What are Huevos Rancheros? (with pictures)

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Huevos rancheros may be served with guacamole.
Huevos rancheros may be served with guacamole.

Huevos rancheros is a fairly popular Mexican breakfast dish that consists of tortillas, eggs, beans, and sometimes various meats. The name translates to "eggs ranch-style," or "eggs country-style." The basic dish consists of fried eggs served with a lightly fried tortilla. From there, the eggs and tortilla are covered with a tomato chili sauce or salsa. This basic dish is the traditional huevos rancheros.

Flour tortillas can be used in huevos rancheros.
Flour tortillas can be used in huevos rancheros.

Variations of the dish have become popular, particularly in the southwest United States. Huevos rancheros is often served with sides of black beans and rice and extra peppers of different varieties. Traditionally, the eggs are fried in huevos rancheros, but alternate recipes call for scrambled eggs, poached eggs, or even over-easy eggs. Other variations include serving the eggs over toast, coating the eggs in a tomato-bacon sauce, including pork in the eggs, and serving refried beans instead of black beans. Further, instead of the traditional corn tortillas, pre-packaged flour tortillas may be used.

Fried eggs are commonly used in huevos rancheros.
Fried eggs are commonly used in huevos rancheros.

Refried beans have become a staple of the dish. Refried beans are pinto or red beans, boiled or soaked until cooked, then mashed with a fork or other utensil. Once the beans have been mashed to the appropriate consistency, they are fried with lard and other spices, as well as a bit of chicken stock to adjust the consistency. Refried beans are a staple in many Mexican dishes, and it is quite common to see them served in huevos rancheros with Mexican rice. The name is a misnomer; the beans are not fried twice, as the name implies, but they are instead "well fried."

Robust salsa is a traditional condiment served with huevos rancheros.
Robust salsa is a traditional condiment served with huevos rancheros.

Huevos rancheros was a dish traditionally served at mid-morning when ranchers would take a break. The meal was fairly substantial, as a lighter meal was served later in the day. Today, the dish is served at breakfast time at most restaurants and to conserve preparation time, the dish is served with pre-made salsa, beans, and other sides. Huevos rancheros is commonly served now with lettuce and sour cream, and sometimes even guacamole.

Traditionally, huevos rancheros were served to ranchers at mid-morning.
Traditionally, huevos rancheros were served to ranchers at mid-morning.

One version of the dish deviates from the traditional serving by scrambling the eggs in a chili sauce, adding corn tortilla chips, and serving with rice and beans, lettuce and tomato, and sour cream. Due to the dish's popularity, the presentation will vary from establishment to establishment, particularly in American restaurants where the traditional Mexican dish meets American tastes.

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    • Huevos rancheros may be served with guacamole.
      Huevos rancheros may be served with guacamole.
    • Flour tortillas can be used in huevos rancheros.
      Flour tortillas can be used in huevos rancheros.
    • Fried eggs are commonly used in huevos rancheros.
      Fried eggs are commonly used in huevos rancheros.
    • Robust salsa is a traditional condiment served with huevos rancheros.
      Robust salsa is a traditional condiment served with huevos rancheros.
    • Traditionally, huevos rancheros were served to ranchers at mid-morning.
      Traditionally, huevos rancheros were served to ranchers at mid-morning.
    • Huevos rancheros is usually served with sour cream.
      Huevos rancheros is usually served with sour cream.