Making a tostada from scratch is really easy to do, and fun for the whole family!
We make our refried beans in advance, as well as the delicious taco meat, and then reheat just before serving.
This dish truly is a culinary fiesta in every possible way!
You may be wondering what’s the difference between a tostada and a taco? Actually, they are quite similar and have a colorful history.
The main difference is that with a tostada, the crispy corn tortilla is usually flat and the addition of beans is traditional.
EXPERT TIP: To prepare the tortillas, you can either deep-fry them or bake them. Here’s how to get them nice and crispy:
- Deep-frying – The classic preparation. Use a deep-fryer, or pour enough vegetable oil into a sturdy skillet to submerge a tortilla. Heat the oil to 350°F, and carefully add the tortillas. Flip a couple of times, and after a couple of minutes, they will be golden and crisp. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Baking – Not as traditional, but still yummy and healthier. Simply brush vegetable oil (or cooking spray) on both sides of the tortillas, and bake at 415°F for 5 minutes, flip, and cook for another 5. Check for crispiness. If not crisp enough, bake a little longer. Keep an eye on them, don’t let them brown too much, or they will have a burnt taste. However, if they don’t cook long enough, they will be chewy to the bite.
Building the Perfect Tostada
Crispy corn tortillas and flavorful refried beans are critical to making the perfect tostada. But folks, the real star is the taco meat.
We start off by sautéing onion, jalapeno, and garlic in a little oil. Add 1 lb of quality ground beef (we like 85% lean) and cook until no longer pink.
Now, let’s add mega flavor without adding a ton of sodium. Bring on the McCormick Hint of Sea Salt Mexican Taco Truck!
EXPERT TIP: The classic TexMex beef filling for items such as tacos, tostadas, and enchiladas should be very moist, almost wet in texture. The addition of tomatoes not only adds flavor and texture but keeps the mixture moist. And finally adding 1 cup of robust beer deepens the flavor even further and keeps the filling super moist.
Building the Perfect Tostada
Now that we have all the components, it’s time to build the best tostada ever!
We start by smearing about ¼-cup of the refried beans on each crispy tortilla.
Then top that with another ½-cup of the perfectly seasoned beef.
Choose any, or all, of the following toppings for a wonderful taste and beautiful presentation:
- Shredded lettuce
- Chopped tomato
- Pico de gallo
- Crumbled queso fresco (or shredded cheddar)
- Chopped cilantro
- Homemade salsa
EXPERT TIP: For a truly fun and festive presentation, place all of the ingredients on a serving table and let guests build their own tostada!
Quality is important to McCormick and it is with us, too.
We are in love with their new low-sodium and salt-free spices! In addition to the amazing McCormick Hint of Sea Salt Taco Truck that we use for our Best Tostada Recipe, we can’t get enough of these two incredible spices:
How To Serve
As mentioned, we love to put all the various ingredients in their own bowl or platter and let guests build their own tostada.
However, it’s also a stunning presentation to build them yourself and then deliver them to the table on a platter. Be prepared for lots of ‘ooh’s and ah’s!’
EXPERT TIP: All components can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance, including the tostada shells. Simply reheat the beans and meat filling in separate pans over low heat on the stove. Reheat the shells in a low-temperature oven (200°F) for about 15 minutes. If desired, keep the meat and beans in small slow-cookers on the “warm” setting. The garnishes can be prepped and kept in air-tight containers in the fridge.
Don’t forget to include the McCormick A Hint of Sea Salt Mexican Taco Truck for maximum flavor!
These tostadas really are the best you’ll ever try and serve! Olé!
Best Tostada Recipe
- Deep fryer or sturdy skillet (if frying)
For the Meat Filling
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 jalapeno seeded and ribs removed, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lb ground beef 85% lean
- 2 tomatoes chopped, Romas work well
- 1 tbsp McCormick® Chili powder
- 1 tbsp McCormick® Ground cumin ground
- 1 tbsp McCormick@ Low-Sodium Sea Salt Taco Truck Seasoning
- 1 cup dark beer preferably Mexican
For the Tostadas
- 12 corn tortillas
- 3 cup refried beans
- 2 cups iceberg lettuce shredded
- 1 cup tomato chopped
- 1 cup cheese queso fresco (crumbled), or shredded cheddar
- ½ cup sour cream or Crema Mexican
- ½ cup cilantro chopped, optional
- Salsa for serving
Make the Meat Filling
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and peppers and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until aromatic, about another minute.
- Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain the meat mixture and return to the skillet.
- Still over medium heat, stir in the tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, and Low-Sodium Mexican Taco Truck seasoning. Cook, stirring frequently, for another 5 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to break down somewhat.
- Slowly pour in the beer and cook until the mixture thickens somewhat, about 15 minutes. Add a little more beer if the mixture is getting dry. It should be very wet. Cover and set aside.
Make the Crispy Corn Tortillas
- While the beef is cooking, or before, heat your deep-fryer to 350°F or fill a sturdy skillet with an inch or two of vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat until you reach 350°F (and candy thermometer helps with this). See NOTES for baking the tortillas.
- Add the tortillas a few at a time to the hot oil, carefully flipping them a few times as they cook. After a couple of minutes, they should be golden and crispy. Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Once cool enough to handle, taste one to ensure they are properly done. If a little chewy, they need to cook a little longer. Don't overcook them, too! Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside.
Build the Tostadas
- To build each tostada, start by spreading about a ¼ cup of the refried beans on each crispy tortilla. Then add about a ¼ to ½ cup of the meat mixture. Top with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes or pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, and chopped cilantro (if using). Serve at once!