How many carbs are in a plain Tostada?

A tostada is a popular Mexican appetizer or entree consisting of a fried or baked tortilla that is topped with refried beans, meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and other garnishes. But many people wonder, just how many carbs are in a plain tostada tortilla without any toppings? Let’s take a look at the carb counts.

What is a Tostada?

A tostada begins with a tortilla that is either fried or baked until crispy. Traditionally, corn tortillas are used to create an authentic tostada. The crispy tortilla is then topped with refried beans, shredded meat or fish, chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, sliced avocado and crema or sour cream. Cilantro, onions and lime wedges are also common tostada ingredients. The combination of textures and flavors from the crispy tortilla, beans, meat and fresh toppings is what makes the tostada such a popular appetizer and meal.

Nutrition Facts for a Plain Tostada Tortilla

Looking at the nutrition facts for just the plain tostada tortilla without any toppings, a 6-inch fried corn tortilla contains approximately:

  • Calories: 77
  • Total Fat: 2.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.4 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 148 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
  • Total Sugars: 0 g
  • Added Sugars: 0 g
  • Protein: 1.5 g

So a single 6-inch plain tostada tortilla contains about 13 grams of total carbohydrates.

Breaking Down the Carbs in a Tostada

The majority of the carbohydrates in a tostada tortilla come from the corn flour or masa harina that is used to make corn tortillas. Masa harina is a special flour made from dried corn that has been nixtamalized. This process involves soaking and cooking the corn in an alkaline solution, usually limewater or slaked lime.

Nixtamalization helps unlock certain nutrients in the corn and gives masa harina a unique flavor and texture that works well for making tortillas and other Mexican dishes.

A serving of masa harina contains about:

  • Calories: 120
  • Total Fat: 1 g
  • Total Carbohydrates: 24 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4 g
  • Sugars: 1 g
  • Protein: 3 g

As you can see, masa harina is high in carbohydrates, providing about 24 grams per serving. When masa is made into tortillas, some of the carbs are lost during the cooking process. But tortillas still remain fairly high in carbs.

In addition to the carbs from the masa harina, tostadas get a slight carb boost from the cooking process. Frying the tortillas adds a small amount of oil, which contains minute amounts of carbohydrates.

Net Carbs in Tostadas

When considering the carb content of foods, it’s important to look at net carbs rather than just total carbs.

Net carbs are calculated by subtracting the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbs. Fiber does not raise blood sugar levels or impact ketosis on low-carb diets.

So for a 6-inch tostada tortilla:

  • Total carbs: 13 g
  • Fiber: 1.5 g
  • Net carbs: 11.5 g

The fiber content helps lower the net carb count slightly. But a plain tostada tortilla still provides about 12 grams of net carbs in just the tortilla alone.

Carb Count of Full Tostada with Toppings

When you add on all the tasty toppings like beans, meat, cheese and veggies, the carb count of your tostada will increase.

Here is an estimate of the net carbs in a full tostada with common toppings:

  • 6-inch corn tostada: 11.5 g
  • 1/2 cup refried beans: 15 g
  • 1/4 cup shredded chicken: 0 g
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar: 1 g
  • 1/4 cup shredded lettuce: 1 g
  • 2 tablespoons diced tomatoes: 2 g
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican crema: 0 g
  • Total net carbs: About 30.5 g

So a fully loaded tostada will have around 30 grams of net carbs. This is fairly high in carbs for a single meal or appetizer. The refried beans in particular add a significant amount of carbohydrates.

Low-Carb Tostada Options

There are a few ways you can reduce the carb count of your tostada:

  • Use a smaller 4-inch tostada instead of a large 6-inch
  • Limit the amount of beans or replace with low-carb veggies
  • Skip high-carb toppings like corn
  • Load up on low-carb options like lettuce, tomato, avocado
  • Use full-fat cheese instead of reduced fat
  • Add some sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt instead of crema

Making these simple substitutions can help cut the net carbs down to around 15-20 grams per tostada.

Tostada Carb Count on Keto and Low-Carb Diets

On very low-carb diets like keto, standard tostadas may be too high in carbs to fit within daily limits.

The keto diet recommends keeping net carbs under 50 grams per day, with some going as low as 20-30 grams for optimal ketosis. In that case, one regular tostada could use up your entire carb limit for a meal.

