20 minute Chicken Tostadas with crispy baked tortilla shells topped with shredded chicken, black beans, avocado and crumbled cheese. One of our favorite easy healthy dinners!
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Chicken tostadas and crispy homemade tostada shells on your dinner table in 20 minutes. I love Mexican food, however I don’t love a bazillion messy bowls with different fixins its serving requires. That’s why I love making this easy chicken tostada recipe on busy weeknights!
This quick and easy dinner is my go-to to make with Instant Pot shredded chicken breast. Use whatever meat and beans you have on hand, add additional vegetables, top with your favorite salsa, cheese and even diced avocado vs. making guacamole.
Whenever everyone’s hungry, it’s chicken tostadas feast to the rescue because no one will complain about this dinner!
What Is a Tostada?
Tostada is a Mexican dish traditionally made with deep fried tortilla, seasoned beans, meat and vegetables. It differs from a taco which is soft and folded around ingredients vs. a crispy tostada which lays flat and is open faced. Making tostadas is a great way to use up leftover corn tortillas that are on the brink of going stale.
Today we will make chicken tostada recipe by using super easy homemade baked tostada shells. And the toppings are healthy because you have control over all ingredients and can add as many vegetables and as little cheese as you like.
Ingredients for Chicken Tostadas
All ingredients are highly customizable in these easy chicken tostadas. And I recommend to use what you have on hand.
- Corn tortillas: 100% corn tortillas will be used to make your tostada shells. You can use store-bought tostada shells but be aware they contain artificial colors and hydrogenated oils. I highly recommend to make your own, all you need is corn tortillas! Super easy recipe included below.
- Shredded chicken: I used Instant Pot chicken breast. Grilled chicken breast works too. Store-bought rotisserie chicken is a good option when in a rush. Basically, any pan fried chicken or baked chicken breast works.
- Canned black beans: You can also use a can of refried beans that is low in sodium, with minimum ingredients and possibly organic. Or make Instant Pot refried beans.
- Guacamole salsa: Made with avocado, tomato, red onion, fresh cilantro, lime and simple seasonings. By all means, use what you have on hand, even if it’s only avocado. Or replace with homemade pico de gallo or store-bought pico de gallo all together.
- Feta cheese or Cotija cheese. Creamy cheese instead of sour cream really adds flavor to these chicken tostadas.
How to Make Tostada Shells
At the base of this chicken tostada recipe are tostada shells. You can find them in most grocery stores but here is a quick overview how to make tostada shells at home that are much more healthy than store-bought!
- Prep: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and arrange corn tortillas in a single layer.
- Season: Spray each corn tortilla with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt, on both sides.
- Bake: Bake for 6 minutes per each side, flipping once. They come out so crunchy! If you have convection oven, tostada shells will cook faster and even more golden.
How to Make Chicken Tostadas
Here is a quick overview how to make chicken tostadas. Full recipe card is located below.
- Tostada shells: Bake tostada shells using the recipe above or use store-bought tostada shells.
- Make easy guacamole: While tostada shells are baking, combine tomato, diced avocado, red onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and lime juice. Alternately, use even more simple salsa guacamole or my easy guacamole recipe. Both recipes use what you have on hand.
- Assemble chicken tostadas: Top each tostada shell with guacamole, beans, pre-cooked chicken and cheese.
Variations and Toppings
Here are a few ideas for your chicken tostada recipe, so you can use ingredients and toppings you like and have on hand to enjoy them tonight.
- Meat: Instead of plain shredded chicken use Instant Pot pulled chicken, shredded beef or Instant Pot pulled pork.
- Cheese: Substitute feta cheese or cotija for cheddar cheese, colby Jack or your favorite cheese. Just remember freshly grated cheese tastes the best!
- Vegetarian: Learn how to fry tofu until crispy and use in chicken tostadas instead of chicken.
- Vegan tostada: Use above plant based tofu and either omit cheese or use favorite non dairy brand.
- Beans: Use pinto beans or Instant Pot refried beans.
- Additional leftover vegetables: Add any leftover vegetables chopped small including roasted cauliflower or baked asparagus.
- Fresh vegetables: Chopped or pickled jalapeno, pickled onions, green bell pepper or sweet bell pepper.
- Chicken tinga tostada: Quickly saute onion in a hot skillet, add pre-cooked chicken with Mexican sauce of choice (picante or tinga sauce) and cook for 20 minutes until thickened. Proceed with layering tostada.
- Chicken tostada salad: Instead of laying your tortillas flat on a baking sheet, turn a cupcake pan upside down and lay a warm tortilla that has been rubbed with small amount of oil over the cup. You should be able to fit three or four on a pan! Your tostada is now a small tortilla bowl and perfect with avocado cilantro dressing.
