How to Use Up Tortillas: Chilaquiles

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Do you have a bag of tortilla chips that got stale because someone didn’t close them up after grabbing a handful? Or some soft tortillas that dried out and can no longer be used for burritos or soft tacos? Then you should consider using them up the way they do in Mexico with a dish called chilaquiles. (Chill-ah-KEY-lays)

I love making meals out of stuff that lots of folks would just throw away and chilaquiles is just such a dish. I had them at a restaurant my first breakfast in Mexico and was immediately hooked. The plate I had was served with beans, potatoes, shredded meat, plus some guacamole for good measure.

They can be served in several different ways but first, let’s talk about what they are. They’re traditionally served as a breakfast food and you can order either chilaquiles rojas (red) or chilaquiles verde (green). It all depends on the sauce you want. It sort of reminds me of a cross between nachos and enchiladas.

Apologies in advance to my Mexican friends for any mistakes I may have made interpreting this recipe. All errors are mine and mine alone.

How to Make Chilaquiles

Here’s how to make chilaquiles.


Toppings of your choice:

  • Cheese (either traditional Mexican cheese or shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack)
  • Crema or sour cream
  • Fresh or freeze-dried cilantro
  • Chopped onions
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Salsa or pico de gallo
  • Guacamole

*NOTE: I often leave off the cheese and crema or only use a teeny bit because dairy and I are not really friends. It’s still delicious.


  • If you are using soft tortillas, you’ll need to bake or fry them until they’re a bit crisp.
  • Then, make (or heat up) the enchilada sauce of your choice in a large saucepan or skillet.
  • Stir in your tortilla chips until they’re coated with sauce.
  • Dish them onto a plate, sprinkle them with crumbled cheese and crema (or sour cream), and any other toppings of your choice, and BOOM – that’s it – you’ve made chilaquiles.

To make the meal more substantial, you can serve it with eggs, beans, or meat. Some restaurants serve it with a sunnyside up egg right on top. And don’t tie yourself down only to breakfast. You can throw some ground beef or chorizo on top and serve it with pico de gallo for a nacho-esque dinnertime meal.

Have you ever made chilaquiles?

Do you prefer red sauce or green sauce? What do you serve them with? Share your chilaquiles tips in the comments.


How to Use Up Tortillas: Chilaquiles
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Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is an author and blogger. She's the single mom of two daughters and credits extreme frugality and a good sense of humor for her debt-free lifestyle. She is the author of numerous books, the editor of, and is the founder of a small digital publishing company in the emergency preparedness niche.

2 thoughts on “How to Use Up Tortillas: Chilaquiles”

  1. We like green enchilada sauce… fresh cilantro, roasted, peeled, green NM chilies…. Makes anything good.
    Flour or corn tortillas are both good. Red or green. Great. Salsa a must. Crema or sourcream awesome topping.
    Add any of: browned hamburger, drained cooked beans – pintos, black beans, refried, red kidney, shredded cooked meat, slices of jalapeno peppers- fresh or pickled, shredded cheddar cheese or jack cheese, finely diced red onion, drained while kernel corn, all good red or green, hot or cold. Hot or cold. Yes awesome sides but pretty good cold on a bed of lettuce with Catalina dressing. Mmmmm

    Love Migas for breakfast or brunch. Simply scrambled eggs with lightly fried diced corn tortillas and some diced onion cooked in. Top with favorites such as sour cream, grated cheese, or salsa. Great sides papas- diced fried potatoes, warmed pinto beans with finely diced jalapeños or refried beans.

    1. Here it is very simple. Tortilla hips, sauce, queso cotija cheese and optional fried egg. Yes, the sauce is the key.

      If the dish has both green and red sauce it called divorce chilaquiles.

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