Red Chile Chicken Chilaquiles

red chile chicken chilaquiles plated

A savory Mexican chicken dish made from dried peppers

A Mexican inspired chicken skillet dinner that’s sure to please

I’ve been making variations of this dish for years, after learning about it from a Betty Crocker cookbook.   The digital version is here.   Over time I’ve adapted it into the below, which uses my dried garden peppers, tortilla chips, and unique spice blend to make this meal all its own.   

This meal has a rich pepper flavor that combines the protein of the chicken, carbs of the tortilla chips, and rich cheese.  All put together it’s a savory satiating meal that tugs at all your cravings.

If you want to jazz up your Chilaquiles, try using shredded meat from a smoked chicken!  The smokey tender meat will make this dish really pop.

red chile chicken chilaquiles in the pan

Are Chilaquiles for breakfast or dinner?

Chilaquiles are generally considered a breakfast food in Latin America, where tortillas are fried, sauced, and served with fried eggs on top. I prefer to make this dish for dinner with chicken instead of eggs, served atop rice with a side of refried beans. Using tortilla chips also makes this recipe quicker, since there is no need to fry tortillas.

Should I use Red or Green enchilada sauce?

The red chile sauce I make in this recipe can be compared to the red enchilada sauce sold at the supermarket.  If you don’t have the time to make this sauce from scratch, you can use canned sauce.  If you have access to different types of dried peppers, you can mix and match the peppers to vary the flavor of the sauce.

In other recipes I talk about my green enchilada sauce made from tomatillos. That sauce could easily be substituted into this recipe. You could also use canned green enchilada sauce from the supermarket.  My husband generally prefers canned green sauce to red. 

Generally, my homemade red sauce is hotter than the green sauce.   If you find you want to increase the heat at the end, add a half tsp of cayenne powder. 

dried peppers rehydrating in a pot

Great way to use dried peppers

At the end of summer, I always end up with a lot more peppers than I can use at once. One of my favorite things to do with these peppers is dehydrate them and use them throughout the winter. Dehydrated peppers go great in slow cooker or pressure cooker meals as the long cook time or high pressure rehydrates the pepper and imparts an incredible flavor to the dish. The sauce in this recipe is a great use of dehydrated peppers, and really lets their flavor shine.

Sides to serve with Red Chile Chicken Chilaquiles

As shown, this meal is served with simple side of refried beans, which I enjoy.  If you have a few more calories to spare for the meal, a side of yellow seasoned rice goes great with the meal.   You can either serve the Chilaquiles on top of the rice or next to it.    I prefer to serve Chilaquiles, rice, and beans side by side so that I can mix and match as desired.  To save a few calories, I used white rice when making this. 

Lastly, if your Chilaquiles come out spicey, a little sour cream is a great side that helps cut the heat.   If they don’t come out spicy enough, try drizzling a little sriracha over top.

This sauce makes double what’s needed

This sauce recipe makes about 4 cups of sauce, while the chilaquiles only require 2 cups.That means the second time you make red chilaquiles will be even faster! When making for the second time, just substitute the chile water with regular water when saucing the chicken.

Let's make Red Chile Chicken Chilaquiles

red chile chicken chilaquiles plated

Red Chile Chicken Chilaquiles

A savory Mexican chicken dish made from dried peppers
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Latin American
Servings 2
Calories 304 kcal


  • 1 Pot
  • 1 pan


Red Chile Chilaquiles Sauce Ingredients

  • 3 oz Dried Chiles (I used dried sweet peppers from my garden, you can also use Guajillo or Ancho chiles)
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 32 oz whole tomatoes, mostly drained 2 16oz cans

Chilaquiles Ingredients

  • cups Cooked Shredded Chicken
  • 1 cup shredded cheese Oaxaca is best, but any white cheese will be good
  • 2 oz Tortilla Chips
  • 2 cups Red Chile Sauce (recipe included here)
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • ½ tbsp canola oil


Red Chile Sauce Instructions

  • Add dried chiles to a sauce pan with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until the chiles are re-hydrated.
  • Drain the chiles, reserving the cooking water. Put the chiles in a food processor or blender. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and blend until well combined.
    red chile sauce blended in food processor

Red Chile Chilaquiles Instructions

  • Heat oil in a skillet until hot. Fry onion in hot oil until softened and just turning brown, 3-5 minutes.
  • Add cooked shredded chicken and 2 cups of the prepared sauce to the skillet. Stir to combine and reduce heat to medium. Add ¼ cup of the reserved chile water (or tap water if you don't have it) and stir to combine. Repeat another 1-2 times until the chicken is saucy and can maintain a nice simmer.
    saucy chicken for chilaquiles in a pan
  • Lightly crush larger tortilla chips and layer on top of the chicken and sauce.
    Tortilla chips covering red chile chicken chilaquiles in a pan
  • Cover the tortilla chips with cheese, and cover the skillet with a lid. Let cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted.
    Serve and enjoy.


Calories exclude the rice and beans. 


Serving: 0.5gCalories: 304kcal
Keyword chicken, peppers
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Nutrition Facts
Red Chile Chicken Chilaquiles
Serving Size
0.5 g
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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