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Slow Cooker Black Bean Tostadas

Slow Cooker Black Bean Tostadas are a filling, delicious option for an easy meal that uses a simple combination of flavorful ingredients. With crispy tostada shells, canned or homemade refried beans, and fresh toppings, dinner can be ready and assembled in just under a few hours!

Slow Cooker Black Bean Corn and Basil Tostadas with a habanero hot sauce on side

This recipe for easy black bean tostadas includes frozen corn and the option to use homemade slow cooker black beans. With the addition of lime juice and basil, the filling tastes fresh and zesty! You’ll love how quickly you can assemble these or prep ingredients ahead of time.

Even better, everyone can customize their tostadas to their preferences!

What is a tostada?

A tostada is a crunchy or toasted corn tortilla that is arranged as a type of open-face taco. It is typically layered with a protein base such as refried beans or seasoned meat. Tostadas can have any number of toppings ranging from cheese, fruit, vegetables, salsas, or dressings.

Tostadas can easily be assembled by layering the ingredients on the tostada shell. They are a great option to use up ingredients that you have at home or to stretch ingredients to create a lot of servings!

The Spanish word “tostada” means “toast” so it is known for its crunchy base that serves as a base similar to nacho chips. Tostada shells are sometimes deep-fried, and generally made from corn tortillas.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Corn and Basil Tostadas served

What’s To Love About Black Bean Tostadas 

  • Tostadas are a great meal choice when you have various ingredients to use up or don’t have much time for assembly! If the protein is already prepared, you can use leftovers to create an all-new meal on crispy tortilla shells.
  • There are many ways to make tostada fillings, but the slow cooker is a great way to throw it all together and serve when ready. If you use leftover meat or beans, you can also microwave or heat over the stove until warm. I love creating the refried beans from my Slow Cooker Black Beans recipe.
  • Tostadas are so easily customized that you can meet nearly any dietary preference. With black beans as the base, this is an easy, filling vegetarian meal. You can also adjust toppings to be dairy-free and ensure the tostada shells are gluten-free.
  • Tostadas can be assembled with just about any protein and topping combination, but I love the fresh taste of lime juice, salsas, and a chopped fresh garnish. Basil is a unique element in this recipe!
  • You can make or prep any of the ingredients in this recipe beforehand, or you can heat the filling in just a few hours.

Ingredients Needed 

This recipe only needs a handful of ingredients and makes a unique combination. It’s an elevated use of refried black beans and corn! 

  • Refried black beans – Use one 15-ounce can for approximately 4 servings of tostadas. For the healthiest canned option, look for an organic unseasoned variety without the additions of lard, hydrogenated oils, or added sugar. I also like to make my own refried beans from the recipe included in my Slow Cooker Black Beans recipe!
  • Frozen corn kernels  – This is an easy ingredient to keep on hand for last-minute prep! Use regular corn or a fire-roasted corn blend if you can find it.
  • Salsa – I love using a fresh, mild salsa for this recipe with the chopped onions and all the added flavors but any salsa will work. Make it with medium or hot, jarred or fresh! 
  • Lime juice – Squeeze from fresh limes or use a bottled version.
  • Homemade taco seasoning – I love this homemade seasoning blend to add to all my Mexican dishes! If you need to mix this up for tostadas, take my word and make a double or triple batch! Your future self will thank you for having an easy, healthy blend ready to go.
  • Dried basil – This isn’t your typical seasoning with black beans, but I love the hint of herbal flavor that it brings to the beans and corn mixture. It also gives a slightly aromatic quality when warming in the slow cooker!
  • Tostada shells – These corn tortilla shells are usually readily available at the store and work great for easy meals with various toppings. If you want, you can also make your own by toasting any variation of corn tortillas that you have at home.

How To Make Black Bean Tostadas In The Slow Cooker 

In this recipe, I prepared the black bean filling in the slow cooker. This can easily be prepared a day or two in advance and you can reheat it on the stove or in the microwave when you are ready to assemble fresh tostadas and serve!

  1. To begin, add all ingredients, except shells, to the slow cooker.
Black Bean Corn and Basil with seasonings on top in slow cooker
  1. Heat on low for 2-3 hours or until heated through.
Black Bean Corn and Basil cooked in slow cooker
  1. Divide the filling between 4 tostada shells. Usually, 2-3 spoonfuls is a good amount to evenly divide portions.
  2. Serve the tostadas topped with hot sauce, sour cream, fresh cilantro, or as desired.

Recipe Variations and Substitutions

Tostadas can be made with many different variations and combinations. Like a taco, they’re totally customizable! Try some of these options or let each person create their own.

