Welcome to the ultimate guide on finding the perfect tostada! This crispy, crunchy Mexican treat is a fan favorite, but with so many options out there, how do you know which tostada is right for you? We’ve compiled everything you need to make a delicious decision.
Whether you’re looking for an authentic restaurant-style tostada, a quick and easy homemade version, or the ideal chips and toppings to build your own, we’ve got you covered. With insights on different types of shells, suggested fillings and garnishes, and tips for making, storing, and serving, you’ll be a tostada pro after reading this.
Plus, we’ll walk through how to spot quality ingredients, find the best value, and pick the right tostada based on your personal preferences. Our handy buying guide outlines the key factors to consider from crispiness to flavor. And our frequently asked questions provide simple answers to common tostada questions.
So get ready to discover the joy of a perfectly crisp, flavor-loaded tostada! This guide breaks down everything you need to know to find your new favorite Mexican treat.
The History of the Tostada
The origins of the tostada can be traced back to Mexican street food carts in the late 19th or early 20th century. Street vendors would take day-old tortillas, fry them until crisp, and top them with various ingredients like beans, meat, lettuce, cheese, crema, and salsa. This was an economical way to use up leftover tortillas in a delicious new form. The name “tostada” comes from the Spanish verb “tostar” meaning “to toast” referring to the crisp, toasted quality of the tortilla shell. Over time, the tostada grew in popularity beyond street food carts and became a Mexican restaurant and home cooking staple. Traditional tostadas showcase the bright, robust flavors of Mexican cuisine with Each region in Mexico puts its own unique spin on the classic tostada with local ingredients and tastes. When made right, the contrast of the crunchy tortilla shell and rich, flavorful toppings is an addicting taste and texture combination that has made the tostada a Mexican favorite for generations.
Ortega Tostada Shells
As a long-time fan of Mexican cuisine, I was eager to try the Ortega Tostada Shells to make homemade tostadas. The taste and texture of these shells is quite good – they have a nice crisp bite and a pleasant corn flavor. The 10-count box was enough for a family gathering and the shells held up well under toppings. I did find a few broken shells in the box, likely from shipping, but most were fully intact. Ortega outlines its 150 year tradition of authentic Mexican recipes on the box, which gave me confidence in the quality. While not handmade, these shells fry up better than most store-bought alternatives I’ve tried. I’d recommend these shells to anyone looking for an easy and delicious tostada option for weeknight dinners or parties. They definitely capture that nostalgic taste of my favorite Mexican restaurants.
El Milagro Corn Tostadas
As a vegetarian who loves Mexican food, I rely on tostadas made without lard or other animal products. The El Milagro corn tostadas are a great option – they are vegan and made from simple, natural ingredients. I really enjoy the hearty corn flavor and satisfying crunch of these tostadas. They hold up well when loading on veggies, beans, guacamole and other toppings. My only complaint is that many of the shells arrived broken into pieces, likely because the bag had minimal padding inside the shipping box. But the great taste and vegan preparation still make these worthwhile if you don’t mind some broken chips. They are quite affordable and satisfy my cravings for Mexican cuisine. I would order these again, but hope for more intact shells next time.
Winco Tostada Basket
As someone who loves making homemade tostadas, I was thrilled to find this heavy-duty stainless steel tostada basket from Winco. It allows you to fry up to 18 tortillas at once into perfect crispy shells. The individual slots keep the shells separated so they fry evenly. The heat-resistant handle makes it easy to maneuver in and out of hot oil safely. I’ve been able to achieve consistent results without burning my fingers. It allows me to quickly prepare shells for a crowd. After countless uses, the durable steel shows no signs of damage or rust. One minor complaint is that the racks can sometimes get stuck when sliding them in and out, but that’s a small issue for such a well-made, high-capacity basket. This is an essential tool that makes whipping up homemade tostadas a breeze.
Charras Baked Tostadas
As someone avoiding fried foods but craving tostadas, I decided to try these Charras baked tostadas. They are made from simple, natural corn and contain no oil or lard. I was initially excited to find a healthy, low-calorie tostada option. However, I was quite disappointed when I opened the box and found every shell broken into pieces. They shattered during shipping due to minimal padding in the box. Aside from arriving crushed, the tostadas also lacked any real crunch or texture once toasted. They became quite soggy under toppings. The light saltiness and corn flavor were decent, but the overall quality was lackluster. I wanted an option convenient for quick homemade tostadas, but these were unusable as shells right out of the box. Unless major changes are made to prevent breakage during shipping, I would not order these again.
