Best Huevos Rancheros in the U.S.
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then it's practically doctor's orders to eat huevos rancheros. Not only is this Mexican dish deeply satisfying, but it's also filled with protein, good carbohydrates, and enough spice to wake you up.
First devised as a mid-morning meal for ranch workers, huevos rancheros have popped up on restaurant menus in the southwestern U.S. and beyond. The hearty dish traditionally features tortillas topped with two fried eggs, covered in a piquant, red ranchero sauce. In Houston, La Guadalupana Bakery & Café prepares a classic huevos rancheros that has kept folks coming back for more than a decade.
But the dish's inherent simplicity leaves ample room for experimentation, and some chefs have been eager to add creative twists. At The Kenwood in Minneapolis, chef Don Saunders's huevos rancheros are finished with a Mexican-spiced pork shoulder in a harissa vinaigrette. You can slice into a gamey venison version at Town Tavern, outside Detroit, or have your huevos rancheros combined with nachos at Katalina's in Columbus, OH.
Even vegans can get their fill of huevos rancheros (with tofu, daikon sprouts, and gluten-free tortillas), thanks to chef Miranda Megill of Flore in L.A. "The smell of onions and peppers being cooked down is one of my favorite olfactory experiences in the kitchen," says Megill. And we agree.
Whet your appetite with more home cooking at the best huevos rancheros spots.
Esperanza's Restaurant & Bakery, Fort Worth, TX
Esperanza's prepares traditionally Mexican huevos dishes, from Chicharrón Duro con Huevo to Chorizo con Huevo. But it's especially known for the rancheros, with a homemade tostada at the base, two classically easy fried eggs, and the signature, straightforward ranchero sauce. It's got a side of refried beans and Mexican potatoes in place of rice. Diners have their choice of add-ons, including seared ham, crispy bacon, and shredded barbacoa. Request your huevos rancheros A-La-Mexicana for a sprinkling of tomatoes, onions, and raw jalapeño slices on top.
Katalina’s Café Corner, Columbus, OH
Huevos rancheros, meet nachos. At Katalina's, they combine into something so great that you have permission to dig in any time of day. The tortillas are replaced with nacho chips from Shagbark Seed & Mill, a local company producing non-GMO corn and bean products. The bean purée is created from blending chipotle peppers and adobo spice with Shagbark's local adzuki and black turtle beans. Katalina's chefs then add two sunny-side-up eggs, crema, fresh avocado slices, chopped cilantro, and a side of pico de gallo. The finger-licking ranchero sauce is their own creation, a mix of crushed fresh tomatoes, tomatillos, green pepper, chipotles, garlic, and onion, with a specialty Mexican spice blend.
Flore Vegan Cuisine, Los Angeles
Growing up in California, Flore chef/owner Miranda Megill developed a deep and abiding love for Mexican and Central American cuisine, including, naturally, huevos rancheros. "Our version is a stack of gluten-free corn tortillas, black beans, non-GMO sprouted tofu, tomato, grilled onion, avocado, and daikon sprout," she explains. "We cook down peppers, tomatoes, spices, and fresh cilantro to develop our ranchero sauce, and it's served with potatoes on both corners of the plate." Flore is consistently ranked as one of the best vegan restaurants in L.A.; you won't even miss the meat.
Coppelia, New York City
Coppelia has a lot going for it. The place is open 24/7, with free Wi-Fi, an excellent bar selection, and authentic Latin diner décor. Even if you took all of this away, its killer huevos rancheros would still be reason enough to visit. A base of Cuban Moros y Cristianos (a.k.a. sautéed, fragrant black beans and rice cooked with mojo and pork fat) has a thin, perfectly crispy corn tortilla on top. Two sunny-side-up eggs beg to be broken and stirred into its signature, slightly spicy tomatillo salsa. There's also a light touch of fresh cheese. If you're a purist, this is your house for huevos.
Rex 1516, Philadelphia
Southern cuisine is celebrated at Rex 1516, where huevos rancheros get some Louisiana love with a double dose of étouffée. Chef Justin Swain sautés thinly sliced pieces of crawfish in heavy cream and spreads his decadent étouffée across the bottom of a cast-iron skillet. Two fried tostadas are placed on top, then a second layer of crawfish, followed by eggs cooked to your preference as well as pico de gallo, queso fresca, a lime crema, and a bright garnish of fresh guacamole. While the skillet presentation is new, the dish has been winning the hearts of the hungry in Philly since 2012.
The Kenwood, Minneapolis
When he changed up his recipe slightly, chef Don Saunders got an earful from Kenwood loyalists. So in just two weeks, the original version was back on the menu. However, his original is far from classic. A bed of roasted potatoes and caramelized onions replaces the beans and tortilla. That's topped with a single fried egg and pork shoulder that's been cured overnight and braised for six hours in beer and Mexican spices. The garnish is a North African harissa and red wine vinaigrette. "On a level of 1 to 5, this is at a 3.5 in terms of spice," Saunders says. "We add sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, micro cilantro, pickled jalapeño, and really thin chili threads. They add some flavor, but I like using them for how cool they look, too."
Town Tavern, Royal Oak, MI
Two fantastically runny eggs adorn a fried flour tortilla, but the usual suspects stop there for this Michigan rendition. Town Tavern adds a chili sauce made with lean, rich, Michigan-sourced venison. Chef Raymond Backers got the idea after he won a local chili cook-off with this sauce recipe. He uses a milder, creamier Hoffman's cheddar cheese on the dish, and it's garnished with sour cream, homemade salsa, and the crunch of crisp lettuce.
Black Sheep, Richmond, VA
While it's normally featured for its insanely large sandwiches, we fell for Black Sheep's carefully crafted, cutely named No Mas Huevos Nuevos. The chefs create a griddlecake rather than a tortilla—it's thicker, fluffier, and spicier thanks to chopped jalapeños in the batter. The chili has both black beans and wheat berries, hiding two lightly fried eggs. It comes with a green salsa made from fresh avocados (rather than slices), and you can send this dish even farther into the annals of awesome by opting for the $2-more, house-made carnitas.
La Guadalupana Bakery & Café, Houston
Alison Cook, a food journalist for the Houston Chronicle, first waxed poetic about these huevos rancheros back in 2007. Then USA Today got on the bandwagon. And when we went hunting for the best in America, legendary Houston bar owner Bobby Heugel of Anvil Bar & Refuge chimed in to affirm that nothing has changed since '07. "La Guadalupana is one of the only small, family-owned Mexican spots tucked away in Houston's rapidly gentrifying Montrose neighborhood," he says. "The huevos rancheros are not to be missed!" The plate shines in its comforting simplicity: two eggs lie atop a fried, corn tortilla. Puddled in spicy, red ranchero sauce, it's served with rice and beans. 2109 Dunlavy St.; (713) 522-2301.
Fig, Santa Monica, CA
Fig's huevos rancheros recipe was originally developed for a private brunch during the Sundance Film Festival. The overwhelming enthusiasm from attendees made it a menu staple. At the base is a quesadilla, filled with a Oaxacan cow's milk cheese called quesillo. The quesadilla is crisped on a griddle and topped with two cage-free, organic sunny-side-up eggs. Then factor in roasted poblano peppers, queso fresco, onion, cilantro, and slow-cooked beans. The final touch is finely shaved Lomo Cabecero, cured Iberian pork loin that adds a slightly salty, nutty, fatty component to the dish's runny eggs and melted cheese.
Taos Diner, Taos, NM
Homemade chili sauce recipes are a point of pride at this celebrated greasy spoon. The red chili is made with a Chimayo chile powder base, and the green starts with fresh roasted, local green peppers. Hop up on a barstool, and you're bound to hear a few regulars calling for the spot's beloved, classic huevos rancheros. You'll have a few decisions to make, though. Blue corn tortillas or original? Black beans or pinto? Red chili or green? Half portion for only $3.95 or full-size for $8.50? Who are we kidding—full-size, every time.