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These spicy tostadas are made up of crispy corn tortillas topped with refried beans, quick-pickled onions, juicy tomatoes, cotija cheese, and King Oscar’s Brisling Sardines with Hot Jalapeño Peppers.

Wooden serving board with spicy tostadas on top.

This post is sponsored by King Oscar | Thank you for supporting the brands I trust.

As much as we love an excuse to mow down tacos on a weekly basis, Tostada Tuesday just might become a thing around here. Using accessible pantry ingredients, this crispy treat can serve itself as a snack or a meal. It’s simple to put together, easy to adapt, and incredibly delicious. Though tostadas are considered a bit of a delicacy, they can be loaded with nutritious toppings to help make up for the fact that we’re eating a crunchy fried corn tortilla; King Oscar’s brisling sardines bring balance with a hefty punch of Omega-3 fatty acids. And their brisling sardines with hot jalapeño peppers were made for this recipe.

What is a tostada?

The Spanish word “tostada” translates to “toasted”. The base of a tostada is typically a flat or bowl-shaped corn tortilla that’s been deep-fried to a bubbly crisp. Most International ailes at the grocery store sell ready-to-use tostadas, but you can easily make them yourself by frying corn tortillas in oil on the stovetop. The crunchy base is then topped like a taco with all of your favorite fixin’s.

Close up of a stack of golden crisp tostadas.

What goes on a tostada?

Anything you’d put on a taco can go on a tostada! But there is one thing to keep in mind: the tostada is fragile. So before you throw any toppings onto it, smear it with something pasty, like refried beans or guacamole. This keeps the toppings from falling off while being eaten. Plus, it adds a nice creaminess to your bite—not something you want to skip out on!

Here’s what we’re packing onto these spicy tostadas:

  • Refried pinto beans
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Red onions (quick-pickled in lime juice!)
  • Cotija cheese
  • King Oscar Brisling Sardines with Hot Jalapeño Peppers.
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro

Other things you can add include beans, shredded lettuce, scallions, salsa, sour cream, pulled or chopped meats, and other seafood like shrimp and octopus.

A tablescape of ingredients: refried beans, onions, tomatoes, cheese, parsley, corn tortillas, and packages of King Oscar sardines.


Loaded tostadas with two pints of beer.

King Oscar Brisling Sardines with Hot Jalapeño Peppers are IT.

Biting into a tostada topped with King Oscar’s high-quality wild-caught brisling sardines will have you thinking they were made for exactly that: tostadas. They’re hand-packed in extra virgin olive oil with hot jalapeño peppers nestled at their sides giving them a welcomed punch.

King Oscar’s sardines are kosher-certified and sustainable, fished out of Norway’s fjords and coastal waters.

Close up of opened can of King Oscar Brisling Sardines with Hot Jalapeno Peppers.

Wooden serving board with spicy tostadas and King Oscar sardine tin.

Dig in!

If you plan on making this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag us on Insta! @killing__thyme.

If you love Mexican-inspired King Oscar recipes, we’ve got more.

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Spicy Tostadas with King Oscar Sardines

These spicy tostadas are made up of crispy corn tortillas topped with refried beans, quick-pickled onions, juicy tomatoes, cotija cheese, and King Oscar's Brisling Sardines with Hot Jalapeño Peppers.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 tostadas
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  • Skillet
  • Tongs
  • Paper towels


  • 1/2 cup Olive or avocado oil, This is for frying the corn tortillas. If you're using ready-to-use tostada shells, you don't need the oil.
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1 can King Oscar's Brisling Sardines with Hot Jalapeño Peppers, drained, *See notes for variations
  • 4 Cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, Preferably sliced on a mandolin on the thinnest setting.
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 of a 16 oz can of refried beans, Pinto or black bean; we used pinto.
  • 4 TBSP crumbled cotija cheese
  • Freshly chopped parsley or cilantro


Quick-pickled onions.

  • Place your thinly sliced onions into a small bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over the onion, toss to coat, and set aside until it's time to top your tostadas. This will give your onions a tangy quick pickle!

Frying tostadas.

  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. You want enough oil to be able to immerse an entire corn tortilla, which should be 1/2 cup of oil, give or take. Once the oil is shimmering and hisses if splashed with a drop of water, it's hot enough and ready to go.
  • Using tongs, carefully place one corn tortilla into the hot oil. Fry it until it's golden brown, about 1-2 minutes on both sides. When done, carefully remove the corn tortilla with tongs and set it side on a plate covered with paper towels to soak up excess oil. Repeat this with the other corn tortillas until you're done, and set the tortillas aside.

Preparing the toppings.

  • Heat a small skillet over medum-high heat. Place the refried beans into the skillet and cook until the beans are warmed through.
  • Smear the refried beans over the crispy tostadas. Do this with care so you don't crack the tostadas. Then, top them with the sardines (include the jalapeño peppers that come nestled in the jar), quartered cherry tomatoes, quick-pickled onions, cheese, and fresh herbs. Serve immediately.


If you can't find King Oscar's Brisling Sardines with Hot Jalapeño Peppers, you can use their Brisling Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead, along with some pickled jalapeños from a jar. Another tasty variation would be KO's Brisling Sardines in Zesty Tomato Sauce.
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