Chilaquiles in a red sauce
Place of origin Mexico
Main ingredients Tortillas, green or red salsa or mole, pulled chicken, cheese, refried beans
Cookbook: Chilaquiles  Media: 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. Pulled chicken is sometimes added to the mix. It is commonly garnished with crema, shredded queso fresco, raw onion rings and avocado slices. Chilaquiles can be served with refried beans, eggs (scrambled or fried), beef and guacamole as side dish.

As with many Mexican dishes, regional and family variations are quite common. Usually, chilaquiles are eaten at breakfast or brunch. This makes them a popular recipe to use leftover tortillas and salsas. They are also served as the last meal in a long wedding party close to morning in what is called a tornaboda.

Chilaquiles are frequently confused with Tex-Mex migas, as each is a dish that uses tortilla chips/strips served primarily in the morning.


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

Regional variations

Chilaquiles with refried beans.

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. In Guadalajara, cazuelas are kept simmering filled with chilaquiles that become thick in texture similar to polenta.

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

History in the United States

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

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chilaquiles.


  1. The English name derives from this Nahuatl word.


  1. 1 2 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.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/16/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.