Entrees, Sauces and Condiments

Breakfast Bliss: Chilaquiles Tostadas in Red and Green

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This all started with a brunch meal at the restaurant Harvest in Park City the day after snowboarding. It’s a cozy little space with a focus on breakfast and brunch foods. After loving what I had so much, I decided I needed to try and make it myself. And so my red and green chilaquiles tostadas recipe was born.

This recipe fuses the delightfulness of a crunchy tostada with the depth of flavors of chilaquiles.

It’s a symphony of crunchy tortillas soaked in a pair of flavorful sauces, topped with a sprinkle of cheese and a perfectly runny egg. There’s no better way to kickstart your day than with this fusion of Mexican dishes.

A tempting plate of breakfast chilaquiles tostadas, a feast for the eyes and the taste buds

For some reason, I’ve never been a big fan of plain eggs and bacon for breakfast. I like to add to it and make it more of a full dish – like my fully loaded breakfast burrito recipe. And so that’s why I like this twist on a Mexican tostada breakfast.

It’s a simple yet exquisite balance of flavors, with both red and green sauces, giving you the best of both worlds. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the tangy tomatillo or the rich depth of a guajillo chili sauce, breakfast chilaquiles tostadas will have you covered. I’m talking layers of texture and taste that’ll have you closing your eyes in contentment with every bite.

What are Chilaquiles Tostadas?

This is a combo recipe fusing the best of chilaquiles and tostadas together into a single tasty dish. Their powers combine for an unstoppable force of flavors.

But where do the original two dishes – chilaquiles and tostadas – come from?

Homemade red and green salsas make the best chilaquiles tostadas recipe

Origin of Chilaquiles

Now, let’s gently wade into the waters of history with chilaquiles. The word chilaquiles comes from the Nahuatl word “chīlāquilitl,” which essentially translates to edible chili water. So it’s an old Aztec recipe – it clearly must be delicious if it has stuck around this long.

Traditional chilaquiles were made as a way to use up leftover tortillas and salsas. They’d take tortillas that were beginning to dry out, cut them up, and fry them. Then cook them with green or red salsa. The result was a comforting meal with less waste.

It frequently is now made with stale tortilla chips. And there are a lot of regional variations of the dish with different toppings, methods, and flavors.

Origin of Tostadas

Coming from the Spanish word meaning toasted, tostadas refer to a variety of dishes using a toasted or (now more commonly) fried tortilla as a base.

Another creative way to use up old tortillas that had become too dry/hard to roll, toasting or frying them became a new way to breathe life into something stale. It doesn’t hurt that the crunchy texture is just so satisfying.

These flat, fried foundations became a canvas for creativity. You can basically top them with anything your heart desires.

So, let’s combine these two similar concepts to make chilaquiles tostadas.

Ingredients for Breakfast Chilaquiles Tostadas

This delicious tostada breakfast with a twist requires a fair bit of ingredients. The majority of our ingredients today are used to make the two salsas and the rest are almost all optional toppings.

We’re going homemade with the salsas today – though I guess you could find some premade salsa (or leftovers) and speed up the whole recipe. Whether it’s the vibrant kick of a salsa verde or the smoky depth of a salsa roja, the sauce is the soul of the dish, infusing it with bold, authentic flavors.

Fresh ingredients for the best chilaquiles tostadas recipe, including tomatillos, a variety of peppers, tomatoes, and cilantro

Fresh ingredients are key.

Tomatillo, pepper, tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime. All of these ingredients pack so much vibrant flavor when they are fresh. Even the dried peppers should be fresh(er). You don’t want ones that you bought years ago for that one dish you never made and they’ve been sitting neglected at the back of your pantry until now. As with most spices and seasonings, they’ll lose potency over time.

One of the few ingredients that doesn’t need to be fresh is the tortilla. These can be a little on the stale side. They will likely even fry better if they’re a little older since they’ll have less moisture. But fresh works too.

Preparing the Red Sauce

Chilaquiles are typically served either rojo or verde. This refers to the red or green sauce that the tortilla chips are cooked in. But, I say, why not have the best of both worlds and make both sauces to enjoy?

Now, let’s focus on crafting that rich red sauce. We’ll saute and simmer tomatoes, dried peppers, and aromatics. Then blend it all into a smooth and delicious salsa roja for topping the best chilaquiles tostadas recipe.

Progression of making red salsa - simmering tomatoes, peppers, and spices for flavorful chilaquiles tostadas

Ingredients and Equipment

Let’s gather our tools and ingredients.

The tools are pretty simple – a medium-sized saucepan, something to stir with, and a blender.

For the salsa itself, we’ll need dried guajillo chilis and a few dried árbol chiles. The árbol chilis will add a fair bit of spice. So adjust based on your desired spiciness. Some tomatoes help bulk up the base of the sauce. Garlic, onion, sea salt, black pepper, lime juice, cumin, and Mexican oregano help round out the flavors of the salsa.

