Chicken Tostadas with Chipotle Crema  

These chicken tostadas can be made on mini tortillas for an appetizer, on small tortillas for a delightful starter, or paired up for a delicious meal. You can make them with shredded chicken, beef or pork.

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What is a Tostada?

Tostada literally means “toast” in Spanish and tostada is also the name of a dish with a variety of ingredients on a toasted base – usually a tortilla that has been fried or baked. This recipe for chicken tostadas calls for shredded cooked chicken, cabbage, queso fresco, a chipotle crema and some spiced chickpeas, making it a party of flavors and textures in  your mouth.

Ingredients for tostadas on a board - tortillas, chickpeas, shredded chicken, cabbage, cheese, chipotle pepper, lime, sour cream and cilantro.

Shredded Chicken for Tostadas

The main ingredient is the chicken, of course and preparing the shredded chicken is the first step in making these tostadas. The full recipe and explanation of how to do that can be found here. Using a pressure cooker to cook the chicken is quick and easy and does result in delicious, tender chicken that can be used for lots of different meals from tacos, to salads, to these tostadas. If you prefer to air fry your chicken, check out these easy instructions on how to cook chicken breast quickly in the air fryer. Instead of using the marinade, however, use the spice rub from this recipe to give it a Mexican flavor profile.

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Chipotle Crema in a mini chopper.

Chipotle Crema for Tostadas

This crema really couldn’t be easier. You simply buzz some sour cream around with the chipotle peppers, some lime zest and lime juice in a mini chopper, food processor or blender. If you don’t have a chopping appliance, just chop away with your chef’s knife and stir the ingredients together. 

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Two tortillas in an air fryer with more tortillas on a sheet pan with olive oil and a basting brush near by.

Making the Tostada Shells

Making the toasted tortilla shells is extremely quick and easy in your air fryer. Use corn tortillas and brush them with oil. Then air-fry for just a couple minutes per side. The only tricky part is that an air fryer can blow the tortillas around. I use little racks to hold them in place and they work like a charm. 

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Chickpeas roasting in an air fryer.

Spiced Chickpea Topping

The spiced chickpeas are totally optional, but they do give a nice spicy crunch to the tostadas. Using canned chickpeas makes this super quick. Just do make sure to rinse and dry them as well as you can before dusting with the spices and oil. Oh – and there will be leftovers, so feel free to snack on them too.

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All the components of chicken tostadas on a cutting board.

How to Build the Tostadas

Build the tostadas just before you want to serve them. It’s simply a layering task so make sure you have all the components out and it’s finished in a jiffy. 

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Three chicken tostadas on a silver platter.

How to Serve Tostadas

I think two tostadas makes a really nice light meal. You can beef it up with some rice and beans if you want to make a more substantial meal out of it. You can also use mini tortillas and make little appetizers with these same ingredients. Whichever way you make these you won’t be able to eat these with a knife and fork, so make sure to have some napkins on hand. There’s no way to eat these without making at least a little mess!

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A plate with a chicken tostada in front of a silver platter with three more tostadas.

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Chicken Tostadas with Chipotle Crema  

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 30 m
  • Total Time: 45 m
  • Servings:
    6

Ingredients

  • 6 5-inch corn tortillas
  • vegetable or olive oil
  • salt
  • 15 ounce canned chickpeas drained, rinsed and dried
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chili lime chicken see recipe
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage or iceberg lettuce
  • ½ cup crumbled queso fresco or cojita cheese
  • chopped fresh cilantro
Chipotle Crema
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • juice and zest of ½ lime
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the air fryer to 400ºF.
  2. Brush both sides of the tortillas with oil and season lightly with salt.
  3. Working in batches, air-fry the tortillas for 2 minutes on each side until crispy. (You might need to place a small rack on the tortillas to hold them down so they don’t blow around.) Set the crispy tortillas aside.
  4. Drizzle the chickpeas with a little oil and toss them with the chili powder, smoked paprika and salt.
  5. Place the chickpeas in the air fryer basket or tray and air-fry at 400ºF for 15 minutes, shaking a few times during the cooking process. The chickpeas should be a little crunchy but still soft in the middle. (Alternately roast the chickpeas in the oven at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring a couple times during the cooking process.)
  6. While the tortillas and chickpeas are cooking, make the chipotle crema. Place the chipotle peppers, sour cream, lime juice and zest and salt in a mini food processor and process until it is smooth. Chill the sauce until you are ready to serve.
  7. Pre-heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add a little olive oil to the pan. Add the shredded chicken to the pan and fry until all the chicken is warmed through and some of the edges are crispy.
  8. To assemble the tostadas, top each crispy tortilla with some of the warmed shredded chicken, spreading it close to the edges. Top with some shredded cabbage or lettuce, sprinkle a little cheese on top and drizzle with the chipotle crema. Garnish with some of the roasted chickpeas and cilantro and serve.
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