Red Chile Chilaquiles (Chilaquiles Rojos)

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These Red Chile Chilaquiles are made using homemade enchilada sauce, corn tortillas, and melty cheese. Feel free to serve chilaquiles with eggs if you desire. This is a perfectly easy, cheap, vegetarian breakfast recipe using leftovers. Chilaquiles Rojos are fancy enough for company and simple enough for lazy weekend brunch.

red chile chilaquiles in a cast iron pan topped with green and red onions

Every Friday growing up, we had red enchiladas. And if there happened to be leftover sauce, I would always hope my grandma would make chilaquiles rojos for breakfast the next day.

Chilaquiles are Mexican comfort food at its finest. If you have 10 minutes to spare in the morning, you can enjoy a big plate of hearty, delicious, perfectly spicy chilaquiles for breakfast. Trust me, it’ll set you off on a great path for the day!

hand holding tongs for flipping tortilla quarters in a cast iron pan with oil.  

What are chilaquiles?

Pronounced chee-leh-kee-les, chilaquiles is made of corn tortilla wedges that are fried, simmered in sauce and sprinkled with cheese. Often served for breakfast, popular toppings include eggs (scrambled or fried) or shredded chicken or a combination of the two. Think of them as the breakfast version of nachos.

How to make chilaquiles rojos

This chilaquiles recipe comes together in a flash. As a bonus, it only requires one pan! First up, you’ll need to quarter your corn tortillas. Warm oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat until shimmering. Fry the tortilla pieces until crunchy.

corn tortillas on a wooden cutting board with a chef's knife with some of the tortillas cut into quarters for frying

Crispy Tortilla Chips

As tempting as it may be, I do not recommend substituting homemade tortilla chips with store bought corn tortilla chips. Making homemade tortilla chips literally takes a few minutes and the flavor and texture is so much better. 

crispy homemade tortilla chips

Sauce and toppings

Next up, add the red chile sauce and mix only long enough to coat all the tortillas. Top with cheese while still over a low flame and cook just long enough for the cheese to melt. Top with chopped red and green onions for freshness, and serve with eggs any style. Easy, right?

homemade Red Chile sauce in mason jar and freezer-safe plastic containers on a wooden board with a cast iron pot in the background

Why you should make a big batch of homemade enchilada sauce today

The sauce for this chilaquiles recipe is made with dried red chiles, and is the same sauce my grandma and my mother made while we were growing up in El Paso, Texas.

It’s a treasured recipe that is very special to me. Straining the boiled and blended red chiles in a conical sieve or chinois takes some time, but the resulting sauce is so velvety, making it well worth the extra work.

homemade enchilada sauce in a cast iron pan with a wooden spoon for red chile chilaquiles

While many Americans think that homemade red chile sauce is only for enchiladas, nothing could be further from the truth! “Enchilada sauce” is not only way better when you make it yourself, it’s also incredibly versatile.

Check out this video on how to make red chile sauce at home to see how simple it is! Once you make your own, I can guarantee you’ll never want to go back to the canned stuff.

Making this sauce has me craving anything and everything that can be made with red chile sauce. It’s used in this chilaquiles recipe, but also in stews, soups, braised meat dishes and tamales. Seriously. Go make a batch!

How should I serve chilaquiles?

While they’re often eaten as breakfast, chilaquiles are great any time of the day. You can also mix and match the toppings to your preferences. This chilaquiles recipe calls for green and red onions, there are a ton of other toppings you could use. 

Have some leftover carnitas or chicken? Throw it on there! Love cilantro? What’s stopping you? Want some sour cream on there? I’m not going to judge. Have salsa verde on hand, but not red enchilada sauce? Make chilaquiles verdes instead! Again, consider these the breakfast-y equivalent of nachos and go nuts.

chilaquiles rojas in a cast iron pan on a wooden cutting board

Love Chilaquiles recipes? Try these out:

I hope you’ll enjoy this traditional Mexican dish, shared from my family to yours. If you made these red chilaquiles, please rate and review the recipe below! If you want more authentic Mexican food inspiration in your feed, be sure to follow me on Instagram!

Red Chile Chilaquiles

Mexican comfort food at its finest, this family recipe for chilaquiles is a must-try.
chilaquiles rojos in cast iron pan on a wooden cutting board
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Ingredients

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups Red Chile Sauce
  • 1 cup shredded queso quesadilla or Colby cheese
  • 1/3 cup diced green or red onions
  • 4 eggs, cooked any style

Instructions

  • Cut corn tortillas into quarters. In a large skillet heat oil and fry corn tortilla pieces until crunchy. Lower heat to low.
  • Add red chili sauce and mix only long enough to coat all the tortillas. Top with cheese while still over a low flame and cook just long enough for the cheese to melt.
  • Remove from heat and sprinkle with onions. Serve with eggs any style.

Notes

  • Alternatively, you can make this recipe with salsa verde for Chilaquiles Verdes. 
  • Want to spice things up a bit? Feel free to add carnitas, chicken, cilantro, sour cream or any other toppings you might have on hand.

Nutrition

Calories: 463.62kcal, Carbohydrates: 52.49g, Protein: 15.68g, Fat: 18.54g, Saturated Fat: 7.83g, Cholesterol: 193.34mg, Sodium: 6073.63mg, Potassium: 204.59mg, Fiber: 8.29g, Sugar: 21.85g, Vitamin A: 520.66IU, Vitamin C: 0.99mg, Calcium: 273.51mg, Iron: 1.6mg

I’d love to see what you cook!

Tag #MUYBUENOCOOKING if you make this recipe.

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Photography by Jeanine Thurston & Jenna Sparks

Originally published: May 2018. This recipe is also published in the Muy Bueno cookbook.