Are tostadas gluten free?

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Are you wondering whether tostadas are gluten free? Well then you are in the right place! In this article, we tell you everything you need to know to determine whether tostadas are gluten free.

First, we talk about tostada shells and what tostada shells are made of. After that, we talk about whether tostada shells are gluten free and whether the toppings that are usually put on tostada shells are gluten free. Finally, we provide additional details on tostadas that are made at restaurants and how to tell whether restaurant tostadas are gluten free.

Refried bean tostadas with refried beans, onions, crema, hot sauce, and cotija cheese.

What are tostada shells made of?

While tostadas can be piled high with all different types of toppings, the one thing that all tostadas have in common is that they are made with tostada shells. So what are tostada shells made of? Tostada shells are generally made from a masa dough that is made with masa harina, water, and salt. Oil is also used to fry tostada shells until they are nice and crispy.

In case you are not familiar with masa harina, masa harina is a corn-based flour that is commonly used in Mexican cooking. It is the same flour that is used to make corn tortillas, sopes, chalupas, gorditas, and pupusas.

Are tostadas gluten free?

Are tostadas gluten free? In this section, we will tell you everything you need to know to determine whether a tostada is gluten free. We will start out by talking about whether tostada shells are gluten free. After that, we will discuss whether the toppings that are piled on tostada shells are gluten free.

Are tostada shells gluten free?

Are tostada shells gluten free? Traditional tostada shells are made using just water, oil, salt, and masa harina. Masa harina is an entirely corn based flour that is naturally gluten free. That means that traditional tostada shells should be entirely gluten free.

Most tostada shells that you find in stores will be gluten free. That being said, there are a few different ways that gluten can be introduced into tostada shells. That means that you should aim to buy tostada shells that are specifically labeled as gluten free whenever possible.

Here are a few ways that gluten can be introduced into tostada shells.

  • The masa harina is processed on shared equipment. While masa harina is made entirely from corn, it still might be produced on equipment that is used to process gluten containing grains. It is possible, for example, that some brands might produce masa harina on the same equipment that is used to make wheat flour. This means that it is possible that some brands of masa harina might contain trace amounts of wheat.
  • The tostada shells are fried in shared oil. It is also possible that some brands might fry their tostada shells in oil that is also used to fry products that contain gluten. For example, it is possible that some brands might fry their tostada shells in recycled oil that was also used to fry products that were battered in wheat flour.
  • Tostadas made with flour tortillas. Tostadas are usually made from masa dough or corn tortillas that are made from masa dough. That being said, it is possible that there might be some kitchens out there that make tostadas from flour tortillas. This is not traditional and not common, but that does not mean that it never happens. This is just another reason that you should read food labels or talk to the kitchen staff before eating tostada shells that you did not make in your own kitchen.

Are tostada toppings gluten free?

Are the toppings that are used to make tostadas gluten free? The short answer to this question is that most of the traditional toppings that are used to make tostadas are gluten free. The longer answer is that you never know what ingredients people cook with and some people do use unconventional ingredients to make tostadas. These unconventional ingredients may or may not be gluten free.

Here are a few examples of toppings that are sometimes added to tostadas that can contain gluten.

  • Queso. Some tostadas are topped with cheese-based sauces like queso dip. While some queso dip is made with gluten free ingredients, it is definitely not fair to assume that all queso dip is gluten free. Wheat flour is often added to queso dip to thicken it. Whenever you see that a tostada has queso dip on it, you should inquire to make sure that the queso dip is gluten free.
  • Sauces and marinades. It is also possible that sauces and marinades that are used to add flavor to the tostada toppings might contain gluten. More traditional Mexican sauces and marinades do not tend to contain products that are made with gluten. That being said, sometimes unconventional ingredients like beer or soy sauce are added to sauces and marinades that make their way onto tostadas. You should always check to make sure that the sauces and marinades used to make your tostadas do not contain gluten.

Are restaurant tostadas gluten free?

So is it safe to assume that a tostada that you order at a restaurant is gluten free? While it is common for tostadas to be gluten free, you should never assume that a tostada you purchase at a restaurant is gluten free without talking to the kitchen staff.

Even if the tostada shells are made from seemingly gluten free ingredients, it is possible that the tostada shells are fried in oil that is shared with gluten containing products. Even if the toppings that are piled on top of the tostada shells seem like they are gluten free, it is possible that a product that contains gluten was introduced during the cooking process.

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