Mexican tostadas are a popular and delicious Mexican dish made by topping a crispy, fried tortilla with various ingredients like meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, and more. They make for a hearty appetizer or light meal. Tostadas are often eaten as street food in Mexico, but they are also frequently served in Mexican restaurants worldwide. Their crunchy base paired with fresh, flavorful toppings is what makes them so tasty! But what exactly are tostadas made of?
Main Ingredients for Making Tostadas
The main components that go into making authentic tostadas are:
The base of a tostada is made from a tortilla which is a thin, unleavened flatbread made from corn or wheat flour. Corn tortillas are traditionally used to make tostadas in Mexico. The tortilla is fried until crispy to create the signature tostada crunch.
Refried beans are a key topping ingredient. Pinto beans or black beans are often used and they are mashed and fried with oil or lard to make the refried beans. They add protein and creaminess.
Crisp lettuce such as romaine or iceberg add freshness and crunch. Shredded lettuce is scattered on top of the tostada.
Diced tomatoes provide sweetness and fresh tomato flavor. They are typically sprinkled over top along with the lettuce.
Thinly sliced raw white or red onions give a bite to balance the other toppings. Onions are often mixed with cilantro leaves.
Grated cheese like queso fresco, cotija, or Monterey jack melt over the hot tostada when freshly made. Cheese adds a lovely creaminess.
Sour cream is often drizzled over a tostada adding a cool, tangy counterpoint. Mexican crema is a popular traditional topping as well.
Cooked meat like shredded chicken, beef, or pork carnitas can be used as a protein filling. Chorizo sausage is another excellent meat choice.
Hot sauce like salsa or chili sauce gives a spicy kick. They are served on the side for extra heat if desired.
Fresh cilantro leaves add citrusy, herbal notes and vibrant green color. Chopped cilantro is sprinkled over the tostada.
Lime juice squeezed over the tostada adds bright acidity to balance the richness. Lime wedges are often served on the side.
How to Make Tostadas Step-by-Step
Now let’s look at how to actually make tostadas:
Step 1 – Fry the Tortillas
Start by frying corn or flour tortillas to make them nice and crispy. Heat about 1/2 inch depth of vegetable oil in a skillet to 350°F. Fry each tortilla for about 30 seconds per side until golden brown and crispy. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Step 2 – Spread on Refried Beans
Once the tortilla is fried, spread a layer of warm refried beans over the entire surface. This acts as a base and adds flavor.
Step 3 – Add Onions and Cilantro
Sprinkle diced white or red onion and chopped cilantro evenly over the refried beans. This adds some freshness.
Step 4 – Add Lettuce and Tomatoes
Top with shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes for color and crunch. Mixing them with the onions and cilantrohelps the vegetables stay put on the tostada.
Step 5 – Add Cheese
Sprinkle shredded melty cheese like Oaxaca, queso fresco, or cotija over the top. You can also use Monterey jack.
Step 6 – Add Your Protein
Add hot shredded chicken, beef, pork carnitas, chorizo, or whatever protein you desire. Heat it before topping the tostada with it.
Step 7 – Finish with Cream and Hot Sauce
Drizzle Mexican crema or sour cream over the entire tostada. Serve with hot sauce like salsa verdeor roja on the side for those who want an extra kick. Add lime wedges too.
Step 8 – Garnish with Cilantro
Finally, garnish the tostadas with more chopped fresh cilantro. Now you’re ready to serve these flavorful Mexican tostadas!
Variations for Tostada Toppings
One of the great things about tostadas is how versatile they are when it comes to toppings. Feel free to get creative with ingredients based on your tastes. Here are some tasty tostada topping ideas:
– Guacamole or mashed avocado
– Shrimp or grilled fish
– Black or pinto beans
– Queso fresco or cotija cheese
– Jalapeños or chipotle peppers
– Mango or pineapple salsa
– Shredded cabbage or radish
– Mexican chorizo or ground beef
– Roasted pumpkin or zucchini
– Corn salsa or kernels
The crispy tortilla base pairs well with any combination of fresh vegetables, meat or seafood, beans, salsa, cheese, avocado, and more. Make each tostada unique by layering and mixing your favorite ingredients.
Are tostadas supposed to be crispy?
Yes, the base tortilla of an authentic Mexican tostada should be crispy and crunchy. This contrast with the creamy and fresh toppings is what characterizes a tostada.
Can you make tostadas ahead of time?
You can make tostadas ahead by frying the tortillas in advance then layering on all the toppings just before serving. That way the tortilla remains nice and crispy. The toppings can all be prepped ahead too.