Charras Corn Tostadas
I frequently crave homemade tostadas with beans, lettuce, tomato and guacamole, so I ordered these corn tostadas from the Charras brand. I try to choose corn over flour tortillas when possible for a flavor and texture I prefer. Unfortunately, this product is currently unavailable on Amazon with no indication of when it may be back in stock. The item page provides minimal details on the tostadas. However, based on the brand name and corn ingredient, I imagine these would have a pleasant sweet corn taste and hearty bite when toasted. Charras appears to specialize in authentic Mexican baked goods. I wish I could have tried these tostadas, but will have to search for a similar corn-based tostada currently in stock to satisfy my craving. I hope Charras restocks these soon, as they sound like a great option for homemade tostadas on a budget.
Tostitos Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips
Tostitos Hint of Lime tortilla chips offer a zesty lime flavor that adds excitement to your snacking. These thin and crispy chips have a delightful crunch that makes them fun to dip into salsa, guacamole, and other dips. The lime flavor is not overpowering but adds a nice citrusy tang. These chips would be great at a party or for snacking at home. They have just enough seasoning to keep you reaching into the bag for more. The packaging helps keep the chips fresh and crunchy. Overall, if you want a flavored tortilla chip that goes great with Mexican food or dipping, consider grabbing a bag of these Tostitos Hint of Lime chips.
Los Pericos Tostadas
Los Pericos tostadas are a smart choice if you are looking for bulk discounted Mexican food items. This 15-pack comes with 10 corn tostadas per pack, giving you a total of 150 crunchy corn tostadas. These 4.5 ounce tostadas have a delicious toasted corn flavor and hardy texture perfect for building tacos, tostadas, or nachos. Their rounded shape makes them great edible bowls. Stock up on these budget-friendly Los Pericos tostadas for all your Mexican food needs. Their quantity and price make them ideal for feeding crowds or prepping multiple meals. Save money and get tasty authentic snacks with this bulk pack of Mexican tostadas.
Los Charros Corn Tostadas
Crisp and full of corn flavor, Los Charros Corn Tostadas are an authentic Mexican snack. Their crunchy texture holds up well when loading with taco fillings or topping with beans and salsa to make tostada bites. Sprinkle these salted 8.4 ounce tostadas with extra sea salt for an extra salty kick. Los Charros uses quality ingredients to produce corn tostadas that taste homemade. They have a delicious toasted corn taste that’s addictive. These individual packs are handy to have on hand for whipping up quick Mexican snacks or sides. Their hearty yet delicate crunch shines when paired with warm taco fillings or chilled salsas. For quality corn tostadas, you can’t go wrong with Los Charros.
Susalia Baked Cactus and Corn Tostadas
Susalia Baked Cactus and Corn Tostadas offer a crunchy gluten-free snack made from corn and nopal cactus. These uniquely flavored tostadas have a satisfying snap when you bite into them. Susalia bakes them to create a crispy texture without oil, making them a healthier alternative to fried tortilla chips. They have a subtle sweetness from the corn and an earthy flavor from the cactus that combines into an addictively delicious taste. These 7.05 ounce packs come in a case of 12, giving you plenty of these tasty baked tostadas for snacking. Susalia tostadas are vegan and non-GMO too. For a crunchy, wholesome gluten-free snack, give these baked corn and cactus tostadas a try.
Sanisimo Salmas Oven Baked Corn Tostadas
Sanisimo Salmas Oven Baked Corn Tostadas offer a crispy gluten-free snacking option. These corn tostadas have a rich toasted corn flavor with a satisfying crunch. Sanisimo bakes them to create a sturdy chip that holds up well to dipping and topping. Each 5.5 x 5.5 inch tostada packs in the corn essence, making them addictively delicious. With 14.07 ounces per two-pack, you get plenty of these gluten-free snacks to munch on. Their hardy texture also makes them a great cracker replacement for cheese plates. Made from only non-GMO corn, oil, and salt, these baked tostadas are simple yet delicious. For flavorful crunch without gluten, you’ll love snacking on these oven-baked corn tostadas from Sanisimo.
Best Tostada Buying Guide
When searching for the perfect tostada, there are a few key factors to keep in mind:
The foundation of any great tostada is the crispy tortilla shell. You’ll want to look for a shell that is sturdy enough to support hearty toppings but also has a satisfying crunch. Corn tortillas are traditional, lending sweetness and grainy texture, while flour tortillas offer flexibility and sturdiness. Restaurant-style tostada shells are thick and deeply fried for an extra crisp exterior. Though thicker shells can hold more ingredients, thinner shells provide optimal crunch-to-topping ratio in each bite. How large you go with the diameter is up to you, but 4-6 inches across is typical.
