How to make Chilaquiles Verdes from scratch with a bold roasted Hatch chile green salsa, grilled lime chicken, and freshly-fried tortilla chips.
When you’re looking to whip up something a little different for dinner, Chilaquiles are the way to go.
Sure, they are typically thought more of a breakfast or brunch food topped with a fried egg but these chile sauce-soaked tortilla chips are excellent for an easy going weeknight dinner. Especially when you’re fiercely hungry!
The nice thing about chilaquiles is you can turn them in a million different directions depending on your mood or the ingredients you have on hand. Use red salsa instead of green, leave off the chicken to keep them vegetarian, we’ll go through some variations below. Just know, the options are endless!
It is a one-dish dinner but if you’d like something more, serve with refried beans and extra salsa.
what are chilaquiles verdes?
We’ve talked a lot about chilaquiles around here so I’m sure you’re familiar but if not, chilaquiles (pronounced Chee-la-KEE-lays) are a traditional Mexican dish of corn tortillas, cut into pieces, lightly fried, and tossed in salsa.
They are a savvy cook’s way of turning day-old tortillas and leftover salsa into something delicious. Chilaquiles are typically topped with a fried egg or have an egg scrambled in with them but many cooks also mix in any leftover cooked chorizo or black beans they might have on hand too.
Chilaquiles verdes are cooked with a green tomatillo salsa. In our case we are making a roasted Hatch Chile salsa that is tangy, vibrant but not that spicy.
what you’ll need
For this recipe we are making everything from scratch: the tortilla chips (or totopos), the grilled chicken, and the salsa. See below for some easier variations using grocery store swaps.
- 1 recipe homemade salsa verde
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs
- Olive oil
- Several limes for seasoning the chicken and squeezing over the finished chilaquiles.
- Corn tortillas. The best chilaquiles are made with tortillas that are a few days old.
- Avocado or vegetable oil, for frying
- Kosher salt
- Garnishes: Sour cream, queso fresco, avocado, cilantro, Cotija cheese. The garnishes are everything here, so do skip. These are just a few suggestions but let your heart be your guide.
how to make chilaquiles verdes
Make the salsa
Make a batch of homemade Roasted Hatch Green Chile Salsa. You won’t use it all for this recipe but I like to make a lot so I have some to spoon over the chilaquiles at the table.
Fry the tortilla chips
Cut the tortillas into wedges. Heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat in a large (like 14-inch) frying pan. I like to use avocado oil because it can get really hot without burning and has a clean flavor.
Test to see if the oil is hot enough by sticking a wood chopstick in the oil. If it is immediately covered with bubbles the oil is ready to go. If not, give it a few more minutes to heat up.
Once the oil is hot, add the tortilla wedges, a handful at a time, don’t crowd the pan. Let them fry until golden brown on both sides. I think a good pair of kitchen tongs are the best tool for turning the chips. Remove to a paper towel lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
Repeat with the remaining tortilla wedges.
Grill the chicken
Rub the chicken pieces all over with a tablespoon of oil and the juice and zest of 1 lime. Sprinkle generously with salt and grill on an outdoor grill or in a grill pan.
Cook until firm and cooked through, about 15 minutes total. Slice into thin slices.
Make the chilaquiles
Pour off the oil you used to fry the tortillas into a heat-proof bowl, saving about 1/4 cup in the frying pan. Heat over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking.
Add the salsa and cook, stirring and frying the sauce in the oil. Be careful with this step, the sauce will sputter pretty fiercely when it hits the oil. The more you stir the faster it will calm down.
Once the sauce is boiling rapidly, add the tortilla chips and chicken and gently toss to coat in the sauce.
You can either cook them briefly in the sauce so the chips stay crunchy (my preference) or cook them longer so the chips really soak up the sauce (Guadalajara-style).
Hot Tip: If you don’t have a large (like 14-inch) frying pan, use a Dutch oven instead.
Garnish and serve!
Divide between 4 plates and pass the garnishes at the table so people can top how they please. I highly recommend the sour cream + avocado combo!
Store bought swaps for an easier version
Essentially everything here can be swapped for a store bought version if you are looking to make chilaquiles in under 30 minutes. Make the salsa but buy the chips. Make the chips but use cooked chicken. It’s totally up to you! Here are my suggestions:
Enchilada Sauce: Use store bought enchilada sauce if you’d rather not make the green salsa yourself. You can use either green or red sauce. Either one will work.
Store bought tortilla chips. If you really don’t want to make the chips you can use store bought, but I do think they make rather soggy chilaquiles. If I encourage you to make one thing in the dish, it would be the chips.
Shredded chicken. Buy rotisserie chicken and shred it instead of grilling the chicken yourself.
More Mexican-Inspired Dinner Recipes You’ll Love
- Tangy Green Tomato and Beef Chili
- Shredded Beef for Tacos
- Poblano, Corn, and Queso Fresco Taquitos
- Authentic Chile Relleno Recipe
- Step-by-Step Huaraches Recipe
- Caldo de Res
- Mushroom and Cheese Vegetarian Enchiladas
Go ahead and make ’em already!
You know you want to. These chilaquiles verdes are so darn delicious you will find yourself turning to this recipe again and again. Let me know when you do by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) ! Also, sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!
How To Make Chilaquiles by Gabriela Cámara for Masterclass
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