Red Chile Chilaquiles and SE Arizona-Part II

Red chile chilaquiles made with New Mexico red chile, queso fresco and egg.

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Chilaquiles (chē-lä-ˈkē-lās) is a traditional Mexican dish made with fried corn tortilla chips, a red or green chile sauce or salsa, cheese, fried eggs and complementary toppings.  I was introduced to a Sonoran version of red chile chilaquiles during a recent visit to Tucson. The Sonoran chilaquiles were as simple as they could get – corn tortillas with a tomato-based chile sauce, queso fresco and fried eggs, served with a side of black beans. Simple and hearty, though not spicy, and a very tasty way to start the day.

Following the simplicity of the Sonoran chilaquiles, I’ve been making red chile chilaquiles at home using New Mexico red chile sauce, a Mexican style cheese, some simple toppings, and fried egg. Because there are so many toppings that  complement this dish, you can change the flavors of this dish each time you make it.  It’s a meal you can make over and over again and never get tired of.

The recipe below is a simple red chile chilaquiles and is the basic recipe that I start with.  A list of complementary toppings is provided that make this dish quite versatile and hearty.  No exact measurements are provided because it’s just one of those recipes that you add whatever you want and as much as you want.

The Red Chile Chilaquiles shown in the photos are topped very simply with queso fresco, scallions (white and green parts), cilantro, and a generous squeeze of lime juice.


Red Chile Chilaquiles

Red Chile Chilaquiles - An easy dish with corn tortillas, New Mexico red chile, an egg and topping of your choice. #chilaquiles #redchile @mjskitchen

Red Chile Chilaquiles - An easy dish with corn tortillas, New Mexico red chile, an egg and topping of your choice. #redchile #chilaquiles @mjskitchen
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Red Chile Chilaquiles with New Mexico Red Chile (Recipe)
This recipe has no exact measurements. If you are serving two people, use enough chips for 2 people, enough red chile to coat all of the chips, 1 – 2 fried eggs per person, and as many toppings as you want.

Prep and Cook Time assumes that you already have the red chile sauce.

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Red Chile
Cuisine: Mexican, New Mexico, Southwestern
  • Baked or fried corn tortilla chips* - ~18 - 24 chips / person
  • New Mexico red chile sauce* - ~1/2 cup / person
  • Queso Fresco or Cotija Cheese or your favorite - crumbled or grated
  • 1 - 2 fried eggs / person
Suggested toppings: (Choose as many or as few as you want)
  • Scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • Fresh herbs - Cilantro, chives, parsley
  • Chopped raw onion
  • Black beans or pinto beans
  • Mexican Chorizo (one of my favorites)
  • Shredded Chicken or pork
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Avocado
  • Squeeze of lime
  1. Prepare your toppings and set aside.
  2. Add the tortilla chips to a skillet. Pour the red chile over the chips, toss to coat, and simmer on low until the sauce is hot and the chips just start to soften. Remove from the heat and cover.
  3. In another skillet fry one to two eggs per serving.
  4. Divide the red chile soaked chips between serving plates, top with cheese and any other toppings of your choice. Place a fried egg or two on each serving and enjoy!
Kitchen Notes

Corn Tortilla Chips – Homemade tortilla chips work best because they tend to be a little thicker than storebought.  I make homemade corn tortillas, then cut each tortilla into six wedges and bake in 350ºF oven (turning once) until crisp (about 5 – 7 minutes).  You can use storebought chips, just make sure they are not too thin. Thin chips fall apart and become mushy. Thicker chips work best.


Chile Sauce – I use New Mexico red chile (of course), but you could use your favorite enchilada sauce or salsa – red or green.  It doesn’t need to be spicy, just tasty.  You can also make your own New Mexico red chile from powder  or from red chile pods.


Cheese – A Mexican cheese is best, but Monterey Jack or Cheddar work great.  I personally stay away from a stronger cheese like feta.  It overwhelms the simplicity of this dish IMO.


Mexican Chorizo



Red Chile Chilaquiles - An easy dish with corn tortillas, New Mexico red chile, an egg and topping of your choice.

I haven’t made chilaquiles with green chile yet, but once green chile season gets here, I’ll be giving it a try.


Trip to SE Arizona – Part II:  Tucson

After spending a few days in the San Pedro River Valley, we drove northwest to Tucson where we rented a little quest house on the west side. We began each day with this gorgeous view, looking west from Tucson.

A view west of Tucson, Arizona |

After breakfast each day, we went sightseeing. One morning we spent driving around the Saguaro National Park. What a mystic place.  Miles and miles of huge saguaro cacti, beautiful views and breathtaking landscapes.  I felt like I was on another planet.

View toward Tucson from inside Saguaro National Park |

Among the saguaro you can find a variety of other cacti like the cholla cactus (front), Teddy Bear (center), prickly pear, and  ocotillo.  Much of the cacti were just starting to bloom.  If we had been one week later, I’m sure we would have seen a desert full of color!

