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Chicken Tinga Tostadas

5 from 7 votes

Flavor-packed and mildly spicy Chicken Tinga Tostadas are simply the best! Imagine a crispy and crunchy tostada topped with juicy chicken tinga, shredded lettuce, and creamy cheese. Hungry yet? The best part about making these easy tostadas is how quickly they come together!

chicken tinga tostadas on a white plate with tomatoes in the background

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These Chicken Tinga Tostadas are one of my favorite weeknight meals. I have a thing for flavor, and after living in Texas for more than 20 years, I crave big and bold flavors in just about every meal. This dish really satisfies! The tinga is already maxed out in the flavor department, and when you add onions, cheese, lettuce, a good hot sauce, and more, you get everything you could ask for in one crunchy bite.

What you’ll love about this recipe


  • They’re quick and easy to make
  • You can customize them with your favorite toppings
  • Make them spicy or mild!

Chicken Tinga is basically stewed chicken. It is cooked in tomatoes, onions, chipotles and more until it is tender and shreds easily. You can make it on the stovetop, in your oven, or like this recipe, in your Instant Pot. Make a big batch and freeze portions of it, that way, you always have some on hand for making these delicious tostadas.

What’s a Tostada?

Tostada is a Spanish word that means toasted. It’s pretty literally a flat crispy taco. Imagine a taco shell that’s flat instead of cupped – that’s a tostada. You can make them yourself (I’ll show you how below), or you can buy them in most grocery stores. The store-bought ones tend to be a little thicker than homemade ones. Tostadas can be nibbled on just as they are, like a super-huge tortilla chip, or you can top them with all sorts of yummy toppings. For this recipe, we’re using chicken tinga to make our tostada de tinga.

What You Need To Make Homemade Tostsadas

I’ll give you a brief overview of how to make chicken tinga below, or check out this Instant Pot version. Once you have your chicken tinga already made, here’s the rest of what you’ll need:

  • Corn tortillas – If you’re making the tostadas from scratch, you’ll start with corn tortillas
  • Cooking oil – Vegetable or peanut oil works fine
homemade tostadas
Homemade tostadas

How To Make Tostadas

For a complete list of ingredients and instructions, please scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this page.

  1. Use a large skillet (cast-iron works great) and fill it with about 1/2-inch of cooking oil. Bring the temperature up to 375-F.
  2. When the oil is hot, use tongs to lower a corn tortilla into the hot oil. Cook it for 1-2 minutes or until it starts to get golden brown.
  3. Flip it over and cook it on the other side for an additional minute.
  4. Set it aside on paper towels to drain.
  5. Repeat until all the tostadas have been made.

Toppings for Chicken Tinga Tostadas

  • Chicken tinga – You’ll need about 1/4 cup of the shredded chicken mixture for each tostada.
  • Refried beans – Refried beans are the glue to hold all your other toppings in place (and it helps that they’re delicious.)
  • Lettuce – I love the fresh crunch of shredded iceberg lettuce but use your favorite.
  • Cheddar cheese or Cotija cheese – Cheese is a must!
  • Red onion – Finely diced red onion adds more flavor and more crunch.
  • Taco sauce – Go for something hot or mild – it’s up to you.
  • Diced tomato – A few cubes of diced tomato add color and a pop of freshness.
  • Cabbage – Use finely shredded cabbage instead of lettuce for more crunch (and extra fiber).
  • Jalapeno – Like it spicy? Add some pickled or raw jalapeno.
  • Avocado – Sliced avocado is perfect with these on Taco Night!

