Authentic Mexican Chilaquiles Rojos Recipe

This authentic Chilaquiles Rojos recipe features crispy tortilla chips drenched in a flavorsome red sauce and served with queso fresco, cream, and onions.

Chilaquiles rojos on a pan garnished with two fried eggs, onions, and cheese.

What Are Chilaquiles Rojos?

Chilaquiles Rojos is a traditional Mexican breakfast recipe consisting of tortilla chips smothered in a hearty tomato and red chili sauce.

The tortillas soak up all the sauce flavors becoming slightly tender but also keeping a satisfying crunchy touch.

Mexican chilaquiles are then topped with cheese, cream, and onions. Sometimes a sunny-side-up fried egg or shredded chicken is also added and finally served with various sides.

A closeup of chilaquiles rojos.

This delicious dish is served at many Mexican restaurants and has become very popular all around the world.

What Type of Tortillas to Use

Corn tortillas are definitely your best option since they are sturdy and can hold better the sauce without becoming too soggy. Nobody likes soggy chilaquiles, believe me.

You can either make your own corn tortillas at home or use your favorite brand of store-bought tortillas.

I really don’t recommend using flour tortillas since those are oily and when tossed with sauce become mushy.

In my opinion, most of the store-bought tortilla chips brands are too salty and thin, so they become soggy very quickly. Unless you find a good brand of sturdy chip tortillas, my recommendation is to fry or bake your own.

About the sauce

The star of this chilaquiles recipe is the sauce which is made with tomatoes, onions, spices, and red chilies (to add more color).

You can definitely control the heat in this recipe by adding fewer or more chilies. Below are the options for red chili peppers:

  • Guajillo chiles.
  • Ancho or pasilla peppers.
  • Chile de árbol.
  • Dried chipotle or chipotle in adobo peppers.
  • Dried Anaheim or Hatch chilies.
Mexican chilaquiles rojos recipe made with guajillo and tomato sauce on a pan garnished with fried eggs.

Related: 11 Dried Mexican chiles to know and love.

How To Make Chilaquiles Rojos

Chilaquiles are so easy to assemble once you have everything prepared. While the sauce is cooking, set your table and fix your drinks, so everything will be ready to enjoy this delicious breakfast as soon as is made.

Make the red sauce

Cut the guajillo pepper longwise, and discard the stem, seeds, and veins. Cut the tomatoes and onions into quarters and add everything to a small pan.

Raw ingredients for salsa roja for chilaquiles in a small pan.

If you want some heat in your chilaquiles, add also 2 or 3 chile de árbol, otherwise omit it.

Pour enough water to slightly cover the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes or until everything is fully cooked.

Ingredients for salsa rojo cooked in a small pan.

Allow to slightly cool down and place the sauce ingredients in a blender with 1 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Add garlic, cumin seeds, and peppercorns. Blend until you will have a smooth sauce. Set aside until needed.

Salsa roja in a blender.

Make the tortilla chips

Now, place 4 tortillas piled and cut them into wedges, like a pay. Repeat this step with all tortillas.

Corn tortillas for chilaquiles cut into wedges displayed on a marble surface.

Heat about 2/3 cup of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat.

Working in batches, fry the tortilla wedges flipping them once until they are golden and crisp.

Corn tortilla wedges fried on a large pan.

As the tortilla chips come out of the pan, place them on a paper towel-lined plate and set them aside.

TIP: If you want to serve your chilaquiles with fried eggs, you can make those after you fried all tortilla wedges.

Make the chilaquiles

Remove all oil and wipe the pan of any browned bits of tortillas. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat.

Add the red tomato sauce to the pan and season with chicken bouillon. Let the sauce simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened.

Salsa for chilaquiles rojos cooked on a pan.

Return all tortilla chips to the pan, and mix carefully to coat evenly the chips.

Cook for about 1 minute, not more, or your tortillas will become too soggy.

Chilaquiles rojos freshly made in a pan.

Serve

Divide the chilaquiles rojos into 4 plates, add cream, queso fresco or cotija cheese, and chopped onions.

Add a fried egg on top if you want and serve immediately pairing with café de olla or a cup of sweet corn atole.

You can also serve with a side of refried beans or some Mexican sautéed mushrooms for a hearty and comforting meal.