Cacti at Saguaro National Park - Cholla, Teddy Bear, and Saguaro (front to back) |

Luckily, there were several saguaro in bloom, a site we’d never seen.  Bobby captured this curved bill thrasher feeding on a saguaro blossom.  “Saguaro blossoms, open less than 24 hours for pollination, rely on the instincts of birds, bees, and other winged insects by day, and moths and bats at night. However, this massive effort is not enough to guarantee that the seeds, as many as 22 million produced in a lifetime, will take root.”  (Text from a park information sign)  Apparently, the seeds eaten by birds are indigestible; therefore, when they discard them, often when perched in mesquite or palo verde trees, the seeds receive enough shelter to sprout and grow.  We noticed several new saguaro growing under the palo verde trees throughout the park.

A curved bill trasher feeding on a Saguaro Bloom ((c) Bob Willis) |

Having been thoroughly entranced by the Saguaro National Park, we went back the next day, but this time, spent the morning going through the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. My favorite part of the desert museum was the cactus garden. So many different cacti and blooming desert flowers.  The yellow blooms below are those the palo verde tree which were in full bloom all over SE Arizona during our trip.  In addition to a huge variety of desert plants, the museum is also home to butterflies, hummingbird, reptiles, a mountain lion and a few deer and big horn sheep.

The cactus garden at the Desert Museum, Arizona |

One morning we spent in Madera Canyon which is south of Tucson.  A narrow short canyon with several hiking trials and a great place to do some bird watching.  On the way back from Madera Canyon we took a short side trip to the Mission San Xavier del Bac.  I’ve been inside several missions, but I have to say that this one literally took my breath away.  I have never seen such ornate decor inside a mission. It seemed as if in over 300 years, 1000 or more artists were given free rein to add their creations to the walls of this mission. Even if you spent a whole day inside, you would not be able to see all of the individual pieces of art. The room is small, but the decor is tremendous!  Please click on this panorama image of the front of the mission to enlarge it.  It should give you a small taste of the intricate decor.

Inside the Mission San Xavier del Bac (C) Bob Willis -located south of Tucson, AZ |

I don’t have a lot to say about the city of Tucson because we didn’t spend much time in the city.  Bobby and I prefer being within this country’s beautiful landscapes and nature, and learning more about it’s history.  Cities are cities – too many cars and too much stress for a vacation.  Give me a desert, canyon or mountain any day.

Hope you enjoyed the red chile chilaquiles and our trip to the Tucson area.  Next post – Chiricahua National Monument.

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38 Responses to “Red Chile Chilaquiles and SE Arizona-Part II”

  1. Raymund June 6, 2017 at 5:46 am #

    This looks like a nice thing to have to start my day!

    • mj June 6, 2017 at 9:27 am #

      Oh it is!!!! 🙂

  2. Yi May 30, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

    I went to AZ March 2016 and it was absolutely beautiful. This chilaquiles dish looks amazing! It’s got all my favorite ingredients and I am salivating just looking at the pictures. Will definitely have to try this soon.

    • mj May 31, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

      Thanks Yi! March 2016…oh my! That was Arizona’s super bloom wasn’t it? We wanted to go, but couldn’t get over there at the time. I bet it was gorgeous!!! Hope you enjoy the chilaquiles.

  3. Marta May 29, 2017 at 11:11 pm #

    I love the pictures from your trip! Now I want to go there 🙂 Chilaquiles looks yummy as well, will have to try it 🙂

    • mj May 31, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

      Thanks Marta! It is a beautiful place and quite different, I’m sure, from the places you have traveled and where you plan to travel with Mia. Looking forward to your pictures once that trip gets underway.

  4. Debra Eliotseats May 29, 2017 at 7:51 pm #

    I love your photos. My niece goes to school in Tucson and is always putting down the surroundings as “boring.” What? Love the dish as well!!!!

    • mj May 31, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

      Thanks so much Debra! That’s funny about your niece. 🙂 We found Tucson boring, but the surrounding areas were very interesting and beautiful. She must not get out much. Ha Ha.

  5. Swathi May 29, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

    Beautiful dish, thanks for introducing me to Chilquiles, I need to try it for my self with your recipe. I need to visit Arizona love those catcus blooms. Pinning and tweeting

    • mj May 31, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

      Thank you and you are most welcome! I enjoyed being introduced to them as well. 🙂 You should make plans to see the cacti blooms i Arizona some year. Hopefully, we can get over there next year a little earlier and see the wildflowers. They are suppose to be gorgeous as well.

  6. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen May 29, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

    I haven’t had Chilaquiles but it looks like something I would love. Love love love the photos of the cactus with flowers.. I haven’t seen one in person.

    • mj May 31, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

      Thanks so much Peachy! Until this recently trip, we had never seen a saguara in bloom either. It’s quite elegant and not at all what I expected for the cactus.

  7. Liz May 29, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

    I learn so much about Mexican food from you, MJ (like pronunciations!). This dish sounds scrumptious—I have a feeling I’d love it with red sauce or green chile sauce. Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos of the desert starting to bloom—what a lovely sight!

