I developed this recipe for Chilaquiles in partnership with TABASCO, who compensated me for this post. All opinions remain my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Poet in the Pantry!

ChilaquilesEver since I visited Mexico City last year, I’ve had it on my mind to recreate a breakfast I enjoyed there: Chilaquiles. They’re really pretty ordinary–a way to use up leftover/stale tortillas–but there was something about chilaquiles that stuck with me, genius in simplicity, and I vowed to make them myself. Then I lost a good portion of this year to chronic pain and the attempts to manage that and the project was momentarily forgotten.

ChilaquilesThis weekend, they returned to haunt me, luring me out of a warm, cozy bed on a dreary day when I wanted nothing more than to lay there and waste the day away. They’re powerful like that. So I got dressed, headed to the store, purchased the remaining ingredients (because I also can’t seem to remember to buy everything I need lately), braving driving rain and frustrating grocery store patrons so I could relive that experience. It was worth it.

ChilaquilesLike I said, chilaquiles are typically a breakfast dish that aims to use up leftovers. In Mexico, they will lightly fry leftover tortillas for the base of the dish, topping with leftover red or green salsa, shredded chicken or eggs, and cotija. I had to adapt a bit, first because there are few things that will entice me to fry foods. I just hate doing it. I’ve burned myself too many times and it’s a step that I can easily skip with some tortilla chips, which I ALWAYS have on hand anyway. If you have stale tortilla chips, this is a great way to breathe new life in them, avoiding a direct trip to the trash bin. I also have very little interest in making my own salsa. I could, and it’s really not all the complicated, but again, we’re talking about breakfast. Easy is the name of the game, especially if you’re hungover (which some claim chilaquiles are superb at battling). Again, I always have salsa on hand, so it’s not much of a stretch that I might have some leftover salsa, as well, that needs use before it grows science experiments in the fridge. The one big compromise I had to make that I wasn’t pleased about is with the cheese. Queso fresco/cotija would be ideal, but I can’t find them in every store. This time, I ended up in one of the stores that carries no Mexican cheeses, other than the pre-shredded varieties in zip-top bags. So that’s what I used–a shredded Mexican cheese blend–and it works. But it’s better if you can get your hands on cotija and shred that right over the bowl.

ChilaquilesA masterpiece needs its pièce de résistance, and in this case, that would be TABASCO Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce. It adds some heat and dimension, plus it looks really cool drizzled over the sour cream. And you can use a lot of it, if you want. Consider the Tablespoon per bowl a suggestion and feel free to use a heavy hand. Your taste buds will thank you!

The verdict? I think a new weekend breakfast tradition has been born. Waffles are grand, and French toast, too, but sometimes, you want something hearty and filling with very little effort, and lots of protein. For even more, toss some rinsed, drained black beans on top and increase your fiber, as well. With a little planning, this could even become a quick, warm breakfast on weekdays. Change it up with red salsa and TABASCO Family Reserve Pepper Sauce–and find renewed strength to face the day. You’ve got this!

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast/Brunch
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups salsa verde (you'll need 2 16-ounce jars)
  • 4 cups tortilla chips
  • 1⅓ cups shredded chicken (from a rotisserie chicken or leftover)
  • ½ cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 Tablespoons TABASCO Green Jalapeño Sauce
  1. In a medium saucepan, simmer the salsa verde for 5 minutes.
  2. In the bottom of 4 shallow bowls, lay out 1 cup of tortilla chips in each. Top with ¼ cup salsa, ⅓ cup chicken, and another ¼ cup salsa. Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons cheese over the top--if it doesn't melt on its own, you can microwave each bowl for 30 seconds, or until the cheese is melted.
  3. Drizzle 2 Tablespoons sour cream on each bowl and sprinkle 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro on top of that.
  4. Drizzle 1 Tablespoon TABASCO Green Jalapeño Sauce over the top of each and serve immediately.

TABASCO can be found online at and
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