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The Classic Tostada

A classic tostada is a crispy corn tortilla that is typically fried or toasted until golden and crunchy. It serves as a base for a variety of toppings, making it a versatile and flavorful dish in Mexican cuisine.

To prepare a classic tostada, a corn tortilla is first fried in oil until it becomes crispy and golden brown. Once cooked, it is drained on paper towels to remove excess oil.

The crispy tortilla is then topped with a layer of refried beans, which serves as a base and helps to hold the other toppings in place. Common toppings for a classic tostada include shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced avocado or guacamole, crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese, sour cream or Mexican crema, and salsa or hot sauce. Additional toppings may include cooked and shredded chicken, beef, or pork, as well as pickled onions, radishes, or jalapeños for added flavor and texture.

The result is a delicious and satisfying dish that offers a combination of crispy, crunchy, creamy, and savory flavors and textures. Tostadas can be enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or light meal, and they are customizable to suit individual tastes and preferences.

Estimated Duration

Embark on the journey of making and enjoying Classic Tostadas with a total time of approximately 30 minutes. This includes preparation, cooking, and assembling the tostadas.

Nutrition Facts

Classic Tostadas offer a well-balanced combination of proteins, vegetables, and the wholesome goodness of a crispy tortilla. While not the lightest option, they provide a satisfying and flavorful eating experience.

Equipment Required

Before diving into the world of Classic Tostadas, ensure you have the following equipment:

  • Skillet or frying pan
  • Tongs
  • Paper towels
  • Baking sheet (if baking the tortillas)


For the Tostadas:

  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt for seasoning

For the Tostada Toppings:

  • 1 can (15 oz) refried beans
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced avocado
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges for serving

Optional Toppings:


Prepare the Tostadas:

Heat the Tortillas:

  • In a skillet or frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  • Fry each corn tortilla for about 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. Alternatively, you can bake the tortillas in the oven until crispy.

Drain Excess Oil:

  • Place the fried tortillas on paper towels to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt while they are still warm.

Assemble the Tostadas:

Spread Refried Beans:

  • On each crispy tortilla, spread a layer of refried beans as the base.

Layer with Toppings:

  • Top the refried beans with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, sliced black olives, crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese, and chopped fresh cilantro.

Add Optional Toppings:

  • Enhance your tostadas with optional toppings like sour cream, salsa, or pickled jalapeños.

Serve with Lime Wedges:

  • Serve the Classic Tostadas with lime wedges on the side for a burst of citrusy freshness.

Tips and Advice:

  • Customize the toppings based on your preferences. Add proteins like grilled chicken, beef, or shrimp for extra flavor.
  • Ensure the tortillas are well-drained after frying or baking to maintain their crispiness.

Enjoy with these Side Dishes:

Classic Tostadas are delightful on their own but pair well with sides like Mexican rice, a side salad, or a bowl of tortilla soup for a complete meal.

Storage Options:

While best enjoyed fresh, any leftover tostadas can be stored in an airtight container. Keep the toppings separate to preserve the crispiness of the tortillas. Reheat the tortillas in the oven before assembling.

Ingredient Substitutes:

Feel free to experiment with different toppings and sauces to suit your taste. You can also use flour tortillas if preferred.

Popular Alternatives to this Dish:

Explore more Mexican classics like Tostada de pollo or Pork tostadas for a diverse and delightful Mexican dining experience. Each option brings its own unique flavors to the table.