Chilaquiles verdes is a traditional Mexican breakfast made with fried tortillas drenched in a scrumptious homemade green sauce and served with queso fresco, cream, and onions. This recipe is perfect to use your corn tortillas and enjoy for a Sunday’s brunch.
About this dish
Chilaquiles verdes is a traditional and typical breakfast recipe from Mexico that consists of fried tortillas smothered in a flavorsome green sauce. The final dish is then served with queso fresco on top and a good drizzle of Mexican crema.
This delicious dish is served at many Mexican restaurants and has become very popular overseas. There’s a belief in Mexico that a plate of spicy chilaquiles verdes can cure even the worst hangover.
What means chilaquiles?
According to priest and historian Ángel María Garibay (1892-1967), the word chilaquil comes from the Nahuatl voice chīlaquīlli, which is composed of the two words chīlī “chile”, and aquīlli “[something] tucked into”. So it refers to something that was submerged in chile.
Sides & Toppings
Here’s a small list with the most traditional sides and toppings for chilaquiles verdes:
- Refried Beans – creamy, delicious, and very easy to make.
- Crema – Mexican crema has a particular taste for sure, but you can sub with sour cream or cream fraiche.
- Cheese– use queso fresco or cotija, if none of those are available you can sub with Feta or your favorite cheese.
- Fresh Onions – chopped or sliced, don’t forget the onions. You can add white or red.
- Fried Eggs – a sunny-side-up egg on top makes the most amazing chilaquiles verdes con huevos. Try it.
- Avocado Slices – fresh avocado adds a nice creamy texture to every bite.
To complete this delicious Mexican breakfast, a large cup of café de olla or café con leche is a must, and for helping with the spiciness, a glass of cold milk is for sure the best option.
The salsa verde
Without any doubt, the star of chilaquiles verdes is the flavorful and aromatic salsa. Made with tomatillos, cilantro, and green chili peppers such as serranos or jalapeños. Yes, of course, you can also make this recipe with store-bought salsa verde, just make sure is a brand you’ve tasted before and you love it.
- Corn tortillas. Homemade corn tortillas or store-bought are both fine, as long as you avoid store-bought corn chips seasoned with salt/cheese, those will become too soggy when tossed with the sauce.
- Fresh or canned tomatillos. If you go for the first option you’ll first need to boil them with chilies until both are soft.
- Fresh green chilies. Serrano and jalapeno are the best options, but any other kind of green chilies are good too.
- Chicken stock. Or vegetable stock for a rich sauce flavor.
- Onions and cilantro. White onions and fresh cilantro, if you can’t find cilantro where you live, use either dried for the flavor or just leave it out.
For toppings, you will need: Queso fresco (or Feta for sub), chopped onions, and Mexican crema (or substitute with sour cream). You can also top with a fried egg if you want, but this is up to you.
How to make chilaquiles verdes
Make the salsa verde
- In a medium saucepan place tomatillos then cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook until tomatillos are soft, remove from the hot water, and allow to cool down.
- In a blender add cooked tomatillos, chilies, onion, cilantro, garlic, and salt. Add 1 1/2 cup of water and blend until you’ll have a smooth sauce. Set aside.
Make the tortilla chips
- Cut the tortillas into wedges, like a pie. You can also make this step the day before and stale tortillas overnight.
- Heat a good glug of oil in a medium pan. Working in batches fry the tortillas, flipping sometimes until brown and crisp. Remove fried tortillas to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb some of the oil. Set aside.
Make the chilaquiles
- Remove almost all oil from the pan where you fried the tortillas leaving only about 2 teaspoons.
- Heat over medium-high heat then pour in the sauce.
- Simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until salsa slightly thickens. Adjust salt to taste.
Add the tortilla chips and then mix to coat evenly. Cook for up to 1 minute, not more, or your chilaquiles will become too soggy.
Place chilaquiles in plates, garnish with queso fresco, chopped onions, and cream. Serve.
How To Prevent Chilaquiles From Getting Soggy
- Use corn tortillas: Because flour tortillas don’t get as crunchy as corn tortillas do, they just absorb lots of oil and still remain a bit soft.
- Sturdy tortillas: Tortillas are different from brand to brand, and even in Mexico from place to place. Sometimes they’re so thin that will get soggy as soon as you add the sauce. If you can’t find sturdy tortillas, consider making your own.
- Don’t overlap: Either you fry or bake the tortillas, always do it in one layer, and add enough oil, so they fry/bake evenly.
- Coat, don’t over-simmer: Try to not simmer for so long. Is all about practice, as soon as you see the tortilla chips are fully coated and they start to soften, serve and eat.
- Cook & Eat: Don’t let the chilaquiles sit for long at your table. Chilaquiles verdes should be eaten just as you finish the cooking.
If you want to prep this meal ahead, start by making the salsa and storing it in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. So, you can also fry the tortillas up to 2 days ahead.
Then just heat up the salsa, add the tortillas chips and serve your chilaquiles verdes!
How to store
If you have some leftovers just place them into a tight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. Then just reheat them in the microwave or in a pan, your homemade chilaquiles won’t be as good or crunchy as freshly made, but they will be delicious anyway.
Watch How To Make It
More Mexican Breakfast Recipes
- Migas con huevo
- Huevos a la Mexicana
- Huevos divorciados
- Huevos Rancheros
- Green beans and eggs (ejotes con huevo).
- 16 corn tortillas (cut into wedges)
- canola oil (or any oil for frying)
For the sauce
- 1 lb fresh tomatillo (or a 12-oz can tomatillos, drained)
- 4 serrano chili peppers (or other type of green chili)
- ½ cup Cilantro (roughly chopped)
- 1 small white onion
- 1 garlic clove (peeled)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tsp canola oil
- ½ cup red onions (chopped)
- ½ cup Mexican crema (or regular full fat cream)
- 1 cup queso fresco (or Feta cheese)
- 4 fried eggs (optional)
Make the sauce
- In a medium sauce pan place tomatillos and green chilies, cover with water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer until veggies are tender. Let them cool slighly.
- Add tomatillos and chilies to a blender with onions, garlic and a bunch of cilantro.
- Add half a cup of the cooking water and blend for a minute or until you have a smooth sauce.
- Heat the canola oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the green sauce and chicken stock.
- Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened. 8 to 10 minutes.
Make the tortilla chips
- Heat ¼ cup oil in a medium pan. Working in batches fry the tortillas, flipping sometimes until brown and crisp.
- Remove fried tortillas to a plate lined with paper towel to absorbe some of the oil. Set aside.
Make chilaquiles verdes
- Add the fried tortilla chips and mix to coat evenly. Cook for about3-4 minutes (depends how crispy you want your chilaquiles).
- Serve garnished with cream, queso fresco and onions.
- Use corn tortillas. Don’t be tempted to use flour tortillas because those will get too soggy.
- Fry the tortillas. Real and authentic chilaquiles are made by deep frying the tortillas. Not baking, not air frying. Get to taste real chilaquiles verdes at least once, you’ll see the difference.
- Make your own salsa verde (green sauce). Really, making the sauce will take you like 10 minutes max.
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