Mexico is known for its culinary arts and diversified cuisine.
Of all dishes, chilaquiles and huevos rancheros is an iconic duo that attracts millions all around the world.
While some people assume that they are nearly identical to each other, many others would defend against this point of view. Indeed, chilaquiles and huevos rancheros have their own distinctive features that cannot be mistaken.
If you have not figured out the differences between chilaquiles vs huevos rancheros, read until the end to get the final answer along with some insightful details of these famous dishes.
Related: Most popular Mexican foods
Chilaquiles is a classic Mexican meal (pronounced “chee-lah-KEE-lays”). They are made of fried tortilla strips cooked in red or green salsa or mole to soften them. Because stale (or store-bought) tortillas may be used, this meal is ideal for repurposing leftovers. It’s frequently served with refried beans on the side.
This hearty breakfast or brunch dish has been dubbed a “hangover cure” for individuals who overindulged the night before. It’s frequently offered at tornabodas, late-night breakfasts after a long wedding event.
Although chilaquiles are popular meals in Mexican households, it’s also available in restaurants, hotels, and street sellers. As with many popular dishes, there are regional differences across Mexico.
Huevos rancheros (pronounced “weoz ranteos”) is a Mexican breakfast meal that consists of two fried eggs on a corn tortilla with tomato salsa or pico de gallo and a spoonful of mashed beans. It’s popular in Mexico as well as in the southern United States.
In terms of history, the name chilaquiles means “chilis and greens” in Nahuatl, an old Aztec language. The meal first debuted in the United States in 1898, when a recipe appeared in the cookbook The Spanish Cook.
Even though it’s been around for a long time, it’s still a Mexican favorite since it’s flexible and created with inexpensive ingredients.
Huevos rancheros translates to “ranch eggs,” which makes sense given the dish’s origins. It isn’t known who came up with the meal huevos rancheros. Although, it’s possible the name says it all, and the recipe came from ranchers.
Ranches, after all, were widespread in Mexico until the 1950s. In Mexico, egg dishes like this were served during almuerzo, a second meal offered to ranch laborers and agricultural workers after finishing their early morning tasks. Then, people began to move from rural regions in huge numbers, bringing their customs and cuisine. Perhaps one of the dishes was huevos rancheros! It’s now a popular meal that can be served at any time of the day.
Fried or scrambled eggs, cheese, chiles, sour cream, raw onions, cilantro, or chorizo are some of the most common components in chilaquiles. In addition, shredded beef or chicken are possible meat options, with chicken being the most popular.
The tortillas are typically cooked in a slightly tart green tomatillo sauce or a spicy tomato sauce in Mexico City. In Central Mexico, on the other hand, crisp tortilla chips are preferred, so instead of simmering them in salsa, the salsa is poured directly onto the chips just before serving.
Cooks in Guadalajara traditionally use cazuelas, a unique cooking pot, to simmer chilaquiles until they thicken into a polenta-like consistency. White sauce, not red or green, can be used to make chilaquiles in Sinaloa.
The dish’s usual ingredients include eggs, beans, rice, and baked potatoes served with corn tortillas and salsa.
However, there are a lot of regional variations. For example, New Mexico uses blue tortillas, Oaxaca uses fried bananas on top, and Arizona uses huevos divorciados (split eggs). One egg receives green salsa, and the other receives red salsa.
Many components in huevos rancheros and chilaquiles are the same. However, fried eggs are covered with warm salsa and served over hot, crispy tortillas in huevos rancheros.
On the other hand, while making chilaquiles, chefs often mix the chips with the heated sauce to soften them before adding the fried eggs on top.
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil for frying
- 12 corn tortillas, cut into 8 wedges each
- Kosher salt
- 4 Roma tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), chopped
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 medium jalapeño, sliced (remove the seeds for a less spicy dish)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, divided
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
- Avocado or guacamole
- Queso fresco
- Fried eggs
- Cook the tortillas in a skillet. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook approximately a fourth of the tortilla wedges, turning once until lightly browned and crisp.
- Drain the tortilla chips and set them aside. On a baking sheet lined with paper towels, drain the newly cooked tortilla chips. Season with a pinch of salt. Repeat until all tortillas are cooked, using additional oil if necessary.
