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Homemade Tostada (Air Fryer or Oven)

Need dinner in 30 minutes? If you like Tex-Mex, these scrumptious homemade tostadas are what you need, plus they’re fun for the entire family and gluten-free! Below, you’ll find instructions for an air fryer tostada or for cooking them in the oven.

Don’t know what a tostada is? Think Mexican pizza or open-faced tacos, which makes this easy recipe great for Taco Tuesday!

Homemade Tostadas - Air Fryer or Oven

When You Don’t Want to Eat Out

Our family tries to save money by eating at home rather than eating out more often than not. Take into account that we live in Texas, and you’re bound to find some kind of Mexican or Tex-Mex meal on our table multiple times a month. (Yes, there is a difference.)

Tostadas are one of my go-to meals at restaurants, so when someone gifted me some tostada shells, I figured “hey, why not?” This is the recipe I concocted, and I love that it’s a quick dinner when I’m fresh out of ideas.

What You Need to Make These Scrumptious Tostadas

The great thing about cooking at home is that you can make meals exactly how you want them. That’s why a number of the following ingredients are optional. This is just a quick list of what you’ll need. You’ll find a printable full recipe card at the bottom of this post. 

Ingredients for oven baked or air fryer tostadas
  • Tostada shells
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Refried beans
  • Cooked chopped Fajita chicken or beef

Optional Toppings:

  • Salsa or hot sauce
  • Lime juice
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado or guacamole

Personally, I keep cooked chopped fajita chicken on-hand in the freezer (or plain chopped grilled chicken), but I’ve also cooked up fresh meat for this recipe too. (Just give yourself a few more minutes for prep.)

Fajita beef or ground beef works great as well. You can even do ground turkey/chicken or even can chicken. Rotisserie chicken or shredded chicken is an easy short cut you could use too. One time I even used venison. Like I said, I love the versatility of cooking at home. 

How to Make This Easy Recipe

For Oven-Baked Tostadas

First, heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then find yourself a large baking sheet. I normally cover mine with aluminum foil for easy clean up and storage of leftovers.

Next, arrange your store-bought tostadas or pre-made tostada shells in a single layer on your pan so that they do not overlap. When you cook them, they’ll often flatten out a little more.

If you don’t have chopped or shredded fajita chicken on hand, chop up a couple of chicken breasts, throw them in a frying pan with a little oil or butter, dust them with fajita seasoning, Mexican seasoning, or packet of taco seasoning, and sauté them until they’re white all the way through.

Remember, you can mix up your meats if you so desire. We’ve combined both fajita chicken and fajita beef on ours before, and that was a nice treat. Once your meat is cooked, you’re ready to move to the next step—the toppings!

Your next layer will be the refried beans, which you can dollop onto each shell and then smooth to the edge with the back of your spoon.

Next, add your desired meat topping(s). If you’re using the frozen fajita chicken, you don’t have to worry about defrosting it. It’ll do just fine without heating first.

Finally, add your shredded cheese. My husband is a cheese lover, so I’m normally pretty liberal with it.

Homemade tostadas prepped for air fryer or oven.

Slide your tostadas in the oven and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the shells lightly toasted on the edges. 

Alternate Cooking Time for Air Fryer Tostada

Or you can make air fryer tostadas by putting them in the air fryer for half the time and cooking them for 5 to 6 minutes.

When They’re Done…

Once they’re done, plate them up and add any of your favorite toppings: tomatoes, salsa, lettuce, lime juice, guacamole, sour cream. The choices are endless.

Homemade Tostada (Air Fryer or Oven) with chips and cheese dip

Questions Folks are Asking About Chicken Tostadas

“I don’t want to use the oven. Can I make an air fryer tostada instead? How long do I cook tostadas in the air fryer?”

Absolutely, you can make an air fryer tostada! You can do air fryer tostadas simply by cutting the cook time in half and putting them in your air fryer basket for 5 to 6 minutes.

“How do you eat a tostada?”

Tostadas are real easy to eat. Simply pick them up and take a bite, or if you prefer, you can cut them with a fork and knife. Some folks even take a pizza cutter to them to make them bite-size.

“What goes good with chicken air fryer tostadas?”

We love to have chips and cheese dip or salsa alongside our tostadas. You may also consider rice and/or refried beans.

“What other meat can I use on my tostadas?”

If you don’t have frozen cooked chicken on hand, try shredding a rotisserie chicken or any other leftover chicken. Ground beef (aka taco meat) or ground turkey with some Mexican seasoning works great, as does venison sauteed with some fajita seasoning. 

“I don’t like meat. Can I make these vegan tostadas?”

Absolutely! The great thing about cooking at home is you can mix and match your own toppings. These might become your favorite vegan meal.

“I don’t have any tostada shells. What can I substitute for tostada shells?”

If you can’t find tostada shells online or at the store, you can use corn tortillas instead. To make them extra crispy, spray corn tortillas with a little oil and throw them in a skillet on medium high heat for a couple of minutes before adding on your toppings. 

If you’re really ambitious, you could also make homemade corn tortillas and work from there. Another option to try would be to use a flour tortilla or crispy tacos split open.

“I don’t have any Mexican cheese blend in my fridge. What other shredded cheese can I use?”

You can try cheddar cheese, Mexican Velveeta, colby jack, or cotija cheese.

“How do I store leftover homemade tostadas?”

If you find you can’t eat all you’ve made in the first round, wrap them up in the foil from the pan or place the remaining tostadas in an airtight container. Be mindful that if you stack them, they will likely stick together.

Tostadas will last about three days in the fridge, assuming you have some left over.

“How do you reheat a chicken or beef tostada?”

When reheating, toss them in the toaster oven or air fryer for a few minutes, and they should crisp right back up. If you microwave them, they shells will be soft, but if you eat them with some tortilla chips, I find that works too.

I hope you enjoy this easy dinner recipe. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what your favorite toppings on your tostadas are and whether you prefer an air fryer tostada or oven-baked tostada.

Happy Trails!

Yield: 8-10 tostadas

Homemade Tostadas (Air Fryer or Oven)

Homemade Tostadas (Air Fryer or Oven)


  • 8-10 Tostada shells
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
  • 16 oz can refried beans
  • 2 cups cooked chopped Fajita chicken or beef

Optional Toppings

  • Salsa or hot sauce
  • Lime juice
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado or guacamole


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place tostada shells on a cookie sheet(s)
  3. Divvy up refried beans onto tostadas and spread evenly to the edges
  4. Top each with desired fajita meat
  5. Sprinkle each tostada with shredded cheese.
  6. Bake in 400-degree oven for 12 minutes or until cheese is melted and shells lightly toasted
  7. Add any optional toppings, if desired.


You can make air fryer tostadas by putting them in the air fryer for half the time and cooking them for 5 to 6 minutes.

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