Never Waste Your Stale Tortillas — Make Migas

Sometimes, say during a pandemic, you are in a corner store and you spy stacks of corn tortillas on the shelf. You stock up on them because you’re trying to reduce the frequency of your shopping trips — and because tortillas are a way of life. 

But some of them go stale before you get to them. Don’t be sad. This is the perfect time to make migas. 

"What are migas?" you might ask — especially if you are my spouse from the East Coast.

I think of migas as a kind of Tex-Mex cousin to chilaquiles, another dish that I love (and obsessively eat). They both make magic out of stale tortillas, creating that most tasty food texture of crispy-gone-soggy. Though they're similar in that way, they diverge in the details. 

Both often have eggs, but whereas eggs are a key feature of migas, they're merely one option for chilaquiles. The star component of chilaquiles — the thing that can make it or break it — is the sauce. Migas is less intimidating to make because you can just top it with some jarred salsa. This is not really a comparison, though. Both occupy their own special places in my mind-heart-stomach. 

Migas, though, remind me of home. To be a Texan living outside of Texas is to miss certain foods that are not easy to find outside of the state. For me, this list of comfort foods is heavily comprised of Tex-Mex: chili con queso, breakfast tacos, and of course, a hearty plate of migas. Happily, it's not hard to make some of these things yourself. 

15-20 minutes

2 heaping servings 

4 corn tortillas, preferably stale, but fresh will do 
8 eggs
shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack or a combo) 
salt & pepper 

Optional Ingredients 
a pepper or 2 or more, like jalapeño, seeded and diced 
onions or shallots, diced 
chorizo or bacon 
garnish and serving options: cilantro, scallions, avocado, pico de gallo, beans, flour tortillas


1. Cut your stale tortillas into strips. Fry them in oil on medium-high heat. (I used avocado oil). Fry them until they brown, which should take about 3 minutes or so. Then transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. 

2. Now for the scrambled eggs. If you are the kind of person who likes to whisk your eggs in a bowl before you scramble them, you do that. Add some milk if you like. Whisk and set aside. Me, I like to crack my eggs straight into the pan because I don't want to wash another bowl. 

3. Fry your onions (or shallots) and peppers in oil for a few minutes until they soften. Reduce heat a little. Then add your egg mixture to the pan. Or, if you are like me, crack your eggs into the pan, follow with a splash of milk. Season with salt and pepper. Use a spatula to slowly stir. 

If you want to add other ingredients like chorizo, this is a good time to do so. The great thing about migas is that it's a flexible and forgiving dish. Tortillas, eggs, cheese, and salsa are required, but other ingredients are welcome! 

4. Add the fried tortilla strips back into the pan. Let them sit in the eggy goodness for a minute or so. Gently stir the mixture. 

5. When your eggs look almost done (I prefer my scrambled eggs on the wetter side), sprinkle liberally with cheese and let it melt.

6. Plate. Top with salsa (red or green or both, it's all good). Garnish with cilantro if you are not a cilantro hater. Or add scallions. 

Migas go great with a side of refried beans. I only had canned British-style baked beans on hand the day I took these photos, so that's what I ate. Some people like to eat their migas with flour tortillas. But I think they're perfectly satisfying without them.


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