Wouldn’t you just love to pay a visit to Mexico? Yeah, we too! Ok, so you might not be able to jump right on a plane, but you can still enjoy a Mexican breakfast. How? Easy, huevos rancheros. This delicious breakfast is simple to make, great-tasting, and is 100% authentic. Want to try it for yourself? Today, we will tell you everything you need to know, from the dish’s origins to how to make it at home. Dig in and enjoy!
What is Huevos Rancheros?
The literal translation from the Spanish ‘huevos rancheros’ literally means ranchers eggs. We guess that is the Spanish name for a cowboy?
The dish itself is a mixture of central American-inspired ingredients. Traditionally huevos rancheros is a hot corn tortilla, topped with a fried egg and then smothered in a warm, tangy, and slightly spicy salsa.
The above should show you that it isn’t complicated to make, and today we will teach you how to do it.
Where Does Huevos Rancheros Come From?
Huevos rancheros comes from Mexico. If you look at the basic ingredients, you’ll see all simple rustic ingredients that can undoubtedly be found all over the country. The dish has since gained popularity worldwide after spreading north into North America before being exported to practically every continent globally! (Disclaimer: we can’t be 100% sure they make it in Antarctica!)
Is There Meat in Huevos Rancheros?
No, there is no meat in huevos rancheros. This makes it an ideal vegetarian meal. Note, however, the ‘huevos’ part… i.e., eggs mean that it is not vegan.
If you are very much a carnivore, then you can add meat if you wish. Popular variations include beef huevos rancheros. In keeping with Mexican tradition, you’ll often find it served with tasty chorizo sausage.
The History of Huevos Rancheros
While this is traditionally a breakfast dish, don’t feel that you have to eat it first thing in the morning. In fact, historically, it was served closer to lunchtime. The Mexican word for this is ‘almuerzo’. Normally the ranch hands would grab a quick breakfast in the morning, work hard until lunchtime and then retire for almuerzo when the sun was at its hottest.
Have a guess what they were served.
If you said huevos rancheros, you’d be exactly right!
How to Make Huevos Rancheros
Huevos rancheros aren’t difficult to make. However, we must warn you, there are a fair few ingredients…
Hey, you wanted an authentic huevos rancheros recipe, right? Well, to make it taste like the real thing, you will have to go to a little extra effort, ok?
Guys, if you are missing any of the ingredients for huevos rancheros, try not to worry too much. I’ve got plenty of alternatives and swaps in the ‘tips and tricks’ section below.
First, let us talk about quantities. Our recipe is for four people, and at the start, you will need at least one tortilla and an egg per person (or per serving if you are having two all to yourself).
We start with the salsa sauce. In a bowl, we mix all of the ingredients together. You’ll notice that it contains both salt and lime juice.
There’s a good reason for this, and it isn’t all to do with flavor.
When you add salt to onions, it breaks down their cell walls and makes them release a little bit of moisture, so they taste much more intense. The lime juice acts as a mild pickling agent for the tomatoes and the onion.
For that reason, we make it first as it gives it time to pickle and reach maximum intensity.
Once this is done, we prepare some refried beans. As we said, we want authentic huevos, rancheros, and stuff out of a can just isn’t going to cut it. We heat some olive oil, onions, and salt to a pan before jazzing it up with the Mexican flavors of cumin, pepper, and lime juice.
We then add the beans and cook them until soft. Once softened, we mash them until they are in a semi-smooth paste.
That’s job number two out of the way…
Now time for the next stage…
We add a corn tortilla to a frying pan and wait for it to start to just crisp up. Once cooked, we spread our freshly created refried bean paste liberally over each tortilla and sprinkle it with a little cheese.
Now for the final part.
Using the same skillet that we cooked the tortilla, we add a touch more olive oil and crack in a huevo… Erm, sorry, egg into the pan. We prefer our eggs over easy, but that is entirely your choice.
From this point on, it is purely a case of assembly. We place the egg on our bean-laden tortilla and then top it off with a healthy helping of tangy tomato salsa.
Job done! Tuck in!
4 servings per container
Serving Size1 servings
- Amount Per ServingCalories325
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat
- Saturated Fat 2.8g 14%
- Cholesterol 180mg 60%
- Sodium 1450mg 61%
- Potassium 19mg 1%
- Total Carbohydrate
- Dietary Fiber 12g 48%
- Sugars 6.9g
- Protein 16.5g 33%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Tips and Tricks
There’s plenty of tips and tricks we can offer with this recipe to make it simpler. We’ll also offer some substitutions for the main ingredients.
- Take a look at the onion in our recipe. You might notice something. Both the salsa and the refried beans use exactly half an onion. Don’t waste two onions. Keep the other half from the salsa and use it in the refried beans!
- Sometimes when we want to go really rustic, we substitute the cumin powder for cumin seeds. This adds a little crunch and tends to make the cumin flavor more intense. If you can’t find cumin, use a small amount of taco seasoning instead. Its main ingredient is cumin, so it should taste pretty similar.
- If your refried beans are looking a little too ‘firm’ or ‘stiff’, fear not. Just add a splash more water. If you want beans that taste really luxurious, here’s a little trick. Add a large knob of butter to make them creamy and smooth after mashing.
- Speaking of mashing, we normally use a potato masher to get our beans to the texture we like. However, if you don’t have a masher, use the back of a wooden spoon. This will give you a nice chunky texture that is probably closer to the original.
- It’s up to you whether you serve the salsa hot or cold. We think there is just about enough cooking in the recipe already, but if you want, you can heat it in a small saucepan or give it a quick ping in the microwave. Us personally? We prefer the nice contrast between the hot egg and tortilla and the cooler salsa.
- Speaking of salsa temperature. Heat is a personal preference. You’ll note that we add hot sauce right at the end. This is entirely optional. Some recipes call for chili powder along with cumin. We tend to steer clear of this as not everyone wants red hot spice for breakfast. If you like, serve your huevos rancheros ‘virgin’ and have the hot sauce as a condiment on the table, then everyone can spice it up as much as they like.
- Want a top tip to avoid breaking yolks and making a mess? Crack each egg onto a small plate before tipping it (gently) into the frying pan. If you do catch the yolk on the shell, it is really easy to tip it down the drain and try again (provided you’ve got more eggs).
- While the traditional huevos rancheros are made with corn tortillas, they aren’t always easy to find. If you want a nice alternative that is nearly as good, give white flour tortillas a go. They also crisp up nicely when fried, so the texture will be similar.
- This recipe is entirely scalable. If you are cooking for double, just multiply all of the ingredients by two. If you are cooking for two, just half the ingredients. It will taste exactly the same!
- Look, we know you are pushed for time, especially in the morning. Here is a quick list of cheats and substitutes if you want something a little quicker. It won’t taste quite as authentic, but you’ll be out of the kitchen so much quicker: –
- Instead of making the pico de gallo use the store-bought version in a jar instead.
- If you have Mexican, before or after, making huevos rancheros consider keeping any refried beans you have made. They stay good for around five days when covered in the refrigerator, meaning you can save yourself considerable effort in the future with a bit of forward planning.
- The cheese in this dish is entirely optional. We think it adds flavor, but if you are dairy intolerant or don’t like cheese (why not?), you can skip it.
- Consider other cheeses if you want to mix it up. A nice handful of spicy Mexicana will wake you up in the morning for sure!
There you have it! A completely authentic and homemade version of our huevos rancheros recipe. While the substitutes we suggest are quicker, they also don’t taste quite as good as the real thing. Huevos rancheros for lunch or for breakfast, what’s your preference. Let us know in the comments below. It’s always great to hear from our fellow ranchers!