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January 17, 2024

These chilaquiles are crispy, salsa-drenched tortilla chips topped with cheese heaven! We know they will become your new favorite anytime meal.


chilaquiles on a plate made with homemade tortilla chips topped with cabbage, salsa verde, crema, avocado and a fried egg
Photography by Gayle McLeod

The Best Chilaquiles Verdes Recipe

Chilaquiles, pronounced “chee-lah-kee-lays” and known for their mouthwatering pool of salsa, is a traditional dish from Mexico, usually served in the morning for breakfast and is our favorite alternative to Breakfast Tacos. If you’re looking for an easy, crowd-pleasing breakfast that isn’t your standard scrambled eggs, try chilaquiles! Across the United States, and especially in Texas, chilaquiles are eaten any time of day and can be made from start to finish in less than one hour. This flavorful and simple meal uses tortilla chips as a base for all your favorite toppings, which you might even already have on hand. The secret to the best chilaquiles recipe comes down to the salsa used. We suggest you make your own, like our Salsa Verde recipe, but store-bought will also do just fine when you’re in a pinch! Another star in this dish is crema, which complements the tart and crunchy cabbage. Top with a dash of cheese and a fried egg, and consider that the breakfast of champions.

ingredients in bowls for chilaquiles including fried eggs, corn tortillas, shredded cabbage, salsa verde and sour cream
seasoned cabbage being tossed with tongs made with shredded cabbage, salt, pepper, taco seasoning, white vinegar & olive oil
homemade salsa verde being stirred with a wooden spoon in a skillet
crema in a bowl being stirred with a spatula made with sour cream, taco seasoning, lime juice and heavy cream

What are Mexican Chilaquiles made of?

Three components you simply must use to be considered chilaquiles are freshly fried tortilla chips, salsa which can be rojo or verde (red or green salsa, respectively), and cheese. The difference between chilaquiles and nachos usually comes down to the amount of salsa used and the type of cheese! Chilaquiles is Mexican with a saucy base and typically uses a queso fresco, while nachos, primarily Tex-Mex, have the option of salsa and use a cheese sauce or a monterey jack, cheddar, or easy, yellow melting cheese. For our chilaquiles recipe, we take crunchy Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips, coat them in salsa until a little soft - but not soggy - and then top with crumbled queso fresco. Next, we elevate our toppings by making a seasoned cabbage with vinegar and taco seasoning that gives it an extra crunch. After, we layer on the toppings of choice, including fried eggs, pickled jalapenos, or even pulled chicken! Add cilantro, avocado or guacamole, Pickled Onions, or hot sauce to make it your own. Chilaquiles is naturally vegetarian, but you can even make your version of chilaquiles vegan by using a nut- or soy-based cheese. For a heartier meal, sometimes we pair it with a side of our Instant Pot Mexican Pinto Beans.

homemade corn tortilla chips being fried in vegetable oil in a skillet
homemade tortilla chips sprinkled with salt cooling on a parchment lined baking sheet

What is the difference between Chilaquiles Verdes vs. Chilaquiles Rojos

Depending on your taste buds, you might prefer chilaquiles verdes or chilaquiles rojos! The only difference between the two is the type of salsa used! We love both, but our recipe is Chilaquiles Verdes, which uses a green salsa to combine all the components. Homemade Salsa Verde is best and is commonly made from tomatillos, garlic, cilantro, onion, and jalapenos, but as noted in the recipe, store-bought will also work if you’re short on time! Chilaquiles rojos use a salsa rojo, a red salsa, and given its name from the use of the tomatoes that contribute to the red color. Both salsas, verde and rojo, vary on spice level depending on the types of peppers and ingredients used, and you can always make salsa the way you like it by adding or removing spicy peppers!

homemade tortilla chips in a frying pan drizzled with salsa verde to make chilaquiles
chilaquiles on a plate with a fork surrounded by bowls of toppings: cilantro, red onion, jalapeño, queso fresco and hot sauce

How to Make Chilaquiles

  1. Season the cabbage! Topping your chilaquiles with our signature seasoned cabbage adds a hint of acid and brightness to the cheesy, saucy dish! Don’t skip this step!

  2. Make the tortilla chips! To make the freshest chilaquiles, cut and fry your tortillas directly before serving. Sprinkle salt on the chips as soon as they come out of the fryer. Tight on time? Store-bought tortilla chips will work well here, too.

  3. Make the crema. This sauce is the boss! We mention salsa a handful of times in this recipe, but crema might be the secret sauce, bursting with flavor from the taco seasoning and lime!

  4. Arrange! The best part of making chilaquiles is arranging the tower of chips and customizing your toppings! Pro Tip: This would be an excellent spot for the little ones to help with breakfast!

chilaquiles on a plate made with homemade tortilla chips topped with cabbage, salsa verde, crema, avocado and a fried egg

The Simple Tools You’ll Need for Chilaquiles

Take your Chilaquiles to the Next Level!

Chilaquiles is delicious on it’s own but to make it feel a little more like a meal, you could add:

And, if you love this Mexican-inspired breakfast and are looking for others, we suggest trying:

chilaquiles on a plate made with homemade tortilla chips topped with cabbage, salsa verde, crema, avocado and a fried egg

Did you LOVE your Chilaquiles?

How did your chilaquiles verdes turn out? We want to know! Snap us a photo of your chilaquiles and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

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  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  25 min
  • Calories: 342


Seasoned Cabbage

  • 2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon taco seasoning

Tortilla chips


  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk
  • 2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning

For Serving

  • 4 fried eggs
  • avocado or guacamole
  • queso fresco, crumbled
  • hot sauce
  • jalapeños, thinly sliced or pickled
  • raw onion, white or red onion, thinly sliced
  • cilantro, minced


  1. Make the seasoned cabbage. In a medium bowl mix together cabbage, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and taco seasoning, toss until combined. Set aside.

  2. To make the tortilla chips start by placing a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. When the oil is glistening, add 1/2 of the tortilla wedges and cook until lightly browned on each side, about 1-2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the tortilla chips to a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle lightly with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Repeat this process with remaining tortillas, adding a little more oil if needed.

  3. Drain the oil from the pan. Add the salsa to the pan and heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add all the chips back into the pan. Stir carefully to coat the chips in the salsa without breaking them. Cook until the tortillas are heated through, and slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Taste and season with salt as needed.

  4. In a small bowl mix together the sour cream, heavy cream or milk, lime juice and taco seasoning until fully combined.

  5. Serve the chilaquiles warm, topped with crema, fried eggs, seasoned cabbage and your favorite garnishes: avocado or guacamole, queso fresco, hot sauce, jalapeños, white or red onion or cilantro.

  6. To make this a more hearty meal, serve with pulled chicken or warmed pinto beans.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories342
  • Protein4 g
  • Carbohydrates36 g
  • Total Fat21 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol9 mg
  • sodium851 mg
  • Total Sugars4 g


Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Lisa

    What air fryer do you use and like?

    Philips Essential Digital XL Basket AirFryer is the one we have and we love it

  • Jenn

    Such a delicious breakfast, I did a quicker version with store bought chips and salsa verde but can't wait to do it all from scratch this weekend and have it be even more delicious!

    Thanks Jenn, glad you loved it! Using homemade chips really takes it to the next level!