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banner image of freshly fried homemade tostada shells topped with flaky salt

How to Make Tostada Shells

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How to Make Restaurant Style Tostada Shells at Home

Tostada shells are like crispy rafts waiting to carry your favorite ingredients into your mouth! By making a batch of your own tostada shells at home, we promise you’ll find many different ways to top and consume them. Crafting tostada shells unlocks a world of culinary possibilities. We eat tostadas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whether you use store bought tortillas or leftover homemade tortillas, making a batch of tostadas is quick and easy. You’ll definitely want to keep these in your meal rotation!

To Bake or Fry Your Tostada Shells?

There are two main methods to make tostada shells. You can either bake your tortillas or fry them. Oh, and we should mention, there are also two types of tortillas you can use, corn or flour. Flour is fine and all, but we much prefer corn, so that’s what we are discussing today.

How to Make Tostada Shells – Step by Step:

Baked Tostada Shell Version

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Prepare Tortillas: Lightly brush each corn tortilla with oil on both sides.
  3. Arrange on Baking Sheet: Place the oiled tortillas on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Bake in the Oven: Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes or until the tortillas become golden brown and crispy.
  5. Check and Flip: Check the tostadas halfway through the baking time. If needed, flip them to ensure even crispiness.
  6. Cool and Serve: Once done, let the tostada shells cool on the baking sheet. They will continue to crisp up as they cool.

Fried Tostada Shell Version

  1. Heat oil in a pan.
  2. Fry tortillas until golden.
  3. Drain excess oil on drying rack or with paper towels.

See the recipe card below for a more detailed version for frying the corn tortillas.

photo showing how to make tostada shells: a corn tortilla dipped into hot oil about to be released to fry
corn tortillas frying in hot oil
close up photo of one tostada being pulled out of oil where two other corn tortillas are frying

We choose to make our tostadas by frying. There are pros and cons for each method.

Pros/Cons – Oven Tostada Shell Method

  • Oven Tostada Shell Pros:
    • Uses less oil, reducing overall fat content.
    • Allows for cooking multiple tostadas simultaneously.
  • Oven Tostada Shell Cons:
    • Longer cooking time might affect the texture and crispiness.

Pros/Cons – Stovetop Tostada Shell Method

  • Fried Tostada Shell Pros:
    • Quick cooking process, maintaining a traditional crispy texture.
    • Higher heat might result in less oil absorption.
  • Fried Tostada Shell Cons:
    • Requires more oil, which could contribute to overall fat content, and higher cost.
    • May have to make in batches.

Nutrition Considerations

  1. Oil Absorption: While the oven method uses less oil initially, the longer cooking time might still allow some absorption. The stovetop method involves a quick frying process, potentially reducing oil absorption.
  2. Type of Oil: The type of oil used can impact health. Choosing heart-healthy oils like olive oil can be beneficial.
  3. Nutrient Content: Corn tortillas themselves are a good source of fiber and nutrients. The impact of cooking method on nutrient retention should also be considered.

If health is a primary concern, using heart-healthy oils in moderation and combining with nutrient-rich toppings will contribute to a nutritious tostada.

Tips and Variations

Master the art of perfect tostada shells with these tips:

  • Season well: Fry for a traditional taste and make sure you salt the tostada shells while they are warm.
  • Experiment with flavored shells: dust the finished warm shells with different spices like chili powder or cumin to add a bit more flavor.
  • Try alternative tortilla types for a unique twist: We love to make our own blue corn tortillas using Masienda Heirloom Blue Corn Masa Harina. Leftover homemade corn tortillas are great for frying.
  • Storage: Store any leftover tostadas in an airtight container for 2-5 days.

Tostada Shell Serving Suggestions

Now that you’ve seen how easy it is to make tostada shells, we’ll show you how great they are to have on hand. Tostadas are perfect for any meal or snack.

Toastada Shell Toppings

  • Top with refried beans, fried eggs, salsa verde and avocado for breakfast.
  • Top with seasoned meats and fresh veggies for lunch or dinner.
  • Turn into a giant nacho with melted cheese for a quick snack.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar while warm for a sweet treat.
  • Eat them plain like tortilla chips!
  • Use them as a side to a mexican style soup or chili.
homemade tostada shell topped with black beans, cheese, pickled jalapenos, pickled onions and salsa

Make a Batch Today!

Add these fried tostada shells to your meal plan soon and you won’t regret it. Let us know in the comments below if you have any other uses for tostada shells; we’d love to hear from you.

close up photo of freshly fried and salted homemade tostada shell

Fried Tostada Shells

Create crispy and flavorful tostada shells at home using this fried method. Perfect for loading with your favorite toppings for a delicious and customizable meal.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: adaptable, batch cooking, versatile
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 60kcal
Author: juiceofsevenlemons
Cost: $1.50




Heat Oil:

  • In a large saute or frying pan, add enough oil to submerge a tortilla halfway (approximately 1/4 inch deep).
  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  • Test the oil by dipping a tortilla edge into the oil — if it bubbles/sizzles immediately the oil should be ready.

Fry Tortillas:

  • Using tongs, carefully place a tortilla into the hot oil.
  • Fry for about 1-2 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. If your pan is big enough you can fry multiple tortillas at a time.
  • Adjust heat if needed to prevent burning.

Drain and Season:

  • Once each tortilla is crispy, use tongs to transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  • Sprinkle with salt if desired.


  • Repeat the process for the remaining tortillas.


  • Allow tostada shells to cool slightly before adding your favorite toppings.
  • Serve immediately for the best crunch.


Customize: add toppings like refried beans, pinto beans, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, pickles, cheese, and salsa.
Experiment: try different tortillas, different oils or even adding spices after frying like chili powder for varied flavors. These also make for a delightful breakfast with beans and fried eggs.
Storage: store any leftover tostadas in an airtight container for 2-5 days.
Tortilla chips or strips: the same method above can be used to make tortilla chips or strips by cutting the tortilla into pieces before frying.


Serving: 30g | Calories: 60kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 30mg | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 0.5mg

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