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Easy Tostada Recipe

For a quick and easy Mexican dinner, give this easy tostada recipe a try! Crispy tostada shells are layered with ground beef and refried beans and then topped with all of your favorite taco toppings! Kids and adults will love assembling their own creations!

Tostada on a white plate.
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A Family Favorite

Here we are again and this time I have another exciting Mexican-inspired recipe for you! In case you missed it, Mexican recipes are some of my favorite ones to make.

If you are a fan of Mexican food, you are going to love this easy tostada recipe. It’s very quick to prepare just like my bean and cheese burritos, which makes it perfect for busy weeknights and it also uses convenient ingredients that don’t require a lot of fuss.

The preparation for this recipe is super easy and takes just a few minutes, and if you want to make the taco meat topping ahead of time, you can store it in the fridge so all you have to do is assemble your tostadas right before serving. It doesn’t get any simpler than that! 

I serve these tostadas as an appetizer or as a main dish alongside some Mexican rice and homemade salsa. Everyone is always very excited when they see these on the table!

What is a Tostada?

A tostada is a Mexican dish that starts with a crispy tortilla shell (usually corn) that is topped with beef, beans, and common taco toppings like lettuce, tomato, salsa, and sour cream. If you haven’t tried them, I just know you’re going to love them as much as I do!

Recipe Ingredients

This easy tostada recipe is handy for busy weeknights because it uses accessible and convenient ingredients. To keep things simple, I use store-bought tostada shells and canned refried beans. 

Tostada ingredients on marble countertop.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Ground beef: I use 80% – 90% ground beef for the best flavor without too much fat. Make sure you drain the fat from the beef before adding the seasonings or your tostadas may turn out greasy.
  • Taco seasoning: I use my own blend of taco seasoning, but store-bought is also good.
  • Refried beans: Canned beans work well in this recipe or you can make your own refried beans. You can also substitute black beans if you prefer.
  • Tostada shells: Again, I use store-bought tostada shells for a great shortcut. Make sure they’re fresh and not stale. You’ll usually find them in the same aisle along with the rest of the Mexican food like flour tortillas and taco shells. You can also make your own shells from corn tortillas. I’ve shared a couple of different ways below on how to cook them to crunchy perfection.
  • Optional toppings: Chopped iceberg lettuce, queso fresco, avocado, sour cream, hot sauce, salsa, pico de gallo, lime juice, and sliced jalapenos.

Now, let’s see exactly how to make this easy tostada recipe in your own kitchen! 

Variations

Once you’ve got the general idea for these easy tostadas, then you can let your creativity loose and make them your own! I’ve shared the recipe for the classic version but if you’re looking for something different, check out some of these other ideas:

  • Protein: Instead of ground beef, try topping your tostadas with shredded beef, shredded chicken, pork carnitas, or sautéed shrimp for a different flavor combo.
  • Vegetarian: Leave out the meat and top the refried beans with some sautéed vegetables like onions, bell peppers and zucchini.
  • Breakfast: Top your tostadas with scrambled eggs, crumbled bacon and a sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Dessert: Spread some dulce de leche or Nutella over the tostada and top with fruit, whipped cream, and nuts.

How to Make Easy Tostadas

A bit of sautéing and assembling is all you need to do for this easy tostada recipe.

Showing how to make tostadas in a 4 step collage.
  1. Brown the beef: Sauté the beef and onion over medium heat until brown, breaking any large pieces up with a wooden spoon. Don’t forget to drain the grease.
  2. Simmer: Add in the taco seasoning, salsa, water, salt and pepper, and bring everything to a light simmer.
  3. Warm the beans: Combine the refried beans and sour cream in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until warmed through.
  4. Assemble: Layer on the beans, beef and your favorite toppings before digging in!

Make Your Own Tostada Shells

Don’t sweat it if you can’t find tostada shells in your local grocery store! You can easily make your own tostada shells at home. All you need is some corn tortillas! There are a couple of ways to get them nice and crispy:

  • Bake tostadas. Preheat the oven to 415°F. Spray corn tortillas on both sides with oil. Lay flat on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 4 minutes. Flip and bake for 5 minutes more, or until toasted and golden.
  • Fry tostadas: In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 inch oil over medium-high heat. Fry 1 tortilla for 30 to 60 seconds on each side, or until golden. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Expert Tips

  • To keep your tostadas crisp, keep them separate from the toppings until you are ready to serve them. 
  • Avoid overloading your tostada with toppings. A huge pile of toppings sounds like a good idea until your tostada shell breaks into several pieces making it harder to eat.
  • Let your family and friends make their own tostada combinations by setting out bowls of toppings so they can customize them to their own tastes.
Tostada on marble counter.

Serving Suggestions

Mexican tostadas are a great appetizer or main dish all on their own, but they can also be served with your other favorite Mexican-inspired sides! 

When I’m making this easy tostada recipe, in addition to salsa, I like to serve them with some fresh pico de gallo and my homemade guacamole. For an alternative sauce option, try my red enchilada sauce. It has a really nice smoky flavor. 

Adding a bowl of steaming cilantro lime rice and some warm bean dip with tortilla chips would make a great feast! 

Of course, any good feast needs dessert! A slice of tres leche cake or a mug of refreshing and creamy horchata would make the perfect end to the meal.

Recipe FAQs

Do the tostada shells need to be heated?

You don’t have to heat the tostadas, but if you’d like to, place them onto a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for 4 – 5 minutes. Make sure you don’t overheat them or they could begin to burn.

Can I make these tostadas ahead of time?

You bet! Prepare the ground beef mixture, refried beans, and toppings and then store them in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to serve the tostadas, reheat the meat and beans and assemble the tostadas.

Can I make vegetarian tostadas?

Absolutely! Leave out the meat and just top your tostadas with the bean mixture, or fry some tofu and add it on top along with the beans and other toppings.

How to Eat a Tostada

I’m going to warn you that you should be prepared to get a little messy when eating tostadas. It’s all part of the fun! Just have plenty of napkins or hand wipes ready.

Typically, you’ll eat tostadas by hand. Think of them like a flat crispy taco, it’s almost similar to a Mexican pizza. Once you’ve assembled your tostada, pick it up with your hands and start eating from the edge. Some of the toppings will likely fall onto your plate and the tostada might break a bit, but that’s ok! It’s always delicious.

You could also try to eat them with a knife and fork by breaking up the crispy tostada shell into bite-sized pieces. Either way, your tastebuds will thank you.

Storing

If you have leftovers of this easy tostada recipe, store the meat and toppings separately from the tostadas in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. 

When you’re ready to serve them again, rewarm the meat and beans in the microwave for 1 minute and then 30-second intervals until they are heated through. Then, you can assemble the tostadas as normal.

You can also freeze the beef mixture in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Place the bag in the fridge overnight to thaw, then reheat the beef in a skillet over medium heat or microwave until warm.

Tostada with toppings on a white plate.

Looking for more Mexican-inspired dishes to add to your menu? Try easy black beans and rice, chicken flautas, or albondigas soup.

More Favorite Mexican Dishes

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Tostada with toppings on a white plate.

Easy Tostada Recipe

5 from 5 votes
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Author: Jamielyn Nye
For a quick and easy Mexican dinner, give this easy tostada recipe a try! Crispy tostada shells are layered with ground beef and refried beans and then topped with all of your favorite taco toppings! Kids and adults will love assembling their own creations!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10

Video

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound ground beef (80%-90% lean)
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1-2 Tablespoons taco seasoning , plus more to taste
  • ½ cup salsa
  • ¼ cup water , plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt , to taste
  • Ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can refried beans
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 10 tostada shells

Optional toppings: Chopped iceberg lettuce, Queso fresco, Avocado, Sour cream, Salsa or pico de gallo, Sliced jalapenos

    Instructions

    • In a large skillet, sauté the ground beef and onion over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, or until the beef is browned. Use a wooden spoon to break up any large pieces. Drain excess grease.
    • Stir in the taco seasoning, salsa, and water. Bring to a light simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
    • In a microwave-safe bowl, stir together beans and sour cream. Microwave in 30 second intervals until warmed through. Season with sand and pepper to taste.
    • On a tostada, spread an even layer of refried beans. Top with a spoonful of beef mixture and your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

    Notes

    Make your own tostadas: You can use corn tortillas to make homemade tostadas two different ways.
    • Bake tostadas. Preheat the oven to 415°F. Spray corn tortillas on both sides with oil. Lay flat on a baking sheet and bake in 4 minutes. Flip and bake 5 minutes more, or until crispy and golden.
    • Fry tostadas: In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 inch oil over medium-high heat. Fry 1 tortilla 30 to 60 seconds on each side, or until golden. Transfer to  a paper towel–lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
    Make ahead: Prep the ground beef mixture, refried beans mixture, and toppings and store in separate airtight containers in the fridge up to 2 days. When ready to eat, rewarm the meat and beans and assemble the tostadas.
    Freeze beef mixture: Store beef mixture in a freezer bag in freezer up to 3 months. Place in the fridge overnight to thaw, then reheat in skillet or microwave until warm. 

    Nutrition

    Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 490mg | Potassium: 233mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 136IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Main Dish
    Cuisine: Mexican

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