Cooking Steps

First off, we’ll cook the guajillo and árbol chiles in vegetable oil over medium heat with the garlic, onion, and tomatoes. This process is called blooming and it really helps coax out the flavors.

Prepping to blend the salsa roja into a smooth and delicious sauce

Next, add some water to the pan and bring it to a simmer. This helps to soften everything up, making it easier to blend – especially the dried peppers.

Once that’s all set, everything goes into the blender with water, salt, pepper, lime juice, cumin, and oregano. Blend it all until smooth. And voila – you’ve made the first salsa. If it is a little too thick then add a small amount of water (1/4 cup or less) and blend it again until it reaches a great consistency.

Preparing the Green Sauce

Now for the green salsa. Luckily, it’s basically the exact same steps as the red one but with a few different ingredients.

With fewer peppers, this salsa should be a little milder than our red counterpart. It is more herbal and fresh-tasting than the kind of roasted flavor of the red.

Ingredients and Equipment

Use the same tools as the red sauce. A pan, a stirrer, and a blender. I made them at basically the same time and just rinsed everything between the different salsas.

You’ll need tomatillos and jalapeños. Once again you can control the heat level by adjusting how many jalapeños you add to the pot. Cilantro, garlic, onion, lime juice, salt, and pepper help round out the flavors.

With a few less spices, this sauce focuses more on the fresh ingredients – especially the tomatillos and cilantro.

Cooking Steps

Start by blooming the tomatillos, jalapeños, onion, and garlic in olive oil. Then add in the cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper with a bit of water and bring it to a simmer.

Cook until everything softens up a bit and then pour it into the blender.

Turn it on and let the blender do what it does best until the sauce no longer has any chunks.

Seasoning and Finishing the Sauces

I find that it is always best to taste food as you go along and make adjustments. So test out both of your sauces and see if it needs any last adjusting.

Salt, pepper, lime, cumin, oregano. All of these would be easy additions to fine-tune the taste. Just stir a little bit in at a time and remember not to overdo it.

Frying the Tortillas

Now we’re looking for the perfect crunch. Turning tortillas into a crackling crumbly crisp is not too difficult. Just a little oil at the right temperature. And making sure to watch it like a hawk so it doesn’t burn.

Be careful, hot oil is hot.

Frying up corn tortillas for a crispy base to this breakfast delight

Type of Tortillas

The tortillas. When it comes to picking the right type, corn tortillas are the way to go. They have this fantastic ability to crisp up beautifully, giving you that delightful crunch with every bite. Flour tortillas tend to be a bit thicker and will fry up differently.

Within the corn tortilla genre, you can typically find white and yellow corn tortillas. It doesn’t matter a whole ton which you choose between the two. Just whichever you’d prefer. I happen to think that the yellow corn tortillas really look great as the fried tostada shells.

The Right Amount of Heat

Time to get the temperature just right for frying those tortillas. It’s key to find that sweet spot where the oil is hot enough to crisp up the tortillas without scorching them. You’re aiming for a gentle sizzle, not a raging inferno. But too cold will also make the tortillas take too long to cook, allowing them to soak up too much oil.

Heat the oil up on medium to medium-high heat, depending on if your burner tends to run hot or not. If your burner usually runs hotter, stick to the medium end of things and then slowly increase the temperature if it is not high enough.

After the oil has preheated, test it with a small piece of tortilla. If it bubbles around the edges without going berserk, you’re good to go. It’s about patience and precision; too low and you’ll end up with oily, limp tortillas, too high and you risk a smoky kitchen and bitter-tasting tostadas.

A stack of golden fried corn tortillas awaiting flavorful red and green salsas for the ultimate chilaquiles tostadas

Not Overfrying the Tortillas

It’s easy to get a little too enthusiastic, waiting for that perfect golden crispness, but keeping a watchful eye is key. You’re aiming for a delightful crunch, not a charred chip. Overdoing it can lead to bitter flavors and an unwelcome toughness. Instead, fry each tortilla just until it starts to show a light brown blush and it mostly holds its shape when picked up rather than flopping around.

Remember, they’ll continue to cook for a short while even after you’ve taken them out of the oil, so err on the side of undercooked. The magic happens in those last few seconds; pull them out and let them rest on a paper towel-lined plate.

Sprinkle each fried tortilla with a bit of salt after taking it out of the oil – both sides if possible. This will lead to a delicious tostada breakfast experience.

Topping the Chilaquiles Tostadas

With the salsas made and the tortillas fried, it’s time to top our spicy tostada breakfast. The toppings are where you can really customize your chilaquiles tostadas to make them your own. Add some refried beans, Mexican rice, or grilled poblano corn salsa to round out a full breakfast or brunch meal.

The art of plating a quick tostada breakfast, creating a breakfast masterpiece for a delightful start to the day

Adorning with an Egg

A sunny side up egg is almost required to truly make a traditional tostada breakfast. As you cut into it, the rich, creamy yolk slowly cascades down, mingling with the other ingredients, adding a luxurious texture and depth of flavor.

