How to Make Tostada Shells

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Tostadas are a quick and easy dinner, but first you need the shells. These oven baked Tostada Shells are simple to make, and all you need is the corn tortilla and oil you already have in your pantry. They bake up golden and crispy in minutes, with less oil than the fried ones!

four baked tostada shells on a baking pan

What is a tostada?

The word “tostada” means “toasted” in Spanish, so that might give you a clue as to what they are. Tostadas start with a base of a crispy corn tortilla that is flat, unlike curved taco shells. Tortillas are either baked or fried to make them nice and crisp so that they can support being loaded up with toppings.

Traditionally, the first layer on top of the shell is a smear of refried beans because this helps the rest of the toppings stick. You can then add guacamole or avocado, and then most people usually top them with chopped meat like chicken, pork, or beef, though seafood tostadas are popular too. Some will even swap the meat for eggs to enjoy them for breakfast or brunch.

Then they are finished off with similar toppings to what you might add to tacos, such as lettuce, tomato, salsa, cheese, and sour cream or crema.

tostada shells on a baking sheet, one without toppings and three tostadas with the toppings on them

Where can I find Tostada Shells?

Tostada shells are now available in most grocery stores, near the Mexican food items or Latin section. You can also find them in Latin markets. They are now even available from national brands such as Old El Paso. You’ll also find them aon Amazon, but given how easy they can break, ordering and having them shipped might not be the best option.

Why make your own?

However, I prefer to make my own tostada shells. It’s super easy to do, and a great way to use up corn tortillas which are often sold in packages of 24 to 30.

Additionally, these are baked in the oven instead of fried, making them a healthy option. Baked tostada shells are lower in fat and calories. And by using corn tortillas, they are also gluten free (admittedly, the storebought ones usually are too).

You also have control over the ingredients, and can use heart-healthy olive oil or avocado oil instead of the more highly-processed oils that may contain trans fats which are sometimes used for the commercially produced ones.

picking up a tostada shell off of a baking pan

What are Tostada Shells Made Of?

It doesn’t get any easier than this. The only ingredients you need are:

  • Corn tortillas: White or yellow ones will both work fine.
  • Olive oil or avocado oil: Just a bit for brushing the tortillas. You can also use olive oil or avocado oil-based cooking spray, as this should allow you to use a bit less oil.
  • Salt: Optional.
baking sheet with corn tortillas, olive oil, a pastry brush, and a small bowl of kosher salt

How to Make Tostada Shells in the Oven

Prep: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush both sides of the tortillas with a thin, even layer of olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, if desired.

Bake: Place the tortillas on a sheet pan and bake for about 6 minutes. Flip them over and bake for another 4-6 minutes until golden and crispy.

Quick Tip

Concerned about them curling up? Place a cooling rack on top while baking.

Try the Air Fryer

You can also cook your tostada shells in the air fryer at 370°F for 3-5 minutes per side. The drawback is that you can only cook one or maybe two at a time due to the size.

Make it a Meal

Now you can go classic by topping the tostadas with chicken, beef, or beans plus your favorite toppings. Or get creative with different types of flavors. Then add your favorite side dishes.

Tostada Recipes
Toppings Ideas
  • Beans: Refried beans, black beans, pinto beans, etc.
  • Veggies: Shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, red onion, jalapenos, etc.
  • Cheese: Cheddar, Montrey Jack, cotija, queso fresco
  • Salsa: Classic, pico de gallo, or a fruity one like Mango Avocado Salsa
  • Guacamole: Homemade or store-bought, or even sliced avocado or Avocado Lime Crema
  • Sour cream: Or Greek yogurt or Mexican crema
one corn tostada shell held up to see the surface

Things You’ll Need

Brianne Recommends
  • While ordering tostada shells online is risky, corn tortillas should ship just fine.
  • Make sure you have a pastry brush.
  • If you want to use even less oil, use cooking spray or put your oil in a spritzer bottle.
  • The tostada shells are hot, so use tongs to flip them.
one tostada shell on a baking pan with tostadas on the pan behind it

How to Make Tostada Shells

Tostadas are a quick and easy dinner, but first you need the shells. These oven baked Tostada Shells are simple to make, and all you need is the corn tortilla and oil you already have in your pantry. They bake up golden and crispy in minutes, with less oil than the fried ones!
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Equipment

  • Oven

Ingredients

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or avocado oil (or use olive or avocado oil cooking spray)
  • salt, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Lay the tortillas out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Use two baking sheets or make them in two batches, if needed.
  • Brush both sides of the tortillas with a thin, even layer of olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, if desired.
  • Place the tortillas on a sheet pan and bake for aout 6 minutes. Flip them over and bake for another 4-6 minutes until golden and crispy.

Notes

Nutrition information does not include toppings.
Nutrition Facts
How to Make Tostada Shells
Amount Per Serving (2 tostada shells)
Calories 144 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Sodium 23mg1%
Potassium 97mg3%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 1IU0%
Calcium 42mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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