- BBQ chicken tostada: Use leftover bbq chicken or add healthy bbq sauce to your shredded chicken.
- Grilled chicken tostada: Use leftover grilled chicken breast or leftover grilled chicken thighs.
- Shrimp tostadas: All out of chicken but have shrimp, use those to make tostadas!
Tips for Best Results
- The right tortillas: Use 100% corn tortillas and the thinner you can find the better! This ensures you end up with a crispy chicken tostada.
- Remember to flip your tortillas: While they are baking in the oven, this will get them crispy on both sides.
- Don’t preassemble: If you are meal prepping, store each ingredient separately, otherwise you will end up with a soggy tortilla.
- Fresh ingredients: Really makes these chicken tostadas outstanding – fresh cilantro, lime and cheese that is not pre-grated.
A taco is folded tortilla with fillings inside it. A tostada is open faced crunchy tortilla served flat with toppings.
Tortilla is freshly made bread with corn flour and water. Tostada is a deep fried or baked corn tortilla that is crunchy.
Load up chicken tostadas with just enough toppings, then pick it up like a slice of pizza and take a bite.
This chicken tostada recipe has not been tested with flour tortillas but I think you could use the same method to make tostada shells with flour tortillas. Lightly spray and bake until crispy.
All ovens bake differently, you may need to bake your tortillas a little longer. But keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn! Also, let them completely cool before storing.
What To Serve with Chicken Tostadas?
Chicken tostadas is a great dinner to serve Chipotle style with:
- Grains: Cilantro coconut brown rice or low carb cauliflower rice.
- Salsa: Homemade pico de gallo, mango salsa or pineapple jalapeno salsa.
- Slaw: Healthy coleslaw recipe, slaw from shrimp tacos or mango slaw.
- Mexican inspired salad: Mexican kale salad or Mexican street corn salad.
How to Make Ahead and Store
Storing tostada shells: You can bake homemade tostada shells for up to 48 hours in advance. Store them in resealable Ziploc bag to keep shells crunchy.
Make ahead: You can shred chicken, chop and dice vegetables, crumble cheese for up to 48 hours in advance and store them in airtight containers. You can even prepare Greek yogurt guacamole and store it for up to 24 hours as it doesn’t brown as much as regular guacamole.
To prevent regular guacamole from browning, here are 2 foolproof methods of storing it. Either level guacamole in a bowl and tightly press piece of plastic on top. Or pour cold water on top, then drain and stir before serving with chicken tostadas.
More Mexican Recipes to Try
- Shrimp tacos
- Instant Pot chicken tacos
- Shrimp ceviche
- Chicken quesadillas
- Tex Mex chicken and zucchini
- Instant Pot white chicken chili
- Chicken street tacos
- Mexican chicken and rice
- 8 corn tortillas or store-bought tostada shells
- 3 medium tomatoes diced
- 4 medium avocados diced
- 3 tbsp red onion finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Lime juice of
- 15 oz can low sodium black beans drained & rinsed
- 3 cups cooked chicken shredded
- 1/2 cup feta or Cotija cheese crumbled
- Cooking spray I use Misto
- To make homemade tostada shells: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. Arrange tortillas in a single layer, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt on both sides.
- Bake for 6 minutes per each side, means you have to flip one time.
- Prep toppings: While tostadas are baking, make easy guacamole salsa by combining tomato, avocado, red onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and lime juice. Get other ingredients ready.
- Assembly: To assemble tostadas, top each shell with guacamole salsa, beans, chicken and cheese.
- Store: You can bake homemade tostada shells for up to 48 hours in advance. Just store in resealable Ziploc bag to keep shells crunchy.
- Make ahead: You can shred chicken, chop/dice veggies, crumble cheese for up to 48 hours in advance and store in airtight containers. Prep guacamole up to 24 hours in advance.
- Why make homemade tostada shells? Store-bought tostadas shells are full of artificial colours and preservatives. I prefer to make my own tostada shells (not corn tortillas) but you can use pre-made.
- 100% corn tortillas: Also, use thinner ones vs. thicker ones for the crispiest baked tostadas.
- Healthy brand of refried beans instead of black beans is welcome. Low in sodium, with less ingredients and possibly organic. Alternately, use low sodium pinto beans.
- Adjust sodium based on ingredients: Adjust salt in guacamole to taste depending on whether you use store-bought tostada shells, salted canned beans and store-bought or homemade chicken.
- Cheese: Substitute for cheddar, cheddar Jack or your favorite. Just remember freshly grated for best taste!