How To Make Tostada Shells In Air Fryer: Crispy Perfection at Home

Originally posted on 14 October 2023 @ 08:56

How To Make Tostada Shells In Air Fryer

Tostadas are a classic Mexican dish that makes for a fun and delicious meal. A tostada consists of a crispy fried tortilla shell that is then topped with various ingredients like refried beans, lettuce, cheese, salsa, guacamole, and more.

While you can always buy pre-made tostada shells, it’s easy and tasty to make your own homemade shells in an air fryer.

What You’ll Need to Make Air Fryer Tostada Shells

Making tostada shells in an air fryer is quick and simple. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Corn or flour tortillas – 6-inch size works best
  • Air fryer
  • Avocado oil or olive oil cooking spray
  • Salt and seasoning (optional)

That’s it! Just those basic ingredients are all you need to make deliciously crispy homemade tostada shells in the air fryer.

How to Make Tostada Shells in an Air Fryer Step-by-Step

Follow these simple steps for foolproof air fryer tostada shells every time.

Preheat the Air Fryer

Start by preheating your air fryer to 400°F. This will ensure it’s nice and hot when you add the tortillas.

Prepare the Tortillas

While the air fryer preheats, brush both sides of the tortillas lightly with avocado oil or olive oil. This helps them get crispy and golden brown.

You can also optionally sprinkle them lightly with salt and taco seasoning or other spices of your choice.

Add Tortillas to the Air Fryer Basket

Once preheated, place the oiled tortillas in the air fryer basket in a single layer, ensuring they aren’t overlapping.

Cook for 4-6 Minutes

Air fry the tortillas for 4-6 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. They will become lightly browned and crispy as they cook.

Inspect and Cook Longer if Needed

After 4-6 minutes, check the shells. If they need a bit longer to reach your desired level of crispiness, cook for another 1-2 minutes.

But be careful not to overcook or they can become too hard.

Let Cool & Shape Shells

When done, immediately remove the hot crispy shells from the air fryer and place them on a plate or rack to cool and harden.

Once cooled slightly, you can gently shape the tortilla into a curved tostada shell shape by draping it over a bowl or your hand.

That’s it! Your homemade air fryer tostada shells are ready for all your favorite toppings.

Tips for Perfect Air Fryer Tostada Shells

Here are some helpful tips for getting the best results when making tostada shells in an air fryer:

  • Use corn or flour tortillas – the 6-inch size works perfectly. Larger tortillas may not fit in your air fryer basket.
  • Make sure to oil the tortillas before cooking – this helps them get super crispy in the air fryer.
  • Don’t overload the air fryer – cook tortillas in a single layer so they crisp evenly.
  • Adjust cooking time as needed based on your air fryer model and tortilla thickness. They may need 4-8 minutes total.
  • Let shells fully cool and harden before shaping so they retain their form.
  • Store cooled shells in an airtight container at room temperature to maintain crispiness.
  • Reheat leftover shells in the air fryer or oven before serving to re-crisp if needed. 1-2 minutes is usually enough.
  • Get creative with flavors! Brush tortillas with fun seasonings before air frying.

Toppings for Air Fryer Tostada Shells

The best part about homemade tostada shells is loading them up with all your favorite toppings! Here are some delicious ideas:

  • Refried beans or taco meat
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Shredded cheese like cheddar or Mexican blend
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Jalapeños
  • Corn
  • Black beans
  • Cilantro
  • Lime juice

You can also easily make vegan tostadas by using plant-based fillings like black beans, guacamole, vegan cheese, etc. The options are endless!

Full Air Fryer Tostada Recipe

To make complete tostadas in the air fryer, simply top your freshly cooked shells with refried beans, shredded lettuce, cheese, and other toppings. Here is one yummy recipe to try:


  • 6 corn tortillas
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 15-oz can refried beans
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Sliced avocado
  • Salsa, sour cream, cilantro, etc. for serving


  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Lightly spray tortillas on both sides with oil and place in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
  • Cook for 4-6 minutes, flipping halfway, until lightly browned and crispy.
  • Remove shells and shape as desired. Let cool slightly.
  • Spread 2-3 tbsp of refried beans on each shell. Top with cheese and return to air fryer for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted.
  • Remove cheesy tostadas and top with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and any other desired toppings.
  • Serve immediately with salsa, sour cream, cilantro, etc. Enjoy!


What kind of tortillas work best?

Corn and flour tortillas both work well, opt for the smaller 6-inch size. Corn tortillas make for an extra authentic tostada.

How long should I cook tortillas in an air fryer?

About 4-6 minutes total, flipping halfway through, is usually enough. But keep an eye on them and adjust cooking time if needed.

Why do the tortillas need oil before air frying?

Brushing the tortillas lightly with oil helps them get super crispy in the dry heat of the air fryer. Avocado oil is ideal but olive oil also works.

My shells got too hard and crunchy. What should I do differently?

If your shells end up too hard, try reducing the air fryer temperature to 375°F and the cooking time by a minute or two. Keep a close watch to avoid overcooking.

Can I make tostada shells in a regular oven instead?

Yes, you can bake tortillas in the oven to make tostada shells! Preheat to 400°F, brush with oil, and bake 6-inch tortillas for 4-8 minutes.

How can I get pre-made tostada shells extra crispy?

If store-bought shells lose their crunch, you can revive them by air frying or baking for 1-2 minutes until crispy again.

What’s the best way to store leftover tostada shells?

Let the shells fully cool after cooking, then place them in an airtight container or zip-top bag. They will stay crispy at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Can I make tostada shells in advance?

Absolutely! Make a big batch of air-fried shells ahead of time and store them in an airtight container. They’ll stay fresh for several days and be ready for quick tacos, tostadas, and more all week long.

The Convenience of Air Fried Tostadas

Whipping up a batch of crispy DIY tostada shells in the air fryer is so fast, easy, and convenient. In just minutes, you can have homemade taco shells ready to load up with all your favorite Tex-Mex toppings for a flavorful lunch or dinner.

So skip the store-bought shells and enjoy warm, freshly fried shells straight from your air fryer. With an endless array of possible toppings for tostadas, tacos, and more, you can reinvent this Mexican favorite every night of the week!

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