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Air Fryer Chilaquiles Verdes + Quick Pickled Red Onions

This Mexican breakfast staple is a healthy, hearty way to kick off your weekend. Homemade tortilla chips in the air fryer, smothered in spicy roasted tomatillo salsa and topped with pickled red onions and eggs any way you like!

Skillet of air fryer chilaquiles verdes with sunny side up eggs and pickled red onions, garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.

One of my favorite things about living in California is the abundance of delicious Mexican food. I’ve tried Mexican food from East Coast to West and nowhere (in the US) does it quite like Cali, IMO.

When I discovered chilaquiles, there was no going back. If I’m ever out for breakfast and it’s on the menu, that is what I’m ordering. It’s so satisfyingly balanced with the crunchy tortilla chips, slightly softened by the warm salsa. I always order mine with sunny side up eggs—the yolk is a must for me.

This dish isn’t just de-frickin-licous, it’s easy and inexpensive to make at home. It’s a bit of a process if you make all the elements from scratch, but that is where you’ll find the best flavor. You can definitely opt for store-bought salsa and chips when you NEED CHILAQUILES NOW—I totally feel that—but I highly recommend making at least the salsa from scratch, when you have the time.

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The History

Chilaquiles is a Mexican dish consisting of fried tortillas smothered in chili sauce.  The two main components—corn and chilis—are staples in Mexican cuisine as they’re widely available, inexpensive, and versatile in flavor.

The dish was created as a way for budget conscience families to put delicious and satisfying food on the table while getting the biggest bang for their buck. To make it more filling and diverse, they would add small pieces of meat, cheese, eggs, or onions—which is how you’ll find it being served at most restaurants today. 

Skillet of air fryer chilaquiles verdes with sunny side up eggs and pickled red onions, topped with cilantro and lime wedges.

A new twist I’ve been enjoying, is adding pickled red onions. The vibrant, tanginess of the onions really brightens up the dish (both in flavor and color) and the crunch gives it that extra layer of interest.

Tips for Making the Best Air Fryer Chilaquiles

The sauce is what really makes or breaks this dish when it comes to flavor. I prefer homemade to store-bought and like to roast my veggies. Roasting the vegetables changes their flavor and gives them a deep, savory aroma that mellows out the acidity from the tomatillos.

I like it pretty spicy—sort of a medium heat—so I keep one of the peppers whole (seeds and all) when I roast them. I use a combo of jalapeños and fresno chilis, but you can use any pepper you like. Serrano is also a great choice.

I also suggest making homemade tortilla chips, if you have the means to do so. I use small tortillas and cut them into quarters using a pizza cutter—it’s SO easy. After cutting, I spray them with cooking spray and toss them in the air fryer for a few minutes. It gets the chips golden and crispy without using a ton of oil. I don’t recommend brushing them with oil beforehand, however, as they can turn out a bit soggy. I’d stick with a light coating of spray, if you’re using an air fryer.

Small stack of tortillas cut into quarters next to a pizza slicer.
Pile of golden brown homemade tortilla chips made in an air fryer.

I love a runny egg yolk, so I usually top with sunny side up or over easy eggs. I like to break the egg yolk and let it ooze all over the chilaquiles. Garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions for a little freshness, queso fresco for some salitness, and a squeeze of lime and crunchy pickled onions to brighten it all up!

Plate of air fryer chilaquiles verdes with pickled red onions topped with a yolky sunny side up egg that's broken into with a fork.

Enjoy.

Skillet pan of chilaquiles verdes with sunny side up eggs and quick pickled red onion.

Air Fryer Chilaquiles Verdes + Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Homemade tortilla chips in the air fryer, smothered in spicy roasted tomatillo salsa, and topped with quick pickled red onions and eggs any way you like!
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 2 people

Equipment

  • Air Fryer

Ingredients
  

For the Chilaquiles

  • 5 small tortillas per person
  • 1-2 eggs per person
  • fresh cilantro to garnish
  • green onions to garnish
  • queso fresco crumbled
  • 2 cups roasted tomatillo salsa see recipe below
  • avocado optional
  • lime optional
  • pickled red onion optional, see recipe below

For the Tomatillo Salsa

  • 12 tomatillos husked and washed
  • 2 jalapenos seeded and deveined
  • 1 fresno chili stem cut off
  • 1/4 yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 tbsp Better than Bouillon + 1 cup hot water or 1 cup chicken broth
  • olive oil
  • salt

For the Quick Pickled Red Onions

  • 1 small red onion sliced thin (a mandolin works best)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions
 

For the Quick Pickled Red Onions

  • Cut onion into thin slices using a mandolin or super sharp knife and place inside a 16 oz mason jar.
  • Combine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar to a saucepan and heat until boiling. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 mins.
  • Pour into jar over onions, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. For best flavor, let them sit overnight.

For the Tomatillo Salsa

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Husk and wash tomatillos. Cut onion in quarters and prep peppers. For medium heat, seed and devein two jalapeños and keep the Fresno chili whole with the stem cut off. For a mild sauce you can seed and devein all the peppers and for hot keep at least two peppers whole with the stem cut off.
  • Toss tomatillos, peppers, and onion with olive oil and salt and place on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil. Peel garlic cloves and wrap them together in tinfoil with a little olive oil and salt and place on the baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes. Trim ends off green onions and add to roasting pan half way through.
  • Transfer roasted veg and all their juices to a food processor. Add 1 tbsp Better than Bouillon to 1 cup hot water and mix well. Add mixture (or 1 cup chicken broth) to food processor with a large pinch of salt. Pulse or blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt, if necessary.

For the Chilaquiles

  • Cut tortillas into quarters using a pizza slicer, for easy cutting. Spray with cooking spray or lightly brush with olive oil. Go easy, as too much oil will make them soggy.
  • Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees F and fry chips for 7 minutes in batches of 20 chips (or 5 tortillas). Shake basket halfway though for even cooking. Sprinkle with salt, immediately.
  • Warm up a cup or so of the tomatillo salsa in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add chips to the sauce and stir to coat, adding more sauce if necessary. Simmer until chips just start to soften, but still have some crunch to them. You may have to work in batches depending on your many people you're feeding and how big your pan is.
  • Transfer to a serving plate and top with eggs any style (I like sunny side up), crumbled queso fresco, fresh cilantro, green onion, and pickled red onions. Serve with avocado, lime wedges, and a side of rice and beans.
Keyword air fryer, chilaquiles

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A single plate of air fryer chilaquiles verdes next to a larger batch of chilaquiles in a skillet with a serving spoon.

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2 Comments

  1. Those chilaquiles look really good, will be making those. Oh, the British are another culture that eats beans for breakfast, btw.

    1. Hey, thank you so much! I hope you love the recipe as much as I do. And it’s funny you mentioned the British having beans for breakfast because I was literally just thinking about making a batch of those! Good call. 🙂

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