Easy chicken chilaquiles

Take warning: these salsa verde chicken chilaquiles are COMPLETELY ADDICTING. A flavor-packed chicken and tortilla stew gets topped with cilantro, scallions, avocado, cheese and sour cream for a meal that’s both comforting and exciting. Best of all, you’re not going to believe how easy it is to make. 

Close up of chicken chilaquiles in a bowl with a fork.

What does chilaquiles taste like?

Chilaquiles, for those of you who haven’t tried this most wondrous of dishes, can take many different forms but usually involves a red or green chile sauce tossed with fried tortillas. It’s a meal of wonderful textural contrasts, as some of the tortillas retain their crispiness while others soften in the sauce. 

Salsa verde chilaquiles

My good friend Jess came up with this dead simple but utterly crave-able chicken chilaquiles recipe using tomatillo salsa (also called salsa verde) and tortilla chips. The recipe calls for store-bought salsa, but you can absolutely use homemade if you prefer. 

All of the ingredients for the chilaquiles arranged on a countertop.

While chilaquiles is traditionally made with fried corn tortillas, this easier version uses tortilla chips instead. I prefer to use low-sodium (or no sodium) chips so that I can better control the amount of salt in the dish.

Chilaquiles verde stew

While traditionally the tortilla chips are tossed in a red or green chile sauce (sometimes with scrambled eggs), this version is more like a stew. The tortilla chips thicken the stew slightly while also retaining some of their crunch. It’s a delicious textural tango that I think you’ll love.

Close up of a bowl of chilaquiles stew with a spoon.

How do you make chicken chilaquiles?

  • In a saucepan, combine tomatillo salsa and chicken broth. Add boneless skinless chicken breasts, and bring to a simmer.
Process shot showing chicken breasts in a saucepan with salsa verde and chicken broth.
  • Simmer the chicken until it’s cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, let it cool, then shred it.
Process shot showing cooked chicken breasts in the salsa verde mixture.
Process shot showing the shredded chicken on a plate.
  • Add the chicken back into the salsa verde mixture, along with sautéed onion and garlic.
Process shot showing a saucepan with the salsa verde sauce, shredded chicken, sautéed onions and garlic.
  • Add tortilla chips and toss gently in the sauce.
Process shot showing tortilla chips going in the saucepan for the chilaquiles.
  • Divide the chilaquiles between shallow bowls. Add the toppings of your choice, and devour!
Close up of chicken chilaquiles in a bowl topped with avocado slices, sour cream, cheese and hot sauce.

FAQ

How do you serve chilaquiles?

You can serve chilaquiles on their own or with toppings such as cheese, sour cream, onion, fresh cilantro and/or avocado. If you want to take them over the top, slide a fried egg over the chilaquiles before adding the toppings!

What does chilaquiles taste like?

Chilaquiles is the ultimate combination of flavors and textures, with crunchy tortilla chips, a spicy sauce and plenty of fresh toppings. It’s almost like a mash-up between nachos and salsa verde stew.

What is the difference between migas and chilaquiles?

Migas is a dish made with leftover tortillas or tortilla chips with scrambled eggs (typically with onion, tomatoes and chiles), whereas chilaquiles feature fried tortillas or chips in a chile sauce. 

Chilaquiles chicken stew in a bowl with a spoon, topped with sour cream and avocado.

Tips for making these easy chicken chilaquiles:

  • You can use homemade or store-bought salsa verde (also called tomatillo salsa) in this recipe. 
  • I prefer to use low-sodium or no sodium thicker cut tortilla chips in this recipe so that I can better control the amount of salt.
  • You can swap out the chicken breasts for boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
  • For a less stew-like, more traditional version of chilaquiles, place the chips in a skillet and add just enough of the chicken and salsa verde sauce to lightly coat; cook until warmed through. 
  • To take the chilaquiles over the top, add a fried egg before serving! (p.s. Best brunch EVER.)

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Get the recipe!

Salsa Verde Chicken Chilaquiles Stew (Easy & Quick!)

My good friend Jess came up with a dead simple but utterly crave-able version of chilaquiles using tomatillo salsa and tortilla chips. Chicken breasts are poached in store-bought salsa verde (also labeled tomatillo salsa), then are shredded and added back into the salsa mixture, along with sautéed onion and garlic. Just before serving, tortilla chips are folded in, creating a delicious textural tango—it’s warm and spicy yet bright and crunchy. The chilaquiles get topped with all the fixings (I go big with cilantro, scallions, avocado slices, cheese and sour cream). This version is more stew-like than traditional chilaquiles, making it a satisfying meal any time of day. Don’t season the chicken or onion with salt, as there’s plenty of salt in the salsa (I also prefer to use low-salt or salt-free tortilla chips). To take the chilaquiles over the top, add a fried egg on top!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chicken chilaquiles, chicken chilaquiles recipe, salsa verde chilaquiles
Servings: 3 -4 people

Equipment

  • Saucepan

Ingredients

  • 16- ounces (2 cups) salsa verde (tomatillo salsa)
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 heaping cups yellow corn tortilla chips (preferably low salt or no salt)

Toppings (for serving), optional

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sliced scallions
  • Avocado slices
  • Sour cream
  • Crumbled or shredded cheese (such as cotija, feta, cheddar or Monterey Jack)
  • Hot sauce

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the salsa verde and chicken broth. Nestle the chicken breasts into the salsa mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook, covered, for 12-15 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through (if a lot of foam rises to the surface, skim it off and discard).
  • Transfer the chicken to a cutting board or plate and let cool. Simmer the sauce, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, shred the chicken and stir it back into the salsa verde sauce. Remove the pot from the heat and keep warm.
  • In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and oregano. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds longer.
  • Scrape the onion mixture into the pot with the chicken. Do Ahead: The chicken in its sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat before proceeding.
  • When you’re ready to serve, reheat the chicken and sauce. Add the tortilla chips, and toss gently in the sauce (alternatively, for a less saucy version, place the chips in a skillet and add just enough chicken and sauce to lightly coat; cook over medium heat until warmed through).
  • Divide the chilaquiles between shallow bowls (it will thicken as it sits). Add the toppings of your choice, and devour!

Notes

Tips:
  • You can use homemade or store-bought salsa verde (also called tomatillo salsa) in this recipe. 
  • I prefer to use low-sodium or no sodium thicker cut tortilla chips in this recipe so that I can better control the amount of salt.
  • You can swap out the chicken breasts for boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
  • For a less stew-like, more traditional version of chilaquiles, place the chips in a skillet and add just enough of the chicken and salsa verde sauce to lightly coat; cook until warmed through. 
  • To take the chilaquiles over the top, add a fried egg before serving! (p.s. Best brunch EVER.)

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