Red or green? That’s the hardest choice when it comes to chilaquiles, a Mexican breakfast dish comprised of fried tortillas simmered or topped with fresh salsa. Chilaquiles verdes uses salsa verde that’s bright with tomatillos, while chilaquiles rojos leans on the sweeter notes of red tomatoes, which leads us back to the first question: red or green?

My favorite is rojos because it reminds me of my grandma’s cooking. But if green is your thing, the recipe below can easily be swapped with salsa verde. Like with most classic dishes, everyone has their own version. Some chilaquiles are simply topped with salsa so the tortillas remain extra crispy, but I personally like the contrast of textures that comes with a light salsa simmer.

Feel free to get creative with toppings. Queso fresco, sour cream, chopped onion, etc. are all fair game, but don’t skip out on the egg. The runny yolk mixes wonderfully into the warm salsa and makes every bite worth waking up early for.

Recipe: Chilaquiles Rojos

Yield: 4 servings



Make the salsa: Place a large, dry cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add tomatoes, onion, peppers and garlic. Cook until the skins begin to wrinkle and the outside becomes slightly charred, turning occasionally to get color on all sides. Remove from the heat.


In a blender, puree the charred tomatoes, onion, peppers, garlic and water at medium-low speed until the salsa is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Salsa can be made up to two days in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to use.


Fry the tortillas: Heat the vegetable oil in a large cast iron over medium-high heat. Once it begins to shimmer, add one-fourth of the cut tortillas. Cook until both sides are golden brown and crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to soak up any excess grease. Continue frying the tortillas in batches until all are cooked. Remove the pan from heat.


Carefully drain excess oil until you have about 1 tablespoon left in the pan; this is what you’ll use to finish the chilaquiles. (Discard the excess oil or save for another use.)


Place the skillet over medium heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the sliced onion and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the salsa (it will splatter a little) and bring to a simmer. Add the chips and gently fold with a wooden spoon until each one is fully coated in salsa. Then immediately turn off heat and set aside until you’re ready to serve. The chips will continue to absorb liquid, so don’t leave them soaking too long, in order to keep some chips partially crisp.


While the chilaquiles are still hot, fry sunny-side up eggs in a skillet over medium-high heat. Set aside.


Divide the chilaquiles among plates or shallow bowls and top with the fried eggs. Garnish with cilantro and avocado and serve warm with lime wedges and hot sauce.