Green chilaquiles are a quick and easy authentic Mexican breakfast recipe! They are gluten-free and ready in about 30 minutes. The homemade salsa verde can be made a day or two in advance, or just use store-bought.
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Green chilaquiles are a simple Mexican breakfast dish that you can easily make at home. One of the best things about them is that they can be customized to your family's tastes and cravings by adding your favorite proteins and toppings.
How can a fried tortilla simmered in salsa transcend itself and become so much more? Let's not question it. Let's just be thankful and make a big skillet-full, shall we?
My goal with this recipe was to try to match the texture of the chilaquiles I had in Mexico at Rancho Pescadero. One of my favorite foods in one of my favorite places.
What are chilaquiles?
Chilaquiles are a Mexican breakfast dish made of fried tortillas simmered in red (chilaquiles rojos) or green salsa (chilaquiles verdes). They're hearty and homey, and a great way to use up tortillas or tortilla chips that are getting stale. There are endless variations and add-ons, such as eggs, chorizo, chicken, and a variety of cheeses and toppings.
- Corn tortillas: Use the best quality tortillas you can find, preferably from a Mexican market as they are sturdier and have the best texture. My favorite brand is El Milagro, which I find to be closest to the tortillas in Mexico, but La Banderita will also work. You can use yellow corn or white corn tortillas.
- Neurtral vegetable oil: Such as canola or grapeseed.
- Tomatillos: Choose tomatillos that are firm and heavy for their size with no brown spots. The papery outside skin should be nice and green, not brown or yellow.
- Serrano chiles: You can adjust the number of chiles according to how spicy you like it.
- Yellow or white onion: White onion is more traditional in Mexican cooking, but I prefer the sweeter flavor of yellow onions. Use what you like best.
- Fresh cilantro
- Chicken Stock
- Kosher salt
- Chorizo: Get fresh, Mexican chorizo that you'll cook in a skillet like other ground meats, not the dried variety.
- Toppings: Pick your favorites like avocado, cilantro, cotija cheese, Mexican crema or sour cream, etc.
How to make them
Adapted from Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless
We are frying our own tortillas and making salsa from scratch here, kids! It only takes a few minutes to make your own salsa, and it tastes so good.
In a deep, heavy-bottomed skillet like this one, heat ⅓ cup of canola or other neutral oil over medium-high heat.
Let the tortillas sit out for a bit to dry out, or place them in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes until leathery. Then cut them into quarters.
Once the oil is hot, place one layer of tortilla pieces in the hot oil and brown lightly on both sides. Do not fry until crisp, you should still be able to bend the tortilla without breaking. Set aside on paper towels to drain.
Continue to fry the rest of the tortillas. You might have to add a little more oil before you're done.
In a stockpot filled with salted water, boil the tomatillos and chiles until they are tender, 10 - 15 minutes.
Transfer the cooked tomatillos and chiles to a food processor and purée along with the chopped onion, garlic, and cilantro until smooth but not liquified. It should still have a bit of texture - like tomatillo salsa.
Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a wide skillet over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, add the tomatillo mixture to the pan to fry it. Stir frequently for about 5 minutes, until the cilantro darkens and the sauce thickens a bit.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Salt to taste.
Meanwhile, add the chorizo to a skillet over medium heat, and cook until browned and crispy. Set aside to drain on paper towels.
In a separate skillet, fry the eggs and set aside.
Once sauce is ready, add chips to the skillet in a single layer, turning to coat with sauce on both sides. When chips have softened slightly and are pliable, but not falling apart, remove to serving dishes. I love my Lodge cast iron mini-servers for this.
Top chips with cotija cheese, chorizo, and fried eggs.
Garnish with avocado and cilantro.
Can you make chilaquiles with store-bought tortilla chips?
You can make chilaquiles with store-bought chips. But don't you may need some trial and error with different brands. Choose a nice thick chip because some store-bought chips will soak up the sauce really fast and turn soggy, melting into the sauce before you know it. So if you do use them, you don't need to do more than coat them in the sauce and then pull them right back out.
Can you use store-bought salsa to make green chilaquiles?
You can definitely use store-bought salsa. Use 2 ½ cups of salsa and 2 ¼ cups water to simmer the tortillas.
- You want the tortillas to be a bit dried out before you fry them, kind of like how you want stale bread for bread pudding. You can let the tortillas sit out for a while, or just heat them up in a 350 degree oven, turning once, until they are leathery, but not crisp.
- A lot of recipes will tell you to simmer the chips in the sauce for 5 minutes or bake them in the oven for longer. That didn't work for me, both the store-bought chips, and the tortillas that I fried myself turned back into corn meal after simmering, so I don't recommend this method. They should still have a texture, a bite, some chew.
What to serve alongside
- Black Beans (Frijoles de la Olla) need a bit of time to simmer and not much else. Simple and delicious!
- A Mezcal Negroni swaps the smoky flavor of mezcal for the gin in the classic cocktail.
- Baked Eggs in Avocados with Chorizo and Queso Fresco are also a great Mexican-inspired breakfast.
- Quick Mole Sauce with Almonds and Oranges is easier to make than you might think!
Green Chilaquiles with Eggs and Chorizo
- 8 oz fresh chorizo
- 4 eggs fried
- cilantro for garnish
- 12 corn tortillas medium thickness
For frying tortillas:
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 lb tomatillos husked and washed
- 1 - 3 serrano chiles 3 will be very spicy
- 1 yellow onion small, chopped
- cilantro 6 - 7 sprigs
- 1 garlic clove large, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 ¼ cups chicken stock
- salt to taste
Fry the tortillas:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay tortillas flat on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for a few minutes, turning once, until they seem "stale" and a bit leathery.
- Slice tortillas into quarters.
- Heat ⅓ cup vegetable oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add a single layer of tortilla wedges and fry until lightly brown, but not crisp, they should still bend without breaking. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all tortillas are fried.
Make the Salsa Verde
- In a deep pot, boil tomatillos and serrano peppers in salted water until tender, about 10 - 15 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked tomatillos and chiles to a food processor and purée along with the chopped onion, garlic, and cilantro until smooth but not liquified. It should still have a bit of texture – like tomatillo salsa.
- Once the oil is hot, add 2 ½ cups of the tomatillo mixture to the pan to fry it. Stir frequently for about 5 minutes, until the cilantro darkens and the sauce thickens a bit. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Cook the chorizo and fry the eggs
- Meanwhile, add the chorizo to a skillet over medium heat, and cook until browned and crispy. Set aside to drain on paper towels. In a separate skillet, fry the eggs and set aside.
Assemble the chilaquiles
- Once sauce is ready, add chips in a single layer, turning to coat with sauce on both sides. When chips have softened slightly and are pliable, but not falling apart, remove to serving dishes. Repeat with remaining chips.
- Top chips with cotija cheese, chorizo, and fried eggs. Garnish with avocado and cilantro.
- You can simplify this dish even more if you just want to use store-bought tomatillo salsa. Add 2 ½ cups of salsa to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 ¼ cups chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Then follow recipe steps as above.
- To make the salsa, I recommend a food processor over a blender. You still want texture to the salsa, not total liquidation and that's easier to control with a food processor. I have a Kitchenaid 7-cup food processor.
- People always ask me about the serving dishes I used in these photos. They are my Lodge cast iron mini servers and I use them for all kinds of things!
- This recipe was adapted from Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless.