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Carnitas Style Chicken Tostadas

This super fast and satisfying supper takes advantage of individually frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs. In a little over an hour and a half, you go from frozen blobs of chicken to braised, flavourful, crisped chicken on crunchy corn tortilla tostadas with a compliment of refried beans, cheese, sour cream, smoked paprika and chipotle sauce and candied jalapenos. I am willing to bet this becomes a regular in your rotation like it is for us on busy nights.
Author Rebecca Lindamood


For the Chicken:

  • 3 pounds of individually frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs (you can start with fresh rather than frozen, just adjust cooking time accordingly.)
  • 1 teaspoon canola vegetable or peanut oil, plus additional oil for crisping the meat later
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of your favourite salsa I use smoky roasted tomatillo and tomato salsa
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled but left whole

For the Tostadas:

  • 1- inch of vegetable or canola oil in a heavy pan
  • corn tortillas 2-3 per person
  • salt to taste
  • refried beans
  • shredded or baby lettuce
  • sour cream
  • Smoked Paprika and Chipotle Sauce
  • Candied Jalapenos


  • In a large, heavy pan with a tight fitting lid (preferably a dutch oven) over high heat, pour the teaspoon of oil. Arrange the frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the pan in such a way that the lid can be put on it and sit firmly. Before adding the lid, toss in the garlic cloves and pour the salsa and chicken stock or brother over the top. Place the lid on the pan and let cook over high heat until steam starts escaping from under the lid. Drop the heat to medium low and let it continue cooking until a piece of chicken removed from the pan shreds easily between two forks, between 45 minutes and an hour*.
  • *If you start with fresh (not frozen) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, you can cut that time down a bit.
  • Remove all of the chicken to a bowl or platter, leaving the juices in the pan, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes, lightly covered with foil. Replace the pan over the burner and turn the heat to high, bringing the pan juices to a boil and letting it reduce by 3/4, or until thick like gravy. Set aside.
  • Use two forks to shred all of the chicken. Set aside.
  • In a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat, add 1-inch of canola, peanut or vegetable oil. Fry tortillas, 1 or 2 at a time, until golden brown, about 2 minutes, flipping once or twice to ensure it is crispy all over. Transfer the fried tortillas to a paper towel lined plate and season with salt.
  • Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of the oil from the skillet and return it to high heat. When the oil is very hot and shimmery, slide about half of the shredded chicken into the pan and press down on it with the back side of a sturdy spatula so that you bring more surface area of the chicken in contact with the hot oil and pan. Do not stir the chicken. When the edges appear to be dark brown or deep golden brown, pick up the crisped chicken with a spatula and flip it crisp side up onto a plate. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and the remaining chicken.

To Assemble Tostadas:

  • Spread hot refried beans on a crisped tortilla, top with chicken, a drizzle of the reduced pan juices, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, Smoked Paprika and Chipotle Sauce and candied jalapenos.