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Chilaquiles are filling, delicious, easy-to-make Mexican breakfast that will make you smile! The tasty and budget-friendly dish is made from crispy tortilla chips covered in a delightful red enchilada and served with various toppings. Cilantro, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and eggs are traditional ingredients in a Chilaquiles recipe. Also, you can get rid of your fridge and use leftover vegetables or even meats. A win for the budget! This recipe is taken from my dear friend Yvette Marquez Shapnack’s new cookbook, Muy Bueno Fiestas.


The term “chilaquiles” comes from the Nahuatl word “chilliaquilitl,” which means “chili-soaked.” The freshly frittered tortilla chips in this recipe are submerged in chili sauce. Traditionally, fried tortillas are made into a salsa that softens the chips. However, Yvette likes her chips a bit crunchier and drizzles the sauce over the chips instead. Chilaquiles can be topped with whatever you want! While trying out the recipe, I found a tiny portion of rotisserie chicken left (the part in the back that no one would like to take in). I took the chicken and then added it to my Chilaquiles. Delicious!


The outstanding feature of Chilaquiles is that you can garnish them with whatever you like and change the toppings for more flavor or a lighter meal. The recipe Yvette has created is pretty traditional. For making these Chilaquiles, you’ll need these ingredients:

Tortilla chips: You’ll need sturdy ones that can stand up to being soaked in sauce and not become too wet. This typically means cooking your tortilla chips, that’s easy and cost-effective. However, if you find the most thick tortilla chips in the restaurant style, You can use them to accelerate the cooking process.

Cooking oilYou’ll use this oil to fry tortilla chips, an oil that is neutral in flavor. Any oil is refined. You can use vegetable oil, corn oil, or even canola.

The sauce is a chile. It’s possible to get this pre-made spicy red chile sauce in the Latin section of most supermarkets. Yvette also has a fantastic recipe that I’ve included in the note section on the following card.

The toppings you chooseIn this dish, we garnished our chilaquiles with slices of green onions and fresh cilantro leaves. Diced avocado shr,eds of Oaxaca cheese, and crumbled queso fresco. If you cannot locate Oaxaca cheese, you can use an already-shredded Mexican cheese mixture. We also use Mexican crema, which the sour cream can substitute. We did not use eggs in the recipe to bring the cost down, but should you want a more substantial breakfast, serve it with fried eggs.


1 cup of cooking oil ($0.16)

Eight corn white or yellow tortillas (8-inch) ($0.72)

1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)

1 10oz. can of red sauce for enchiladas* ($2.49)

1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco ($0.50)

1/2 cup of shredded Oaxaca cheese ($0.80)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves ($0.11)

1/3 cup of green onions sliced ($0.35)

One avocado, diced ($0.99)

Two tablespoons Mexican crema ($0.25)


Cover an oven sheet or a large plate with towels. Arrange eight corn tortillas on top and cut into quarters.

In a large, heavy skillet placed over a medium-high temperature, heat the oil for cooking until it shimmers. Add two tortilla quarters in a skillet one at a time and fry, rotating according to the need, until lightly browned and slightly crispy, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the tortilla quarters onto the paper towel-lined plate and drain. Repeat the process with any remaining quarters of the tortilla.

The red enchilada sauce is heated in a big pan.

Divide tortilla chips between two large plates. Distribute the hot sauce evenly and drizzle onto the tortilla scraps on every plate.

Sprinkle the plates equally with the shreds of Oaxaca cheese, shredded queso fresco, fresh cilantro leaves, chopped green onions, diced avocado, and Mexican crema. Take in the striking contrast of textures, flavors, and temperatures as soon as possible!

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Joseph M. Kay

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