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What to Do with Leftover Tostada Shells

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Creative Ways to Repurpose Leftover Tostada Shells: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, & Snack Ideas

Whether you make a batch of tostadas or buy them at the store, you may have a few leftovers. It’s a common scenario – you’re left with a stack of crispy tostada shells after using them for one meal. And while they’re delicious for snacking, you might be looking for creative ways to repurpose them. Well, you’re in luck! I have a plethora of ideas on what to do with leftover tostada shells when you find yourself with a surplus.

How To Use Leftover Tostada Shells

Below I categorized ideas into breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. But really, most of these options can be interchanged as meal types. We love a good breakfast for dinner! Similarly, you could add a fried egg to many of the recipes below and turn them into brunch.

Dinner Ideas for Leftover Tostada Shells

  • Traditional Tostadas: If you haven’t already, check out our Tostada Recipe for a delicious and customizable meal option. It’s perfect for using up leftover tostada shells and also offers endless topping possibilities
  • King Ranch Chicken Casserole: Use tostada shells instead of tortillas in a King Ranch Chicken Casserole for a twist on this classic dish. Instead of the traditional canned soup, try our Bechamel Sauce recipe for a less processed version.
  • Tostada Casserole: Layer the tostada shells in a baking dish with cooked meat, beans, cheese, and salsa or enchilada sauce. Then bake until heated through and the cheese is melted. Serve with your favorite toppings like avocado, lettuce, and sour cream. Pineapple House Rules Salsa Verde Chicken Tostada Casserole is a great chicken version.

Tostada Snacks

  • Tostada Pizza: Use the tostada shells as a base for mini pizzas. Top them with your favorite pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings, and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Crispy pizza is yours in about 5-10 minutes!
  • Tostada Nachos: First, arrange the tostada shells on a baking sheet and top them with refried beans, cheese, jalapenos, and other nacho toppings you like. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, then serve with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream for dipping. For more ideas on tostada nachos, see our, loaded nachos recipe.
  • Avocado Tostada ‘Toast’: Spread mashed avocado over a crispy tostada shell, then top with sliced tomatoes, pickled red onion or radish, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper for a delicious and nutritious open-faced avocado toast with a crunchy twist. Turn this snack into a heartier breakfast or lunch option by adding a soft-boiled egg.
  • ‘Chips’ and Salsa: Make a batch of various salsas, bean dips, queso, and avocados, and use the tostadas as chip options. This makes for a great party platter.

Lunch Ideas Incorporating Tostada Shells

  • Tostada Salad: Crush the tostada shells and sprinkle them over a salad for added crunch and flavor. They make a good alternative to croutons and add a unique Tex-Mex twist to your salad. You can also halve them or serve them at the bottom of a salad bowl. Go all out and try them with a Southwest Chicken Salad.
  • Kid-Friendly Lunchbox Tostadas: Pack leftover tostada shells with toppings like shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, avocado slices, and beans/cooked chicken in your kid’s lunchbox. They can assemble their tostadas at school for a fun and customizable lunch.
  • Tortilla Soup: Serve on the side and let the recipient break the tostada shells into bite-sized pieces to use them as a garnish for tortilla soup. They add crunch and texture to this comforting and flavorful soup.

Breakfast Tostada Options

  • Chilaquiles: Broken or left whole, use the leftover tostada shells as the base for chilaquiles, a traditional Mexican dish made with tortilla chips or in this case, tostada shells, simmered in salsa and topped with cheese, eggs, and other toppings of your choice.
  • Breakfast Tostada: Top a tostada shell with refried black beans, a fried egg, and avocados for a delicious and filling breakfast option.
  • Huevos Rancheros or Divorciados: Instead of the traditional un-fried corn tortilla, use the leftover tostada shell to top with refried beans, fried eggs and smother with ranchero sauce—a savory tomato-based sauce with onions, peppers, and spices—for a hearty and satisfying breakfast or brunch option. Similar to Huevos Rancheros, for the divorciados, make one with red sauce and one with a green sauce.

Whether you’re looking for a quick snack, an easy dinner, or a creative way to use leftovers, I hope you found an option to try. Enjoy! Let us know if you have any other uses or ideas for tostada shells below in the comments section.

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