However, you can make easy keto tostada recipes by:

  • Using thin, small 3-4 inch tortillas
  • Skipping the beans entirely or using low-carb black soybeans
  • Topping with lots of cheese, avocado, lettuce, salsa and cilantro

This can create a tasty Mexican-inspired meal while keeping net carbs around 10 grams or less per serving. Crunchy and flavorful low-carb tostadas can definitely fit into a keto lifestyle.

Are Corn or Flour Tostadas Healthier?

Corn tortillas are generally considered healthier than flour tortillas, especially for those limiting carbs or gluten. Here’s how they compare:

Corn Tostadas

  • Fewer net carbs than flour tortillas
  • Contains more fiber
  • No gluten, good for gluten-free diets
  • Has antioxidants from corn
  • Higher in magnesium and potassium compared to flour
  • Adds variety for grain-free diets

Flour Tostadas

  • Higher in net carbs and lower in fiber than corn
  • Contains gluten
  • May be enriched with iron and B vitamins
  • Still a whole grain option

So corn tortillas tend to be the healthier choice, especially for managing blood sugar and gut health. But flour tortillas can still fit into a balanced diet in moderation.

Tostada Nutrition Benefits

Tostadas can provide a number of beneficial nutrients:

  • Protein – Beans, meat, cheese, Greek yogurt provide protein to support muscle growth and keep you full.
  • Fiber – From the tortilla, beans, veggies and masa. Fiber aids digestion and gut health.
  • Vitamin C – Tomatoes and lime juice provide immune-boosting vitamin C.
  • Folate – The masa harina is a good source of folate, important for red blood cell production.
  • Calcium – Cheese and Greek yogurt provide bone-strengthening calcium.
  • Potassium – Avocados and corn tortillas provide potassium to support heart health.

So while tostadas are higher in carbs, the veggie and protein toppings provide valuable vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Are Tostadas Gluten Free?

Authentic tostadas made with corn tortillas are naturally gluten-free. Corn contains no gluten.

However, some brands of corn tortillas may be produced in facilities that also process wheat. So there can be a small chance of cross-contamination.

Check the packaging to see if a product is certified gluten-free, or contact the manufacturer if highly sensitive. Very few people react to trace amounts of gluten.

Flour tortillas obviously contain gluten and would not be suitable for a gluten-free diet. Always opt for 100% corn tortillas to stay gluten-free.

Low Carb Tostada Recipe Ideas

Here are some fun and flavorful low-carb tostada recipe ideas beyond the classic beef and bean:

Chicken Avocado Tostadas

Top crispy corn tostadas with shredded rotisserie chicken, avocado, cotija cheese, lettuce and salsa verde.

Shrimp Tostadas

Sauteed shrimp seasoned with lime and chili powder makes for amazing tostadas. Top with cabbage, avocado and cilantro.

Steak Fajita Tostadas

Grilled steak and sauteed peppers and onions are delicious on tostadas. Finish with cheese, guacamole and sour cream.

Carnitas Tostadas

Pulled pork carnitas is an amazing low-carb taco or tostada filling. Garnish with salsa, lime and fresh cilantro.

Veggie Tostadas

For plant-based, load up the tortilla with sauteed zucchini, peppers, black beans, avocado and salsa casera.

Should You Eat Tostadas on a Low-Carb Diet?

Tostadas can definitely be enjoyed in moderation on a low-carb diet like keto. A smaller 3-4 inch tostada topped with meat, veggies and just a few beans or lentils can keep the net carbs reasonable at around 10-15 grams.

Limit high-carb garnishes like corn, rice, reduced fat cheese and large amounts of beans. Stick to mostly low-carb fillings and toppings like lettuce, tomato, avocado and full-fat cheese. Using corn over flour tortillas is also advised for less carbs and more fiber.

Portion control is key. One small loaded tostada can make a great low-carb light meal or appetizer. Just be mindful of your total daily net carb intake.

With smart customizations and creative fillings, tostadas can work for low-carb, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets.


A plain 6-inch tostada tortilla contains about 13 grams of total carbs and 11.5 grams of net carbs. When loaded with toppings like beans, cheese and veggies, a full tostada can have around 30 grams of net carbs total.

Corn tostadas are the best option for limiting carbs and gluten. Some easy ways to make tostadas lower carb include using small tortillas, skipping the beans, and loading up on meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado and other veggie toppings.

While standard tostadas are high in carbs, modified low-carb versions can fit into a healthy keto or low-carb eating plan. With smart substitutions and portion control, tostadas can be enjoyed even on carb-restricted diets. Just build your crunchy Mexican treat loaded mostly with low-carb fillings to keep the net carbs in check.

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