Air frying your tostadas is ideal for smaller batches, whether it’s a quick meal for the kids or a work-from-home lunch, this is a great recipe to master. We cook the beans and cheese directly on the shell to make it practically effortless! Using an air fryer also reduces the oil content, making it a lighter option than frying.
👩🍳 Christine’s Notes
Tostadas are the perfect little lunch or snack when you have a few spare tortillas knocking around in your fridge, and I’ve discovered that they work quite perfectly in the air fryer! Not only is it super fast, it’s also just so tidy compared to frying.
My tostada of choice has refried beans as a topping, so I can spread the beans on top and let the air fryer heat them up too – no need to manage multiple pans. This will somewhat impact on crispiness compared to fully frying the shell + heating the beans in another pan before scooping them on top, but it’s a worthwhile trade off for a small batch!
Choosing your ingredients and toppings
This is really flexible, and it’s actually a great way to use up any leftovers from another Mexican meal such as canned beans, taco slaw, other toppings. But mine tend to come together with these ingredients:
- Tortillas: They’ve gotta be corn tortillas! In North America, this is a super affordable staple though in the UK they are unfortunately more of a speciality ingredient – but if tostadas are on your mind, they are worth seeking out.
- Refried beans: These creamy spiced beans are Tex Mex perfection, but you can certainly use some whole beans if you’d like. Make sure to add lots of cheese if you do this, and maybe a little fajita or taco seasoning for quick flavor. (If you want to make your own refried beans, I have a great slow cooker recipe for you to check out!)
- Cheese: To melt on top of the beans. For fun, I like to use a chili cheddar (similar to pepperjack, but cheddar) blend or something smoked, if it’s available.
- Lettuce: Or slaw, if you have some leftover from taco night.
- Salsa: or you could just add some finely chopped tomato.
- Sour cream: Gives that nice cooling effect, but guac is great too.
- Other optional toppings: cilantro (fresh coriander), finely diced or sliced onions, avocado slices, olives, jalapeno slices, whatever else you want. Tostadas are an excuse to raid your fridge!
Making Tostada Shells in your air fryer – what to know
Is it important to use oil on the tortillas?
I would say yes, or the shells will be dry and brittle. I brush both sides fairly generously with oil but since we’re air frying, all of the excess will run off and they won’t be excessively oily.
What if I don’t want to add beans and cheese and just want the tostada shell?
If you’re not going to break to add toppings, just air fry for 5-6 minutes straight through.
What kind of air fryer was this recipe tested in?
An Instant Vortex. It’s important to keep an eye on this the first time you make it in your own machine, because they can be a little different. Especially as larger machines emerge, cook times are getting a little more inconsistent.
Do I need to turn halfway through?
Nah, although you might want to flip it over if you notice the tortillas are curling up on one side. This sometimes happens, sometimes doesn’t.
More Air Fryer Mexican Style Meals
Air Fryer Tostadas with Beans & Cheese
- 2 corn tortillas
- 2-4 tbsp refried beans
- 2-3 tbsp grated cheese
- small handful shredded lettuce
- 1-2 tbsp salsa
- 1-2 tbsp sour cream
- other toppings of choice: cilantro, olives, avocado, jalapeno slices, etc
- Brush your corn tortillas with oil on both sides.
- Place in the air fryer basket and cook for 4 minutes.
- Remove from the air fryer basket and spread the refried beans over the top, followed by the cheese.
- Return to the air fryer and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the cheese is melted to your liking.
- Add your cold toppings and serve.