How To Assemble Chicken Tostadas

This is the fun part! In my house, I put out a plate of tostadas and hot chicken tinga and put all the toppings into small bowls. That way, everyone can mix and match to create their favorite combinations.Or, take a crispy tostada, spread on a few tablespoons of refried beans, top it with a quarter cup of hot chicken tinga, add a mound of lettuce, and sprinkle on some cheese. Add a bit of lime juice. There’s a basic chicken tostada.

chicken tinga tostada on a plate

Easy Chicken Tinga Recipe

Here’s a quick Chicken Tinga Recipe if you’re making it just for this tostada recipe:

Sautee 1 diced onion and 2 minced cloves of garlic in 2 tablespoons of oil until soft. Add 1 (14.5 ounces) can of fire roasted tomatoes and the liquid, 2 teaspoons of chipotle powder, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin.

Mix and heat through.

Pop this tomato mixture into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

Put the tomato puree into a large pot along with 1.5 cups of chicken broth and 2 pounds of seasoned chicken breast.

Simmer on the stovetop, covered, for about an hour or until the chicken is very tender. Pull the chicken out and let it cool.

Shred the chicken, add it back to the tinga sauce, and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has been reduced and thickened. Season the shredded chicken with salt and pepper and serve!

What To Serve With This Chicken Tostada Recipe

You don’t need much to go with this meal because you’ve already got your carbs (the tostadas and refried beans), protein (chicken tinga), and vegetables from all the toppings. If you want something else, opt for this Baked Spanish Rice or this Mexican Street Corn Salad. Yum!

How To Store Chicken Tinga Tostadas

Tostada shells will keep in an airtight plastic bag for a few days – just on the counter is fine. You may need to re-toast them in the oven on low (about 250-F) until they get crispy. Once assembled, chicken tostadas won’t keep for long because the toppings will sog the tostada.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are chicken tinga tostadas healthy?

Well, they’re not terrible. Sure, the tortillas are fried in oil, but they don’t absorb much. There’s very little fat in the chicken tinga itself, so depending on how you top your chicken tostada, they could be reasonably healthy.

Are chicken tostadas easy to make?

They sure are! To make them easier, use store-bought tostadas and make the chicken tinga ahead of time. Then, they take a few minutes to assemble.

Can I make chicken tostadas without beans?

Sure! Don’t like beans? Skip them! The beans add extra protein, and they help hold on to the other toppings. But they’re not essential.

Are chicken tinga tostadas gluten-free?

They sure are! Enjoy with confidence!

Like This? Also Try These mexican Recipes:

Step By Step Process

fully loaded chicken tinga tostada on a plate
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5 from 7 votes

Chicken Tinga Tostadas

Perfect on Taco Tuesdays or any day of the week, Chicken Tinga Tostadas are as fun to make as they are to eat! Top them with all your favorite toppings and dig into massive flavor today!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican, Tex-Mex
Keyword chicken, chicken tinga, chicken tinga instant pot, chicken tinga tostada, chicken tostada, tostada
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 349kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups chicken tinga

Optional ingredients

    Instructions

    • Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a large skillet. Heat it to 375-F.
    • Working with one corn tortilla at a time, fry the tortilla for 2 minutes on each side or until it is golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
    • Repeat until all the tortillas are crispy.
    • Spread each tostada with 2 tablespoons of refried beans and 1/4 cup of chicken tinga. Top with your favorite optional garnishes.

    Notes

    Optional garnishes include:
    • Lettuce – I love the fresh crunch of shredded iceberg lettuce but use your favorite.
    • Cheddar cheese – Shredded cheddar is a must!
    • Red onion – Finely diced red onion adds more flavor and more crunch.
    • Taco sauce – Go for something hot or mild – it’s up to you.
    • Diced tomato – A few cubes of diced tomato add color and a pop of freshness.
    • Cabbage – Use finely shredded cabbage instead of lettuce for more crunch (and extra fiber).
    • Jalapeno – Like it spicy? Add some pickled or raw jalapeno.
    *please note: optional garnishes are not included in the nutritional values for this recipe

    Nutrition

    Serving: 2tostadas | Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 75mg | Potassium: 276mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 16IU | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1mg

    A Note on Nutritional Information

    Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.

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    By Chef Jenn