Crispy corn tortillas topped with a saucy BBQ chicken mixture, crunchy shredded cabbage, cheese and jalapeno Ranch dressing. These easy BBQ Chicken Tostadas are a super satisfying, busy day meal that’s ready in just 30 minutes!
Anything Mexican or Southwest-inspired is at the very tippy-top of my list of favorite comfort foods. This the the food I desire most when I’m stressed and exhausted, which is pretty much a constant state of being through the holiday season. And, it’s right around the corner, my friends.
I need a day off, then I get a day off and what do I do? I fill it with about a thousand tasks. I don’t think I’m alone in this! If you’re like me, get these Tex-Mex inspired BBQ Chicken Tostadas on your menu soon.
Regardless of the time of year, I try to squeeze simple meals like this into my menu each week. This is a “give yourself a break” dinner. Very little prep, easy to prepare, and ready in 30 minutes. There is always that inclination to order takeout, but these easy tostadas are just the ticket for a comforting meal at home on those busy days.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – Cut into bite-size pieces.
- All-purpose seasoning – I use Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes – Adds a nice kick. Add as much as you’d like or leave it out altogether if you don’t want any heat at all.
- BBQ sauce – Your favorite brand.
- Corn tortillas
- Oil – You want to use a neutral oil with a high smoke point like vegetable or canola oil.
- Cheese – Shredded sharp cheddar and Monterey jack cheese.
- Green cabbage – I use a bag of angel hair coleslaw which is just finely shredded green cabbage. It’s stocked in the produce department with all the bagged greens. Using pre-shredded cabbage is a nice shortcut but you can finely slice a head of cabbage with a sharp knife, if you’d like.
- Jalapeno Ranch salad dressing – Litehouse makes a great one. Check the refrigerated salad dressing section in your local store. If you can’t find it you can substitute another brand. There are all kinds of yummy flavored Ranch dressings out there that would be yummy on these tostadas.
- Optional Toppings – Cilantro leaves, and diced red onion. A little avocado or some guacamole wouldn’t hurt the situation one bit!
How to Crisp Corn Tortillas
I alternate between two methods to crisp corn tortillas. The stovetop method creates a very crispy, tasty tortilla but the drawbacks aer that you cook them one by one which can take some time and you’ve got an oily pan to clean. The oven-fry method allows you to ditch the oil (or most of it) and cook a whole batch of tortillas at once on a sheet pan in the oven. Cleaner and a little easier on the waistline!
- Stovetop Method – Coat the bottom of a nonstick skillet or fry pan with vegetable or canola oil and place it over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add a tortilla and allow it to cook until nicely browned on one side. Use tongs to flip it and cook it for another 30 to 60 seconds until browned and crispy. Transfer the cooked tortilla to a layer of paper towels and blot any excess oil. Add additional oil, as needed, and repeat with remaining tortillas.
- Oven-Fry Method – Place 4 to 6 corn tortillas on a baking sheet (lined with foil for easy cleanup) offsetting them so they don’t touch. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat both sides of the tortillas with vegetable or canola oil or ditch the oil completely and use nonstick cooking spray (I like avocado oil spray). Bake them in a preheated 450 degree F oven for 5 minutes then flip the tortillas and bake for another 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and toasted. Don’t be tempted to cook them too long. Tortillas will continue to crisp up a bit after they come out of the oven.
Regardless of how you cook your tortillas, I highly recommend picking up an inexpensive cloth tortilla warmer. These work like a charm to keep tortillas fresh and warm until you’re ready to serve.
How to Make BBQ Chicken Tostadas
- Sauté the chicken in hot oil for a minute or two. Sprinkle with seasoned salt, pepper, and a little crushed red pepper, if desired.
- When the chicken has cooked through, add the BBQ sauce and reduce the heat to low. Allow it to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a bit. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Top the crisped tortillas with the BBQ chicken.
- Sprinkle on some shredded cheese, plenty of shredded cabbage, a 2nd layer of cheese, and drizzle with jalapeno Ranch dressing. You can also add a little more BBQ sauce on top for more flavor!
Delicious as is or add a little diced red onion and cilantro for some nice color and great flavor.
Dinner is ready in 30 minutes, and it is absolutely delicious! There’s something about the crunchy tortillas and cabbage and sweet-savory BBQ sauce combined with that jalapeno Ranch dressing. It’s an outstanding texture and flavor combination!
More Southwest and Tex-Mex Recipes You’ll Love
- Tex-Mex Meatballs in Red Chile Sauce
- Southwestern Pork Tenderloin
- Margarita Chicken
- Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Skillet
- Creamy Southwest Chicken Soup
BBQ Chicken Tostadas
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- ¾ cup barbecue sauce, (your favorite brand)
- 6 corn tortillas
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil, divided, or as needed to fry tortillas
- ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ¾ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 10 ounce bag angel hair coleslaw , (or finely shredded green cabbage)
- ½ cup jalapeno Ranch dressing, (like Litehouse brand)
- cilantro leaves, diced red onion, avocado or guacamole
- Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Sauté in hot oil for a minute or two. Sprinkle with seasoned salt, pepper, and a little crushed red pepper, if desired. When the chicken has cooked through, add the BBQ sauce and reduce the heat to LOW. Allow to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a bit. Remove from the heat and set aside.
For the Crispy Tortillas
- While the chicken is simmering, pour about ¼ cup vegetable oil (or enough to generously coat the pan) into a medium nonstick frying pan and place over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. When the hot and shimmering, but not smoking, carefully slide in a corn tortilla. Allow it to cook for about 1 minute or until golden brown. Use tongs to flip the tortilla and continue to cook until crisp and browned on the other side. Transfer the cooked tortilla to a double layer of paper towels to drain and blot excess grease with additional paper towels. Repeat with remaining tortillas, adding additional vegetable oil as needed.See alternate "oven-fry" method in Notes section below.
- Top the cooked corn tortillas with BBQ chicken, a little cheese, shredded cabbage, a 2nd layer of cheese, and a drizzle with jalapeno ranch. Garnish with optional toppings, if desired.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
This post was originally published on November 16, 2013. It has been updated with new text and images.