Refried Bean and Cheese Tostadas

updated May 27, 2020
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Bean and Cheese Tostadas

Crunchy pan-fried tortillas are topped with refried beans and shredded cheese, then baked until warm.


Prep5 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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Credit: Amelia Rampe

I grew up in Southern California, so the combination of beans, cheese, and tortillas is very comforting to me. These tostadas are on repeat in my house — they’re incredibly satisfying but take very little time to prepare.

I strongly believe that pan-frying the tortillas is what makes this dish so good. The contrast between the crunchy tortilla and the soft refried beans and melty cheese is like one giant handheld nacho (read: my happy place). And if you’re worried about the frying oil going to waste, don’t! Once it’s cool, strain it and reuse it again later.

Although this recipe is pretty perfect as is, I encourage you to have fun with it. Cover the beans with taco meat, shredded chicken, ground chorizo, or sautéed vegetables like summer squash, onions, and peppers. Or top the finished tostadas with avocado, herbs, sliced radishes, or a fried egg. Most importantly, don’t forget the hot sauce! My favorite is Tapatio.

Bean and Cheese Tostadas

Crunchy pan-fried tortillas are topped with refried beans and shredded cheese, then baked until warm.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1 cup

    vegetable oil

  • 6

    (5-inch) corn tortillas

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 1/4 cups

    refried beans

  • 3/4 cup

    shredded Mexican blend cheese

  • Hot sauce (optional)


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 450ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels.

  2. Heat 1 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Test the oil by dipping the side of a tortilla into it -- if it sizzles right away, the oil is ready. Add 3 corn tortillas and fry until crisp and darkened in color, about 2 minutes per side. Pierce any bubbles that form on the tortillas with the tip of a paring knife. Transfer to the baking sheet and season with kosher salt. Repeat with the remaining 3 tortillas.

  3. Remove the paper towels from under the tostadas. Spread 1 1/4 cups refried beans on the tostadas (about 3 tablespoons each). Sprinkle with 3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (about 2 tablespoons each). Bake until the beans are warmed through and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Serve with hot sauce if desired.

Recipe Notes

Reusing the frying oil: Once oil is cool, strain through a fine-mesh strainer and reserve for another use.