Tostadas are an easy, Mexican inspired recipe perfect for feeding the entire family any night of the week. Crispy, crunchy corn tortillas topped with creamy homemade refried beans, cheese, corn, avocado and shredded lettuce. Our Tostada recipe is packed with the classic flavors and textures for a mouthwatering meal! And since you can customize them as much as you want, you know everyone will end the meal full and happy!
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This Recipe's Index
What is a tostada?
Tostada refers to a large variety of Mexican or Latin American dishes that use flat or bowl shaped fried tortillas as a base. In many areas, they involve a fried, crispy tortilla topped with a variety of delicious toppings like refried beans, cheese, corn, tomatoes, lettuce, and other favorites.
Ingredients to make the best homemade tostada
When you want the best tasting tostadas you can make at home, here’s what you’ll want to have on hand:
- Cooking spray - You could use olive oil instead. You just need a very small amount to lightly coat the tortillas.
- Corn tortillas - We use small sized ones, but you could use as big as you can fit in your air fryer basket or oven. You may just need to add more toppings!
- Refried beans - You could make our homemade recipe or get a 15-ounce can from the store.
- Head iceberg lettuce or purple cabbage for more crunch
- Tomatoes - or add your favorite Salsa
- Sour cream - Omit if you want to make this recipe vegan.
- Avocado - a must if you ask me!
- Cheeses - You can use crumbled queso fresco, cotija cheese, and/or Monterey Jack cheese. Omit or use vegan cheese if you want to make it vegan.
- Frozen corn kernels
- Veggie fajitas
- Fresh cilantro - so fresh!
- Fresh jalapeño - In a pinch, you could use the ones from a can or bottle.
- Lime slices - a little squeeze adds great flavor!
How to make awesome tostadas
- Making tostadas is super easy once you have the shells ready to go. Check out the section below on how to make the crispy shells, and when you are ready, here is what you need to do to assemble the most awesome tostadas you have ever tasted.
- First, warm the refried beans in a frying pan on medium heat for a few minutes or until warmed through.
- If you are using canned beans, make sure to drain them first and then add them to the pan with a little water and extra seasoning. As you add them, you can mash them a bit.
- Once the beans are ready and the tostada shells are crisp, start to layer toppings on each shell.
- We typically spoon the warmed refried beans right on top of the shells, and then add the corn, cheese, avocado, tomatoes, jalapeno, sour cream, lettuce, and then cilantro and lime juice. Layer each shell with the toppings and serve immediately.
How to bake or air fry your own tostada shells
It is super easy to make your own shells at home. Here’s what you need to do.
- First, preheat your air fryer by setting the temperature to 380ºF. It usually takes about 3 minutes to preheat an air fryer.
- Once it is ready, spray your tortillas with cooking spray on each side and season with salt to taste. Place one or two (room permitting) into the basket and cook for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, carefully open the basket and flip the tortilla.
- Before placing the basket back in, spray the shell with more cooking spray and add more salt if desired. Finish cooking the shell for about 2 to 3 minutes or until browned and crispy.
- Finally, remove the shell from the basket and let it cool to finish crisping.
- If you don’t have an air fryer or want to make a large batch in the oven, first spray each tortilla with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Place each tortilla in a single layer on a baking sheet or two.
- Preheat the oven to 350 and then bake them for about 11 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until brown and crispy.
How to serve
Tostadas can make a great meal because they have just about everything you need. You can either pick them up and eat them using your hands or cut them up and serve them with a fork and knife.
What toppings can I use for tostadas?
Tostadas give you tons of flexibility, which means you can make a tostada starting with the shell base and then adding more or less whatever you want on top. Some great options include:
- Black beans or pinto beans
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Sour cream
- Refried beans
- Lime juice
- Jalapeno peppers
- Taco sauce
- Sautéed onions and peppers / Veggie Fajitas
If you want other recipe ideas to serve with the tostadas, you can check out these tasty options:
Pro tips and tricks
When you make this recipe, keep these tips and tricks in mind for the best results:
- Cooking oil makes it easy to get the right amount of oil on the tortillas. But if you like, you can use a spray bottle to use olive oil instead if you prefer. You don’t need a lot of oil because you are aiming for a light coating.
