Cheese/ Lunch/ Tex Mex

The BEST Chicken Tostadas

March 9, 2021 (Last Updated: March 12, 2021) by Chris Collins

These Chicken Tostadas are easy to make and absolutely bursting with flavour!

These tostadas have truly got it all going on. There’s a million and one ways to make a chicken tostada, but here I’ll I show you what I deem to be the best way 😋 Follow me…

tostada on wooden board surrounded by garnish and more tostadas

Chicken for Tostadas

The chicken is the star of the show here, so it’s important to let it shine. For this recipe we’re going for boneless skinless chicken thighs and a really simple store-cupboard spice mix.

Don’t fear the char!

Once you’ve coated the thighs in spices & oil, whack them in a pan and fry those babies up. When you’re frying don’t be scared to char the meat a little, this carameliztion will actually add a deep, smoky flavour. Some of the char also stays in the pan which makes a good base for the sauce. Don’t go overboard, we’re not looking for charcoal here, but a bit of light charring does offer a more authentic flavour.

Bring close to room temp

You’ll find that if you fry meat straight from the fridge, it tends to seep out a ton of moisture and the meat seizes up. Not only does this leave the meat chewy, but the excess moisture prevents the caramelization you need to add flavour. As such I recommend taking the chicken out the fridge around 15mins before needed.

Process shots: combine spice mix (photo 1), rest chicken on chopping board (photo 2), add spices and oil (photo 3), fully coat (photo 4), add to pan and fry (photo 5), flip then fry until cooked through (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make chicken for tostadas

Shredded Chicken for Tostadas

Once you’ve fried the chicken, leave all that gorgeous flavour in the pan and place the chicken to one side. When needed, use two forks to shred. Now the chicken is delicious as it is, but I like incorporating in a super simple sauce, just to add a punch more flavour and keep it EXTRA juicy. For the sauce all you need is chicken stock, lime juice, tomato paste and honey.

Process shots: remove chicken (photo 1), add tomato paste (photo 2), fry then add stock, lime juice and honey (photo 3), stir and simmer (photo 4), add shredded chicken (photo 5), stir to coat (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make pulled chicken for tostadas

Tostada Toppings

Now here’s where you can have some fun! To be honest you won’t see the same chicken tostada recipe twice, but here’s what I deem the best combo:

Chicken Tostada Toppings

  1. Tostada Shell – Store-bought or homemade.
  2. Refried Beans – Warmed on the stove.
  3. Guac – I use a ‘cheats’ guac here which is much easier than traditional guac.
  4. Chicken – As discussed.
  5. Cheese – Here I use a Mexican Cheese Blend, but in reality you can use any cheese you fancy! Cojita would work nicely.
  6. Pickled Onions – I like to whip up a quick pickled onion. The hit of acidity cuts through the rich, cheesy, spicy flavours of the other layers. Plus they add a nice pop of colour!

6 step by step photos showing chicken tostada toppings

Serving Tostadas

How do you eat chicken tostadas?

The analogy I usually go for is imagine you’re eating something delicious off a small plate, but you’re eating the plate as well 😂. They can be a bit messy, so definitely use a plate.

What to serve with chicken tostadas?

They’re pretty hearty as they are, but you could go wild and add some Jalapeño Poppers, Nachos or a batch of Potato Wedges!

If you’re looking for another fun Mexican inspired recipe check out my Chipotle Chicken Taquitos or Ground Beef Tacos!

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for these chicken tostadas shall we?!

close up shot of tostada on small wooden board surrounded by toppings

How to make Chicken Tostadas (Full Recipe & Video)

tostada on wooden board surrounded by garnish and more tostadas

The BEST Chicken Tostadas you'll ever make!

