Guajillo Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles al Guajillo
Recipe from Season 4, Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 4


  • 8medium (2 ounces total)dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into flat pieces
  • 114.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted), drained
  • 4large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2tablespoons vegetable oil (divided use)
  • 3cups chicken broth
  • 1/4tsp sugar
  • Salt
  • 8ounces (8 to 12 loosely packed cups, depending on thickness) thick homemade-style corn tortilla chips (such as the ones you buy at a Mexican grocery)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1small white onion, thinly sliced
  • About 1/3cupMexican crema, créme fraiche or store-bought sour cream thinned out with a little milk
  • 1/2cupMexican queso añejo or other dry grating cheese such as Romano or Parmesan


Toast the chile pieces a few at a time in a dry heavy skillet or on a griddle heated over medium, pressing them flat against the hot surface with a metal spatula until they are aromatic, about 19 seconds per side. In a bowl, rehydrate the chiles for 20 minutes in hot tap water to cover; place a small place on the top to keep the chiles submerged.

Use a pair of tongs to transfer the rehydrated chiles to a food processor or blender. Measure in 1 cup of water, add the tomatoes and garlic and process to a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium (4- to 5-quart) pot or Dutch oven or a large (12-inch) deep skillet over medium-high heat—you’ll need a lid for whichever vessel you choose. When hot, add the chile puree and stir until nearly constantly until reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about 7 minutes. Add the broth, partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Season with sugar and salt, usually about 1 scant teaspoon. You should have about a generous 4 cups of brothy sauce.

Just before finishing the chilaquiles, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the eggs and cook on one side just until set, sunny-side up.

Raise the heat under the seasoned sauce to medium-high. Stir in the chips, coating all of them well. Let return to a rolling boil, cover and turn off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes (no longer).

Uncover the pot and check that the chips have softened nicely—they should be a little chewy, definitely not mushy. Spoon onto warm plates. Drizzle with the crema (or its stand-in), strew with the sliced onion and dust generously with the cheese. Transfer an egg to each portion and serve right away.


  1. I love your receipts, they are simple and delicious.
    Best wishes to you and your family.

  2. Just curious about the types of liquid used ….
    Why would you drain the tomatoes if you then add water back to them, to blend the toasted chiles into a puree ?

    I realize the toasted chile soaking water can be bitter (if the chiles get blackened).
    Why use plain water at all ?… as opposed to using the tomato liquid + stock/broth ?

    I LOVE chilaqules !!!
    I’ll sneak a little smoked chipolte chile in there too.

  3. I now made this with dried red Hatch chiles (similar to New Mexico chiles) and one smoked Moreno chile.
    And I used pork lard to fry the puree.

  4. This recipe really needs thick tortilla chips – the regular store-bought ones turn to mush. Unfortunately, I don’t have a Mexican grocery anywhere convenient. Fortunately, it’s actually really easy to make your own – just chop up a bunch of corn tortillas into wedges and fry, making sure to take them out a little before they look done, since they continue cooking for a little bit afterward.

    Also, when making this recipe with 8-10oz of chips, I usually wind up with a fair bit of extra sauce, but that’s not a bad thing. A spoonful of the sauce goes well over the top of a quesadilla, some grilled veggies, just about anything really.

  5. I am obliged to make this dish. Today I ran across an ancient scrap of paper with scribbled bullet points to an unlabeled recipe. The kind of thing you do when watching broadcast TV with no pause button. i said, “I know who this is.”, came here to look, and here it is! I watched the first seven years of your show on PBS religiously, used to have all your books, and visited Frontera Grill in 2003. I still have the T-shirt. I’m cooking for one now and this is a recipe I can adjust. I’ve been to this site before but that paper was a fun find.

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