Chilaquiles Rojos

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
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Crunchy tortilla chips with mildly spicy tomato salsa make the best Chilaquiles Rojos you’ve ever tried. Topped with cotija cheese, avocado, and crema, every bite is satisfying and creamy.

The Best Mexican Breakfast Recipe

Ready in 25 minutes, nothing beats a large bowl of crunchy chilaquiles rojos in spicy homemade salsa. Plus, they only require 10 ingredients and can probably come together with what’s already in your fridge and pantry.

Even if you’re not in the mood to get out of bed, this comforting bowl of salsa-packed goodness is waiting to come together and put a smile on your face. As an added cheat, they use store-bought tortilla chips, making them perfect for lazy mornings.

A fried egg or rotisserie chicken also takes them from a meatless meal to a protein-packed one in seconds. With all your favorite toppings like crema and diced onion, this classic Mexican breakfast is packed with crunch, richness, and brightness.

Make sure to also try out this salsa verde option, Chilaquiles Verdes!

Close-up of salsa rojo spread over tortilla chips with crema, cotija cheese, and cilantro.

What Are Chilaquiles?

Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican breakfast. They’re made with bits of corn tortillas that are deep-fried until golden and crispy. Once that’s done, they’re tossed in salsa (red or green).

The toppings tend to be the same across the board: cilantro, onion, avocado, fried egg, crema, and cotija cheese. Shredded chicken or beef are common too.

They’re also a popular hang-over dish, loaded with all kinds of textures and flavors without lots of fat.

What Are They Made Of?

Chilaquiles consist of three components: salsa, tortilla chips, and toppings. The ingredients will depend on the type of salsa, but the red one is made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, and chile serrano.

Are Chilaquiles Spicy?

They can be, but not necessarily. The amount of chile you add to the salsa will determine how spicy they are.

What Do They Taste Like?

They taste like your favorite tortilla chips drenched in delicious (sometimes spicy) tomato salsa. Once the toppings are added, they’ve got a nice combination of crunchiness, tanginess, and creaminess.

Ingredients for chilaquiles arranged in bowls on a counter top.

Recipe Ingredients

You won’t believe the amount of flavor the salsa has with only a handful of ingredients. For exact amounts, check the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Roma tomatoes – Heirloom tomatoes are great substitutes if you remove most of the seeds.
  • Water – Chicken or veggie broth will make a flavorful salsa too.
  • Serrano – You can swap it out for jalapeño for a milder heat.
  • Garlic – I prefer fresh garlic, but you can also use 1/2 tsp garlic powder for every clove in the recipe.
  • Onion – White or yellow onion is fine.
  • Cilantro – Leave it out if you want.
  • Vegetable oil Canola and corn oil work great too. You can also use lard.
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Tortilla chips: You can use store bought or make your own Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips. Have an air fryer? I also have an easy Air Fryer Tortilla Chips!

Toppings Ideas

Don’t forget to add some of these to give your breakfast some personality. Find your favorite combination of them!

  • Cotija cheese – Crumbled queso fresco works too.
  • Mexican crema – You can also use sour cream.
  • Fried egg
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Onion – Use red or white.
Chilaquiles rojos in a bowl with crema, cotija cheese, and cilantro.

How to Make Chilaquiles Rojos

You’re only 4 steps away, so let’s get started!

  • Boil the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes, serrano, and water to a small pot over medium-high heat. Let it boil for 10-15 minutes or until the tomatoes start to peel by themselves. Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside. Don’t discard the cooking liquid.
  • Blend the sauce. Run the tomatoes under cold water until they’re cool enough to handle. Peel them and place them in the blender. Add the serrano, onion, garlic, cilantro, and 1 cup of cooking liquid. Process until you get a smooth mixture.
  • Cook the sauce. Add the oil to a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add the sauce to the pot. Bring it to a boil and let it cook for 5 minutes or until it begins to thicken slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the consistency with more water or broth. Remove it from the heat and set it aside.
  • Serve. Place tortilla chips on a plate and ladle warm salsa on top. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy.

Tips for Success

Follow these simple tips to ensure a delicious breakfast:

  • Add chicken. Top your dish with shredded chicken or beef for some extra protein. Or if you have some leftover, shredded Birria is delicious on top of this dish.
  • Score the tomatoes. Use a sharp knife to carefully score an “x” on the bottom of the tomatoes before boiling them. The skin will peel off much more easily.
  • How spicy do you like? I use a serrano in this recipe, which adds the perfect amount of spicy heat. If you like things a little more on the mild side, swap out the serrano pepper for a jalapeno (and make sure you remove the seeds as they hold a lot of the heat!).
  • Make your own tortilla chips. Slice the tortillas into even pieces, about 3″. Place them in a pan with oil over medium heat and fry them for 5-6 minutes, stirring constantly, until crispy and golden brown. If you want to go for the gold, you could even start with our own Homemade Corn Tortillas!
Chilaquiles in a bowl with crema, cotija cheese, and cilantro.

How to Serve Chilaquiles Rojos

Once you add your favorite toppings, these are great with a side of Easy Refried Beans and Calabacitas. For drinks, enjoy them with coffee or tea— just no milk, please.

Can Chilaquiles Be Made in Advance?

No, once fully prepared the tortilla chips will lose their crunch if prepared in advance. However, you can prepare the salsa and toppings a couple of days beforehand and store them both separately.

Close-up of chilaquiles rojos with crema, cotija cheese, and cilantro.

How to Store Leftovers

Refrigerate the salsa in a separate airtight container for up to a week. You can also freeze it in a freezer-friendly bag or container for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight a day before you’re ready to serve.

Heat the salsa by microwaving it for up to a minute or until warm. You can also do it in a small pot over medium-low heat for 4-6 minutes.

More Mexican Breakfast Recipes

Recipe card image for chilaquiles rojos
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 4 servings

Chilaquiles Rojos

Lots of tomato salsa and tortilla chips make the perfect bowl of chilaquiles rojos. With crema and cheese, it's an easy Mexican breakfast. 
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes


  • 6 roma tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups water, or broth
  • 1 serrano pepper, or jalapeño
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup diced white onion
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper
  • Tortilla chips, warmed

For the Toppings:

  • Crumbled Cotija Cheese, or queso fresco
  • Mexican Crema, or sour cream
  • Fried Egg
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Diced Onion, red or white


  • In a small saucepan, add the tomatoes, serrano chili, and 1 ½ cups of water. Let it boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to peel by themselves. Remove from the heat. (Do not discard water that the vegetables boiled in. You will need it again.)
  • Peel your tomatoes and place them into a blender (or food processor) together with the serrano pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro, and 1 cup of the water used to boil the tomatoes. Blend until smooth. 
  • Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Add the pureed sauce into the pan and add salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken a bit. If you would like it thinner, you may add more of the water used to boil the tomatoes. It all depends on the consistency of the sauce you prefer. Set it aside.
  • Place tortilla chips on a plate, top with the warm salsa, and garnish with all the toppings you desire! 


Storage: One assembled Chilaquiles need to be served immediately. The chips will get soggy and will not be good later. However, you can prepare the salsa ahead and store it in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to a week!


Serving: 1, Calories: 228kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 625mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 5g


Post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.