This easy huevos rancheros recipe is the ultimate Mexican breakfast! Crispy tortillas with layers of creamy beans, sunny side up eggs, and spicy toppings. A quick and flavorful protein-packed meal to start the day.
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To spice things up in the morning, I love making a big plate of huevos rancheros for breakfast. The combination of crispy tortillas, protein, and spicy condiments makes mealtime much more exciting. The recipe is easier than you think! Plus, I’ll share my tips for making each layer packed with flavor.
If you’re short on time, there are ways to make some components in advance without sacrificing taste. And if you’re interested in making perfect sunny side eggs, I have a foolproof method to try. This meal is one of my favorites, and there’s a good reason why it’s so popular at Mexican restaurants.
Make a fresh salsa
To add a juicy element to the dish, I top it with fresh pico de gallo. The ripe chopped tomatoes, spicy jalapenos, crunchy onions, herbaceous cilantro, and freshly squeezed lime juice instantly brightens the taste.
The variety of textures compliments the creamy and soft ingredients beneath. This component can also be made a few days in advance, which allows the fruit to marinate better with the seasonings.
I use corn tortillas as the first layer of ingredients. I like the flavor of the masa, and it crisps up nicely for structure. When I have time, especially on low-key weekends, I make them from scratch. It’s only 3-ingredients and tastes terrific. Alternatively, you can use flour tortillas if you prefer a softer texture.
Lightly fry the tortillas
To give the tortillas contrast, so they don’t get soggy under the soft runny eggs, lightly fry them. I find that brushing some oil in a hot pan crisps the surface without becoming hard like chips. Using medium-high heat, lightly browns the tortillas and creates more flavor in just minutes. Keep them warm, wrapped in a kitchen towel or inside the oven while preparing the other ingredients.
Beans are the base
To add extra protein to the meal, spread refried beans on top of the crisp tortillas. I make a batch from scratch for meal prep and pull it from there to reheat in the mornings. The creamy texture adds a sticky base so that the egg on top doesn’t slip off when cutting. About ¼ cup per tortilla is a good portion. If you prefer black beans, smash them up, season, and spread them on top.
Fry the eggs
This step is where you can personalize to your liking. I have 4-ways to fry eggs for you to try. However, sunny side up is my top choice because you don’t need to flip, and the runny golden yolk creates a beautiful sauce that mixes in with the spicy salsa. Use a nonstick pan or cast iron skillet for cooking the eggs.
The trick to tender whites and oozy centers is to use medium heat, then cover the pan for a few minutes. To keep the yolk fluid, turn off the heat and keep it covered until it reaches the desired doneness. It’s straightforward! If you prefer fluffy curds, scrambled eggs are always a tasty option.
Add a spicy sauce
What makes this dish burst with flavor is the ranchero sauce. It’s similar to enchilada sauce but thicker in consistency and may have different types of spicy chiles. It’s a quick tomato-based sauce that you can make on the stovetop in under 30 minutes, then puree to a pourable consistency.
It’s served warm and has a bold smokiness and lingering heat. You can make it five days in advance, so it’s easy to grab and use later. An extra splash of your favorite hot sauce works well too, but I wouldn’t skip the homemade sauce if you haven’t tried it before.
Other flavorful toppings
To complete these rancher’s-style eggs, I add slices of avocado for creaminess and healthy monounsaturated fats. A tangy fresh cheese, like crumbly cotija, adds a nice flavor. Queso fresco is milder, or sprinkle shreds of asadero or monetary jack on top. Add chopped cilantro and sliced green onions for fresh garden flavors.
Serve this with
Tips for the perfect sunny side up egg
Heat management is critical to get a firm but tender egg white with a creamy yolk center. The ovalbumin protein in the egg whites begins to set at around 144ºF (62ºC) but can turn hard and rubbery in seconds. Use medium heat for cooking the eggs to brown the underside lightly. The yolk never touches the pan, so using a cover traps the steam and gently cooks the center and surface. It will thicken around 149ºF (65ºC) but not harden. Turn the heat off to let the yolks get a little more rich yet oozy for no more than 2 minutes.
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- 1 cup refried beans, or canned
- 4 teaspoons vegetable oil, or olive oil, plus more for greasing
- 4 corn tortillas, 5 to 6-inches in size
- 4 large eggs
- kosher salt, as needed for seasoning
- black pepper, as needed for seasoning
- 1 cup ranchero sauce, warm
- 1 cup pico de gallo
- 1 avocado, sliced
- ¼ cup cotija cheese
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon sliced green onions
- In a medium skillet, cook the refried beans over medium heat, stirring until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Cover and set aside.
- Place a 12-inch nonstick pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, lightly brush with vegetable oil. Working in batches, add the tortillas to the pan, heating each side until lightly browned, about 1 minute per side. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, adding more oil as needed. Wrap in a kitchen towel to keep warm, or place on a sheet pan in a 300ºF (149ºC) oven.
- In the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium. Add 4 teaspoons of vegetable oil, tilt the pan to distribute evenly. Once the oil begins to shimmer but not smoke, add the cracked eggs, spacing them out, so they do not touch. Lightly season with salt. Immediately cover the pan and cook until the egg whites are set but still glossy on the surface. The edges should be lightly browned, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat off, leave the cover on and move the pan to the cool side of the stove. Keep the eggs covered until the desired texture is reached, about 30 seconds for a runny yolk, 60 seconds for a soft thickened yolk, or 2 minutes for a medium set, richer yolk. Season with pepper.
- Transfer the warmed tortillas to individual serving plates. Evenly divide and spread the refried beans over each tortilla. Place an egg on top, followed by ranchero sauce, pico de gallo, avocado, cotija cheese, cilantro, and green onions. Serve immediately.
- Make-Ahead: The refried beans and pico de gallo can be made 2 days ahead of time. The ranchero sauce can be made 5 days in advance, or enchilada sauce is a good substitute. Rewarm the beans and sauce before adding.
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