    • mj May 31, 2017 at 3:12 pm #

      Thanks Liz! I love studying Mexican cuisine and it’s comparison to New Mexican. There are a lot of similarities, but also some great differences. But any cuisine with chiles, get my total attention. 🙂

  8. Evelyne CulturEatz May 29, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

    Oh that looks truly divine. Just simple but with the best ingredients it is a treat. I never had chilaquiles, ever, so I really feel the need to try this. I appreciate eggs for dinner more and more with age too for some reason. I recently saw a video on Youtube about eh Saguaro National Park, your pics are even better than the video. Love the flowers and the birds explanation. That mission is amazing to see!

  9. Sissi May 28, 2017 at 10:47 am #

    I have never had chilaquiles but this dish looks and sounds fabulous. I get hungry reading your description…. 2 eggs for me please! And a very spicy chorizo too!
    My dream late breakfast dish! (I imagine it would be perfect after a long drinking night too!). I think for once I have all the ingredients available in shops here… time to make the red chile sauce once again!
    Thank you for the beautiful pictures of Arizona! I would love to see one day cacti (is it the correct plural???) growing wild…. They look so magical for a European!

    • mj May 31, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

      Thanks Darlin! I do love putting my chorizo on this. The chile yields quite a kick, but when you add the chorizo, it’s a wake call. 🙂

      Yes, cacti is the plural for cactus. Yep…from all of the photos that I’ve seen of European countries, a desert consisting of cacti is non-existent. 🙂 But you do have quite a bit of other unique landscapes.

  10. 2pots2cook May 27, 2017 at 10:01 am #

    Love your version ! Thank you so much !

    • mj May 27, 2017 at 11:28 am #

      Thanks you two!

  11. It does look super delicious 😀

    • mj May 27, 2017 at 11:27 am #

      Thanks Marta!

  12. Judy Purcell May 25, 2017 at 6:39 am #

    Oh I could add a little sliced avocado and be in breakfast heaven with this recipe! I love the simplicity of it and now I can’t stop thinking about that egg yolk spilling out over the entire thing — thanks MJ, this looks delicious!

    • mj May 27, 2017 at 11:26 am #

      Avocado is a great complement to these! Thanks so much Judy!

  13. Angie@Angie's Recipes May 25, 2017 at 2:26 am #

    I don’t think I have ever had chilaquiles…looks so GOOD! Wish I could taste some now. I love cactus! Thanks for sharing, MJ.

    • mj May 27, 2017 at 11:26 am #

      Thanks Angie! The ingredients for chilaquiles should be relatively easy to get or even make for that matter. Hope you get to try them someday.

  14. Healthy World Cuisine May 24, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

    We love your casual recipes. Perfect for sharing! Loving your photos of your excursion so pretty and love the birds on the cactus- really cool click! Take Care

    • mj May 27, 2017 at 11:25 am #

      Thank so much! Bobby and I are pretty casual eaters, nothing fancy, so something like chilaquiles are right up our alley. 🙂

  15. A_Boleyn May 24, 2017 at 6:15 pm #

    I’ve only made it a couple of times … great dish.

    • mj May 27, 2017 at 11:24 am #

      Thanks A_B!

  16. Deb|EastofEdenCooking May 24, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

    Love your idea of a vacation! Crowds and traffic can be exhausting. Chilaquiles are such a wonderful meal. The variations in chile sauce both sound fabulous!

    • mj May 27, 2017 at 11:24 am #

      Totally agree! Vacations are for relaxation and low, low stress. Thanks Deb!

  17. April J Harris May 24, 2017 at 4:39 pm #

    What amazing scenery you saw on your trip, MJ! I have never been to Arizona but it’s definitely on my list. Loved the photographs and your thoughts about your visit. I’ve never had Chilaquiles but I enjoyed learning more about this traditional dish. It’s definitely something I would enjoy, that is for sure! If you have time, please do share this post at Hearth and Soul this week. We’ve got a new look, and I love to know what you think!

    • mj May 27, 2017 at 11:24 am #

      Thanks April! Well…Arizona is quite a distance from where you are. 🙂 Thanks for inviting me to H&S. It’s been posted!

      • April J Harris May 30, 2017 at 5:35 pm #

        Thank you so much for sharing, MJ! Hope to ‘see’ you again this week 🙂

  18. John/Kitchen Riffs May 24, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

    Chilaquiles? Yes, please. Love them, and your recipe is a winner. Love the thickness of homemade corn chips, too. Never been to Tucson — really have to get there. Love the pictures! Thanks so much.

    • mj May 27, 2017 at 11:23 am #

      They are good aren’t they. 🙂 Thanks John!

  19. Abbe@This is How I Cook May 24, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

    Manservant loves chilaquiles so can’t wait to try these! There is nothing as pretty as Arizona in the Spring. It has been years since I’ve been at that mission, but it is not easy to forget! Great trip!

    • mj May 27, 2017 at 11:13 am #

      Thanks Abbe! Well, I hope you and your manservant enjoy!! 🙂 That mission is unforgettable. It has all the usual religious carvings, but then you see a wooden carving of a Native American woman, two “beasts” guarding the front pulpit and so many other strange and beautiful things.

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