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Crispy tortillas piled high with your favorite toppings, these easy Chicken Tostadas are as much fun to make as they are to eat. With almost no cooking required, it’s a total breeze to let everyone customize their own for a quick and easy dinner the family is sure to love!
Easy Chicken Tostadas
These easy chicken tostadas are sure to become a dinnertime staple in your house. Not only are they simple to make, but the kids will love getting in on the action to create their own. Plus, picking them up to eat like a little Mexican pizza might actually be more fun than trying to eat a taco! It’s a little messy, but that’s part of what makes them so great.
They are also super flexible and naturally gluten free! Additionally, if someone has to avoid dairy, they can leave off the cheese or sour cream, and if there is someone cutting carbs in your family, they can just use the lettuce and other toppings to make a keto-friendly taco bowl.
And everyone can add the toppings they choose depending on what they love! This meal practically comes together on its own.
What are tostadas?
Tostadas, which means “toasted” in Spanish, are perfect for taco-lovers who might want to change things up a bit. They start with tostada shells, which are crispy corn tortillas that are flat instead of curved.
You can find them in many grocery stores, but if you have corn tortillas you can make them yourself. Yes, when you see how to make tostada shells, you might not even bother with the store-bought ones.
Much like the tacos we all adore, the tostada shells are loaded up with all of your favorite toppings. But because it is flat, you get a better topping-to-shell ratio, which might just make them even more delicious.
What do you eat on a tostada?
This chicken tostada recipe sticks to the basics. But feel free to let your imagination and tastebuds be your guide. Here are the essentials, but keep reading for more ideas to get creative.
- Tostada shells: Buy them in a bag or make them by brushing corn tortillas with olive oil and baking at 400°F for 4-6 minutes per side, until crispy.
- Refried beans: The quickest option is to use canned ones that you heat up on the stove. But maybe you’ve made a big batch of refried beans and have leftovers.
- Guacamole: This will also help the rest of the toppings stick, but you can also just use sliced avocado. If you prefer, Avocado Crema is delicious too.
- Chicken: You can use pre-cooked grilled chicken strips that you buy from the store, some slow cooker Mexican chicken, or even leftover grilled or roasted chicken chopped into pieces.
- Iceberg lettuce: Thinly slice it into shreds or buy a bag of shredded lettuce.
- Salsa or pico de gallo: You can also just use chopped tomatoes if you prefer.
- Cheese: For the most authentic tostada, I like to use crumbled cotija or queso fresco. But shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar works just fine.
- Sour cream: Plain Greek yogurt also makes a great substitute, or use traditional Mexican Crema.
- Cilantro or sliced scallions: Optional as a garnish.
How to make chicken tostadas
It seriously doesn’t get any easier. All you have to do is heat up a couple of ingredients, set out the toppings, and let everyone create their own. In fact, it’s also a super fun idea for a party!
Prepare the Tostada Shells and Toppings: If you are making the tostada shells yourself, pop them in the oven. Warm up the refried beans according to the directions on the can. Heat up your chicken in the microwave or oven, or warm it in a skillet on the stove at medium-high for 4-6 minutes.
Spread on the Beans and Guacamole: Spread an even layer of refried beans and guacamole on the tostada shells.
Top with Chicken: Place the chicken on top of the beans and guac, pressing it down a little so it sticks.
Add Your Fixings: Finish the tostadas with lettuce, salsa, cheese, sour cream, and a garnish of cilantro or scallions, if you like. Enjoy right away!
How to Eat a Tostada
Tostadas admittedly can be a little messy to eat. You’ll want to pick it up, almost as if you were lifting a slice of pizza, turn your head to the side a bit, and just take a bite. Because the shells are crispy, you won’t be able to fold it like a taco. So yes, some of the toppings will likely fall off onto your plate. Pile them back on and take another bite, or just eat them with a fork.
- Make them in the Morning: Swap the chicken for a fried egg to make Breakfast Tostadas.
- Get Saucy: Toss the chicken with your favorite barbecue sauce to make BBQ Chicken Tostadas.
- Change the Meat: Try tostadas with shredded pork, Chili Lime Steak Bites, or any leftover meat you have on hand.
- Add Other Toppings: Get creative with everything from pickled jalapenos to sliced red onions to Mango Avocado Salsa.
Are Tostadas Healthy?
Chicken Tostadas can be a healthy dinner option, especially if you bake your tostadas shells instead of using fried ones. And by choosing toppings like beans, lettuce, salsa, avocado, and cheese, you get lots of fiber, vitamins, and calcium.
Yes, this Mexican-inspired meal can be a wholesome family dinner you can feel good about feeding the family!
Make it a Meal
With all of the protein and veggies, you really can make a meal just out of the tostadas themselves. But Mexican meals always go well with rice, like Cilantro Lime Rice or even Instant Pot Spanish Rice. Don’t forget the pinto beans! Or try some of these veggie sides:
- Chili Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Pepper Jack Cauliflower Tots
- Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Butternut Squash
- Pineapple Coleslaw
Can You Make Chicken Tostadas in Advance?
This tostada recipe is so quick and easy that there really isn’t a need to make them ahead. In fact, this will cause the shells to get soggy with all of the toppings stacked on them.
However, you can get all of your toppings prepared ahead of time by shredding the lettuce and cheese, and even spooning other toppings into bowls, if you like. Then right before you plan to eat, you’ll just need a couple of minutes to warm the chicken and refried beans.
Easy Chicken Tostadas
- 8 corn tostada shells (or 8 corn tortillas about 1-2 Tbsp olive oil)
- 16 oz. can refried beans
- 1 cup guacamole or sliced avocado
- 8 oz. package John Soules Foods Chicken Fajitas
- About half a head of iceberg lettuce, cored and shredded
- 1 cup salsa, pico de gallo, or chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco or shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
- ½ cup sour cream, plain Greek yogurt, or Mexican crema
- Minced cilantro or thinly sliced scallions for garnish, if desired
- If you are preparing your tostada shells using corn tortillas, preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush each side of the tortillas with a little olive oil and bake for 5 minutes. Flip and bake for another 4-6 minutes, or until crispy.
- Warm the beans according to the package directions.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 4-6 minutes, turning several times and breaking up any larger pieces.
- Spread about 1/4 cup of the beans on each tostada shell. Top beans with about 2 Tbsp of guacamole. Add chicken and press down slightly, then add lettuce, about 2 Tbsp each salsa and cheese, and about 1 Tbsp sour cream. Use more or less of each of the toppings, to your preference. Garnish with cilantro or scallions, if desired.
- Enjoy right away!
More Recipes to Make with Cooked Chicken
For more ideas to use cooked chicken, try these: