Mexican Style Sunnyside-Up Eggs and Salsa
When you need a hearty breakfast, you can’t beat authentic huevos rancheros, a dish prepared with two sunnyside-up eggs on fried tortillas covered in a spicy tomato salsa with refried beans on the side. This dish is served throughout Mexico, and for good reason. It’s delicious! The name huevos rancheros translates as “rancher’s eggs.”
What to Expect From This Recipe
This recipe is prepared exactly how they were served to me at the Hotel Gobernador in Durango almost 30 years ago, the first place I ever tried the dish. You want to keep the dish simple and traditional. You don’t need to fancy-it-up with toppings like sour cream, chopped tomatoes, green onions or avocado. Each bite should be a balance of rich spicy salsa, creamy egg yolk, and fried corn tortilla which has a light nutty toasted flavor.
How to Make Huevos Rancheros
Gather Your Ingredients
You will need:
- 4 eggs
- 3 Roma (plum) tomatoes
- 1 or 2 serrano chiles or jalapeños
- ¼ white onion
- a clove of garlic
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ½ cup refried beans to serve on the side
- 6 tortilla chips to garnish the beans
In Mexico, the ranchero salsa is made very hot. This recipe calls for 1 serrano chile which makes a milder salsa. Add 1 or 2 more chiles if you want it hot. You probably already have all the ingredients necessary in your pantry.
Preparing the Salsa
The first thing you need to do is prepare the salsa for the huevos rancheros. The salsa makes the dish. Bland salsa means bland eggs.
Great Huevos Rancheros Requires a Great Homemade Salsa
To make your ranchero sauce, roughly chop the vegetables and add them to the blender jar. You don’t need to seed the tomatoes or serrano chile. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and blend until smooth. At this point, it will have an unappealing pink color. But don’t worry, as it cooks it takes on a beautiful dark red color that looks spectacular on the plate.
Blend the Ingredients Raw
Fry the Salsa
Frying the salsa is an important step to developing the flavor of the salsa. Heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a saucepan. Slowly pour the contents of your blender into the pan.
Be careful. The mixture tends to spatter when it hits the hot oil.
Simmer the salsa for about 10 minutes. When the salsa has developed a deep red color it is ready. If the salsa is too thin, simmer for a few minutes to thicken.
Adjusting the Salsa
- Salsa too thick? Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
- Salsa too thin? Simmer for a few more minutes until you get the desired consistency.
- A little bland? Make sure you have added enough salt.
- Not hot enough? Blend 1 serrano chile with 3 tablespoons water for 1 minute. Add to salsa and cook 5 more minutes.
Frying the Tortillas
While the salsa is simmering,
- Fry the corn tortillas in ¼ inch of medium hot cooking oil.
- Fry them lightly for about 20 seconds per side until the tortilla is just becoming crispy on the edge but the tortilla remains pliable.
- Don’t allow the tortillas to become crispy.
Why fry the tortillas? The process of frying adds flavor to the tortilla and keeps it from getting mushy from absorbing the salsa and runny egg yolk. You might be tempted to skip this step but you shouldn’t the dish isn’t the same without frying the tortillas.
Note: Don’t use flour tortillas for this dish. You won’t get the authentic flavor or texture. Flour tortillas get soggy when covered in salsa.
Lightly fry the tortillas – About 20 seconds per side.
Lift the tortilla out of the hot oil and drain the excess for a few seconds.
Put the fried tortillas on a few paper napkins to absorb the remaining oil. Set aside the tortillas and cover them with a napkin to keep them warm while you prepare the eggs.
A note on tortillas – Better quality tortillas make for better huevos rancheros. This is a simple dish with very few ingredients. Quality matters. You should be able to taste the rich corn flavor of the tortilla. Avoid the corn tortillas that come in the plastic bags and are stocked on the grocery store shelves. They taste like cardboard and have preservatives in them. If you can’t buy any freshly made tortillas try making your own. Most grocery stores carry corn flour for preparing tortillas. Tortillas are simple to make. Just follow the instructions that are on the side of the package. If you don’t have a tortilla press you can use a rolling pin.
Cooking Perfect Sunnyside Up Eggs
By cracking the eggs into a bowl before putting them into the frying pan you are less likely to break the yolk. You use the bowl to gently slide the eggs into the pan.
