Chalupa Vs Tostada: How To Tell The Differences? is reader-supported. When you buy through the links on our site, we may earn a small commission. Read more

Mexico is famous for its delightful cuisines, which have captured the hearts of thousands all over the world. Tostada and chalupa should be at the top of the list regarding distinctiveness.

The main difference between chalupa and tostada is that tostadas have a stiffer corn tortilla as its foundation, whereas chalupas are softer tortillas.

This post will highlight the differences between Mexican chalupa vs tostada to help you distinguish between the two. Let’s join us!

What Is A Chalupa? 

Chalupa is the masa dough squeezed into a thin layer over a small mold, forming a container with the boat’s shape. 

This dish requires a lot of ingredients, such as red salsa, chopped onion, shredded chicken, and chipotle pepper. 

The traditional chalupas are thick, small frying masa tortillas with only cheese, shredded lettuce, and salsa.

In some areas across Mexico, people add chicken, pork, and chorizo into the traditional version to establish a new recipe. 

People also shape the fried masa into a tostada in some regions, then top with other ingredients.

chalupa vs tostada annisarestaurant 1

Chalupa looks like a boat 

What Is A Tostada? 

Tostada is a Mexican dish. People cook it by frying, toasting, or baking the maize tortilla, and then top it with different toppings.

This dish is similar to tacos. However, while people fold the tacos in half, they leave the tostada flat. 

The short cooking time and quick preparation make people consider this dish one of the easiest Mexican recipes to prepare. 

This cuisine has also gained a lot of popularity in the USA. Hence, many people get to know it as “Tex-Mex dish,” which refers to foods that originated from Texas or any Southwestern state and became famous across the USA.

chalupa vs tostada annisarestaurant 2

Tostada looks a lot like tacos

Differences Between Chalupa Vs Tostada 

As you may have seen, the two dishes have a lot of things in common, especially their texture and flavor. So what’s the difference between a chalupa and a tostada?  


These dishes are both Mexican dishes. Hence, many people consider them the same food because of their similarities. 

Chalupas came from Puebla, Guerrero, Hidalgo, and Oaxaca states of Mexico. They are also most popular in these regions. 

Tostadas originated from Mesoamerica, an ancient region that spans modern-day Mexico’s center to the southern areas. 


What’s the difference between a tostada and a chalupa in their ingredients? There is a wide choice of toppings to select for the tostadas. Feel free to add various meat types, such as chicken, pork, or beef. 

The second primary ingredient for this dish is beans. If you’re vegan, you can skip the shredded meat. Instead, double the fried bean ingredient to have a healthy cuisine. 

Other common topping options are cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, and shredded lettuce. 

Regarding chalupas, let’s start with the foundation made from masa dough. This thin layer of masa covers a tiny mold to have a boat-like shape. 

Please note that you can also come across a version that doesn’t come in the shape of a boat. It may have a plain round foundation, looking like a tostada. 

The primary ingredients for this cuisine are chicken, pork, salsa (green or red), lettuce, chipotle pepper, and chopped onion. 

The traditional version has a much simpler topping, including cheese, lettuce, and salsa. 

In addition to the three parts described above, people in other parts of Mexico also top their food with beans, shredded chicken, and chorizo. 

chalupa vs tostada annisarestaurant 3

There are various versions


Tostada uses a toasted or deep-fried tortilla to look like a plate. In some cases, the toasted tortilla may have a bowl-like shape that perfectly holds the toppings. 

On the other hand, chalupas with a boat-like shape are unique. The appearance helps you distinguish this dish from the others. 

However, as aforementioned, chalupas do not always come in this shape. Some people like them flat. In this case, you will find it difficult to tell the difference between the two cuisines. 


What is the difference between a tostada and a chalupa when it comes to flavor? 

The two cuisines will taste extremely similar if you use the same ingredients. The only difference in their taste is the foundation tortilla.


The difference between a chalupa and a tostada in their texture is hard to tell. They come with a crunchy tortilla mixing with soft fillings. 

The ingredients such as lettuce or onion will introduce a sense of freshness and crunchiness to the fillings of the dishes. 

