This short rib beef tostadas recipe with pineapple salsa and cotija features melt-in-your-mouth-tender meat paired with sweet and spicy fresh pineapple salsa. Cotija cheese adds creamy texture and a touch of salty flavor for a perfect balance.
Mexican food is like a beautiful dance, and I find it has a lot of harmony.
Slow-cooked complex sauces brightened with fresh ingredients like cilantro and perfectly ripe tomato.
Spice and heat are balanced by cheese and cream.
Meats are cooked until fall-apart-tender, and wrapped up in soft tortillas or served on crunchy tostadas.
Without a doubt, I could eat Mexican food every day and be a happy girl!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Tender, flavorful beef. Short ribs are tender enough to cut with a fork and melt in your mouth! Not to mention, it's packed with rich beef flavor and has the perfect spice level. You could use ground beef to save time, but short ribs definitely take these beef tostadas to the next level.
- Fresh, sweet and tangy fruit salsa. Pineapple in a savory context might sound strange, but it really works here. It's the secret component that makes these tostadas unforgettable!
- Crispy, cheesy base. A crispy bottom layer is a must for tostadas, and for good reason. It adds texture and crunch! And here we take it one step further and top it with gooey melted cheese.
The Best Beef Tostadas Recipe
I love the balance that’s present in Mexican cuisine.
Bold flavors from chili peppers, mellowed by creamy cheeses.
Complex moles that simmer all day, brightened by the freshness of cilantro or a quick homemade salsa, paired with a simply-cooked tender meat.
There’s usually a rainbow of vegetables present, such as zucchini, squash, and peppers.
Rice is common if it’s a sit-down occasion, or tortillas if you want something portable.
Mexican cuisine truly has something for everyone!
This recipe for beef tostadas features perfectly spiced, melt-in-your-mouth tender short ribs. We use a base of corn tortillas that are crisped and topped with Mexican melting cheese. Sweet and tangy pineapple salsa with a touch of spicy heat brightens the dish. And lastly, a dollop of chipotle-spiced Mexican sour cream and a sprinkle of Cotija cheese are the finishing touches.
How to Cook Beef Short Ribs
Tougher cuts of meat, such as beef short ribs, turn out really well when braised. The result is melt-in-your-mouth tender meat!
There are a few different methods that can be used to achieve this. No matter which method you’re using, brown the ribs first before cooking in liquid until they’re fall-apart tender.
What is Braising?
Braising is basically a two-step cooking method involving dry and wet heat.
Step 1: Dry Heat
Sear the meat in a little oil (or other fat with a high smoke point) in a hot pan to get a little caramelization (aka browning) on the outside.
A Dutch oven is a good option because it's oven-proof and convenient if you’re using the oven method so you don’t have to switch pots.
If you’re using another cooking method, such as a slow cooker or pressure cooker, you can use a large heavy-bottomed skillet instead of a Dutch oven to sear the meat. If you’re using an electric pressure cooker (such as an Instant Pot), you can use it to brown the meat (on the “Sauté” setting).
Step 2: Wet Heat
Cook the meat low and slow in a flavorful bath of liquid in a covered Dutch oven until it's fall-apart tender.
Braising Methods for Short Ribs
There are a few different ways you can cook a meat low and slow when you’re braising. Here we will discuss the oven method, slow cooker method, and electric pressure cooker method.
After searing the ribs in a hot Dutch oven on the stovetop, deglaze the pan. To do so, remove the meat (transfer it to a bowl and set aside for now).
To the same pan, add any chopped vegetables you like, such as onion, garlic, carrots, celery, etc. and cook a couple minutes until they start to sweat. Add a couple splashes of liquid (such as broth, stock, beer, wine, water, etc.), and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan.
Add the meat back along with enough liquid to nearly cover it. Cover the Dutch oven. transfer it to a 350F preheated oven, and cook until the meat is falling apart (about 2 to 2 ½ hours).
Slow Cooker Method
Sear the ribs in a hot skillet on the stovetop, and then deglaze the pan using the same method I describe in the oven method.
Once the meat is seared, the vegetables are sautéed a little, and the pan is deglazed, everything gets put into a slow cooker and cooked on LOW for 8 to 10 hours.
This method is a great choice if you want to come home from work to a hot home-cooked meal.
Instant Pot (Electric Pressure Cooker) Method - The Method We Use to Make Beef Tostadas
This method is definitely the fastest way to get ribs on the table without sacrificing flavor or texture. The cook time is just under an hour!
Plus there’s the added bonus of being able to sear the meat right in the Instant Pot.
See the recipe below for detailed instructions on this cooking method.
What is a Tostada?
Tostada means "toasted". In Mexican and other Latin American cuisine, a tostada refers to a dish that uses a crispy toasted tortilla as the base. The tortilla can be toasted in an oven or fried.
What is the Difference Between a Taco and a Tostada?
Tostadas are served "open-faced", while tacos are folded over.
What Type of Mexican Cheese is Good for Melting?
There are a few different types of Mexican cheese that melt really well, including:
More Mexican Dishes to Make
- Mexican Corn Salad
- Virgin Mango Margarita Mocktail with Meyer Lemon
- Pico de Gallo (Mexican Salsa Fresca)
Short Rib Beef Tostadas Recipe with Pineapple Salsa and Cotija
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 ½ pounds bone-in beef short ribs
- 1 medium red onion chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic crushed or minced
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 whole dried guajillo chili pepper
- 4 tablespoons Mexican sour cream or sour cream or crème fraîche thinned with a splash of water
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- ⅛ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 4 ounces Cotija cheese crumbled
- ½ small red onion thinly sliced (for garnish)
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
For the Short Ribs:
- Turn the pressure cooker on, press “Sauté”, and wait 2 minutes for the pot to heat up. Add the avocado oil and short ribs and cook until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes per side, flipping once. Transfer the ribs to a bowl and set aside for now.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook a couple minutes until they start to soften, stirring occasionally. Press “Cancel” to stop sautéing.
- Stir in the beef stock, vinegar, sugar, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, coriander, allspice, cinnamon, and black pepper. Add the browned short ribs and guajillo chili.
- Turn the pot on Manual, High Pressure for 42 minutes. Once it’s done cooking, let it do a natural pressure release for 15 minutes. After that, carefully release the pressure and then open the pot.
- Use thongs to remove the meat, let it cool slightly, and then pull it off the bone and shred it. Drizzle a bit of the cooking liquid on the meat for flavor and to help keep it moist.
For the Pineapple Salsa:
- Stir together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the Chipotle Cream:
- Stir together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the Cheesy Tostadas:
- Preheat the oven to 400F and line 2 large baking trays with foil. Lightly brush both sides of each tortilla with oil.
- Arrange the tortillas on the baking trays and bake for 8 minutes on the first side. Flip each tortilla over, bake 3 minutes more, and then sprinkle on the shredded cheese and bake until melted, about 2 minutes.
To Assemble and Serve:
- Top each tostada with shredded meat, pineapple salsa, a sprinkle of Cotija, a dollop of chipotle cream, a few slices of red onion, and fresh cilantro leaves.
- Make Ahead: The short ribs, pineapple salsa, and chipotle cream can all be made up to 3 days ahead and stored covered in the fridge. Wait to make the cheesy tostadas until right before serving.