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Mexican chilaquiles.jpg
Place of origin Mexico
Main ingredients Tortillas, green or red salsa or mole, eggs (scrambled or fried), pulled chicken, cheese, refried beans
Cookbook:Chilaquiles  Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles (Spanish pronunciation: [tʃilaˈkiles]) from the Nahuatl word chīlāquilitl [t͡ʃiːlaːˈkilit͡ɬ] is a traditional Mexican dish. Typically, corn tortillas cut in quarters and lightly fried are the basis of the dish.[1] Green or red salsa or mole is poured over the crisp tortilla triangles, called totopos. The mixture is simmered until the tortilla starts softening. Eggs (scrambled or fried) and pulled chicken are sometimes added to the mix. The dish is topped with cheese (typically queso fresco) and/or sweet Mexican cream (crema), and it is served with refried beans. As with many Mexican dishes, regional and familial variation is quite common.

In central Mexico it is common for the tortilla chips to remain crisp. To achieve this, all ingredients except the salsa are placed on a plate and the salsa is poured at the last moment, seconds before serving. It is commonly garnished with cream, shredded queso fresco, raw onion rings and avocado slices.

Usually, chilaquiles are eaten at breakfast or brunch. This makes them a popular recipe to use leftover tortillas and salsas.

Chilaquiles are frequently confused with Tex-Mex migas, as each is a dish that uses tortilla chips/strips served primarily in the morning. In Guadalajara, cazuelas are kept simmering filled with chilaquiles that become thick in texture similar to polenta.


Nahuatl Names for Chilaquiles[2] 1st Component English Literal pronunciation (IPA) 2ed Component English Literal pronunciation (IPA)
chīlāquilitl [a] chīlātl chile water /ˈt͡ʃiːlaːt͡ɬ/ quilitl edible plant /ˈkilit͡ɬ/
tlaxcalpōpozōn tlaxcalli tortilla /t͡ɬaʃˈkalːi/ pōpozōn foam /poːˈposoːn/

Regional variations[edit]

In Sinaloa, Mexico, the chilaquiles are sometimes prepared with a white sauce.[1]

History in the U.S.[edit]

Recipes for chilaquiles have been found in a U.S. cookbook published in 1898. The book was Encarnación Pinedo's El cocinero español (The Spanish Cook). She included three recipes—one for chilaquiles tapatios a la mexicana, one for chilaquiles a la mexicana, and one for chilaquiles con camarones secos (chilaquiles with dry shrimp).[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The English name derives from this Nahuatl word.


  1. ^ a b Kennedy, Diana (1972). "Tortillas and Tortilla Dishes". The Cuisines of Mexico. Harper & Row. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-06-012344-4. 
  2. ^ Nahuatl dictionary. (1997). Wired humanities project. Retrieved September 9, 2012, from link
  3. ^ Pinedo, Encarnación; Strehl, Dan; Valle, Victor (2005-10-24). Encarnación's Kitchen: Mexican Recipes from Nineteenth-Century California. ISBN 978-0-520-24676-8.