Chicken tostadas make the perfect quick and easy weeknight meal! Layers of refried beans, shredded chicken, and fresh toppings taste delicious on crispy tostada shells.
Whenever I’m looking for a super easy dinner that will get everyone excited, tostadas are at the top of my list. They’re quick, super adaptable, and incredibly delicious. You can serve a few as a main dish with your favorite protein, or you can have one as an easy snack or appetizer.
This recipe for chicken tostadas is my personal favorite combination – that homemade spice blend really takes it to the next level!
Tostadas mean “toasted” which refers to the crispy tortilla shell that’s the base of this recipe. The tortillas can be fried or baked, just so long as they’re nice and crispy so that you can layer all of your toppings on them.
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Chicken: I prefer using boneless skinless chicken breasts because they really take on the flavor of the spice blend so nicely. You could also skip the oven and the homemade spice mixture and use this Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken or some pulled rotisserie chicken instead.
I recommend using air chilled chicken if you can, because it will release less moisture during cooking (so you’ll end up with juicier chicken).
Spices: A combination of chili powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, fine sea salt, ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes season the chicken perfectly. It’s really such a delicious combo! You can use store bought taco seasoning instead if you’d prefer, but I really do think this homemade taco seasoning tastes so much better than the store bought kind.
Tostada Shells: I used store bought tostada shells for this recipe, but most of the time I actually make homemade tostada shells. Either way is delicious and super easy, so feel free to use whichever you’d prefer.
Beans: Canned refried pinto beans are my favorite for tostadas, but refried black beans will work just as well. Feel free to pick your favorite! It’s important to layer the beans onto the tostada first, because it helps the other toppings stick to the tostada shell as you eat it.
Lettuce: It just wouldn’t be the same without a layer of very thinly shredded romaine or iceberg lettuce. I normally use romaine, but if you prefer iceberg, definitely feel free to use that instead. Either way, the layer of lettuce really freshens and lightens up this recipe.
Tomatoes: I love using fresh diced tomatoes in addition to salsa, but if you’re not big on tomatoes, that might be too much tomato flavor for you. My favorite trick for picking out delicious tomatoes is to smell them – if they have a strong tomato scent they’ll have lots of flavor, if they don’t smell like much of anything, they won’t have much flavor either.
Onion: Red onions are my favorite to enjoy raw, so they’re perfect finely diced on tostadas. Plus, the vibrant color definitely adds to the appeal of this dish.
Avocado: A perfectly ripe hass avocado is one of my favorite tostada toppings. You could also swap this for a dollop of guacamole if you prefer. I especially like including avocados when I’m going to add hot sauce, because the fat balances out the heat of the hot sauce so well.
Cheese: Crumbled cotija cheese is the best cheese to use on tostadas. Depending on where you live, that could be hard to find. If you can’t find cotija cheese, I’d recommend using crumbled feta cheese instead.
Optional Toppings: Drizzling hot sauce, sour cream, or fresh lime juice on tostadas are all super popular and delicious optional toppings. I normally opt for hot sauce and lime juice – it’s my favorite combination.
How To Make Chicken Tostadas
Start by preheating the oven, then mix together the spices in a small bowl. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)
Place the chicken breasts on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle half the olive oil on the first side, and sprinkle half of the spice mixture on top. Flip the chicken breasts over and repeat on the second side. Bake the chicken in the preheated oven until they’re cooked through and reach an internal temperature of 165 F on an instant read meat thermometer. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before you shred it.
While the chicken is baking, heat the refried beans in a skillet. Spread a thin layer of heated refried beans on each tostada shell, then top it with a layer of shredded chicken.
Add a layer of lettuce, then a layer of diced tomatoes.
Next, add a layer of diced red onion, then a layer of cubed avocado.
Add a layer of crumbled cotija cheese, then a layer of diced fresh cilantro. Drizzle on any optional toppings that you’re using (hot sauce, sour cream, lime juice, etc.). See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.
How Do You Eat Chicken Tostadas?
As long as you don’t pile the toppings too high, tostadas are actually pretty easy to eat with your hands (definitely my preferred way!). If your tostada shell is a little less crispy, or if you pile the toppings pretty high, it can be easier to eat them with a fork and knife, though this isn’t the traditional way of eating them.
What Does A Tostada Consist Of?
Tostadas are similar to tacos, except that they’re flat instead of folded. The base is a corn tortilla that’s been fried or baked until it’s crispy. Then it’s topped with beans, sometimes meat, cheese, salsa, and fresh toppings.
What To Serve With Tostadas?
The classic toppings are refried beans, meat, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, avocado, crumbled cheese, cilantro, hot sauce, sour cream, guacamole, and lime wedges. I also love adding Mexican Pickled Onions and playing with the different sauces that I drizzle on them. Some of my favorite Mexican-inspired sauces are:
- Cilantro Lime Sauce
- Ranchero Sauce
- Copycat Pollo Tropical Cilantro Garlic Sauce
- Pico de Gallo
- Restaurant Style Salsa
Keep In Touch
I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime
If you like this recipe, be sure to check out all of our Mexican recipes! Some reader favorites are:
- Chicken Tinga Tacos
- Chicken Flautas
- Wet Burritos
- Chicken Taquitos
- Huevos Rancheros
- Mexican Chicken Salad
- Fajita Nachos
Chicken and Seasoning:
- 2 teaspoons chili powder*
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
Tostadas and Toppings:
- 8 tostada shells
- 1 (15 ounce) can refried pinto beans or refried black beans
- 1 medium head romaine lettuce (shredded)
- 2 medium tomatoes (diced)
- 1/2 small red onion (finely diced)
- 1 large Hass avocado (pitted and diced)
- 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese**
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro (diced)
- Hot sauce (optional, for topping)
- Sour cream (optional, for topping)
- Lime wedges (optional, for topping)
- Preheat the oven to 450 F (232 C).
- In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, fine sea salt, ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
- Place the chicken breasts on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle them on both sides with olive oil, and sprinkle the seasoning on both sides.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and reads an internal temperature of 165 F on an instant read meat thermometer (this might take longer if you’re using large chicken breasts). Once the chicken is done cooking, let it rest for 10 minutes before shredding it.
- While the chicken is resting, heat the refried beans in a skillet on the stove over medium heat.
- Spread a thin layer of refried beans on each tostada shell, then top it with a layer of shredded chicken. Top each tostada with shredded lettuce, diced tomato, diced red onion, diced avocado, crumbled cotija, and diced cilantro. Drizzle on optional hot sauce, sour cream, and lime juice, (if using).
*This is a spice blend sold in the US and Canada. It’s much milder than the pure chili powder sold in the UK and other parts of the world.
**If you can’t find cotija cheese where you live, you can use crumbled feta as a replacement.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 345Total Fat: 17.1gCarbohydrates: 32.2gFiber: 7.2gSugar: 3.1gProtein: 17.8g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
Whether you’re looking for a delicious Cinco de Mayo recipe, or just an easy anytime dinner, these chicken tostadas are the perfect meal to try!