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Horizontal top-down image of a black cast iron skillet filled with a chicken and sauce nacho dish topped with fresh garnishes and crema.

Chicken Chilaquiles

  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Turn to leftover tortillas and fruity guajillo peppers for these bold chicken chilaquiles. You’re going to love this Mexican comfort food classic.


  • 8 corn tortillas, each cut into 8 triangles
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil (or another neutral oil like canola or grapeseed), divided
  • 4 dried guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon diced sweet onion, divided
  • 1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed and diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus additional lime wedges for garnish
  • 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese (or queso fresco)
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into chunks
  • 2 radishes, trimmed and very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema 
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Preheat your oven to 415°F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the tortilla triangles with 2 tablespoons of the oil until evenly coated. Arrange the triangles in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring chips once halfway through, until golden brown and crispy, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and remove from pan. While the chips are still hot, season them with 1 teaspoon salt.
  4. Turn oven temperature down to 300°F.
  5. In a large, wide, heavy-bottomed skillet or cast iron pan, toast the guajillo chilies over medium heat until very fragrant and slightly darkened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and add the stock. Puree until smooth, then strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and set the mixture aside.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, remaining salt, and ground black pepper. Season the chicken on both sides, gently patting down to ensure that the dry rub sticks. In the same cast iron pan used to toast the chilies, add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl to coat the pan. Place over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Set aside on a plate. 
  7. Lower the heat to medium, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onions, jalapenos, and garlic. Saute until fragrant and lightly golden, about 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the tomato mixture, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. Return the chicken to the pan and braise until its cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, about 30-35 minutes.
  8. Remove the chicken from the pan and use two forks to shred the meat. Meanwhile, return the pan with the sauce back to the stove over high heat. Reduce the sauce by about 2/3 in volume, then add the lime juice. Season to taste with salt, and then fold in the chips and shredded chicken.
  9. Either divide the chilaquiles among plates, or serve directly from the skillet and garnish with the cotija, avocado, radishes, crema, and cilantro. Serve with additional lime wedges on the side.
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Category: Chilaquiles
  • Method: Stovetop/Baking
  • Cuisine: Mexican