These Chicken Tostadas are easy to make and absolutely bursting with flavour!
Print Pin Rate
Servings (click & slide): 5 tostadas
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Calories per serving: 530kcal
Cost per serving: £2 / $2.50

Equipment:

  • 2 Small Mixing Bowls (one for guac, one for onions)
  • Small Pot (for spice mix)
  • Large Pan, Tongs & Wooden Spoon (for chicken)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board

Ingredients (check list):

Chicken

  • 1lb / 500g boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs (approx 6 thighs)
  • 1 cup / 250ml Chicken Stock
  • 1 tbsp EACH: Honey, Lime Juice (approx 1/2 lime), Tomato Paste (Tomato Puree in UK)
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 heaped tsp EACH: Smoked Paprika, Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp EACH: Onion PowderGarlic PowderOreganoSalt
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • pinch of Black Pepper

Quick 'Guac' (see notes for proper guac)

  • 2 large Avocados, halved, destoned & roughly diced
  • 1 tbsp Lime Juice (approx half Lime)
  • 2 tbsp finely diced Coriander/Cilantro
  • pinch of Chipotle Flakes/Chilli Flakes optional
  • pinch of Salt, to taste

Quick Pickled Onions

  • 1 small Red Onion, peeled & finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp EACH: Apple Cider (or White Wine Vinegar), Lime Juice (approx 1 whole lime)
  • pinch of Salt

Tostadas & other toppings

  • 5x 6-7" Tostada Shells, warmed in the oven (see notes)
  • 1x 14oz/400g can of Refried Beans, warmed in a saucepan
  • 1 cup / 100g Mexican Cheese Blend, or as needed (see notes)
  • Coriander/Cilantro, to garnish

Instructions:

  • Pickled Onions: In a small mixing bowl combine finely sliced red onion with 2 tbsp vinegar & lime juice and a pinch of salt. Leave to pickle for as long as you have time for, tossing every so often. The longer you leave them the softer/more acidic they'll be.
  • Quick Guac: In a small mixing bowl add avocado, 2 tbsp coriander/cilantro, 1 tbsp lime juice, a pinch of chilli flakes (optional) and a good pinch of salt. Smash with a fork or potato masher, then place to one side.
  • Prep Chicken: In a small pot combine 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika & cumin, 1/2 tsp oregano, onion powder, garlic powder & salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and a pinch of black pepper. Sprinkle over chicken thighs, then drizzle over 2 tbsp olive oil. Use your hands to fully coat the chicken thighs.
  • Cook Chicken: In a large pan over medium-high heat add your chicken thighs. Leave to fry until they begin to char, then flip and continue frying until they're cooked right through the centre and lightly charred on the other side. If they look like they're charring too fast turn down the heat slightly once you flip. Remove from pan and place in a bowl to one side.
  • Chicken Sauce: Turn heat to medium and add 1 tbsp tomato paste. Stir and fry for 1-2mins, then add 1 cup chicken stock and 1 tbsp lime juice & honey. Give it a good stir then simmer for 5mins, or until it begins to thicken. Shred chicken with two forks, then add to the sauce and simmer for another couple of mins, until the chicken soaks up the sauce.
  • Tostadas: Stack your tostadas in this order: Tostada Shell -> Refried Beans -> Guac -> Chicken -> Cheese -> Pickled Onions -> Coriander/Cilantro. Be careful when stacking that you don't break the shells, especially when you spread the beans/guac.

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Tostada Shells - If you're in the UK these are always tricky to get your hands on, so I recommend making some Homemade Tostada Shells (super easy!). If you're using store-bought, just follow package instructions to warm, usually just a few mins in the oven.
b) Guac - This is a real cheats guac. If you're after more of an authentic version check out my Homemade Guacamole!
c) Cheese - You can really use any cheese you fancy. I like a spicy/Mexican cheese blend, but something like Cojita would work nicely!
d) Calories - per tostada (5 in total).

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
The BEST Chicken Tostadas you'll ever make!
Amount Per Serving
Calories 530 Calories from Fat 290
% Daily Value*
Fat 32.23g50%
Saturated Fat 8.706g44%
Trans Fat 0.037g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.739g
Monounsaturated Fat 16.23g
Cholesterol 94mg31%
Sodium 801mg33%
Potassium 967mg28%
Carbohydrates 32.55g11%
Fiber 9.8g39%
Sugar 5.46g6%
Protein 30.52g61%
Vitamin A 627IU13%
Vitamin C 18.3mg22%
Calcium 209mg21%
Iron 3.18mg18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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