Chalupa Vs Tostada: Can You Name The Differences?

Mexico is known for its wonderful recipes and delicacies, which have won the hearts of millions throughout the world. Among them, chalupa and tostada deserve to rank first in terms of uniqueness and convenience.

Due to their similarity, international tourists sometimes mistakenly believe that chalupa and tostada are the same thing, even though each has its own characteristics.

So, in this article, we’ll compare chalupa vs tostada and reveal the key things to help you tell them apart.

Related: Most popular Mexican foods

What Are They?

Chalupas are created by squeezing a thin layer of masa dough around the exterior of a tiny mold, creating an open container that resembles a boat shape, and then deep-frying the resulting crisp, shallow corn cups.

These ingredients include shredded chicken, pork, chopped onion, chipotle pepper, red salsa, and green salsa, to name a few. They’re similar to tostadas in that they’re both made of masa dough that’s been fried or baked.

Traditional chalupas from Cholula, Puebla, are small, thick, boat-shaped fried masa tortillas with just salsa, cheese, and shredded lettuce on top. Chorizo, pork, shredded chicken, or refried beans are added to the traditional cheese, salsa, and lettuce toppings in some regions of Mexico. In other cases, the fried masa is shaped into a tostada and topped with chalupa components.

Tostadas, a form of Mexican meal, are maize tortillas being fried, toasted, or baked and then topped with various toppings. Refried beans, guacamole, steak, cheese, chicken, lettuce, onion, salsa, or tomato are common tostada toppings.

They’re similar to tacos, except that they’re generally left flat instead of being folded in half. They are often served as a main course. Because the preparation and cooking time is typically short, most people consider it one of the simplest Mexican meals to prepare.

Because of its popularity in the United States, tostadas are frequently referred to as Tex-Mex food. Tex-Mex foods are any Latin American dish that grew popular in Texas or other Southwestern states and is now extensively offered across the United States.

These meals may be exact replicas or subtle variations of the original. Burritos, enchiladas, tacos, chalupas, guacamole, quesadillas, refried beans, salsa, and tamales are all common Tex-Mex dishes.

The Difference

Essentially, the type of tortilla used for each type is the main distinction. Tostadas are prepared using tougher corn tortillas, whereas chalupas are made with soft flour tortillas.

Although chalupas are usually served flat and topped with tostadas, the tortilla isn’t necessarily baked. However, to guarantee crispiness, people usually bake the tortilla when preparing tostadas.

Chalupas take a bit longer to make since the flour tortillas must be fried in a pan until firm. Meanwhile, tostadas are made from corn tortillas that have been cooked flat and labeled “Tostadas” on the packaging.

How To Make Chalupas


  • 1 cup masa harina (masa flour)
  • ½ cup plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups shredded chicken, such as from a rotisserie chicken
  • ½ cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 white onion, chopped in a small dice
  • ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese


  • Combine masa, 1 teaspoon oil, salt, and 23 cup water in a large mixing bowl. With a wooden spoon, combine all of the ingredients until a soft dough forms. Knead the dough until it’s smooth, adding extra water or oil if necessary.
  • Form the dough into 2-inch balls with your hands, then flatten each ball with the palm of your hand into a disc. Make a crater in the center of each disc with a wooden spoon, then form the dough into a little boat.
  • In the meantime, heat the oil. Warm 12 cup oil in a large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the chalupa shells when the oil begins to shimmer. Fry until golden brown and crisp, approximately 1 minute, then turn with tongs and fry until golden brown on the other side.
  • Toss the chalupa shells onto a paper towel-lined dish using tongs. Top each chalupa with a tablespoon of salsa and chicken, lettuce, onion, and cotija cheese.

How To Make Tostada


  • 10 tostada shells (or regular corn tortillas, if making your own tostada shell)
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 lb ground beef (or substitute with cooked shredded chicken or pork)
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH paprika and salt
  • ¼ teaspoon EACH garlic powder, oregano, black pepper
  • 1/2 head lettuce, finely chopped
  • Queso fresco (or other cheese)
  • 1 large avocado
  • Mexican crema (or sour cream)
  • Salsa, pico de gallo or salsa verde


  • If you’re not using store-bought tostada shells, bake or fry the corn tortillas.
  • In a pan over medium heat, brown the ground meat. Cook until browned, breaking up with a wooden spoon into tiny pieces. The grease should be removed.
  • Cook for a few minutes more after adding the onion and spices.
  • In a microwave-safe dish or a small pan over medium heat, place the refried beans. Add a tiny scoop of sour cream and mix well. Cook until thoroughly warmed.
  • Assemble the tostadas as follows: Cover the tostada shell with a thin coating of refried beans. A tiny scoop of ground beef is placed on top, followed by lettuce, cheese, avocado, salsa, sour cream, and spicy sauce.
  • Serve right away.


What is the right way to eat tostadas?

After each mouthful, set the tostada down to allow you to re-grip the tortilla and consume all of the remaining toppings. You may eat the toppings with your teeth instead of a fork. You can devour the entire tostada with your hands and teeth, especially if the tortilla isn’t heaped too high.

Is a chalupa authentic Mexican food?

Chalupas are a delicious Mexican antojito (snack) made from fried masa (cornbread). The term chalupa is derived from the Spanish word for shallop (or tiny sailboat) and refers to the concave form of the masa cake. Basic toppings for chalupas include salsa, cheese, lettuce, and meat.

What fillings should you use?

Tostada shells serve as a foundation for various delectable toppings, many of which are inspired by Mexican tastes. Tostadas may be as elaborate or as basic as you like, vegetarian or vegan! Here are some suggestions:

Begin with the tortilla shell as the foundation.

Add any of the following to the top:

  • Refried beans or entire pinto or black beans that have been gently mashed
  • Cheese (cheddar, Monterey jack, or dairy-free cheese)
  • Bell peppers and onions, roasted or sautéed
  • Romaine or iceberg lettuce, finely shredded, or Mexican slaw
  • Avocado slices or guacamole
  • Chile lime pepita crema, dairy free sour cream, or sour cream
  • Salsa Mexicana, corn salsa, verde salsa, or pico de gallo
  • Fresh cheese like cotija or queso fresco
  • Finish with a generous sprinkle of fresh cilantro

Are tostada and taco the same?

No, taco is often folded, while tostada is often left flat on the dish.


By the end of this article, I hope you now understand the critical difference between chalupa vs tostada through the information above. If you have any other queries, don’t hesitate to mention them in the comment section. It’d be our pleasure to add more insights to our existing post.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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