Heat ¼ inch of cooking oil in a medium-sized frying pan. Non-stick is best. You will use the same oil to fry the tortillas and the eggs.
Gently Slide the Eggs Into the Hot Oil
Cook the eggs until the whites are just set. The eggs in the photo need about 2 more minutes. The yolk is supposed to remain runny. When you cut into the eggs on the plate, the yolk mixes with the salsa and creates an incredibly rich sauce.
Note – If you are worried about eating eggs that aren’t cooked all the way through, you can cook the yolks until they are solid. The dish will still taste great. You lose a little of the visual element but you have peace of mind.
Plating the Dish
When your eggs are ready it is time to plate the dish.
Place 2 tortillas on your serving plate and with large spoonful of refried beans on the side. We like refried beans made with pinto beans or black beans for this dish.
Carefully slide the fried eggs onto the tortillas. You don’t want the yolks to break.
Cover The Egg Whites With Salsa – Don’t Cover the Yolks
Gently spoon the warm sauce over the eggs being careful not to cover the yolks. The deep red salsa contrasts with the bright yellow egg yolks. You want the salsa to a little bit thick so it doesn’t run all over the plate.
Garnish the refried beans with three tortilla chips. You can sprinkle a bit of crumbled cheese on the beans if you like. Cotija cheese goes well.
Time to start cooking! Provecho!
Did You Know?
If you prepare this dish with salsa verde on one half of the plate and salsa roja on the other half it is called “huevos divorciados,” or “divorced eggs” because the two salsas are “divorced.” This is a very colorful and delicious way to serve your eggs.
When you think of Mexican food this is one of the authentic dishes that comes to mind. It’s a great brunch recipe.
Let us know if you have any questions about how to prepare this recipe. You can contact us here. You can also leave a comment below.
Authentic Huevos Rancheros Recipe
- 4 eggs
- 3 Roma tomatoes plum tomatoes
- 1 serrano chile
- ¼ medium white onion
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ½ cup cooking oil + 1 tablespoon
- 2 or 3 tablespoons of water
- 4 corn tortillas
- Salt to taste for the salsa
- ½ cup refried beans
- 6 tortilla chips to garnish the beans
- Roughly chop the tomatoes, onion, garlic and serrano chile.
- Add to your blender jar.
- Add ½ teaspoon thyme to the blender jar.
- Add 2 tablespoons of water.
- Blend until smooth. About 1 minute.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a saucepan to hot.
- Carefully, pour the contents of the blender into the saucepan with the hot oil. (Be careful, the liquid tends to spatter.)
- Simmer for about 10 minutes until the salsa is deep red in color and has thickened slightly.
- Salt to taste.
- Pour ½ cup of cooking oil into a medium sized frying pan. The oil should be about ¼ inch deep.
- Heat the oil to medium hot.
- Place the tortillas in the oil and fry for about 20 seconds on both sides. Fry them one at a time. Don't allow the tortilla to harden.
- Drain the tortillas of excess oil on paper towles and set aside.
- SUNNY SIDE UP EGGS
- Use the same cooking oil that you used to fry the tortillas to cook the eggs. Maintain the oil medium hot.
- Add two eggs to the hot oil and slightly tilt the pan to one side so that the eggs set closely together.
- Cook until the white are just cooked through and the yolks are still runny.
- Place 2 tortillas on your serving plate and add a good sized spoonful of refried beans.
- Gently place the eggs on the tortillas.
- Spoon the warm spicy tomato salsa over the eggs.
- Garnish the beans with 3 tortilla chips.
- Serve immediately.
- You do not need to remove the seeds and veins from the chile.
- You do not need to seed or peel the tomatoes.
- If the salsa is a little runny, simmer until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Add a pinch of crumbled cotija cheese or ranchero cheese.
- Serve on tostadas if you don’t have any corn tortillas.
- If you want to add some color to the dish, sprinkle a pinch of finely chopped cilantro over the eggs.
- You can top with crumbled queso fresco.
- You can substitute jalapeño peppers for the serrano peppers.
- White onion is preferable but you can use yellow onion if that’s what you have on hand.
- You can substitute Mexican oregano for the thyme.
- High-quality eggs make the dish even better. Try making it with organic free-range eggs.