Chilaquiles Rojos

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Crispy, crunchy Chilaquiles Rojos are a Mexican breakfast classic with a kick. Baked corn tortilla chips are stirred into a spicy homemade sauce that’s perfect the classic way, topped with an egg, avocado, or cotija cheese. Or customize them with your favorite toppings and brunch will never be the same!

Chilaquiles rojos are shown on a white plate topped with red sauce, crumbled cheese, parsley, sliced avocado, and a fried egg.

Why You’ll Love These Chilaquiles Rojos

  • Cuisine Inspiration: Mexican-inspired
  • Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop, oven
  • Dietary Info: Gluten-free, Dairy-free
  • Skill Level: Moderate

Initially, I was intimidated by chilaquiles, so I used a shortcut version to make my Chilaquiles Verdes. But my family were such big fans that I knew I had to make the rojo version from scratch.

My take on red chilaquiles is inspired by the Mexican preparation, with lots of homemade corn tortilla chips and a spicy sauce. There is one slight difference – I chose to bake my corn tortillas instead of frying the chips. But it’s still super delicious, though a little easier and less oily. You can top this flavorful dish with eggs or refried beans or keep it simple with a little sour cream. Here’s why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Gluten-Free. It’s easy to make this recipe gluten free! Corn tortillas typically are naturally gluten free, although you’ll want to check the package to make sure there’s no wheat flour added if you need to avoid it. The rest of the ingredients are gluten free.
  • Dress it up or down. You can eat these chilaquiles rojos with a little sprinkle of cheese over the top, or add refried beans, avocado slices, sour cream, hot sauce, salsa, and a fried egg for a super hearty breakfast.
  • Serve them any time of the day. Did I say this is a breakfast recipe? Technically, chilaquiles are typically served for breakfast. But there’s no reason you can’t serve them for lunch or even dinner! While eggs are classic, some people top them with shredded chicken or pork.

What Are Chilaquiles?

Chilaquiles is a dish of Mexican origin in which corn tortillas are cut into eighths and fried until crispy. Then they’re simmered in a salsa-like sauce – I’ve included my favorite homemade preparation in this post – and can be served with toppings like avocado, cheese, eggs, and more. Chilaquiles are a breakfast dish, although you absolutely don’t have to reserve them just for the first meal of the day! “Rojos” means red in Spanish, and that’s why we use a red, tomato-based sauce to serve the chilaquiles.

Chilaquiles rojos are served on a  white plate topped with cheese, avocado slices, parsley, and a fried egg. A pan of chilaquiles is shown in the background along with a white bowl of cheese and a glass of water.

Chilaquiles Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need for these red chilaquiles. Check the recipe card for the full ingredient amounts.

  • Corn Tortillas: If necessary, check to make sure these are gluten free.
  • Oil: You can use olive oil or vegetable oil.
  • Salt

For the Sauce:

  • Water
  • Tomatoes: I use roma tomatoes but you can use whatever tomatoes you like.
  • Onion: Use a yellow or red onion.
  • Guajillo Chiles: If you can’t find these fresh, you can substitute Ancho chiles, which are easier to find. Or substitute 1 tablespoon of dried guajillo chiles for the fresh chiles.
  • Chiles de Arbol: Chiles de arbol are very spicy, so keep this in mind if you like less heat.
  • Garlic
  • Chicken Broth: Or substitute vegetable broth.
  • Dried spices: Cumin and oregano.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil
Ingredients for chilaquiles rojos with text labels are shown on a cutting board: roma tomatoes, onion, chiles, corn tortillas, cumin and oregano, salt and pepper, olive oil, and garlic.

How to Make Chilaquiles Rojos

Here’s the step-by-step method for how to make this dish. You’ll find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Prepare. Preheat an oven, brush the corn tortillas with oil, and cut each one into 8 pieces.
  • Bake. Sprinkle the tortilla pieces with salt and bake them.
  • Make the sauce. Simmer the water, tomatoes, onion, chiles, and garlic over medium heat.
  • Blend. Place the vegetables, broth, cumin, salt, black pepper, and oregano in a blender and process until smooth.
  • Cook. Now, warm the sauce in a skillet.
  • Assemble. Stir in the tortillas, remove from the heat, stir again, and serve.

