The best quick-fix, gluten-free chicken tostada recipe featuring made-from-scratch tostada shells, chicken, BBQ sauce, and Colby Jack cheese!
KITCHEN STAPLES AND TOSTADA INSPIRATION
It's always good to have a few recipe staples under your belt. The kind of recipes you've made so many times, the actual recipe has gone out the window and all you need is your own two hands and the ingredients. Once you have those recipes locked and loaded, the possibilities for new creations are endless.
That was exactly the case with this cowboy-style chicken tostada recipe, made with a crispy tostada shell made from scratch, juicy chicken, onion, bbq sauce, and melty Colby Jack cheese.
I originally came across a rendition of this recipe while scrolling through Pinterest, one of my favorite foodie past-times. It was a simple sheet pan of chicken tostadas with chicken and BBQ sauce. Having made my delicious, quick-fix Turkey and Black Bean Tostadas time and time again, I knew exactly where I was taking my new-found inspiration.
HOW TO MAKE A HOMEMADE CHICKEN TOSTADA
A quick fix dinner this tostada would remain, with tons of flavor and a tostada shell made from scratch.
Now, some of you out there may be asking yourselves "what are tostada shells made of, exactly?" and the answer is about as simple as they come. A tostada shell is nothing more than a crispy, fried corn tortilla. And it is delicious.
HOW TO MAKE A TOSTADA SHELL
To make a tostada from scratch, heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. I prefer canola oil for frying, but you can use vegetable or peanut oil. Just don't use an oil with a lower smoke point, like olive oil.
FRY 20-30 SECONDS ON EACH SIDE
Once the oil has come to temperature, you simply add a corn tortilla or two to the skillet, taking care not to overcrowd the pan, and let it sizzle for about 20-30 seconds. Then, using a pair of tongs, turn it over, and let it sizzle for about 20 seconds more.
MAKE SURE THE OIL TEMPERATURE IS RIGHT
The temperature of the oil is important for frying up a batch of made tostadas shells from scratch. If the oil is not hot enough, the tostada shell will end up rubbery. You want your frying oil to be somewhere between 350°-375°.
I've found that infrared thermometer is the best way for me to gauge the temperature of the oil, but if you don't have one, just use a couple of those corn tortillas as guinea pigs and adjust the heat accordingly.
USE PAPER TOWELS TO ABSORB GREASE
Once your tostada shells come out of the oil, transfer them to a sheet pan lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
ADD TOPPINGS TO THE TOSTADA
For these BBQ chicken tostadas, we'll be topping them with juicy, shredded chicken, soft and sweet red onions, bbq sauce, and freshly grated Colby Jack cheese. Just pile those suckers on to your heart's content.
Chicken cutlets are just thinly sliced (or pounded out) chicken breasts. They are perfect for this recipe because they are thin, which essentially makes them quick-cooking. If you'd like to use chicken cutlets for this recipe, you can find simple cooking instruction in my recipe for Quick-Seared Chicken Red Curry Mustard (obviously, you'll be omitting the sauce) and they're also featured in this easy BBQ Chicken Sandwich recipe.
Pan-seared chicken cutlets are a great staple recipe to have under your belt, but if you can't find chicken cutlets at the grocery store, feel free to sub in shredded oven-baked chicken breasts. And, if time is of the essence, just grab yourself a rotisserie chicken and simply use the breast meat from that.
For this recipe, I used another one of my favorite kitchen staples, homemade bbq sauce. It is the perfect combination of savory and sweet, absolutely loaded with flavor, just the right amount of sticky, and seriously easy to make. However, feel free to save that recipe for another day and sub in the store-bought stuff if you're short on time.
If you'd like to get the Colby Jack cheese nice and ooey-gooey melty, your tostadas will need to take a quick trip to the oven. Then, top them off with even more goodness in the form of creamy diced avocado and a light garnish of minced cilantro.
THE BEST EVER CHICKEN TOSTADA RECIPE
One bite of this tostada and you'll quickly see why homemade is best. Chicken and onion smothered in tangy BBQ sauce and melty cheese, only to be finished off with the fresh flavors of avocado and cilantro, all sitting upon a perfectly crunchy homemade tostada shell. This is how food was meant to be eaten, and I'll have some more of that, please.
This chicken tostada recipe was created using a few of my favorite staples, and now, I'd say this one is a staple in itself. A homemade chicken tostada recipe that comes together quick and easy and sets off this kind of flavor is a recipe we should all most definitely have locked and loaded. Please, enjoy.
A chicken tostada recipe featuring shredded chicken, cheese, and BBQ sauce.
- 1 (14 ounce) can of Bush's Chili Pinto Beans
- 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken breasts
- ¾ cup barbecue sauce (plus extra for topping, if desired)
- 1 red onion, halved and cut into ¼" slices
- 1 ½ cup canola oil
- 10 corn tortillas
- 2 cups freshly grated Monterrey Jack cheese
- Diced avocado for serving (if desired)
- Minced cilantro for garnish (if desired)
Preheat the oven to 400° and have ready a sheet pan for baking and sheet pan lined with paper towels.
Add 2 tablespoons canola oil to large fry pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until completely softened.
Remove the onions (do not leave any behind in the pan) and add to a medium-sized mixing bowl, along with the shredded chicken and barbecue sauce.
Transfer the beans to a colander over the sink, strain and rinse well with water, and add to the bowl as well. Stir until everything is coated in sauce. Set aside.
Add 1 ½ cup canola oil to the large fry pan over medium-high heat and allow to come to temperature. Once the oil has come to temperature (between 350°-375°), add the corn tortillas, no more than two at a time.
Fry each tortilla for 20-30 seconds on each side, and transfer to the sheet pan lined with paper towels. Continue until all of the tortillas have been fried.
Transfer the tostadas to the baking sheet to go in the oven, and top each one with a scant ½ cup of the chicken mixture, and top with a generous pinch of cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, baking in batches if necessary, not to overcrowd the sheet pan.
Drizzle with additional barbecue sauce if you'd like, serve and enjoy!