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Chicken tostadas are festive and delicious, perfect for Cinco de Mayo or any celebration, and a hit at barbecues. They’re also one of my favorite ways to liven up the weeknight dinner routine. They’re as fun to make as they are to eat!

Overhead shot of fully assembled chicken tostadas.

Picture five layers of flavor piled onto crispy corn tortillas: refried beans, tender shredded chicken seasoned with Mexican spices, melty cheese, creamy guacamole, tangy sour cream, and fresh cilantro. The beauty of these tostadas is in their versatility; feel free to swap in any ingredients you like or have on hand!

Ingredients for Chicken Tostadas

Chicken Tostadas Ingredients arranged in bowls on a granite surface.
  • Shredded Chicken: Choose cooked chicken with moist, tender meat; it can be from a rotisserie chicken, Shredded Chicken (made in a slow cooker), Chicken Tinga, or Chicken Carnitas.
  • Tostada Shells: Look for store-bought tostada shells that are evenly baked to a golden brown for the best crunch and flavor or make your own (More on this below). Or see this Mini Chicken Tostadas recipe for a bite-size version made with round tortilla chips.
  • Refried Beans: Whether using store-bought or homemade (like my recipes for Homemade Refried Beans with pinto beans or Refried Black Beans or my Slow Cooker Pinto Beans). Be sure the beans have a creamy texture and are well-seasoned.
  • Cheese: Choose sharp cheddar for a bold taste, Monterey Jack for a milder flavor and good melting, or Queso Fresco for a crumbly texture and fresh taste.
  • Lettuce: Opt for iceberg or romaine lettuce; look for crisp, fresh leaves to add a refreshing crunch.
  • Tomato: Choose ripe, firm tomatoes for juiciness and flavor.
  • Pico de Gallo: Make homemade Pico de Gallo or choose a store-bought version that is chunky and vibrant. Or use your favorite salsa.
  • Avocado: Look for ripe avocados for the best flavor and creamy texture – they should be slightly soft to the touch, but not mushy.
  • Sour Cream: Use full fat sour cream for richness or Mexican Crema for its tangy, smooth consistency.
  • Cilantro: Look for fresh, vibrant green leaves with no wilting, to add a burst of herby freshness.
  • Lime Wedges: Pick limes that are firm and heavy for their size for juicy wedges to squeeze over the tostadas.

Homemade Tostada Shells are Better

When you make these, I recommend making your own Tostada Shells (recipe and step by step video where I’ll show you the trick for making them flat). They’re so simple, perfectly flat and crisp, and baked not fried! All you need are corn tortillas, a little oil, and a baking sheet with an oven-safe rack. Try them once, and you’ll never go back to the store bought version.

Loaded chicken tostada photographed at an angle.

Versatile Chicken Choices

For the chicken, you have lots of options: Chicken Tinga (made in one pot with boneless skinless chicken breasts), Chicken Carnitas or plain Shredded Chicken (both are made in the slow cooker), or a store-bought rotisserie chicken.

If you can, I recommend making one of the seasoned chicken options a day in advance. The flavor improves by the next day, it reheats well, and it’s one less thing to do when you make these tostadas. 

How to Build the Perfect Chicken Tostada

To assemble the tostadas: Spread a thin layer of warm refried beans over a crispy tostada shell. Add your choice of chicken, sprinkle with cheese, and top with shredded lettuce, diced tomato, and avocado slices.

Finish with a drizzle of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. For an extra burst of flavor, squeeze a lime wedge over the top. Dig in!

Chicken Tostadas Recipe Video


Chicken Tostadas

5 from 12 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Calories: 246
Servings: 12 tostadas
Crispy tostada shells, warmly spiced chicken, and cool, fresh toppings come together in these tostadas for a lively blend of textures and flavors in every bite!


  • 1 pound shredded chicken see recipe note #1 for options

To Make Tostadas

  • 12 tostada shells store bought or homemade Tostada Shells, warmed if desired
  • 1 can refried beans (16-ounce can or 2 cups Homemade Refried Beans or Refried Black Beans), warmed
  • 3 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack or Queso Fresco
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce iceberg lettuce or romaine
  • 1 cup finely diced tomato
  • pico de gallo or other salsa, to taste
  • 2 large avocados peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • sour cream or Mexican Crema, to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
  • lime wedges for serving


  • Warm shredded chicken, refried beans and tostada shells separately as desired.

To Assemble Tostadas

  • Spread a thin layer of warm refried beans onto one tostada shell and follow with a thin layer of chicken. Sprinkle with cheese and top with lettuce, tomato, salsa, avocado slices and sour cream as desired. Repeat with remaining tostada shells. Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.


  1. You have lots of options for the chicken: make vibrantly flavorful Chicken Tinga or Chicken Carnitas or season plain Shredded Chicken to taste with salt, pepper and Mexican spices or use meat shredded from a rotisserie chicken. 
  2. Note that nutrition information does not include toppings without specified amounts.


Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 310mg | Potassium: 379mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 454IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Valentina says:

    I love that tacos can be a “make it your own” kind of thing. Your combination of ingredients is perfection. And pico de gallo always makes for such a pretty topping. 🙂 ~Valentina

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Thanks so much, Valentina!