These chicken tostadas are a quick and easy weeknight dinner! Made with crispy tostada shells, shredded chicken, refried beans, and all the best toppings.
Chicken Tostadas are truly a family favorite! Not only are they easy to prepare, but they’re also one of my (and my mom’s) go-to meals to serve at family gatherings. We like to lay out all the ingredients on a table so each person can make their tostada just the way they like, like a little tostada station/buffet.
Made with refried beans, shredded chicken, and plenty of toppings layered on a crunchy tostada shell, this is a quick and easy meal you can make for any occasion.
What are tostadas?
Tostadas are made from baked or fried corn tortillas that are typically layered with refried beans, cheese, meat, and various toppings such as red or green salsa, diced tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, and more.
They’re often eaten for dinner, lunch, or as an appetizer at parties. My family would always prepare a big batch on Sundays for an early dinner after church. They were always delicious and could easily serve a crowd (seeing as there were well over 15 of us!).
At the base of every tostada recipe is a tostada shell. A tostada shell is basically a corn tortilla that’s been baked or fried until crispy and crunchy like a tortilla chip.
Tostada shells are becoming easier and easier to find in many grocery stores, and are often located in the Hispanic foods section near the shelf-stable tortillas.
If you can’t find any in your local grocery store, you can buy them online or even make your own!
Other Ingredients you’ll need
Aside from tostada shells, here’s what else you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Refried beans – You can make your own homemade refried beans for extra flavor or use your favorite canned refried beans if you want to save time.
- Shredded chicken – This is a great recipe to make when you need to use up any leftover chicken you have in the fridge. You can also use a shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken or make your own shredded chicken at home.
- Toppings – I like to top my tostadas with crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, avocado, and Mexican crema. If you can’t find cotija cheese or queso fresco, you can use your favorite shredded cheese instead. Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or even mozzarella would all work!
- Garnishes – Finish off your tostadas with a spritz of fresh lime juice, sea salt, and hot sauce!
How to make chicken tostadas
Start by heating up the refried beans and shredded chicken in the microwave or on the stovetop. You can add a little extra flavor to the chicken by stirring in some taco seasoning, salsa verde, or making chicken tinga instead.
Then assemble the tostadas by spreading a thin layer of refried beans on each tostada shell. Top with the chicken, cheese, and any other toppings you like.
How to eat tostadas
Eating tostadas is super easy – simply pick it up and take a bite! They can be a little messy, especially if the tostada shell is on the thinner side, but they’re best eaten with your hands. Luckily, most tostada shells (even the homemade ones) are on the thicker side, so they’re actually sturdier than you think.
You can make tostadas anyway you like by adding all of the toppings you love. Along with the suggestions I’ve already included, these toppings would also be delicious with the shredded chicken and refried beans:
- Pickled red onions
- Sliced radishes
- Avocado crema
- Pico de gallo
- Salsa macha
- fresh or pickled jalapeños
- Grilled corn
Making ahead and storing
To make ahead, prepare the shredded chicken (if not leftover) and refried beans up to 2 days ahead of time. Keep them stored in separate airtight containers in the fridge until it’s time to heat them up.
You can prepare all of the toppings and garnishes ahead of time as well. With everything ready, all you have to do assemble the and eat!
To store, keep the leftover shells in a ziploc bag at room temperature for up to 3 days so they can stay crunchy. Keep the beans, chicken, and toppings stored in airtight containers in the fridge.
- 6-8 large tostada shells
- 1 (15-ounce) can refried beans
- 4 cups cooked shredded chicken
- 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese (or queso fresco)
- 2 cups thinly shredded lettuce
- 2 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 medium avocados, pitted and diced
- 1/2 cup sour cream (or Mexican crema)
- lime wedges, for serving
- flaky sea salt, for serving
- hot sauce, for serving (optional)
- Heat refried beans and shredded chicken in the microwave or on the stovetop for 2-3 minutes, or until fully heated through.
- Assemble the tostadas by spreading a thin layer of refried beans on each tostada shell. Then top with shredded chicken, cotija cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced onions, chopped cilantro, diced avocados, and a dollop of sour cream.
- Serve each tostada with a lime wedge, a sprinkle of sea salt, and your favorite hot sauce.
- Enjoy immediately.
- For the tostada shells: You can use your favorite store bought shells or make your own at home.
- For the refried beans: Feel free to use about 1 1/2 cups of homemade refried beans if you prefer.
- For the chicken: You can use any leftover chicken you have in the fridge, use a store bought rotisserie chicken, or you can make your own shredded chicken at home.
- Can’t find cotija cheese or queso fresco? Feel free to use your favorite shredded cheese like cheddar, monterey jack, or even mozzarella.
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