Fry Your Own Tostadas!

Y’all know already how much I love Mexican and Tex-Mex food!  But I hate pre-made taco and tostada shells.  They pretty much taste like cardboard to me.  So many, many years ago I set out to start frying my own from regular corn tortillas.  I do try to make my flour tortillas from scratch, but I haven’t tried to make corn tortillas from scratch yet.  So I just use regular store bought tortillas.

Frying them is so quick and easy that I don’t know you’d want to buy the pre-made ones.  The only thing you have to watch out for is the occasional hot grease splatters, but they are few and far between.  And wear an apron to protect your clothes.

How to Fry Your Own Tostadas!

oil (veg, corn, or canola)
corn tortillas

In a small to medium fry pan add a layer of oil up to about 1/2 inch deep.  Heat on medium high until hot, but not too the smoking point (that would be way to hot).

Test that the oil is hot by placing one end of the tortilla in the oil, you should see a bunch of tiny bubbles form.  If it’s hot enough, slowly add in the rest of the tortilla.  Poke down the tortilla (and any bubbles that form in the tortilla) into the oil using long tongs.   Be gentle and patient.  When you notice that you can pick up the tortilla without it bending, carefully flip it over.  Continue pushing it down.  The tostada is done when the center is hard and no longer gives.  The color will darken as it cools, so don’t worry about it not getting dark enough.  Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

Use this same technique to make taco shells, but instead of letting the first side get hard fold it in half after about 30 seconds of  frying.  The longer each of the folded sides is in the oil, the harder the taco shell will be.  Warning: don’t let it go too long or your shell will be impossible to open up when it’s time to stuff it.

Tostada Toppings: Refried Beans, Shredded Beef, Chicken, Salsa, cheese, sour cream, Rice, ground beef etc.

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  1. I only fry corn tostadas in a cast iron skillet, small sized, it is heavy and stable. Have your mise en place, pay full attention to what your doing, including the minutes it takes for the oil to come to temperature, and open the window/ door for ventilation. Have your tongs ready, only put the tortillas into the oil with the tongs, and take them out with the tongs, of course. . Have a plate w a paper towel ready to place the fried tortillas on. I use ‘Bueno Premium Stone Ground’ yellow corn tortillas. Thin tortillas won’t have as much strength to hold toppings without breaking. The best toppings– homemade ‘refried’ pinto beans, diced tomato, diced onion, and diced New Mexico green chiles, plus some shredded cheddar., and a sprinkle of salt. NM green chiles might be found in the freezer section at the grocery store, depending where you live. Canned green chiles are not really close.. Mix the veggies into a pico de gallo to put on top of the beans and cheese, which go on top of the fried corn tortilla (tostada)
    I let the oil get to just about smoking- safflower or peanut oil (Lou Ana)- or, actually smoking a tad.
    The tortillas fry FAST, get really crispy, and don’t darken too much. Sometimes the tortillas develop bubbles- I don’t know why, but the website they say if the tortillas are too cold they will get bubbles when you fry them, but I think it may be because the tortillas are not super freshly made, or maybe because they are freshly made, not sure. Anyway, if the oil is not blazing hot the tortillas will be chewy, and will absorb too much oil. And I think they make taco shapers, so you do not have to mess around w a half-fried tostada in >300 degree oil, if you get burned on the thin skin of your hand badly, you might end up in the hospital.
    Tostadas are my favorite dinner. Even if I have to cook the beans from dry in the pressure-cooker, the whole thing doesn’t take that long. It is somewhat messy, but the effort is well worth it, because for your trouble you actually end up with a DELICIOUS meal on one plate. Veggies/green (and hopefully spicy) from the chile/protein/fiber/fat, all together. You don’t have to make anything else, and you won’t waste your time w some new recipe that takes >1 hour and doesn’t taste very good, after all. Maybe some sherbert for dessert, yum.
    I don’t worry about the calories from frying the tostadas because I do fry them in HOT oil, so they absorb less oil.
    I’m ~ 5’5″ and #134, in my 5th decade of life, and have eaten this dinner many times. So don’t worry about getting fat! Just take that dog for a walk!:)

  2. Hi! These look delicious!!! I found you over at KdBuggie and I love your blog! I am your newest follower and would love to have to stop by our blog and follow back if you want!
    Camille @


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