While tostada shells provide the base, it’s the toppings that bring the flavor. Refried or whole beans make a pleasing protein-packed base. Shredded lettuce adds brightness and crunch. Meat options like carne asada, carnitas, chorizo, chicken, or seafood provide hearty satisfaction. Cooling ingredients like Mexican crema, cheese, avocado, and pico de gallo balance out the other toppings. And salsa and hot sauce bring the spice factor. Feel free to get creative and make the tostada your own with inventive combinations! Just be sure ingredients are cut or shredded thinly to make topping distribution easier.
One of the beauties of the tostada is you can take it on the go! When searching for the right tostada, consider if you want one meant for portability. Look for smaller shells around 4 inches wide that won’t break when picked up. Sturdy shells that can hold ingredients without cracking or collapsing are also key. Precut or shredded fillings are easier to eat than large chunks. And don’t overstuff the shell, leaving a rim for easy handling. Some extra topping on the side never hurts!
Flavor and Spice
As a Mexican specialty, tostadas are known for big, bold flavors. Consider what flavor and spice level will satisfy your tastes. If you like things simple, milder ingredients allow the shell and topping textures to shine. But for excitement, amp it up with spicy salsas, zesty citrus, pungent onion and garlic, and flavorful meats. Herbs like cilantro and spices like cumin add depth. And extras like lime wedges, pickled veggies, and hot sauce let you customize as you eat. Go with whatever flavors make your palate happiest!
You can find great tasting tostadas at a wide range of prices. Basic homemade tostadas can cost as little as $2-$3 each if you buy ingredients in bulk. Old El Paso kits simplify assembly for around $5. Restaurant tostadas range $5-15 based on gourmet ingredients. And specialty prep-kits by brands like Dos Toros offer quality and convenience for $8-$12. Set a budget that works for you, keeping in mind pricier options use higher quality ingredients that may be worth a few extra dollars for an authentic restaurant-style experience.
Part of finding your perfect tostada is deciding what you specifically like and want. Key preferences to consider:
- Shell type: Corn or flour? Thick or thin? Size?
- Toppings: Meat or vegetarian? Cooling, creamy, or fresh? Light or loaded?
- Ease: Do you want convenient prep-kits and packages or homemade from scratch?
- Flavors: Mild or spicy? Classic or gourmet? Traditional or novel combos?
- Purpose: For dining out, meals, parties, snacking? Portable or for serving?
Knowing your own ideal tostada style will make finding “the one” much tastier. Use the factors above along with your personal preferences to decide which tostada is uniquely perfect for you!
Looking for quick answers to common tostada questions? Our FAQ has you covered!
What’s the difference between tostadas and tacos?
Tostadas use crisp, fried tortilla shells while tacos use soft tortillas. Tostadas are open-faced with flat toppings while tacos are typically stuffed.
How do you make crispy tostada shells at home?
Fry corn or flour tortillas in 1/2 inch oil at 350-375 F for 1-2 minutes per side until crispy and browned. For a healthier bake option, brush tortillas with oil and bake 8-10 minutes per side at 400 F.
What’s the best filling for tostadas?
The classics like beans, lettuce, cheese, meat, salsa, and Mexican crema make tasty fillings. But feel free to get creative and top your tostada however you wish!
Should you bake or fry homemade tostada shells?
Frying makes them crispiest and most authentic, but baking is lower mess and fat if you prefer a healthier version. Both work well.
How do you keep tostada shells crisp?
Store unused tostada shells in an airtight container to maintain crispness for up to 5 days. Re-crisp soggy shells in a 300 F oven 2-3 minutes.
What’s the maximum number of toppings you should use?
No rules here – it’s your tostada! But we recommend keeping each component thin and 3-5 total for ideal crunch and flavor balance.
Can you make bite-size tostadas?
Absolutely! Mini tostadas are great party bites. Use smaller 3-4 inch tortilla rounds and restraint with fillings so they’re easy to pick up.
Are tostadas just Mexican pizza?
While both are open-faced and loaded with toppings, tostadas use crispy fried shells vs pizza’s soft dough. And Mexican vs Italian seasonings make them wholly different flavors.
What drink goes best with tostadas?
Classic pairings are Mexican beer, horchata, margaritas, and Jarritos soda. But you really can’t go wrong matching a cold, refreshing drink with hot and flavorful tostadas!
We hope this guide has helped demystify the world of tostadas so you can find your perfect crispy, flavor-packed match. Thinking through the shell, toppings, customization, price and purpose will ensure you select just the right tostada for your tastes and needs. So all that’s left is gathering ingredients or visiting your new favorite tostada spot to enjoy the outstanding crunch and bold Mexican flavors. Whether you’re in the mood for an easy homemade bite, street cart-style snack, or gourmet restaurant creation, the vibrant tastes of a quality tostada are sure satisfy. So get ready to get crunching on your ideal combo. Your new favorite tostada is waiting!