  • Make Slow Cooker Pinto Beans and season with The Best Homemade Taco Seasoning. Top with cheese, cilantro, or sour cream.
  • Use shredded meat instead of beans like Slow Cooker Carnitas or Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken. This classic Easy Slow Cooker Taco Meat Recipe would be another great option! All meat options can be premade for meal prep ease.
  • Switch up the salsa in the slow cooker with the black beans. Try a green salsa verde or a spicier mix. Even a chimichurri could work well!
  • For extra spicy heat, add finely diced jalapeno into the slow cooker with the black beans.
  • You can buy premade tostada shells or make your own with regular white or yellow corn tortillas. Since tortillas always have so many in the bag, I am typically bound to have some extra in the kitchen that need to be used! Try these steps to make your own:
    • Place your tortillas in the oven (right on the rack) for about 10 minutes at 250 ℉. 
    • Heat some oil in your skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot enough for the tortilla to sizzle then place the warmed tortillas in (one at a time) with metal tongs. Press it down and let it cook for about 30 seconds to one minute until the edges start to brown and lightly crisp. 
    • Flip the tortilla and repeat on the next side.
    • Place your homemade tostada shells on paper towels to drain and cool. Sprinkle with a little salt.
Slow Cooker Black Bean Corn and Basil Tostadas served with a side sour cream

What To Serve With Black Bean Tostadas

Think of typical recipes that you might create to pair with Mexican dishes – so many options would be a great complement to your meal!

Make a big batch of Instant Pot Spanish Rice or white rice with cilantro and lime. For other healthy options, serve some quinoa or cauliflower rice with butter.

For a fun topping or a side for dipping, make a batch of  Slow Cooker Spicy Queso. This would also be great drizzled over any other meat options! Extra wedges of lemon or lime can add even more zest.

Best Toppings For Tostadas 

Really, is there anything that can’t top a tostada shell? Try some of these ideas and create your own tostada combo!

  • Use a variety of cheese to customize the recipe such as classic shredded cheddar or a fiesta blend. Or, try a more authentic Mexican variation with queso fresco or crumbly cotija cheese. Even a sprinkle of feta cheese could be delicious with beans or pork filling!
  • Add some finely shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes to make the tostada resemble a classic taco.
  • Chop green onions, cilantro, or finely sliced fresh spinach to top off any meat or bean mixture. Add some fresh lemon or lime wedges on the side.
  • Some meat options pair well with fresh fruit toppings. If you use carnitas or seasoned chicken, you could top tostadas with finely chopped fresh pineapple, mango, or peaches.
  • Add a variety of dressings to drizzle over the top of each tostada. Try a classing ranch dressing or a unique flavor like Zesty Lime Jalapeno Ranch. Buffalo sauce would be another variation to add!
  • For a topping with deep rich flavors, prep Slow Cooker Ancho Chili Enchilada Sauce ahead of time. Warm and drizzle over your preferred tostada combination!
  • Choose your favorite hot sauce to spice things up! Options could include habanero, cayenne pepper blends, or sriracha.
  • Add some finely chopped white or purple onions for texture and flavor variation.

Storing and Reheating

If you have leftover tostada portions, save and store the refried bean mixture separately from the tostada shells and toppings to prevent sogginess. All ingredients should remain fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days if stored in a sealed container.

You can freeze portions of the bean and corn mixture to defrost and reheat at a later date and assemble with fresh sides and tostada shells. Freeze for up to 3 months in an airtight container.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Corn and Basil Tostadas with a habanero hot sauce on side

Slow Cooker Black Bean Tostadas

Jennifer Draper
Slow Cooker Black Bean Tostadas are a filling, delicious option for an easy meal that uses a simple combination of flavorful ingredients. With crispy tostada shells, canned or homemade refried beans, and fresh toppings, dinner can be ready and assembled in just under a few hours!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 4 people
Calories 196 kcal


  • Slow Cooker



  • Add all ingredients, except tostada shells, to slow cooker
  • Heat on low for 2-3 hours or until mixture is heated through
  • Divide filling between 4 tostada shells
  • Serve tostadas topped with hot sauce, sour cream, fresh cilantro, or as desired


  • Store the refried bean mixture in the fridge for up to 3 days. Store other toppings separately from the bean mixture. Reheat beans in the microwave or on the stove.
  • Black bean mixture can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Choose from a variety of delicious toppings such as chopped cilantro or green onions, shredded cheese, cotija cheese or queso fresco, chopped tomatoes, or chopped onions.


Serving: 4gCalories: 196kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 7gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.03gSodium: 831mgPotassium: 213mgFiber: 7gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 174IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 60mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @slowcookergourmet or tag #slowcookergourmet!
Important nutritional disclaimer

Black Bean Tostada FAQs

  • What is the difference between a taco and a tostada? The difference between a taco and a tostada is the presentation and form of the shell. Tostadas are usually deep-fried or toasted so they remain flat, but tacos are available in both soft and crispy options that can be folded to contain a mixture of ingredients. 
  • Is a tostada healthy? Tostadas can be made with lots of healthy ingredients! This totally depends on your choices of toppings and proteins, but typically if you are cooking whole foods from scratch at home, you will have much healthier choices than those at a typical fast-food restaurant. Making your own refried beans from my Slow Cooker Black Beans recipe rather than using a can of refried beans would be a great healthy swap!
  • Is this recipe gluten-free? Most premade tostada shells are gluten-free since they are made from corn tortillas, but always check labels to ensure no added ingredients such as malt or wheat flour are present. All toppings can be customized to stay gluten-free. If you use a can of refried beans, be sure to check the label on those, too!
  • How do I keep my tostada from getting soggy? The best way to keep tostadas from getting soggy is to assemble them with fresh ingredients right before serving. You can keep the refried bean mixture warm in the slow cooker but don’t add it and other toppings to the shells until ready to eat to prevent the ingredients from adding too much moisture to the tostada shell. You may even prefer to serve bowls of ingredients family-style at the table and allow everyone to assemble as they eat!

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