Recipe Notes

  • Test the oil before frying. First, add one piece of tortilla to the pan, if it takes more than 3 seconds to start frying, the oil is not hot enough. If the tortilla quickly turns dark brown, the oil is too hot.
  • Use corn tortillas. Corn tortillas are sturdy and hold better the sauce, flour tortillas absorb too much oil and taste different too because they are already made with oil.
  • Stale your tortillas. Cut the tortillas the night before and stale overnight covered with a kitchen cloth, so when you cook them with the sauce they won’t get soggy so quickly.
  • Cut the calories. Bake tortillas instead of frying, you can do this by brushing them with a little bit of oil and baking in single layers at 400°F (200°C) for about 10 minutes or until golden crispy.
Chilaquiles rojos served on a plate with a fried egg on top and garnishes on bowls on the side.

Make Ahead And Store

You can prepare the red salsa up to 3 days ahead and keep it stored in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Tortilla chips can be made up to 5 days ahead and kept stored in a zip bag on your kitchen countertop.

Place chilaquiles leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 4 days. Later, they won’t be as crispy as freshly made but will be delicious anyway.

Mexican Chilaquiles Rojos recipe.

Mexican Chilaquiles Rojos Recipe

author Maricruz
Make the best chilaquiles rojos for breakfast with this foolproof recipe. This classic Mexican dish is made out of tortilla chips soaked in flavorful red sauce and served with cheese, cream, and onions.
prep 10 minutes
cook 30 minutes
total 40 minutes
serving 4

Ingredients 

For the red sauce

  • 4 large tomatoes (cut into chunks)
  • 2 guajillo pepper (stem, seeds, and veins removed)
  • 3 chile de arbol (optional)
  • ½ medium onion (cut into chunks)
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled)
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt (to taste)

For serving

  • 1 cup queso fresco
  • 1 cup Mexican crema (or sour cream)
  • ½ cup white onion (chopped)
  • 4 fried eggs (optional)

Instructions
 

Make the red sauce

  • Place guajillo pepper, tomatoes, and onions in a small pan. Cover slightly with water and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  • Allow to slightly cool down and place everything in a blender with 1 ½ cups of water.
  • Add garlic, cumin seeds, and peppercorns. Blend until you will have a smooth sauce.

Make the tortilla chips

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  • Working in batches, fry the tortilla wedges flipping them once until golden and crisp.
  • Place fried tortillas on a paper towel-lined plate and set them aside.

Make the chilaquiles

  • Remove all oil and wipe the pan of any browned bits of tortillas. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat.
  • Add the red sauce to the pan and season with chicken bouillon.
  • Let the sauce simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).
  • Add all tortilla chips to the pan, and mix carefully to coat evenly the chips.
  • Adjust salt to taste and cook for about 1 minute.

Serve

  • Divide the chilaquiles into 4 plates, and add cream, queso fresco, and chopped onions.
  • Add a fried egg on top (optional) and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Test the oil before frying. First, add one piece of tortilla to the pan, if it takes more than 3 seconds to start frying, the oil is not hot enough. If the tortilla quickly turns dark brown, the oil is too hot.
  • Use corn tortillas. Corn tortillas are sturdy and hold better the sauce, flour tortillas absorb too much oil and taste different too because they are already made with oil.
  • Stale your tortillas. Cut the tortillas the night before and stale overnight covered with a kitchen cloth, so when you cook them with the sauce they won’t get soggy so quickly.
  • Cut the calories. Bake tortillas instead of frying, you can do this by brushing them with a little bit of oil and baking in single layers at 400°F (200°C) for about 10 minutes or until golden crispy.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 629kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 26g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 869mg | Potassium: 695mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2346IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 246mg | Iron: 2mg
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FAQ

Is this recipe spicy?

Yes, but you can also leave out the spiciness and use only tomatoes to make the sauce, the chilaquiles will be delicious anyway!

Can I use enchilada sauce?

Yes! you can use your favorite brand of enchilada sauce to make this recipe. Or make your own with our easy enchilada sauce recipe.

What drinks to serve with chilaquiles?

If you serve them for breakfast there’s nothing better than a cup of coffee, especially if it is café de olla. If you serving them for brunch orange juice or agua fresca are also good options.

Is this recipe gluten-free

Yes, it is! But if you use store-bought tortillas, make sure they are 100% made with nixtamalized corn, just as the authentic Mexican corn tortillas are made.

Can I make it dairy-free?

Absolutely. Leave out the cheese and cream and top your chilaquiles rojos with chopped cilantro, onions, and avocado slices.

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    My husband’s favorite breakfast ever! He will ask more for chilaquiles rojos than verdes, he says that’s why they are more common where he comes from.