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Spicy tostadas laid out around pints of beer and cans of King Oscar sardines.

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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.


  • 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


  • Skillet
  • Tongs
  • Paper towels


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.