Chilaquiles Recipe

A classic Mexican breakfast with eggs, corn tortillas and melted cheese. A concept recipe with many variations.

Not much to look at, but tasty as anything

To quote my Nana, never one to pussyfoot, "It sure looks like the dog's breakfast." Luckily, chilaquiles [pronounced chee-lah-KEE-lehs] taste better than they look because this is classic comfort food: easy, quick, cheap, nourishing.

The 'signature' of chilaquiles is pieces of corn tortilla, fried first and then softened -- but just a bit, some 'chew' is good -- in a milk 'n' cheese sauce. It might have some plant crunch, onion and celery or especially tomatilla, say. Add a fried egg to the top and you've got a hearty breakfast or a quick supper.

Did I mention delicious and addictive? That too. Chilaquiles might 'look' like the dog's breakfast but all the humans will be lapping them up, pronto.

Flour tortillas, even whole wheat tortillas, turn out more mealy than crispy.
Queso fresco is a crumbly slightly dry cheese from Mexico that's increasingly easy to find. But if not, substitute another slightly dry cheese like feta, even Philadelphia cream cheese works beautifully. Do avoid greasy cheeses such as cheddar.
Play with your spice bottles! Add a little taco seasoning, spike it with lemon pepper, deepen the richness with pimenton.
Lately, we've been stirring leftover scrambled eggs into the chilaquiles.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time-to-table: 25 minutes
Serves 4 but easily adapted for one or many
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 4 corn tortillas, broken or cut into bite-size pieces (see TIPS)
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 4 ounces queso fresco (see TIPS)
  • 1/4 cup (or more to taste) milk
  • Salt & pepper (see TIPS) to taste
  • 4 eggs

In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil on medium high. (The oil is hot enough when it sizzles when water is flicked into the skillet.) Drop the tortilla pieces into the oil, keeping them separate with a spatula; let fry until the edges turn brown and crispy. Stir in the onion, celery and garlic and let cook until just beginning to soften. Stir in the cheese, breaking it up a bit. Stir in the milk. Let cook until the cheese is melted but the tortilla pieces are still crispy.

Separately, fry the eggs. (For anyone undone by undercooked eggs, slip the cooked eggs under the broiler for a minute or two, to firm up the top side.) Place the chilaquiles on individual serving plates, top with a fried egg and serve with Fried Bread. Serve, enjoy, repeat the next day.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE (How many calories in chilaquiles? How many Weight Watchers points in chilaquiles?) Per Serving, including the eggs: 311 Calories; 15g Protein; 20g Tot Fat; 8g Sat Fat; 15g Carb; 2g Fiber; 275mg Sodium; 243mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 7 points

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.
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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous8/25/2008

    When I was a girl, my father made chiliquilles for all the kids on Saturday mornings, so that mom could go to the grocery in peace. He usually cooked it with pork sausage.

  2. Anonymous9/06/2008

    I had a friend Crystal who use to make this. Yours look a bit different from hers and I look forward to trying it outg


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