Mexican Brunch: Chilaquiles


A decade ago (yes, a decade!  feeling old!) my friends and I spent spring break in Playa Blanca.  Sitting on the beach, drinking Long Island Iced Tea and napping in a big hammock, we may as well have been in Daytona.  The only part of Mexico we actually explored on that trip was the bathroom at the gas station on the road from the airport to the hotel.

corn tortilla chipsNeedless to say, I’ve learned a thing or two since then about how I prefer to travel.  Sadly, I have yet to return to Mexico.  But I will. And when I do, I will explore as my younger self didn’t know I always wanted.  Of course, with limited vacation time, and lots of family to visit right here in the U.S., I know that trip might not happen for a few years.

But I can cook my way to Mexico in the meantime.  I may be in Boston, but my apartment certainly smells like I’m a lot further south.  I can’t honestly claim authenticity, since I’ve never even eaten chilaquiles in Mexico, but I will say that this brunch was fantastic.  I did do my reasearch, reading dozens of recipes and searching for the tricks to this Mexican breakfast classic.  We’ve already covered my Rick Bayless crush, so it should come as no surprise that I took a bit of inspiration from his direction.  But in the end, turning leftover tortillas and salsa into breakfast isn’t rocket science, so I pretty much just winged it – and I learned a few things along the way.

corn trtillas and salsaFirst of all, for proper chilaquiles, frying up your own tortillas is certainly the way to go.  This simple dish is all about the tortillas and substituting chips makes for a mealy mess. Secondly, the toppings and garnishes are key, so if you can get Mexican crema and cotija cheese, do it.  And finally, while not necessarily the most traditional way of eating chilaquiles, the dish is lovely topped with a fried egg.  But if you want some more authentic protein, you might add a bit of shredded chicken breast, or some browned Mexican chorizo. I made my own salsa, but if you’re short on time, I think a good jarred version would work just fine.  I might go for a tomatillo salsa next time, but certainly play around with what you like, as the dish is extremely adaptable. 

I’ve now made it to the second challenge in the FoodBuzz Project Food Blog!  So exciting!  And this comforting Mexican classic will serve as my entry into challenge number two.  So please don’t forget to vote for me. Click here to vote.



Serves 4

1/2 cup vegetable oil

15 ounces corn tortillas (about 15 small), cut in wedges


3 medium tomatoes, halved

1 white onion, quartered

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 jalapeno, halved lengthwise (seeds removed if desired)

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

1 cup cojita cheese, divided (substitute feta if you can’t get cojita)

1/2 cup crema (substitute sour cream thinned with milk if you can’t get crema)

4 lime wedges

4 eggs (optional)

Heat the oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat.  Fry the tortillas in batches; they will soften at first and then begin to brown.  Remove the tortillas to a paper-towel lined plate when they are still slightly pliable, and not too brown.  You don’t want chips! Sprinkle the cooked tortillas with salt.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Arrange the tomatoes, onion, garlic and jalapeno in a greased baking dish.  Roast until the edges of the onion and jalapeno are very brown and the tomatoes shrivel, about 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly.  Puree, adding a few tablespoons of water if needed.  Add the lime juice, half of the cilantro, and salt to taste.

In a large skillet, warm the salsa with about 1/2 cup water over medium heat until bubbling.  Add the tortillas and toss to coat well.  Cook, tossing, for 3-5 minutes.  In the last minute, add half of the cheese and mix well so that the cheese begins to melt. Meanwhile, if using the eggs, heat a well-greased pan over medium.  Crack in each egg and cook until bottoms are set.  Flip once and cook for just a few moments more for over-easy.

To serve, mound the chilaquiles on 4 plates.  Top with the remaining cheese and cilantro, drizzle with the crema and top with an egg, if desired.  Serve hot with a lime wedge.

Published in: on September 25, 2010 at 1:45 pm  Comments (51)  
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51 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Mmm chilaquiles are a serious favorite of mine. Total comfort food.

    There are so many places that I wish I could revisit now that I can actually appreciate food. Someday…

    I did mexican too for my PFB challenge 2! Great minds cook alike! I’ll be voting for you!

  2. You are right–frying up your own tortillas is key! I learned that the hard way! Yours look terrific.

  3. Oh wow, homemade fried tortilla chips sound amazing. I would defintely have to make extras for snacking while I cook this delicious dish!

    • Yes! Must make extra to munch on! I found myself sneaking bites… next time I’m making a full extra batch. Yum!

  4. These look delicious! Funny, we’re 50 miles from the Mexican border and we haven’t been there for almost 8 years. Too much ugly stuff going on in the southwest border towns but lucky for us there’s a lot of Mexico right here in Tucson!

  5. wow I am totally enticed with your Chilaquiles! Looks so appetizing and delightful!

  6. i’ve never fried anything myself but am definitely inspired…this sounds amazing and i love how you can transform leftover tortillas into a unique brunch!

  7. Sounds like a really tasty and hearty breakfast. Great for brunch too!

  8. We went to Tulum for our honeymoon and I seriously ate a plateful of chilaquiles for breakfast They are SOOO good. And yours look very similar to the ones we had in Mexico! Way to go!

