There is something completely satisfying about a crunchy homemade tostada, topped with beans, cheese, and fried egg, then smothered in a warm, spicy salsa. Huevos rancheros is a hearty Mexican breakfast that’s quick to put together, versatile, and vegetarian. Want to learn how to make this simple Mexican breakfast? Read on to find out just how easy it is!
What are huevos rancheros?
Huevos rancheros, literally “rancher’s eggs” in Spanish, is a simple and popular breakfast throughout Mexico. Some sources say that the name of this dish comes from its rural origins, as a hearty farm breakfast using freshly sourced ingredients. While that may be true, I wasn’t able to find any definitive sources on where and how this dish originated.
What I do know is that this dish is similar to other Mexican breakfasts that use eggs, tortillas, and salsa as their base. Breakfasts like chilaquiles or migas (eggs and tortilla) for example. While these dishes include the same basic ingredients, the difference is in how each dish is prepared.
Huevos rancheros can vary depending on the region of Mexico and the person that is making this dish. All versions that I have eaten start with a base of a fried corn tortilla or tostada. A fried egg, usually prepared sunny side up is stacked on the tortilla and the egg and tortilla are then smothered in a warm, spicy salsa.
Some versions include refried beans and cheese between the tortilla and egg. Others, like huevos motuleños from the Yucatán Peninsula, are topped with chopped ham and peas. I have usually seen huevos rancheros served with red salsa, but every once in a while, a green version appears.
The point I am making here is that this dish is flexible. Don’t like cheese? Just omit it. If you have green salsa on hand, use that instead of red. I typically have black beans hanging out in my fridge or pantry, but this dish would be just as tasty with pinto or Peruvian beans too! You can even leave out the beans entirely if you want!
How to make huevos rancheros
This dish is so easy and quick to make! Plus, this is one of those “pantry” meals that come together with what you have on hand. So, how do you make this dish anyway?
Start by heating a bit of oil over medium-high heat and frying a corn tortilla until it is crispy and golden. Make sure to flip the tortilla halfway through so that both sides cook evenly. I prefer these with a freshly fried corn tortilla, but you could use a tostada in a pinch. Once the tortillas are golden, let them rest on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
Next, work on frying your eggs. While the eggs are frying, be sure to heat up your beans and salsa, if they aren’t already warm!
I like to make this dish with my charred salsa roja. But you could use almost any tomato or tomatillo-based salsa you have on hand for this dish.
To assemble this dish, simply spread half of the beans on each tortilla, top with cheese if desired, then the egg. Smother this egg and tortilla stack with half of the warmed salsa. You could garnish this dish with some freshly crumbled queso fresco or cotija, a bit of chopped cilantro, or sliced avocado.
I love this dish smothered with about a half cup of warm, spicy salsa. But if you prefer less salsa, that’s fine too! This dish will work with a total of between 1/2 cup to 1 full cup of salsa.
Eat this dish immediately so that you can savor the different textures in this dish, like the smooth salsa, runny egg yolk, and crunchy, fried corn tortilla.
What’s not to love about huevos rancheros?
I love this dish for lots of reasons, many that I have mentioned already in this post. But just to sum up why this dish is one of my favorite breakfasts, take a look at the list below:
- “Pantry” meal that uses ingredients on hand. Do you have a jar of salsa or some leftover beans hanging out in your fridge or pantry? Put them to use in this traditional Mexican breakfast!
- Super fast…when I timed this dish, I actually thought my timing was wrong because the total time was so short. But it’s not. I double-checked. If you have your beans and salsa warmed and ready, you can have this dish on the table in 7 minutes. No joke. But let’s assume that you have to heat up your beans and salsa on the stove…add an extra 8 minutes tops and this dish is still a super fast meal at just 15 minutes total.
- Customize this dish to your liking. Red or green salsa. Black or pinto beans. With or without cheese. The choice is yours.
Now you have at least 3 great reasons to try this traditional Mexican breakfast for your next meal!
While this dish isn’t particularly elegant, let’s not judge a book by its cover…I promise this dish is the perfect combination of saucy, spicy deliciousness! Enjoy!
Huevos Rancheros for Two
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided I use canola
- 2 corn tortillas, about 6-inches in diameter
- 1/4 cup warm bean puree or refried beans
- 2 slices manchego or monterrey jack cheese optional
- 2 eggs
- Salt to taste
- 1/2-1 cup warm salsa see notes
- Optional: Freshly chopped cilantro, avocado slices, crumbled cotija, queso fresco, or queso cincho to garnish
- Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat until shimmering, about 2-3 minutes3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
- Fry each corn tortilla for 40-60 seconds total, or until crispy and golden on both sides. Flip the tortilla halfway through to fry evenly on both sides. Remove the tortilla from the pan and place on a papertowel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Repeat for the second tortilla.2 corn tortillas, about 6-inches in diameter
- Place each tortilla on a plate. Spread half of the beans on each of the tortillas and top with cheese if desired.1/4 cup warm bean puree or refried beans, 2 slices manchego or monterrey jack cheese
- Add remaining oil to the non-stick skillet. Once the oil is hot, fry each egg to your liking, adding salt as necessary. When the eggs are done, place them on the bean-topped tortillas. See notes.2 eggs, Salt to taste
- Pour half of the salsa over top of each egg1/2-1 cup warm salsa
- Garnish with shredded or crumbled cheese, chopped cilantro, or sliced avocados if desired.Optional: Freshly chopped cilantro, avocado slices, crumbled cotija, queso fresco, or queso cincho to garnish
- I like to use my charred salsa roja for this dish, but you could use any red or green salsa you have on hand.
- I prefer my huevos rancheros sufficiently smothered with warm spicy salsa. For me, a 1/2 cup per egg is about right. But, if you prefer less salsa, that’s fine too! This recipe works with 1/2 cup to 1 cup total salsa, split between the 2 eggs.
- In Mexico, the eggs for this dish are typically served sunny side up, but feel free to cook these eggs to your liking.