- Make the roja salsa. In a blender or food processor equipped with the blade attachment, combine the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Next, 1 cup of the broth should be poured in. Blend until completely smooth.
- Prepare the salsa. In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook, stirring periodically, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the salsa has slightly thickened (the consistency of the salsa will vary depending on the size and juiciness of the tomatoes).
- If the salsa needs to be thinned out, add more broth. Season with salt if necessary.
- Coat the chips using the salsa. Toss in the tortilla chips and toss gently to coat them. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the tortillas are well cooked. Season to taste with salt if necessary.
- Warm the dish before serving. If preferred, top with avocado or guacamole, crema, queso fresco, and/or fried eggs while still warm.
Huevos Rancheros Recipe
- 15 ounces of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (American style, not cayenne pepper)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 6 whole corn tortillas
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Cotija cheese
- Salsa, for serving
- Sour cream, for serving
- Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
- Add the beans, garlic, chili powder, cumin, lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to a food processor. Blend until you get a purée. Warm the mixture in a microwave-safe bowl until it is well cooked. Set aside, covered.
- Over medium heat, heat a large 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and stir to coat once it’s heated. Lightly toast each tortilla (three at a time if space allows) until browned and bubbling. Place on a platter to cool.
- Set the heat to medium-high in the same skillet until a drop of water sizzles quickly when it comes into contact with it. Reduce the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon of oil, swirling to coat. Crack 3 eggs into the pan (watch out for splatters).
- Allow the eggs to cook for approximately 2 1/2 minutes, or until the edges are crisp and golden and the white is opaque, but the yolk is still liquid. Then, repeat the process using the remaining oil and 3 eggs.
- Sprinkle a little finely shredded Cotija cheese over each tortilla before spreading the bean mixture on top. Place 1 fried egg on top, with a little dollop of sour cream and salsa on the side. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Can I substitute eggs and tortillas with other ingredients?
In my experience, no, you shouldn’t substitute the eggs or tortillas with other ingredients.
Are these dishes popular in Mexican restaurants?
Yes, they are. And you can order them whenever you want — not only in the morning.
What is similar to chilaquiles?
Chilaquiles are similar to another popular Mexican dish, enchiladas. Both dishes involve tortillas that are filled with cheese and/or meat, and then covered in a sauce and baked. They are both delicious and hearty meals that are perfect for a winter dinner.
What part of Mexico are chilaquiles from?
Chilaquiles are a popular dish in Mexico, but they come from different parts of the country. Some people say that chilaquiles originated in the state of Veracruz, while others claim that they are from Oaxaca. No matter where they are from, everyone can agree that chilaquiles are a delicious and hearty dish.
Are chilaquiles supposed to be crunchy?
Some people like their chilaquiles to be crunchy, while others prefer them to be softer. It all depends on your preference. If you want them to be crunchy, you can fry the tortillas before covering them in the sauce. If you would rather have them be softer, you can skip the frying step. either way, they will be delicious.
How can I keep my chilaquiles from getting soggy?
If you are worried about your chilaquiles becoming soggy, there are a few things you can do to prevent it. One thing you can do is to use thicker tortillas. You can also fry the tortillas before adding the sauce, which will help them to stay crunchy. If you prefer a softer texture, you can skip the frying step. Either way, your chilaquiles will be delicious.
How do you eat huevos rancheros?
Huevos rancheros are typically eaten by breaking the egg and mixing it in with the sauce on top of the tortilla. Some people also like to add a dollop of sour cream or guacamole on top. It is a delicious and hearty breakfast dish that will keep you full all morning long.
Why is it called huevos rancheros?
Huevos rancheros means “ranch eggs” in Spanish. The dish is named after the ranchos, or farms, that were common in Mexico. The original recipe for huevos rancheros called for frying the tortillas on a farm stove.
Do Mexicans eat huevos rancheros?
Yes, Mexicans eat huevos rancheros. In fact, it is a popular breakfast dish in Mexico. It is made with simple ingredients and can be prepared in a variety of ways, so it is perfect for any time of the day.
Both these two Mexican dishes are great alternatives for people who are always on the go, due to the short time it takes to prepare them. We hope that by knowing the differences between chilaquiles and huevos rancheros, you can choose the one that best suits you!
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