  9. Those sound yummy! I don’t think I’ve seen them in Mexicantown where I work, but I’ll have to keep my eye open. Or hit up some of the women who work with me to make some 🙂

  10. I saw your comment and ran right over! I’m so glad you made chilaquiles for PFB as well! Heh, we should’ve gotten together and made ’em. That way, we could’ve had both red and green salsa 🙂 You’ve got my vote for sure because of the whole great minds thing! 🙂

    • Wouldn’t that be pretty? A duo of chilaquiles! Next time…

  11. I’ve never had Chilaquiles, but I am totally enticed by all of the fresh and bright ingredients. I wish you the best in the second challenge. I’ll return when voting opens.

  12. I adore chilaquiles! these are perfect and authentic in my view and get my vote!

  13. The first time I had this, I had a Top Chef Master cook it for me herself. So impressive, yet soooo comforting and simple. I love that you fried your own tortilla chips!

  14. I’ve never heard of Chilaquiles. I can’t wait to give it a try. I’m a big Mexican food fan!

  15. Chilaquiles is one of my favorite breakfasts! Yours looks amazing! Great job 🙂

  16. This looks and sounds amazing! I love it! I’ve always loved breakfasts in Mexico. 🙂
    And of course, I voted for you!

  17. Great job – one of my favorites and Mexican food is a passion of mine.

  18. Hi, first time visiting your blog:) As a Mexican who has eaten a lot of chilaquiles I can tell you well done on your first chilaquiles. This was one of my favorite breakfast or lunch growing up. My Mom also made them with green tomatillo sauce and they are all delicious that way. Best of luck with the Foodbuzz chanllenge.

  19. Looks so yummy – I gladly voted for you!

  20. Mmmmm….the fried eggs on top are what make it for me!
    good luck on this challenge!

  21. These look fantastic…Good luck 🙂

  22. Hands down one of my favorite dishes ever, I love chilequiles. It looks great! I voted for you.
    You can see my entry at

    Hope you vote for me!

  23. This is one of the recipes in this challenge that I am definitely bookmarking! Great job, and you get my vote in exchange for this recipe!

  24. You’ve got my vote…looks good!

  25. This is truly one of my favorite things to eat! Thanks for the recipe!

  26. Great post! Looks delicious. I have been wanting to try these for a long time. Sounds like the perfect breakfast/brunch food. I voted for you!

    Good luck! =)

    You can check out my PFB post at :

  27. I love homemade tortilla chips, and with all those great toppings, this is definitely a winner!

  28. The easiest way to travel is through food. That’s why we love ethnic dishes. This was a fun challenge, and you picked a perfect one.

  29. this looks delicious 🙂 Good luck with project food and you got my vote for this one! Feel free to drop by 🙂 Good luck and best wishes for making to the top !! WOOHOO

    jen @

  30. LOOKS DELISH! I chose Mexi-fare too! I think it just might be my new venture—we loved it!

  31. Mexican food is something that I love and truly miss from the US. Good luck with round 2.

  32. Lovely post and comforting-looking dish! You have my vote. Best of luck to you!

  33. Never tried this before, it looks delicious. I should really give this a try. Thank you for stopping by. All the best in Foodbuzzz challenge! Have a nice day.

  34. These look terrific Katie and I MUST make these soon on all-out-eat-carb day 🙂

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  35. I always wanted to make this! It is such a super comfort food – I could eat this any time! Super entry – good luck on this round!

  36. Mexican Comfort food! I love this recipe and the pictures are beautiful!

  37. Katie…great job…my vote is in ;o)

    Good luck and flavourful wishes,

  38. Oh goodness. The flavors in this dish are soooo me. I will definitely have to make this. Cilantro, ohhhh, cilantro how I love thee… *drools*

  39. Look delish! They remind me a little bit of migas here in Austin. 🙂

  40. You have my vote! If you get a chance, please check out my entry at

  41. These look delicious! I try to make foods with a lot of variety on my web site and I was just thinking that morning that I should get more creative with my Mexican recipes. I think I will definitely use this one in the near future! (I will be sure to link to you when I do!) But for now, I’ll just vote for you. 🙂
    Here is a link to my entry in the challenge, if you have a chance to check it out:

  42. You definitely should go back to Mexico and do some exploring… I went recently, and loved visiting the ancient Mayan ruins!

    Great job on this challenge… your Chilaquiles look fantastic!!

  43. We make our own chips all the time-makes it taste so much better! Great job & good luck!

  44. I want to come over for brunch. I just love the flavours you use!
    Good luck in the next round of Project Food Blog, I’m rooting for you.
    *kisses* HH

  45. This is SOOO my kind of food!


    Good Luck on Project Food Blog!

  46. I’ve never been to Mexico but I sure love eating Mexican food! This looks fantastic!

  47. This looks fantastic. I am always looking for new recipes to broaden my children’ palate. This would be a perfect introduction to Mexico. Nothing they would not like about this dish!

  48. Mmmm, this is a favorite of mine. I’ll have to give this recipe a try :)!

  49. […] Chilaquiles […]

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