This easy green chilaquiles (chilaquiles verdes) recipe features crispy fried tortillas swimming in homemade salsa verde. Chilaquiles (pronounced “chee-lah-key-lehs”), are a traditional Mexican breakfast of lightly fried corn tortillas in either a red or green salsa. You can bake the tortillas for a lighter version, but my go-to is always to pan fry them.
Chilaquiles are a delicious and hearty breakfast that are really a vessel for lots of toppings! I serve my green chilaquiles with diced avocado, Mexican crema, cotija, and lots of cilantro. You can also top chilaquiles with a fried egg or two and serve them alongside my INSTANT POT REFRIED BEANS for a heartier breakfast.
If you’re looking for an easy gluten-free (and vegan!) breakfast recipe, these green chilaquiles are it! I always top mine with a bit of crema and cheese, but you can omit those for an easy vegan breakfast. For vegan topping options try my quick pickled onions, cilantro, avocado, and cashew crema.
Green Chilaquiles: My Favorite Weekend Breakfast
Chilaquiles are hands-down my favorite breakfast ever! I love making green chilaquiles on a Sunday morning when we have time to lounge and enjoy breakfast. I love the tangy salsa verde and crispy chips topped with a fried egg for extra heartiness.
To make the salsa verde, you roast tomatillos, onion, and jalapeños until blistered and then blend with cilantro and lime juice. Salsa verde is something I always like to have on hand in my freezer because it’s great for making saucy chicken and enchiladas! You can absolutely use your favorite store bought brand, but I do love making my own.
If you plan to make green chilaquiles all in one go, plan for a bit of time and prep. However, it’s all worth it in the end! You can prep the sauce several days in advance which makes the cooking process go that much more quickly.
What are Chilaquiles?
Chilaquiles are a Mexican breakfast dish of fried corn tortillas smothered in red or green salsa. As with any recipe, chilaquiles usually vary by family. Chilaquiles are often eaten alongside refried beans and are topped with anything from onions and queso fresco, to avocado, eggs, and cilantro.
I grew up eating red chilaquiles, but I have come to love green chilaquiles too. One of my favorite brunch restaurants in San Diego served green chilaquiles topped with carnitas, pickled onions, crema, and cilantro and I absolutely had to make my own version.
What is Salsa Verde?
Salsa verde in Spanish literally means “green sauce.” It’s a spicy, fresh green salsa in Mexican cuisine made from tomatillos and green chilies, often jalapeños or serranos.
I used to think that tomatillos were just green tomatoes, but that’s not the case at all! It’s actually made with the distant relative of the tomato, the tomatillo. The tomatillo is part of the nightshade family and is naturally tart. You’ve probably seen the green tomato-looking vegetables with a husk at the store–that’s a tomatillo!
This Salsa Verde recipe is really easy to make from scratch, all you need are tomatillos, onion, jalapeño, lime, and cilantro.
How to Make Green Chilaquiles
This recipe is so easy to make, but it does require a bit of prep work. I recommend making your sauce ahead of time to cut down on cooking time.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Corn tortillas. It’s best to use stale or dry corn tortillas here, they fry up best and crispiest. I’ve tried making this dish with store bought tortilla chips, but very few work well. The only store bought chips I would use are the “restaurant-style” corn tortilla chips from Trader Joe’s.
- Tomatillos. Select smooth, green tomatillos (with a husk). These are not the same as green tomatoes.
- Onion. White onion is traditional here, but you could use yellow or even red onions if that’s what you have.
- Jalapeño. Jalapeño is cut into chunks and roasted with the onion and tomatillos.
- Cilantro. Blending fresh cilantro into the salsa verde gives it freshness. You could omit the cilantro if you’re averse, but it’s just not the same.
- Lime. A little bit of lime juice finishes the sauce.
- Toppings. You can top green chilaquiles however you want! I like diced avocado, Mexican crema, cotija cheese, and cilantro. Other common toppings are avocado, egg, sliced chilies, pickled onions, etc.
- Make the sauce. Toss the quartered tomatillos, onion, and jalapeño together on a baking sheet with salt and pepper and olive oil. Roast at 400 F for 20 minutes, until the tomatillos and onion are soft and a little blistered. Add the roasted veggies to a blender with cilantro and lime juice. Blend until thin enough to pour, adding a little water as necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Fry the tortillas. Cut the corn tortillas into wedges and heat a thin layer of oil in a large nonstick skillet. Fry the tortillas until crispy in batches, adding more oil as necessary. Transfer the crispy tortillas to a paper towel lined try and season with salt. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the skillet.
- Cook the sauce. Add the sauce to the skillet (careful, it’ll splatter a bit!), and cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat until darkened in color.
- Add the fried tortillas. Add the fried tortillas to the sauce and toss to coat. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the tortillas have softened slightly but aren’t soggy. Top as desired and serve immediately.
Baked, Fried, or Store Bought Chips for Chilaquiles
I’m personally always going to opt for fried tortillas for green chilaquiles, but there are other options! If you wanted to bake your corn tortillas until crispy, you can do that too. Brush your tortilla wedges with oil, season with salt, and bake until crispy. Follow the instructions as written afterwards.
If you want to use store bought tortilla chips, you can, but with a caveat. Most store bought tortilla chips are really thin, making them a poor choice for green chilaquiles. That being said, if you wanted to use store bought tortilla chips, my favorite are the restaurant-style tortilla chips from Trader Joe’s because they’re super thick and flavorful.
You could also go to a Mexican market, but again look for thick chips that will hold up to the sauce without falling apart.
How to Serve Green Chilaquiles
Green chilaquiles are best served with all the toppings! You know I’m a toppings gal, so I really like to load them on. I chose diced avocado, Mexican crema, crumbled cotija cheese, and cilantro. You could omit the cheese and crema and these green chilaquiles are vegan. I also love throwing a perfectly fried egg on top!
Because chips can get soggy fast, green chilaquiles are best served right away! Make sure you have your toppings ready to go before you toss the chips with the salsa verde so that serving goes smoothly.
Try serving green chilaquiles alongside refried beans for a hearty Mexican breakfast! If you want to add a protein, I LOVE serving my crispy beer-braised carnitas and pickled onions over green chilaquiles. You could also add some grilled carne asada. The sky is the limit in terms of toppings!
More Mexican-Inspired Recipes to Try Now
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- 16 corn tortillas, cut into wedges
- neutral oil, for frying
- 2 cups salsa verde, store bought or homemade
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2-4 fried eggs
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup crumbled cotija
- 1/4 cup Mexican crema
- If you're making homemade salsa verde, follow the instructions on the ingredient link to make your own.
- Heat a thin layer of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Fry the tortilla wedges in batches until crispy on both sides. Transfer the crispy tortillas to a paper towel lined plate and season with salt. Add oil as necessary as you fry the rest of the chips. After the chips are fried, remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the skillet.
- Add the green salsa verde to the skillet (careful, it'll splatter a little!) and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until darkened in color. Add the crispy tortillas and toss to coat. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the chips have softened slightly but aren't soggy. Top as desired and serve immediately.