I find that there’s something truly comforting about the warmth and simplicity of this addition. It is also the main topping that tends to identify this recipe as more of a breakfast and brunch item.

But you can feel free to mix it up with the egg. Try it over easy, scrambled, or poached. However you prefer your eggs, you can place them on top of the tostadas.

Choosing the Perfect Cheese for Chilaquiles

To make the best chilaquiles tostadas recipe, we really do need to add some cheese. But we do have a few options. Queso fresco and cotija cheese. Or, if you are feeling truly inauthentic, a shredded cheddar-jack mix. That’s an option but I highly recommend one of the other cheeses.

We’ll want something that harmonizes with the overall dish and you’ll want something based on your own tastes.

Queso fresco, with its mild yet tangy flavor, is a classic choice. It offers a creamy texture and flavor that’s hard to resist.

If you’re after a bolder taste, cotija cheese can be your go-to. This crumbly, salty cheese adds a punch of flavor that can elevate the entire experience.

Both of these cheeses tend to come in smaller-sized wheels that you can easily crumble with a fork. They’re fresh, simple, and the perfect compliment to our breakfast chilaquiles tostadas.

Chilaquiles Tostadas Toppings

A lot of traditional taco toppings can also be used for topping this dish.

Make it a create-your-own special by having a variety of toppings available and let everyone sprinkle their own on top. That way everyone gets what they like most.

Serving a delicious breakfast or brunch with a side of refried beans and avocado

Give it a fun, spicy kick with a drizzle of some spicy chipotle crema.

Have a variety of textures and flavors available to give options. Try any or all of the following:

  • Minced onion
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Crema or sour cream
  • Sliced or diced avocado
  • Sliced radish (one of my personal faves for its crisp crunch)
  • Green onion
  • Hot sauce (I love Cholula)
  • Tajin Seasoning
  • Lime wedges

How did yours turn out?

I’d love to hear when you try out red and green chilaquiles tostadas! Take a pic of your food and share your success with me by adding it to your Instagram stories or feed, and tagging me @doyouroux, or by using #doyouroux.

Plus, leave a rating to let me know how you liked the recipe. It helps me out a lot to know how things worked out… or didn’t.

Red and Green Chilaquiles Tostadas

Recipe by Marc PetersonCourse: Breakfast, BrunchDifficulty: Intermediate


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Experience breakfast bliss with a red and green chilaquiles tostadas recipe. Crispy tortillas, vibrant salsas, and perfectly fried eggs.


  • Red Salsa
  • 5 dried guajillo chilis

  • 0-2 dried árbol chilis, depending on spice level

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 medium tomatoes, quartered

  • 1/2 cup sliced white onion

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced

  • 2/3 cup water

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

  • Green Salsa
  • 6 tomatillos

  • 1-4 jalapeños, depending on spice level

  • 1/2 cup sliced white onion

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • Tostada Shells
  • 12 corn tortillas

  • Oil for frying

  • Salt for sprinkling

  • Toppings
  • Queso fresco (creamier) or cotija cheese (saltier)

  • Onion

  • Cilantro

  • Sour cream/crema

  • Avocado

  • Radish

  • Green onion

  • Hot sauce

  • Tajin seasoning

  • Sunny side up eggs


  • Red Salsa
  • Remove the stem from the dried peppers and deseed them
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the dried peppers, tomatoes, onion, and garlic and cook while stirring for 3 to 4 minutes until fragrant
  • Add the water and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until the dried peppers and tomatoes begin to soften
  • Pour everything from the saucepan into a blender and add in the salt, pepper, lime juice, cumin, and oregano
  • Blend until smooth, strain if necessary and add water a few tablespoons at a time if it is too thick to pour out of the blender
  • Reserve for topping the tostadas, or store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week
  • Green Salsa
  • Remove the husk from the tomatillos and rinse them off, remove the stem from the jalapeños then slice and deseed them
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the tomatillos, jalapeños, onion, and garlic and cook while stirring for 3 to 4 minutes until fragrant
  • Add the water, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes
  • Pour everything from the saucepan into a blender
  • Blend until smooth, strain if necessary and add water a few tablespoons at a time if it is too thick to pour out of the blender
  • Reserve for topping the tostadas, or store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week
  • Tostada shells
  • Heating oil over medium to medium-high heat in a pan, with the oil coming up between a half-inch and an inch up the side of the pan – let the oil get hot but not smoking
  • Test a small piece of tortilla in the oil, gently adding it to the pan and seeing if it bubbles gently – no bubbles is not hot enough, violent bubbling is too hot
  • Gently place each corn tortilla into the hot oil, frying them one at a time until they achieve a golden-brown, crispy texture – usually about 1 minute per side
  • Carefully transfer the fried tortilla to a paper towel-lined plate, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and repeat this process until all tortillas are fried (if your pan is large enough you can fry multiples at once)
  • Load the crispy tostadas with the red and green salsas, a fried egg, and whatever other toppings are desired


  • The red and green salsas can be made ahead of time and stored in airtight containers in the fridge, no more than 5 days early

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