Beef Tostadas

Beef tostadas may be the sleeper hit of summer. Just slowly simmer some beef with ancho chiles and then pile the tender awesomeness atop crisped tortillas along with some black beans and homemade hot sauce. Tasting is believing.

Two shredded beef tostadas topped with beans, beef, and pickled onions.

These beef tostadas are described, rather loftily, by the author as “dream-worthy.”  We’re not about to argue with that. Heaps of tender, slow-cooked, shredded beef imbued with ancho top crisped tortillas and are smothered by black beans, pickled red onions, and hot sauce. Need we say more? (We hope not, because even if we wanted to, we actually couldn’t seeing as we’re too busy making more of these tostadas.)Angie Zoobkoff

☞ Contents

Beef Tostadas

Two shredded beef tostadas topped with beans, beef, and pickled onions.
These shredded beef tostadas are piled high with black beans, tender shredded, beef, and pickled onions.

Prep 1 hour
Cook 3 hours 30 minutes
Total 4 hours 30 minutes
Tex Mex
6 to 8 servings
892 kcal
5 from 1 vote
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For the slow-cooked beef

  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 3 pounds beef shoulder or chuck roast
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil plus more for frying
  • 1 7 oz yellow onion thinly sliced
  • One can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups store-bought or homemade beef stock

For the chile de árbol hot sauce

  • 1/2 cup dried chiles de árbol
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 3 1/2 oz yellow onion coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • Kosher salt

To serve

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Black beans
  • Cilantro
  • Pickled red onions


Make the slow-cooked beef

  • In a small bowl, combine the ancho chile powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt.
  • Rub the entire beef shoulder generously with salt and set aside.
  • In a large heavy pot set over high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the beef shoulder and sear on all sides until the meat is golden and crisp on the outside, about 10 minutes in total.
  • Add the onion, crushed tomatoes, and spice mixture to the pot and cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the broth. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the beef for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, turning the meat over after it has cooked for 2 hours. When the meat is done, it should be very tender and falling apart.

Make the chile de árbol hot sauce

  • Place the whole, dried chiles in a medium bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chiles and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Soak the chiles until softened, about 30 minutes.
  • Drain the chiles, remove the stems, and place them in a blender along with the garlic, onion, vinegar, vegetable oil, and agave. Purée on high until you have a smooth orange sauce. Season with salt.

Assemble the beef tostadas

  • Transfer the beef to a cutting board. Increase the heat under the cooking liquid to medium and simmer, uncovered. Shred the beef, discarding any globs of fat or gristle. Return the shredded beef to the pot and cook, uncovered, until the sauce has reduced and become thick, about 40 minutes. Season with salt.
  • While the sauce is reducing, fry the tortillas. In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 inch (12 mm) vegetable oil until it registers 350ºF to 375ºF (180 to 190°C) on a candy or deep-fry thermometer, or until a piece of tortilla immediately starts to bubble and floats to the top when dropped into the oil. Carefully fry the tortillas one at a time, until golden and crisp, about 30 seconds on each side. Drain on a paper towel.
  • Top each tortilla with a spoonful of black beans and some shredded beef, fresh cilantro, and pickled red onions. Top with a drizzle of the árbol hot sauce and serve immediately.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingsCalories: 892kcal (45%)Carbohydrates: 49g (16%)Protein: 74g (148%)Fat: 45g (69%)Saturated Fat: 11g (69%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 18gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 184mg (61%)Sodium: 949mg (41%)Potassium: 1701mg (49%)Fiber: 10g (42%)Sugar: 16g (18%)Vitamin A: 6118IU (122%)Vitamin C: 8mg (10%)Calcium: 123mg (12%)Iron: 11mg (61%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Simply put, this beef tostadas recipe is a crowd pleaser. Slow cooking the beef in the sauce flavored with ancho chile, cumin, and cayenne leads to tender and incredibly flavorful beef that we could not get enough of. The crisp tostadas and the pickled red onions gave the dish a wonderful crunch and the homemade chile de árbol hot sauce put this one over the top. The dish took time to get to the plate but not only was it worth the time, it filled the house with the wonderful smells of Mexican cuisine. All the ingredients were easy to find, even the beef shoulder, which is not a cut you find in the grocery store everyday. The hot sauce was so full of flavor—it had the sweet from the agave, the heat from the chiles, the tart from the vinegar, and great flavors from the onion and garlic—it was the perfect accompaniment to the beef. I’m so happy the recipe made a lot of sauce because we’ve used it on several other dishes! One of our favorite dishes is pork carnitas and these shredded beef tostadas may have supplanted that!

These beef tostados were SO good! I really enjoyed the crispy fried tortillas; they were still chewy and tender but had a crunchy edge. The combination of both textures really made this dish a 10 for me. As well, the chile de árbol sauce is a great addition—sweet and flavorful but still really quite hot. I found just a drizzle was enough to get the flavor and a manageable amount of heat.

The sauce came together quickly. The only thing I changed was to put it through the food processor before simmering. This was only because I used my own canned tomatoes and they were diced quite large. Otherwise, I made the recipe exactly as written and it came out beautifully. The beef gets very tender and shreds easily and all the flavors work so well together. I served them with my own pickled onions (with lime, cilantro, and peppercorns), fresh cilantro, and black beans.

Originally published June 13, 2017


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