This no hassle, authentic chilaquiles rojos recipe is a traditional Mexican breakfast and brunch meal. These chilaquiles rojos are fool-proof, vegan, and easy to make. The flavorful red sauce makes these the best chilaquiles you’ll ever try!
I'm not a big breakfast person, but I ~love~ brunch! I swap between this chilaquiles recipe, my healthier Brunch Burger, and Savory Vegan Mexican Quinoa Bowl. Either way, I always pair it with some aqua fresca or a brunch cocktail!
I actually never heard of chilaquiles before moving to Southern California. My first brunch in Los Angeles, I tried chilaquiles rojos and loved them! I still had no clue what they were!
Fast-forward to my second year of living in SoCal, and my partner’s mom made a large batch of chilaquiles for brunch. She always makes the best food, with little to no hassle and SO much flavor! She’s the inspiration behind many of my recipes.
I always ask her to teach me how to make authentic Mexican recipes and this was the first she taught me. It was one of those situations where the recipe is one that she’s always known. She had everything in her head and didn’t know the exact amounts. “You char it until it’s soft” and “enough water to make it just runny enough.” Luckily, I've made these enough times to confirm those details!
What are chilaquiles?
Pronounced chee-lay-key-lays. Chilaquiles are a traditional savory Mexican breakfast. The traditional recipe contains tortilla chips soaked in a homemade sauce (red or green).
There are two types of chilaquiles: chilaquiles rojos and chilaquiles verdes.
What are chilaquiles rojos?
Chilaquiles Rojos, or Red Chilaquiles, are chilaquiles with a red sauce. The sauce is like a red salsa and is made with tomatoes, jalapeños, and Serrano peppers.
How to make authentic Mexican chilaquiles rojos
A traditional Mexican chilaquiles recipe is actually really easy! It has a very important main ingredient: a homemade sauce.
Making chilaquiles is actually quite simple and doesn’t use any crazy ingredients!
- Corn Tortilla Chips - I prefer bags of corn tortilla STRIPS over chips. I find they are more fun to eat!
- Serrano Peppers
Making the Sauce
A chilaquiles recipe is only as good as its sauce. This one comes from my partner’s mom, originally from the Jalisco state of Mexico. It can be modified for any spice level.
For a traditional chilaquiles salsa, you need to char fresh product. The way I learned how to do this is to char the tomatoes, jalapeños and serranos straight over the fire. However, a more fool-proof way of doing that is by putting the salsa ingredients under the broiler.
Homemade Tortilla Chips vs. Store-bought Tortilla Chips
The traditional homemade way to make chilaquiles is to fry fresh corn tortillas. However, for time’s sake, I prefer to buy corn tortilla strips and crunch them up slightly.
Traditional toppings for chilaquiles are:
- Red Onions
- Thinly-sliced Radishes
- Fresh Avocado or Guacamole
- Cotija Cheese
Chilaquiles with Eggs / Chilaquiles con huevos
Typically, in U.S. restaurants, chilaquiles are served with fried eggs on top. Another way to serve chilaquiles is by cooking the eggs in the sauce to thicken it. That recipe tends to be more like another delicious Mexican breakfast - Migas!
Meat-Eaters Chilaquiles: Chilaquiles with Chorizo and Eggs
My favorite way to prepare chilaquiles rojos is to top them with chorizo and eggs, or chorizo y huevos! I find this makes the chilaquiles more filling. (Might I add that chorizo and eggs by itself is also absolutely delicious for brunch with some warm fresh corn tortillas...)
Frequently Asked Questions for Chilaquiles Rojos
Are chilaquiles spicy?
Chilaquiles are made with chiles inside the sauce, so it can be spicy. Luckily you can temper the sauce depending on how many chiles you use in it.
How do I make chilaquiles not spicy?
To make a chilaquiles rojos sauce not spicy, I recommend not using any serrano peppers and using only one jalapeño. (Serranos are about 5x spicier than jalapeños)
Can I use store bought tortilla chips for chilaquiles?
Absolutely! I actually recommend it because it’s so much quicker!
How do I store chilaquiles?
Chilaquiles are best served fresh and hot. Because chilaquiles rojos are technically tortilla chips drenched in a red chile sauce, they can get mushy. If you do end up with leftover chilaquiles that you want to save, I suggest putting them in a ziploc airtight container. They will still taste great, but the texture won’t be the same as fresh (speaking from experience as I eat cold chilaquiles straight from the fridge!).
Do I have to strain the sauce?
No! The sauce should be on the thicker side and does not need to be strained.
What to pair with chilaquiles
- Orange Agua Fresca / Agua de Naranja
- Cucumber Agua Fresca / Agua de Pepino
- Spicy Tequila Sunrise
- Breakfast Tequila Mimosa
Authentic Mexican Chilaquiles Rojos
- 10 Cups Corn Tortillas or Strips
Rojos Sauce / Red Sauce
- 4 Beef Steak Tomatoes washed thoroughly
- 2 Jalapeño Peppers washed thoroughly
- 2 Serrano Peppers washed thoroughly
- ¼ Cup Water or Broth
Chorizo & Eggs / Chorizo y Huevos
- 8 Ounces Chorizo Beef, Pork or Soy
- 2 Large Egg
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- ¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
Make the Rojos Sauce / Red Sauce
- Turn the oven to Broil.
- Place tomatoes, jalapeños and serranos in a small baking dish lined with aluminum foil. Place directly under the broiler.
- Broil the peppers and tomatoes for 10-minutes (or medium-charred on top). Then using tongs, flip the peppers and tomatoes to their other side.
- Allow the second side to broil for an additional 10 minutes, until both sides are charred.
- Place the tomatoes, jalapeños and serranos into the blender with their juices. Pour in the water.
- Blend until smooth. (You'll still see flecks of green from the peppers, but it should mostly be smooth.) Leave to the side.
- Heat up a large pan.
- Toss the chips onto the pan. (You can also crush the chips using your fingers or a spoon to make the chips smaller)
- After 2-3 minutes of warming the chips, carefully pour in the blended chilaquiles rojos sauce.
- Stir the chilaquiles sauce and chips together lightly - you want some pieces to soak up the sauce, while others are nice and crispy still!
- Put the chips coated in red sauce onto a plate.
- Sprinkle the coated chips with cotija cheese, red onion and cilantro.
Chorizo & Egg / Chorizo y Huevo
- In a pan at medium-heat, start to cook the chorizo without any added oil.
- While the chorizo cooks, crack the eggs into a bowl.
- Stir the eggs and add salt and pepper.
- Once the chorizo is fully cooked, pour the mixed eggs into the cooking chorizo. Scramble the egg into the chorizo by stirring. Once fully cooked through (or to your preference), turn off the heat.