When choosing ingredients for your food, avoid the set ones. They may cause the toasted tortilla to be soggy, and your food will then lose its crispy charm. 

chalupa vs tostada annisarestaurant 4

They both have a crunchy tortilla with soft fillings.


The preparation of tostada vs chalupa is also similar. You will either bake or fry the tortilla base, prepare the fillings, and mix these tasty savory bites. 

You can choose corn tortillas as a foundation for the tostada. If you don’t have any left, wheat tortillas can also work. 

Meanwhile, chalupas need a softer corn tortilla. However, many recipes recommend preparing the tortilla from scratch. You can follow the steps guided in this video below to make a corn tortilla. 

When it comes to cooking these Mexican cuisines, one thing to remember is to serve your food right after you prepare them. The wet ingredients will make them soggy and watery if left too long. 

chalupa vs tostada

Both dishes are simple to prepare. 

How to serve

People often serve tostadas as an appetizer because of their tiny size. However, they can be a standalone dish or snack depending on the fillings and fried tortillas used to make them.

It would be best to serve the dish with other Mexican cuisines for a lovely Mexican dinner. They can go nicely with Mexican soups, such as menudo, birria, and pozole. 

You can also enjoy this cuisine with seafood and stews. If you choose this manner, think about how heavy the other dishes in your meal will be and adjust the tostada toppings appropriately. 

You’ll need a side dish if you’re serving tostada as the main course. In this case, consider the ingredients of the toppings carefully. 

For example, if you use beef topping, the perfect side dish combo is beans and rice. If you’re serving a tostada with just veggies, mix it with guacamole or beans.

On the other hand, people often serve chalupas as a hot dinner or lunch. However, depending on its ingredients, this cuisine can also be a snack. 

You can also serve it as your side dish or make it the main course. Then, choose what to pair it with after considering the toppings you use. 

Comparison table

We have compared the dishes in all critical terms. Now, this table will help you summarize the difference between tostada and chalupa

Criteria  Chalupa Tostada
Origin Mexico Mexico 
Ingredients Masa dough, chicken, pork, salsa (green or red), lettuce, chipotle pepper, and chopped onion Meat, cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, and shredded lettuce
Appearance Boat-like shape or flat Bowl- or plate-like shape
Flavor  Varying depending on the ingredients 
Texture Crunchy tortilla mixing with soft fillings
Preparation Bake or fry the tortilla base (corn or wheat) and prepare the fillings Bake or fry the tortilla base (soft tortilla) and prepare the fillings
How to serve Main course, side dish, or snack  Main course, side dish, or snack 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Here are some frequently asked questions about chalupas vs tostadas. Please check carefully because they can also be your concern. 

1. Is chalupa real Mexican food?

Chalupas are a delicious antojito made from fried masa dough. The name “chalupa” is the Spanish word meaning shallop and refers to its boat-like shape. 

2. Is a chalupa or gordita fried?

The chalupa is more similar to fried gordita than gordita vs tostada. Gordita is a thick tortilla with a hole in the middle. Chalupas are similar but with deep-fried ingredients to enhance the crunchy texture. 

3. How to eat tostadas? 

This approach works well with small tostadas. Start with a fork and a scoop if you have a dish with different toppings.

  • Form a little oven circle big enough to fit in your mouth. 
  • Cover this circle with some topping using your fork.
  • Lift the food carefully between your thumbs and other fingers.
  • Bite your food at its center and the topping to keep it from collapsing. 
  • Allow the topping to fall into your plate and enjoy it as soon as you set the tostada down, then repeat the process.

4. What fillings should you use with tostadas? 

Shredded chicken, lettuce, and cheese are common fillings for tostadas. Some recipes also call for salsa, green chilies, and beans. 

Conclusion: What Is The Difference Between A Chalupa And A Tostada?

Many people can’t distinguish between tostadas vs chalupas. The good news is that both are delicious and can work as a main course, side dish, or snack.

If you prefer a tougher base, tostadas are good to try. On the other hand, go for the chalupas if you like something softer. Choosing chalupa or tostada comes down to your personal preference. 

Hopefully, this article will help you name the differences between these famous cuisines at ease. For any further information, please feel free to ask. 

Thank you for reading! 

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