huevos rancheros on plates ready to eat

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

Nothing beats huevos rancheros on Sunday morning. It’s a true Mexican breakfast gem: lightly fried corn tortillas are topped with refried beans and warm and runny fried eggs, then smothered in a homemade ranchero salsa. It always hits the spot.

I’ve been eating huevos rancheros practically my entire life. Both my parents hail from Mexico — where breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day — and so growing up, our Sunday breakfast table included warm tortillas, fresh salsa, and plenty of refried beans. Once we added fried eggs to the mix, huevos rancheros became our go-to Sunday morning breakfast after attending mass.

Today, I’ll be sharing with you how my mami made her huevos rancheros. It’s hearty, spicy comfort food at its best, and is sure to become a staple at your breakfast table, too.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

Why Is It Called Huevos Rancheros?

Huevos rancheros is a simple dish rooted in humble beginnings, but the flavors are complex and delicious, and the presentation is stunning. The name translates to “rancher’s eggs” because it originated as a hearty dish eaten by ranch hands after a long morning of work.

Though huevos rancheros remain a widely popular breakfast dish in Mexico, it can now be found in many restaurants throughout America, served with endless variations of salsas and toppings. But the beauty of this dish is that it can easily be made at home. Grab some salsa (or use the recipe I’m sharing here), refried beans, corn tortillas, eggs, and the toppings of your choice — such as queso fresco, cilantro, or avocado — and get started. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

How to Make Huevos Rancheros

This recipe begins with an easy homemade salsa made from tomatoes, onion, serrano chile, and garlic. It comes together quickly in a blender or food processor and can be as thin or as chunky as you like, depending on how much water you add and how long you blend it. You can also play around with the salsa’s heat: I call for one serrano chile, which makes a milder salsa, but feel free to add more for a spicier version. Before serving, pan-fry the salsa until it darkens, which intensifies its flavor. If you’d like, you can make it in advance and store it in the fridge, then just heat it up when you’re ready to eat.

Next, you’ll lightly fry the tortillas, which adds flavor and keeps them from getting mushy when you smother them with the warm salsa. When they’re done, they should be lightly brown and crisp but still pliable. Then fry your eggs in the same pan. We like them sunny-side up, but over-easy or even scrambled is fine too. Choose your own egg adventure!

As for the beans, I’ve made huevos rancheros with both refried pinto beans and refried black beans and both are delicious. Homemade beans are great, but canned refried beans are fine too! To make sure everything is warm when I’m ready to assemble, I start warming the beans and salsa while I’m frying the eggs.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

Assembling and Serving Huevos Rancheros

Start by placing two tostadas on a plate. Generously spread them with the refried beans, gently place one fried egg on each, then top with warm salsa. Add some cilantro (and any other toppings you like), and you’re ready to enjoy.

The crispy tortilla, creamy refried beans, runny fried eggs, and spicy salsa is the ultimate breakfast combo. And then when you slice into the fried egg, the yolk mixes with all other ingredients — it’s heavenly.

How to Make Huevos Rancheros

YieldServes 2

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the salsa:

  • 4

    roma tomatoes, or 2 large tomatoes

  • 1/2

    medium white onion

  • 1

    serrano pepper

  • 1 clove

    garlic

  • 1/4 cup

    water, plus more as needed

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons

    vegetable oil

For the tostadas:

  • 1/4 cup

    vegetable oil

  • 4

    (6-inch) corn tortillas

To assemble:

  • 4

    large eggs

  • 1 cup

    refried beans (canned or homemade)

  • Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Equipment

Instructions

  1. Blend the salsa. Prepare the following, placing them in a blender or food processor fitted with the blade attachment: Coarsely chop 4 roma tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes, 1/2 medium white onion, and 1 serrano pepper (remove the seeds and membranes first for a less spicy salsa). Add 1 garlic clove, 1/4 cup water, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Pulse until chunky and coarsely chopped, adding more water if needed to thin. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.

  2. Cook the salsa. Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the salsa and fry, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce darkens, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm until ready to assemble.

  3. Fry the tortillas. Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Lightly fry 4 corn tortillas: add 2 tortillas and fry until lightly brown and crisp but still pliable, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and repeat with the remaining 2 tortillas. Remove any bits of fried tortillas from the pan with a slotted spoon.

  4. Fry the eggs. Reduce the heat to medium. Carefully crack 4 large eggs into the pan and season with kosher salt. Fry until desired doneness, 2 to 4 minutes for runny yolks. Meanwhile, warm the beans.

  5. Warm the refried beans. Place 1 cup refried beans in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20-second intervals on high power, stirring after each, until warmed through, about 60 seconds total. (Alternatively, warm on the stovetop over low heat.)

  6. Assemble the huevos rancheros. Spread the warm refried beans onto the tostadas. Place 2 tostadas on each plate, then top each tostada with a fried egg. Spoon the warm salsa over the eggs and garnish with cilantro if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: Salsa can be made a day ahead and warmed before assembly.

Storage: Leftover salsa can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week. Spoon onto scrambled eggs, tacos, or soups.

 

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