Leftover Transformation: Chili Tostadas

With Halloween behind us and my annual family tradition of making a big batch of chili on Halloween night packed up and stored in my refrigerator to enjoy as leftovers throughout the week, I wanted to share my favorite way of eating up these leftovers even after eating microwaved bowls of it becomes tiring.  Transforming chili into a crunchy tostada topped with all the fixings adds a new element of toasted crunch and maximizes the ratio of chili to toppings, which makes everything super fun.  Think of these as crunchy, spicy, taco pizzas, loaded with melted cheese, fresh cilantro, sour cream, and a squeeze of lime.  They’re crunchy and totally snackable, and perfect for a cozy fall dinner where you need something warm but fun to spice up a weeknight.

My recipe below goes straight to assembling the tostadas, and assumes that you have abundant chili on-hand as leftovers that is ready to be used up.  If you’re looking to start from scratch and are looking for a great chili recipe to use as your base, might I suggest checking out my Classic Chili recipe (linked here!) or my recipe for Turkey Chili with Beans (linked here!).  Both recipes will get you to a good starting point for a delicious bowl of chili on night one, followed by leftover chili tostadas on night two!

If you’ve been here before, you’ll know my deep love of tostadas, and I’m pleased to report that they still make an appearance on the menu on a regular basis in my house.  If you’re unfamiliar with tostadas, imagine a crunchy taco shell that’s completely flat.  These shells come pre-fried and are substantial enough to hold a variety of toppings, and become even more delicious after heating up in the oven.  Check out my post for Bean and Cheese Tostadas (linked here!) to learn more about them, and get some additional tostada inspiration for future dinners.

Recipe down below, photo up top!  I dressed these up with all of my leftover chili fixings, but feel free to use whatever your favorite chili toppings are.  Mix and match with the toppings to give different flavors to each tostada (if that’s what you’re into), or make them all fully loaded with everything for maximum fun (which is my personal approach).  Recipe below is enough for 1 tostada, but feel free to repeat and scale up for as many tostadas as you want to make!  I usually eat 2-3 per meal, depending on how hungry I am.

Recipe: Chili Tostadas


  • 1 tostada shell
  • ¼ cup leftover chili
  • 1-2 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
  • ¼ lime


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Place the tostada shell onto the baking sheet, and top with the chili.  Spread the chili into an even layer over the surface of the tostada shell, leaving about a ¼ rim around the outside to allow for maximum crispiness around the edges, and a place to hold the tostada while eating.
  3. Sprinkle the cheese into an even layer on top of the chili.
  4. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake the tostada at 350F for 10 minutes, or until the chili is fully heated through, the cheese is fully melted, and the edges of the tostada are golden brown and crispy.
  5. After baking, remove the tostada from the oven and onto a plate.  Top with sour cream, cilantro, and the juice from the lime. 
  6. Enjoy immediately while the cheese is all nicely melted and everything is hot.


2 comments on “Leftover Transformation: Chili Tostadas”

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