How do you keep tostadas crispy?
Fry the tortillas until golden brown and drain well on paper towels. Let fully cool before topping to keep them crisp. Don’t add any moist toppings too far in advance or they’ll lose their crunch.
How long do homemade tostadas take to make?
Tostadas come together quickly which is part of their appeal! Once you have the tortillas fried and toppings prepped, they take about 5 minutes to assemble and serve.
Do tostadas make a good appetizer?
Yes, tostadas work extremely well as party appetizers because they are easy to eat finger food. Prepare small crispy tortillas then set up a topping bar so guests can customize their own.
Nutrition Facts for Mexican Tostadas
One traditional Mexican tostada made with a corn tortilla, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion provides approximately:
– 220 calories
– 10 g fat
– 28 g carbs
– 7 g protein
Of course, the nutrition facts will vary depending on your exact toppings. For instance, adding meat will increase the protein and fat content. Overall tostadas provide carbs from the tortilla and refried beans along with fiber, vitamin C, calcium, and other important vitamins and minerals.
The crispy corn tortilla base along with the fresh vegetables make tostadas a relatively healthy snack or light meal. They provide a nutritious, well-balanced mix of protein, healthy fats, carbs, and fiber to keep you satisfied.
Where to Find Authentic Tostadas in Mexico
For the very best traditional tostadas made just like they do in Mexico, we recommend seeking them out from street food vendors and taquerias if you are visiting Mexico. Some top places include:
Pujol – Mexico City
This upscale Mexico City restaurant serves gourmet modern Mexican cuisine. Their house-made tortillas and unique tostada toppings like tuna tartare take the dish to new heights.
El Moro – Oaxaca City
At this Oaxacan institution, you’ll find large crisp tortillas topped with thick, rich mole sauce, queso fresco, and shredded chicken. Their mole Negro tostada is a star.
La Guerrerense – Ensenada
Sabina Bandera and her seafood tostadas are legendary. She serves Baja-style tostadas piled high with fresh seafood like sea urchin and octopus. They attract hours-long lines for good reason.
Tostadas Coyoacán – Mexico City
This vibrant cantina focuses on topping super crispy blue corn tortillas with sauteed cactus, chorizo, and queso fresco for delicious traditional tostadas.
La Tostaderia – Puerto Vallarta
With two locations in Puerto Vallarta, this spot excels at traditional and inventive tostada options. They have an extensive list of gourmet toppings and sauce options.
Tostada Tips and Tricks
Here are some helpful tips and tricks for making perfect tostadas at home:
– Use day old tortillas for extra crispiness
– Let tortillas drain well on paper towels after frying to remove excess grease
– Always spread on refried beans first to act as a “glue” for the toppings
– Mix shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cilantro before adding to the tostada to help them stick
– Preheat or quickly heat any meat before adding as a topping
– Customize each tostada to suit individual tastes for parties
– Add hot sauce on the side to keep the tortilla crisp
– Use lots of napkins or plates – tostadas can be messy!
– Store any uneaten tostadas in the fridge but the tortilla will soften
This recipe outlines the essential steps for making classic Mexican tostadas at home with crunchy tortillas, beans, meat, lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes. Adjust the amounts to suit how many you need to serve.
– 6 small corn tortillas
– Vegetable oil for frying
– 1 cup refried beans
– 1/2 lb shredded cooked chicken or pork carnitas
– 1 cup shredded lettuce
– 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
– 1/4 cup diced onion
– 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
– 1 cup shredded Oaxaca, Monterey jack, or queso fresco cheese
– Sour cream for drizzling
– Hot sauce
– Lime wedges
1. Heat 1/2 inch oil in skillet over medium heat to 350°F. Fry each tortilla 30 seconds per side until crispy. Drain on paper towels.
2. Spread about 3 Tbsp warm refried beans on each tortilla. Top with shredded meat.
3. In a bowl, mix together the lettuce, tomatoes, onion and cilantro. Sprinkle over the meat.
4. Add shredded cheese over the top.
5. Drizzle with sour cream and add hot sauce to taste.
6. Garnish with extra cilantro and serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!
Mexican tostadas are the perfect quick and delicious snack or light meal any time you are craving fresh Mexican flavors. With their crispy fried tortilla base and endless possibilities for creative toppings, they are fun to make and customize at home. Use this guide to achieve authentic, flavor-packed tostadas. From the classic beans, lettuce, and cheese combo to inventive fusion versions, crunchy Mexican tostadas satisfy!