Easy Chicken Tostadas with Creamy Poblano Sauce

These make-ahead chicken tostadas with creamy poblano sauce are a fiesta in your mouth! Use your slow cooker to make the salsa chicken filling and cover them with cheese. Drizzle the homemade poblano sauce on top and serve it for your next Mexican themed dinner party

cheesy chicken tostadas with creamy poblano sauce

This southwestern-style recipe is a crowd favorite and works as an entree or an appetizer. Whether it’s Cinco de Mayo or not, it’s a great day for Mexican flavors!

I made the chicken filling in the slow cooker, and prepared the poblano sauce and tortillas a couple of hours ahead. All that’s left to do when it’s time to serve is assemble and heat. It’s a great make-ahead, interactive dish for entertaining or for weeknight meals.

Why You’ll Love It

This makes a fantastic main dish or a hearty appetizer, and it’s a combination of fresh ingredients and a few convenient tricks. 

  • Delicious. The combination of tender chicken, melted cheese, crunchy shells, and creamy pepper sauce make this a surefire crowd pleaser! There’s tons of flavor and texture in every bite.
  • Prep ahead. The salsa chicken, poblano sauce, and even the fried tortillas can all be made ahead of time. That makes hosting guests super simple!
  • Perfect for a party. Serve 2 or 3 per guest for dinner as a main dish, or 1 per guest as an appetizer. Or set up a tostada toppings bar and let guests help themselves. Either way you’ll have everyone talking about how fun and delicious these tostadas are!
  • Easy to double. Make a large batch for a crowd. Simply double the amount of chicken and you’ll still have plenty of room in a standard 6-7 quart crockpot. 
chicken tostada recipe

Ingredients & Substitutions

There are 3 components but they can each be prepared ahead in order to save time and effort when you’re hosting. And if you buy pre-made tostada shells you only have 2 components to prepare.

  • Corn tortillas. I fried my own and the recipe card instructs you how to do so, however, you can absolutely use packaged tostadas to save time. Find them stacked in a bag in the Mexican food section. If you decide to make your own use full taco and NOT small street taco size, plus vegetable oil to fry them.

For the Chicken Taco Meat

  • Chicken thighs. Boneless and skinless thighs are melt-in-your-mouth tender when slow cooked in the crockpot.
  • Onion. Finely chopping helps to add flavor to the chicken, and doesn’t leave any large pieces of onion that some guests might not like as much.
  • Salsa. Using your choice of brand and variety of jarred salsa gives you lots of options for flavor, including spicy, milk, chunky, restaurant style, mango, salsa verde, etc. I suggest using a milder salsa for guests that are sensitive to spicy foods.

For the Poblano Cream Sauce

  • Poblano peppers. These peppers are more mild than jalapenos. They are not very spicy, but they do have a nice kick of heat and lightly sweet flavor.
  • Buttermilk ranch dressing mix. The seasoning mix gives the sauce a balance of spices in a convenient package.
  • Mayonnaise. For a smooth, rich and creamy sauce.
  • Buttermilk. It adds a tangy richness of flavor. If you don’t have any on hand, combine ½ cup of regular milk with ½ tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Set aside for 10 minutes while the milk curdles slightly. 
  • Jalapeno. Add more or less jalapeno to taste. Or omit from the poblano cream sauce recipe.

How to Make It

See detailed instructions in the recipe card at bottom.

  1. Cook the chicken in a slow cooker for 5 to 6 hours and then shred it using 2 forks to pull it apart. Using a slotted spoon or small strainer, remove chicken mixture from excess liquid and into a bowl until ready to use.
  2. Meanwhile, roast poblano peppers in the oven. Remove and discard skin, and seeds if desired.
  3. Combine the peppers with the sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  4. Fry tortillas, drain or pat dry with a paper towel, and set aside until ready to build your tostadas.

Build Your Tostadas

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place a layer of chicken on each tostada shell, cover with cheese and bake until it’s heated through and cheese is melted.
  3. Remove and top with your toppings of choice and drizzle with creamy poblano sauce.
southwester tostadas

Best Tostada Toppings

Here’s what I used to make these. 

  • 4-cheese Mexican blend
  • Avocado
  • Poblano sauce
  • Fresh cilantro

Other tasty options include an array of toppings.

  • Radishes
  • Pickled red onion
  • Cotija cheese
  • Jalapeno slices
  • Pico de gallo
  • Refried beans
  • Sliced green onion
  • Sour cream
creamy poblano sauce on tostadas

Expert Tips

  • For the easy entertaining make the chicken in the Crockpot, starting in the morning or a day ahead (refrigerate overnight).
  • Make the poblano sauce up to a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.
  • Fry the tortillas the day before, drain on paper towels to cool, and store in a sealed bag at room temperature.
  • Use the salsa chicken to make tortilla wraps, taco salads, street tacos, burrito bowls, nachos, or chicken taco cups. Store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Fried tortillas keep well for up to 2-3 days in an airtight bag at room temperature.

What Goes With Chicken Tostadas

More Tex Mex Party Recipes

If you like this fun and easy dish for a crowd, here are more delicious southwestern style recipes you’ve got to try!

These Chicken Tostadas with Creamy Poblano Sauce are sure to be a big hit at your next casual party. Guests will love to load up and customize their tostadas with all kinds of delicious toppings. And you’ll love how easy it is to put together this fiesta-worthy recipe!

If you like this post, PINShare, or sign up for our Newsletter at the top of the page. And don’t forget to follow CAH on Instagram or Facebook. Cheers!

chicken tostadas poblano sauce recipe card

Chicken Tostadas with Creamy Poblano Sauce

Yield: 10 tostadas
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 6 hours

Use your slow cooker to make chicken tostadas and then top them with cheese, avocado, and this delicious creamy poblano sauce. It's so good you'll want to eat it on everything! Serve 2 tostadas for an entree, or 1 tostada as an appetizer.


Chicken filling

  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cups jarred salsa


  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1/2 Tablespoon buttermilk ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno {or to taste}


  • corn tortillas
  • vegetable oil
  • 4-cheese Mexican blend
  • avocado
  • fresh cilantro


  1. In a slow cooker, add chicken thighs, onion, and cover with salsa. If your salsa is very thick you may want to add 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours, until chicken is cooked through and tender.
  2. Shred chicken using 2 forks. Using a slotted spoon or small strainer, remove chicken mixture from excess liquid and into a bowl until ready to use.
  3. Meanwhile, roast poblano peppers in a 425 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove and place in a bowl; cover and let them steam for 15 minutes. Remove cover and let cool to touch. Remove and discard skin.
  4. In a blender or food processor, combine ranch seasoning, mayonnaise, buttermilk, roasted poblanos, and jalapeno, until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  5. For tortillas, pour a shallow layer of oil into a small skillet – just enough to cover the bottom. Heat oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, place a tortilla in pan and cook until crisp, turning halfway through. It should take a total of 1 minute to 20 seconds, depending how hot your oil is. Remove crisp tortilla and let drain on a paper towel.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place a layer of chicken mixture onto crisp tortilla, and cover with shredded cheese {about 1/2 ounce each}. Cook on a baking sheet for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is nice and melted.
  3. Remove tostadas and top with sliced avocado, creamy poblano sauce, and finely chopped cilantro. Enjoy!


If the poblano sauce is too thick to drizzle with a spoon, place it into a small squeeze bottle to make it easier to apply; or you can just add small dollops with a spoon.

Use a package of tostada shells instead of making them yourself, to save time.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

southwestern chicken recipe

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts