or tomatillo salsa. Delicious. See my Chilaquiles Verdes recipe.
This is truly a delicious Mexican style meal, so perfectly homemade. Who would think something so simple could be so unique, and it really is HUGE on flavor with chips tossed in a red chile sauce. This sauce is crazy good. If you're ever looking for a unique Mexican style breakfast, you have found it here.
If you enjoy Mexican cuisine, I recommend the following cookbooks, which I used to adapt this recipe.
- Authentic Mexican, by Rick Bayless (affiliate link, my friends!)
- Mexico: The Cookbook (affiliate link, my friends!)
Try Some of My Other Popular Breakfast Recipes
Got any questions? Ask away! I'm happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you'll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don't forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I'll be sure to share! Thanks! -- Mike H.
Chilaquiles Recipe (Chilaquiles Rojos)
For the Ancho Chili Sauce
- 2 ancho chili peppers
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup chopped white onion
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 small Roma tomato chopped
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoons honey
- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
FOR THE CRISPY TORTILLAS
- 6 corn tortillas
- 1 cup canola oil or other neutral oil
- Crumbled queso fresco
- Diced tomato
- Chopped jalapeno peppers
- Sliced avocado
- Chopped cilantro
- 1-2 fried eggs
- Make the ancho sauce first. Dry roast the ancho peppers on a hot pan about 1-2 minutes per side. The peppers will puff slightly and the skins will begin to turn red.
- Set them into a large pot of boiling water and remove from heat. Let them soak covered in water for 30 minutes. Reserve the soaking liquid.
- Remove the stems and coarsely chop the anchos. Add them to a food processor.
- Heat the oil in a pan to medium heat and add the onion. Cook about 5 minutes to soften.
- Add the garlic and tomato and cook another minute or so, until you can smell the garlic. Add them to the food processor.
- Add the vinegar, cumin, oregano and a bit of salt and pepper along with about 1 cup of the soaking liquid and honey. Process until it smooths out.
- Press the sauce through a coarse strainer into a bowl. I use a wooden spoon to push it through.
- Add it to a small bowl with the tomato sauce and stir it together.
- For the tortillas, add the canola oil to a wide pot and heat to medium. Do not let it boil or smoke.
- Slice the tortillas into 6 wedges and fry them in the oil in batches a couple minutes per side, until they begin to slightly brown.
- Remove and drain them on a paper towel lined plate. Dash them with salt while they are hot.
- Make the Chilaquiles – Add the ancho chili sauce to a wide pan and heat through.
- Stir in the tortillas and coat each of them with the sauce.
- Remove from heat. Top the chilaquiles with queso fresco, tomato, jalapeno, avocado, herbs, and a fried egg or 2. Enjoy!
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 5/112/23 to include new information and photos. It was originally published on 5/1/17.
Charles Pascual says
Good recipe. Thanks, Mike. I made a few substitutions based on ingredients on hand but followed your steps and instructions. This is a flexible and forgiving dish - don't be reluctant to use toppings you like and/or you have on hand - you'll be rewarded with a delicious dish.
Mike Hultquist says
Absolutely, Charles! Very fun to play with. Glad you enjoyed it!
Hi Mike, did I miss something with the blending of the ancho pepper set aside.
Then add to food processor along with vinegar….
add garlic and tomatoes and process until smooth..
push through sieve.
Then recipe reads to add this to the tomato sauce. That’s where I’m confused. I thought I added the tomatoes up above and zap along with other ingredients
Mike Hultquist says
Hi, Kathy. Tomato is added twice. First you cook some down with the onions, peppers, and garlic. Then we add extra tomato sauce for simmering. There is a video in the recipe card that shows it more clearly. Let me know if this clarifies it. Enjoy!
Melinda Mcgrath says
Made this a few days ago
Omg it was amazing and picture perfect
Do use homemade tortillas, game changer
Thank you for this recipe
It’s a keeper
Made these over the weekend and the entire family loved them. Thanks for making me the hero of the day. Very rich in flavor. A new favorite of ours now.
Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness says
Thanks, Charles! Happy to help!