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Easy Chicken Chilaquiles with Chips

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Cheater chilaquiles with chips may not be authentic but it’s an easy and delicious way to make this chicken chilaquiles recipe! Serve it with tons of crunchy, cheesy, and spicy toppings. Make the slow cooker salsa chicken first, and then try this easy weeknight dinner!

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

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pan of chilaquiles with chips

Can You Make Chilaquiles With Tortilla Chips?

YES! You can make chilaquiles with tortilla chips. It’s 100% a NON-authentic chicken chilaquiles recipe, but it’s an easy one that still is full of flavor.

Chilaquiles are traditionally made with corn tortillas that are fried into crispy tortillas (aka tortilla chips!) and then simmered with a chilaquiles red sauce (roja), green sauce (verde), or divorciados – BOTH red and green salsas.

In this cheater chilaquiles with chips, we’re using a red salsa and tortilla chips and it’s been the best way we’ve found to make chilaquiles at home.

Chilaquiles Ingredients:

In the spirit of authentic inspiration for everyday cooks, the ingredients in this chilaquiles recipe with chips are fairly basic:

  • Salsa Roja – tomatoes, white onion, garlic, jalapeno (optional), cilantro, sea salt, and tomato paste come together for a simple and quick salsa roja sauce.
  • Tortilla Chips – Can’t make easy chilaquiles with tortilla chips without the chips! I prefer a sturdy, thicker tortilla chip. Donkey chips are our favorite.
  • Salsa Chicken – We’re using the easiest crockpot salsa chicken. Takes 2 minutes to prep and can be used in so many ways!
  • Refried Beans – This is a side dish and not mandatory for chicken chilaquiles, but you’ll need a side so…
  • Toppings – Chicken chilaquiles rojo is all about the toppings for me! Cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, sliced radishes, sour cream, and sliced jalapenos add crunch, flavor, and spice.
  • Eggs – Many chilaquiles recipes also include a fried egg, but we left them off in this dinner version. Feel free to add if you like.
plate of chicken chilaquiles with chips

How To Make Chicken Chilaquiles with Chips:

This chicken chilaquiles recipe thanks to the tortilla chip shortcut. And we even have time to make our own salsa roja sauce!

  • Make salsa roja. Chop and blend tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapenos, cilantro, sea salt, and pepper.
  • Cook salsa roja. Bring salsa to a simmer and lower heat. Let thicken.
  • Prep toppings. While the salsa is cooking, prep your chilaquiles toppings.
  • Assemble chilaquiles with chips. Toss chips into salsa roja until coated and transfer to a plate. Top with toppings as desired.

TIP: If you think your kids would prefer the sauce on your side, serve them separately.

salsa roja for chicken chilaquiles

Chilaquiles Pronunciation:

Once you know how to say chilaquiles, (pronounced chē-lä-ˈkē-lās), it sounds easy, right? Click here to listen to the pronunciation.

How to Store Chicken Chilaquiles Leftovers:

Obviously chilaquiles recipe with chips doesn’t store well and I think it’s best eaten fresh. However, if you don’t mind soggy chips you can certainly save leftovers!

Alternatively, you can store any leftover ingredients and toss together once you’re ready to eat them.

Store the salsa roja in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

plate with chicken chilaquiles with chips

Tortilla Chip Chilaquiles Nutrition + Substitutes:

While most chicken chilaquiles recipes are considered a hangover meal, this meal feels like a well-balanced meal to me! Each serving (1/4 of the recipe) has 402 calories and 35 grams of protein.

  • Eggs – As I mentioned, most traditional chilaquiles are made with eggs. Feel free to fry them up and serve them as a topping to your cheater chilaquiles.
  • Grain-Free Chips – I haven’t tested this recipe with grain-free tortilla chips so I’m not sure if it will work, but if you try it out, let us know how it goes in the comments below!
  • Dairy-Free – These chilaquiles de pollo en salsa roja can easily be made dairy-free, just omit the cheese and sour cream toppings.
  • Cotija Cheese – This is the recommended cheese for chilaquiles, but if you don’t have it or can’t find it at the store, you can also use crumbled feta. It’s a dense, salty cheese. (And honestly, found at most grocery stores.) It freezes nicely so I usually will freeze it as I don’t use the entire package.
plate of chicken chilaquiles with black beans

More Weeknight Mexican-ish Recipes:

If you like this easy chicken chilaquiles recipe, you might also like some of my other Mexican-ish recipes:

  • Vegetarian Tostadas – These crispy tostadas feature summer’s finest produce and can easily be prepped ahead! Authentic? No. Delicious? Yes.
  • Weeknight Beef Tostadas – Yes, I have a thing for tostadas, don’t you? Another great one to prep ahead.
  • Slow Cooker Barbacoa – Looking for a homemade version of your fave Chipotle burrito bowls? This is it.
  • Breakfast Tacos – A fantastic meal ANY time of day. Literally. (Don’t skip the special sour cream, it takes these over the TOP!)

Helpful Tools for Red Chilaquiles with Chicken:

  • Cast Iron Skillet – The perfect skillet for chicken chilaquiles with chips. This one is a steal and will last forever with good care!
  • Blendtec Blender – The best blender! Mine has been going strong (and making lotsssss of smoothies) for 6+ years?

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pan of chilaquiles with chips

Easy Chicken Chilaquiles with Chips

  • Author: Emily Dingmann of myeverydaytable.com
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinnner
  • Method: Skillet
  • Cuisine: Mexican
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Chilaquiles with chips is the fastest way to get this chicken chilaquiles recipe on your table without the grease splatter of frying your own tortillas.



Salsa Roja

  • 45 tomatoes, about 1 1/2 lbs. 
  • 1/4 white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 small jalapeno (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

Chilaquiles with Chips

  • 15 oz. can black refried beans
  • 4 handfuls tortilla chips
  • 2 cups leftover salsa chicken


  • cotija cheese
  • chopped cilantro
  • sliced radishes
  • sour cream
  • jalapenos


  1. Prep ingredients: 
    Roughly chop tomatoes, onions, garlic, and jalapeno if using. 
  2. Blend together all salsa ingredients.
  3. Pour salsa into large skillet over medium-high heat and add tomato paste. Stir to combine. Simmer salsa, stirring frequently, for about 7-10 minutes, until mixture has thickened. 
  4. Prep toppings and sides: 
    Heat chicken in microwave or small skillet and roughly chop. 
    Crumble cotija cheese.
    Chop cilantro. 
    Thinly slice radishes. 
    Heat refried beans.
  5. Toss chips in salsa until coated and place onto plates. Top with chicken and toppings as desired.
  6. Serve with refried beans on the side.


  • Nutrition facts are an estimate, but include 4 ounces of the salsa chicken, 2 tablespoons cotija cheese, and 1 tablespoon sour cream.
  • Nutrition facts do not include refried beans. 

Keywords: chicken chilaquiles recipe, chilaquiles with chips

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