Chilaquiles Rojos Topping Ideas

Here are a few of my favorite ways to top your plate of deliciousness:

  • Eggs – Top a hot plate of chilaquiles rojos with a fried egg, as shown in the photos, or try scrambled or poached eggs.
  • Beans – Beans are a natural accompaniment to chilaquiles. I like to add refried or whole pinto beans.
  • Shredded meat – While most frequently a vegetarian dish, some people add shredded pork or chicken on top. You can try my crockpot salsa chicken.
  • Sour cream – I love sour cream with chilaquiles rojos! You could also use Greek yogurt.
  • Cojita cheese – Crumbles of salty cojita cheese are the perfect finishing touch to chilaquiles rojos. You can also use shredded Jack or cheddar cheese.
  • Avocado – Go simple with slices of fresh, creamy avocado or make avocado crema to drizzle across your plate of chilaquiles.
  • Lime – Lime wedges add a bright, sweet citrus burst.
  • Lettuce – For a little crunch, top your chilaquiles with shredded lettuce. Or go with cabbage for extra crunch.
A big plate of chilaquiles rojos is shown close up, with lots of contrasting colors including red sauce, white cheese crumbles, a white and yellow fried eggs, and green parsley.

Tips for the Best Chilaquiles

This is a wonderfully straightforward recipe without added complications.

Here are a few tips to help it turn out perfectly:
  • Be careful with the chiles. The chiles de arbol are spicy, so take care when handling them. Adjust the number of chiles used to your level of spice.
  • Adjust the spice. If you truly don’t like a lot of spicy heat, you can either add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the sauce and omit the peppers altogether, or just use the peppers sparingly.
  • Make it for dinner. Yes, you can absolutely serve chilaquiles for dinner as well as breakfast! If you want to make a heartier meal, you can add some shredded chicken or pulled pork to the chilaquiles.
  • Try a different sauce. Make a lighter green tomatillo sauce for your chilaquiles, like the verdes version I mentioned earlier, or use mole.
  • Go vegetarian. It’s so easy to make red chilaquiles vegetarian! Skip the chicken broth and use vegetable broth instead to make this a vegetarian dish.
A fork cuts into a plate of chilaquiles rojos, shown in a half-view that features the red sauce.

Proper Storage

Chilaquiles are best immediately after they’re made. If you do want to save leftovers, here’s how to do it:

  • Fridge – Place leftover chilaquiles rojos plus their sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  • Freezer – I don’t recommend freezing chilaquiles because the corn tortilla chips will be mushy when defrosted.
  • To Reheat – Place the chilaquiles rojos, sauce, and a splash of broth or water in a skillet over medium-low heat. Heat until hot.
Chilaquiles rojos are shown on a plate with avocado and fried eggs.

What to Serve With Red Chilaquiles

Now that you know how to top your chilaquiles rojos, here are a few sides to go along with them:

A big plate of chilaquiles rojos is shown close up, with lots of contrasting colors including red sauce, white cheese crumbles, a white and yellow fried eggs, and green parsley.
5 from 1 vote

Chilaquiles Rojos

Crispy, crunchy Chilaquiles Rojos are a Mexican breakfast classic with a kick. Baked corn tortilla chips are stirred into a spicy homemade sauce that's perfect the classic way, topped with an egg, avocado, or cotija cheese. Or customize them with your favorite toppings and brunch will never be the same!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

For the sauce:

  • 3 cups water
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • ½ medium onion , peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 guajillo chiles , stems and seeds removed
  • 3 chiles de arbol , stems and seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic , whole peeled
  • 1 cup gluten free chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven or air fryer to 350 degrees.
  • Brush the corn tortillas with a thin layer of oil on both sides. Cut each tortilla into 8 triangles.
  • Place the tortillas on a baking sheet in an even layer. You will need to bake them in 2-3 batches. Sprinkle with salt.
  • Bake for 11-13 minutes.
  • After they are baked, taste one chip and add more salt if needed.

For the sauce:

  • Add water, tomatoes, onion, chiles and garlic to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 7 minutes.
  • Transfer the vegetables to a blender.
  • Add chicken broth, cumin, salt, black pepper and oregano. Process until it is a smooth liquid.
  • Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Pour the blended mixture into the hot pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened.
  • Add the baked chips into the sauce and stir. Remove from heat and stir immediately.

Notes

  • Serve with a fried egg or refried beans
  • Top with cojita cheese, avocado slices
  • The chiles de arbol are spicy, so take care when handling them. Adjust the number of chiles used to your level of spice.
Nutrition Facts
Chilaquiles Rojos
Amount Per Serving
Calories 231 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 550mg23%
Potassium 372mg11%
Carbohydrates 41g14%
Fiber 7g28%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 1028IU21%
Vitamin C 11mg13%
Calcium 84mg8%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Disclaimers: Please discuss your individual dietary needs (i.e. gluten free) with a physician. Even when not specified, be sure to verify all ingredients are gluten free, if needed, by reading labels on all packaging and/or confirming with the manufacturer this varies by brand and can change at any time. Nutrition information shown is an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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