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Could a store-bought tostada hold a candle to homemade?
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What You Need To Know
The Mexican tostada is a close relative of the tortilla chip—only bigger, flatter, and less salty. Traditionally, tostadas are made from stale corn tortillas that are toasted (the literal translation of the word) or deep-fried to make them not only more flavorful but also sturdy enough to support a thick layer of refried beans or forkfuls of moist shredded meat. Figuring that a homemade version would function as our benchmark for what a good prefab tostada should taste like—shatteringly crisp and full of nutty corn flavor—we got to work frying our own with store-bought corn tortillas, then compared them with five packaged tostada brands (Mission, Charras, Olé, Ortega, and Old El Paso), both plain and with refried beans. The better brands (Mission, Charras, and Olé) boasted coarsely ground corn and no preservatives. The “clean corn flavor,” “rustic crunch,” and “substantial” texture of Mission Tostadas Estilo Casero made it the hands-down favorite. It was so good, some tasters even preferred it to our homemade version.
Everything We Tested
This brand won nearly unanimous praise for its “crisp and crunchy” texture and “good corn flavor.” It was “substantial, both in texture and flavor” even when topped with heavy, moist refried beans.
Tasters appreciated the “nice crisp” texture of these tostadas, which stayed that way even under refried beans. However, a few felt the topping drowned out their “delicate” flavor.
Recommended with reservations
Tasters deemed these tostadas “nothing special.” Though the bean topping did not overwhelm their “mellow corn” flavor, the tostadas became soggy and limp.
“Cardboard” and “stale, stale, stale” summed up tasters’ reactions to these pricey yet mediocre tostadas.
Good nutty corn flavor was even less in evidence in these tostadas, which tasters panned for being “rubbery and stale.”
Reviews you can trust
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing.