How To Eat A Tostada Without Making A Mess

How To Eat A Tostada – Step By Step Guide

America is a huge country filled with different cultures and traditions that over time mixed into one big melting pot. Still, distinct features of certain traditions persevere to this very day, especially when talking about food. One of the most beloved cuisines in the US is without a doubt Mexican food.

As a matter of fact, one could say that modern Mexican food is “as American as apple pie.” So, what are the first things that come to your mind when speaking about this culinary tradition? We suppose that it’s burritos, tacos, and chili, right? Most folks love these dishes because they’re delicious and easy to eat, in terms of handling.

However, one particular food remains in the shadow of great Mexican cuisine, and not because it is less tasty than any of the previously mentioned dishes, but because most people simply do not know how to eat it without staining their shirts and faces.

Yes, we are talking about the infamous tostada. In today’s article, we will talk about this food and give you some tips on how to eat a tostada the right way. We hope that our strategies will help you have a less messy and frustration-less meal.

What Is A Tostada?

What Is A Tostada

Those who bumped into this article by accident and who may not know what exactly a tostada is, should not skip this section.

Tostada in Spanish directly translates to “toasted,” referring to a tortilla which is toasted or deep fried. This dish is kind of a waste-preventer, meaning that when one has tortillas which are not fresh enough to be used for tacos, they can fry or toast them and make a tostada. It’s a similar philosophy to toasting bread that is a few days old. Tostadas are traditionally served plain alongside stews, seafood or various dips (e.g., sour cream), and can vary in size.

Also, tostadas are popular as dishes on their own, especially in the US’ South and Mexico. The tortilla is commonly topped with beans, avocado, diced chicken or pork, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, cabbage, and salsa. Seafood tostadas are also pretty popular and they usually include tuna, shrimp, octopus, and crab.
What’s The Problem With Eating Tostadas?

Everything that we mentioned in the previous section indicates that a tostada is surely a flavorful, rich dish, right? So, what’s the problem when it comes to consuming it?
The biggest issue of the tostada is that its tortilla is crispy and thus easy to crack and fall apart into pieces.

This fragile tortilla is not a good vehicle for the mountain of ingredients that go on top of it, and it is almost impossible to handle and eat it without making a mess on your face as well as the plate. Of course, we are talking about eating it with your hands, not with a knife and fork, as this method wouldn’t provide you with a true enjoyment of the tostada’s flavors and textures.

How To Eat A Tostada – Step By Step Guide

how to eat a tostada

Ok, so the time has come to present you with our strategy of properly eating a tostada. Keep in mind that this method needs practice and may not be successful in your first attempt. Be persistent, practice, and you too will master this technique.

1. Grab the tostada gently with both hands and lift it up from the plate. Make sure not to press it with your thumbs as this might cause some premature cracking, and you definitely do not want that.

2. Since the pile of food is too big to fit in your mouth, no matter how much you open it, scrape off the top layer with your teeth and eat that first. By doing this, you will decrease the amount of food on the tortilla and make it small enough to take a bite of it. Some ingredients will inevitably fall off – this is unavoidable, so just let them fall onto the plate.

3. Bring the tostada close to your mouth and take a small, fist bite at the center. A smaller bite will decrease the chance of the entire thing collapsing.

4. After you’ve taken a bite at the center take one at each side of the tostada. Continue eating in this manner until you finish it. *

5. Using a fork, eat the pieces of food that have fallen on the plate.

* The eating pattern we described is called center-to-sides, but you can also try the reverse method of eating the sides first and then the center. Give both of these a shot and see which one works for you.

Some Useful Tips

Note that you will most likely smear some of the sour cream or sauce across your face. This is perfectly common and hard to avoid so don’t let it ruin the pleasure of the meal. After a while, you’ll get used to the feeling of a messy face, and it will not present a problem. You could, of course, put the tostada down and wipe off the mess around your mouth, but it increases the risk of breaking the tortilla when picking it up and putting it down.

Try out more eateries and see which one makes tostadas with thicker tortillas or a smaller pile of ingredients. This makes it much simpler to eat and significantly decreases the chance of breakage.
Make your own! This solution takes some work, but the good thing is that you can completely control what goes on it and in what amount. It is the best way of ensuring that your tostadas are ‘eatable.

Sample Recipe

Tostada recipe


  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 800grams of refried beans (2 cans)
  • 1/2 head of lettuce
  • 1 large avocado
  • 220 grams of cheddar
  • 100 ml of salsa
  • Salt
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Grapeseed or canola oil


1. Drain and rinse the canned beans and place them in a pan over high medium heat. Pour in a little water and stir the beans as you heat them up. The result should be a creamy and thick bean sauce.

2. Pour oil into a frying pan so that you have a 1 cm thick layer. Heat it up until it starts to sizzle and then, one by one, add the corn tortillas. Fry until the tortillas are golden brown and remove on a paper cloth that will absorb the excess oil.

3. While you wait for tortillas to cool, prepare the toppings. Peel and slice (thin) avocado, wash the lettuce, grate the cheese, and chop the cilantro.

4. Take a tortilla and place a layer of beans first. After that put a few slices of avocado, a leaf of lettuce, and a handful of cheddar cheese.

5. Sprinkle with salt and chopped cilantro.


Mexican food is a term that encompasses a great number of dishes, and we believe that a true fan of this cuisine should try as many as they possibly can.

This includes the hard-to-eat ones such as a tostada. As you’ve concluded from our article, even this food can be eaten with a good amount of pleasure and enjoyment only if you commit to it. It will take practice and time, but we are sure that you will be able to manage. Remember, the deliciousness of tostadas should not suffer because of their impracticality.

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