- If you don’t want extra salt, you can omit it altogether.
- Add as many other toppings as you like or omit ones you don’t like to make the best tostada for you and your family.
How to store Tostadas and Tostada Shells
Tostadas are very difficult to store once you make them since the toppings will make the shells soggy and unappetizing.
You could store cooled, crispy shells for a few days if you like by preparing them as described and allowing them to cool completely. Once cooled, place them in an airtight container or bag. They should last for 3 to 4 days on the counter.
What is the difference between a tostada and a chalupa?
A tostada is a vague term describing a lot of Mexican dishes that use crispy shells as a base for a bunch of other toppings. A chalupa has a similar concept, where you can add your favorite toppings, but it uses a fried puffy shell as a base.
Both are great options to build a Mexican inspired meal. The main difference is the texture and flavor of the shell that is holding the delicious toppings.
If you want to make a tasty, homemade chalupa, you can check out our Chalupa recipe.
More Mexican inspired recipes
- Instant pot Rice and Beans
- Copycat Chipotle Sofritas
- Bolillo Bread
- Spanish rice
- Refried beans
- Charro beans
- Tomatillo salsa Verde
- Vegan burrito bowl
- Tortilla chips
More Air Fryer Recipes that you might like to try
- Baked Potatoes
- Apple chips
- Vegetable Fajitas
- Cauliflower Wings
- Onion Rings
- Olive Garden Bread Sticks
- Cream cheese stuffed Mushrooms
- Sweet Potatoes Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Zucchini Fritters
- Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers
- Garlic bread
Let us know what you think
For the tostadas:
- Olive oil
- 8 corn tortillas (small)
For the toppings:
- 2 cups refried beans, homemade or from one 15-ounce can.
- 1/2 head iceberg lettuce or purple cabbage/ sliced thin.
- 1 medium tomatoes, chopped.
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 ounces crumbled queso fresco and/or cotija cheese or Monterey Jack cheese/ shredded.
- 1 avocado, chopped peeled and pitted, slices.
- 1 cup of frozen corn kernels
- A handful chopped fresh cilantro.
- 1 fresh jalapeño
- Lime slices
Preparing tostadas shells in air fryer and bake
- Preheat you air fryer by setting the temperature
to 380ºF. (It usually takes about 3 minutes to preheat an air fryer.)
- Spray your tortillas with cooking spray on each side, and season with salt to taste.
- Cook at 380 for 3 minutes, open the basket, flip the tortilla, spray with cooking spray & add more salt (if desired), and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until browned and crisp.
- Remove from basket and let cool to finish crisping.(They will become crispier and crunchier as they cool down).
- If you'd like to bake a large batch of tortilla - follow the same prep instructions, lay the tortillas onto a foil lined baking sheet in a single layer, and bake for 6 minutes at 350. Remove the pan, flip, spray, salt (if desired), and bake for another 5 minutes or until crisp.
- Prepare refried beans ahead of time using our recipe for Instant Pot Refried beans. Alternatively. If you are using canned beans, drain them, then add them to the pan with a little water and extra seasoning to your choice, mash them as you heat them.
Assembling the tostadas with the toppings
- To serve, spoon the warm refried beans over the crisp tortillas, then pile on the toppings. Enjoy immediately.
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Gourmia GAF400 Electric Multipurpose Classic Rapid Air Fryer with Dual Dial Timer & Temperature Controls, 10 Cup/4.5 Qt. Capacity, 1230W, Black
Instant™ Vortex™ 6-Quart 4-in-1 Air Fryer with Roast, Broil, Bake, and Reheat functions
Old El Paso Traditional Refried Beans, 12 Cans, 1 Pound (Pack of 12)
La Tortilla Factory Organic Yellow Corn Tortillas, 8-Count, 6 Packages
Pam Superior NO STICK Cooking Spray Olive Oil (Extra Virgin) (2- PACK) (NET WT 7 OZ EACH)
Bertolli 100% Pure Olive Oil Mild Taste
Food to Live Certified Organic Pinto Beans (Non-GMO, Kosher, Bulk) (3 Pounds)
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 348Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 37mgSodium 234mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 14gSugar 7gProtein 21g
All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. We are not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on TheBellyRulesTheMind.net should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though we try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of our ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.