How to Make Chilaquiles: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Make Chilaquiles: A Comprehensive Guide

Chilaquiles are a popular Mexican dish that have been enjoyed for centuries. This delicious meal is often served for breakfast or brunch and consists of fried tortillas, salsa, and a variety of toppings. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about making chilaquiles, including the step-by-step recipe, variations, regional takes, healthier versions, serving suggestions, the history of the dish, and secrets to making the perfect batch.

Step-by-Step Recipe

The simplest chilaquiles recipe consists of fried tortilla chips cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. Here is a step-by-step guide to making chilaquiles:

  1. Heat up a skillet or a large frying pan with about a tablespoon of oil.
  2. Add a chopped onion into the pan and cook it until it becomes translucent.
  3. Add a can of diced tomatoes, half a cup of vegetable broth, and chili powder and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add in the tortilla chips until they’re fully coated with the tomato mixture, and cook until the chips become soft but not completely mushy.
  5. Top the dish with your choice of meat, cheese, sour cream, or cilantro.
  6. Serve hot with your favorite sides.

Note: You can also make your own tortilla chips by cutting tortillas into quarters and frying them until they’re crispy before adding them to the skillet.

Variations on the Traditional Recipe

One of the best things about chilaquiles is its versatility. You can always tailor your recipe to suit your preferences. Below are popular variations of chilaquiles:

  • With Shredded Chicken: For an easy protein-packed recipe, add shredded chicken into the mix and cook until it’s fully coated in the sauce.
  • With Salsa Verde: Instead of using a red salsa, substitute it with salsa verde, a green sauce made from jalapeƱo, cilantro, and tomatillos.
  • With Fried Eggs: Top your chilaquiles with a fried egg. The runny yolk of the egg will add another layer of richness and flavor.
  • With Avocado: Add some diced avocado on top of the dish for some added creaminess and flavor.

Regional Takes on Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles have a rich history that has evolved over time, resulting in various regional takes on the dish. Here are some examples:

  • Verde Chilaquiles: Originating from the state of Guerrero, the dish is made with green salsa and served with a fried egg on top.
  • Mexico City Chilaquiles: This version adds more toppings like crema, queso fresco, and refried beans.
  • Guanajuato Chilaquiles: This version includes boiled chicken, crema, diced onion, and lettuce.

Healthier Versions of Chilaquiles

Although chilaquiles can be indulgent, they can also be made healthier with some substitutions and cooking techniques. Here are some tips:

  • Bake your own chips: Instead of frying store-bought chips, bake your tortilla chips at home to reduce the amount of oil and calories.
  • Use a low-fat cheese: Instead of using regular cheese, opt for a low-fat variety to reduce the overall calorie count.
  • Go easy on the sauce: While the sauce is a key ingredient in chilaquiles, too much of it can add extra calories. Use a moderate amount of sauce to reduce the calorie content.

Chilaquiles as a Brunch Dish

Since chilaquiles are a hearty, flavorful dish, it’s the perfect meal to serve for brunch. Here are some tips on serving chilaquiles for brunch:

  • Pair it with a mimosa: Chilaquiles can be paired with a variety of drinks, but a mimosa is a great complement to the dish.
  • Add some garnishes: Cutting up some fresh cilantro or adding diced tomatoes to the dish can make it look more aesthetically pleasing and add depth of flavor.

The History of Chilaquiles

Like many dishes, chilaquiles have a rich history that has evolved over time. The dish dates back to ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures, where they would cook leftover corn tortillas with chili peppers and tomatoes. Later on, it became a popular breakfast dish in Mexico, with each region adding its own twist to the recipe. Today, it has become a beloved dish worldwide.

Secrets to Perfect Chilaquiles

There are a few secrets to making the perfect batch of chilaquiles. Here are some tips from top chefs:

  • Use fresh ingredients: Fresh ingredients can make all the difference in the flavor and texture of chilaquiles. Use fresh tomatoes and fresh tortillas for optimal taste.
  • Don’t let the chips get too soggy: While you want the chips to be softened by the sauce, you don’t want them to become completely mushy. Keep a close eye on the dish as it cooks.
  • Pick the right toppings: Chilaquiles can be topped with a variety of ingredients, but some toppings work better than others. Use toppings that complement the dish, like crema, queso fresco, and diced onion.


Chilaquiles are a versatile, satisfying dish that can be tailored to your liking. Whether you prefer them with shredded chicken or have them topped with a fried egg, chilaquiles are a surefire hit. With this guide, you now have the tools to make the perfect batch of chilaquiles.

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