If you love nachos (and who doesn’t, really?), then you’re going to really love chilaquiles. Most often served as a brunch dish, Mexican Chilaquiles are very similar to nachos in that they incorporate similar ingredients, but the tortillas are first soaked in a red or green chile sauce or salsa.
Our Global Gourmet recipes are designed to bring the foods you love while traveling into your own kitchen.
There’s nothing fancy about chilaquiles. They’re really just tortilla chips with salsa, shredded chicken, cotija or shredded cheese, ad some onions, baked until warm.
The dish was designed to use up leftover tortillas, but you can just use store-bought tortilla chips. Make your own salsa with our recipe below, or buy a red or green enchilada sauce.
How to Eat Chilaquiles
My favorite type of salsa on chilaquiles is a spicy tomatillo salsa, but you can make this dish using any type of salsa you want: rojo, verde, etc. You can also use whatever ingredients you want. For me, a tomatillo salsa, shredded chicken (if you want), Mexican creme (or sour cream), crumbled queso and roasted onions are the perfect combination.
In Mexico, Chilaquiles is a typical breakfast or brunch dish. Since Americans don’t typically eat these foods for breakfast, we tend to serve this dish as an appetizer, or as a main dish for lunch or dinner when we want to keep things casual.
We’re pairing this dish with our favorite Mezcal cocktail – the perfect addition to any party! So next time you’re having some friends over and want to try something new and fun, serve up a plate of these Mexican chilaquiles with a Mezcal cocktail.
They are great for sharing, and the Mezcal cocktail is easy to make in large batches. They’ll be the hit of the party, guaranteed!
Ingredients Needed to Make Chilaquiles
You need only a handful of ingredients:
- Jalapeno pepper
- Shredded chicken or beef (optional)
- Tortillas or tortilla chips
- Cotija cheese
- Sour cream (optional)
How to Make Mexican Chilaquiles
The best part about this dish is how easy it is to make! It’s a two-part recipe – the tomatillo salsa and the chilaquiles themselves.
The tomatillo sauce adds so much flavor to the chips. If you roast it yourself, you’ll get all that delicious homemade flavor from the veggies and your kitchen will smell heavenly.
The sauce can be used for a number of different dishes, so if you make more than you need, keep it in the refrigerator and use it to make enchiladas or to spread on tacos and burritos. It’s a tangy and sweet salsa that can be made as spicy or mild as you like.
Chop the vegetables into small chunks and put them on a baking sheet lined with tin foil or parchment paper.
Roast the vegetables on a baking sheet in the oven at 450 degrees F for about 20 minutes. They will soften and begin to get some color. For a time saver, putting the vegetables under the broiler for about 7 minutes, until they are slightly charred and beginning to soften.
Remove the tray from the oven and allow the vegetable to cool. Put the roasted vegetables in a blender or food processor and blend well. You can see the texture and thickness of the sauce below.
Note: You can buy tomatillo salsa (or rojo or verde salsa) if you don’t have time to make your own. I’ve also used red or green enchilada sauce.
Making the Chilaquiles
Add the tomatillo salsa to a pan and cook for about two minutes on medium heat. Add the shredded chicken or beef, if you’re using it, and toss to coat. Then add the tortilla chips to the skillet and flip carefully to coat the chips in the sauce. You don’t want to break the chips into pieces.
It only takes about 3-5 minutes to heat the tortilla chips in the salsa. Pour the whole thing on a plate when done. Top with cotija cheese, onions, cilantro and sour cream.
I prefer to use tortilla chips because it’s a bit faster and easier, but the traditional recipe will have you cut corn tortillas into triangles and fry them in oil for about 7 minutes until crisp.
Oaxacan Mezcal Cocktail
The word ‘mezcal’ comes from the ancient Mexican language Nahuatl, derived from the word ‘mexcalmetl,’ which means agave.
Mezcal, similar to Tequila, is made by roasting agave and distilling the juice, although the agave used for Mezcal is cooked underground and covered with leaves and earth, which imparts a smoky, earthy flavor that tequila, whose agave is cooked in stainless steel vats, doesn’t have. It was first made by Spanish settlers in Mexico in the 1500s.
These days, most of the mezcal we can find in the U.S. is manufactured in Oaxaca. For our cocktail, you’ll need a bottle of mezcal (it doesn’t have to be expensive, since we’re blending it with other ingredients.
You’ll also need plenty of limes, natural agave nectar, basil leaves and salt for the rim of the glass. Super easy as far as ingredients go, but be prepared to have your world rocked by the flavor of this cocktail. It instantly became my favorite cocktail the second I tried it.
The credit for this drink goes to the Hilton Reforma in Mexico City, where they make it tableside. If you really want to impress your friends at your next party, you could set up your own table-side preparation of the cocktail. Just be ready for everyone to ask for more!
- 1.5 oz lime juice
- 1.5 oz agave syrup
- 2 oz+ mezcal
- 3 small lime wedges
- 3 basil leaves
- Bacon salt
Add lime, lime juice, basil and agave to shaker. Muddle well. Add mezcal to shaker, add ice and shake well. Wet the rim of a highball glass with a lime wedge and salt the rim with the bacon salt. Serve and enjoy!
Alternatives Ways to Make Chilaquiles
As I mentioned earlier, there are many different possible variations for this dish, such as using salsa rojo or salsa verde, using pork or beef instead of chicken, and mixing up the type of cheese or toppings you use. Get creative!
- Use shredded Monterrey Jack cheese and melt it under the broiler
- Use shredded chicken, beef, pork or sausage
- Add a fried egg on top
More Recipes to Try
- How to Make French Tartiflette
- How to Make Portuguese Bacalhau à Minhota
- Global Gourmet: How to Make Argentinian Empanadas
Chilaquiles (corn chips) with shredded chicken and green chile sauce, baked and topped with Mexican cheese
- For tomatillo salsa
- 8 fresh tomatillos, rinsed, husks removed
- 1 onion, chopped into chunks
- 1 serrano pepper, peeled and seeded
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/8 cup chicken broth
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 fresh mint leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- For the Chilaquiles
- 1 13 oz bag tortilla chips or 10 corn tortillas, cut into large triangles
- 8 oz chicken breast, cooked and shredded
- 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
- 2 thin slices onion, separated into rings
- 1/2 cup Mexican crema, creme fraiche or sour cream
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
To make the salsa
- Turn the oven on Broil. Place the tomatillos, chiles, onion and garlic on a baking sheet. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the baking sheet on the top rack, about 1 or 2 inches from the heat, and cook for about 7 minutes, until slightly charred and soft. Once cooled slightly, add all the vegetables, along with the cilantro, mint and chicken broth, to a blender and puree.
To make the Chilaquiles
- If using corn tortillas instead of chips, heat 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in a large frying pan to 325 degrees. Add the tortilla pieces and fry until golden and crisp. Place on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Remove the remaining oil from the frying pan before proceeding.
- Add the tomatillo salsa to the frying pan and simmer over medium heat. Add shredded chicken and stir to coat. Add the tortilla chips and onion rings and gently flip to coat with the salsa, being careful not to break the chips. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the chips to a plate, top with cilantro, crema and queso fresco. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 558Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 714mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 7gSugar: 6gProtein: 22g
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.