Quesadilla

I grew up making quesadillas, the benefit of having a Hispanic mother who is a great cook. “Queso” is cheese in Spanish. A quesadilla is a heated tortilla with melted cheese inside. But in addition to cheese, you can put practically anything in a quesadilla. My favorites are mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, and onions. I don’t cook these ingredients first, but it really is a matter of taste. You could if you wanted to.

Traditionally in Mexico quesadillas are made with corn tortillas, not wheat flour tortillas, and a melty white cheese. Here in the states though, because of how close we are to the Sonoran area of northern Mexico, quesadillas are more often made with flour tortillas. We like to get the flour tortillas lightly toasted because it improves the flavor.

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Quesadilla Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • Large flour tortillas
  • Grated cheese - either mild or sharp cheddar, or Monterey Jack
  • Olive oil or grapeseed oil

Optional:

  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Green onions
  • Black olives, sliced
  • Fresh tomatoes, diced
  • Chicken pieces
  • Avocado
  • Lettuce
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Salt

Method


1 Heat a large cast iron frying pan to medium high heat. Add a small amount of oil (about 1/2 teaspoon) and spread it around the bottom of the pan with a spatula (you could use butter as well). Take one large flour tortilla and place it in the pan. Flip the tortilla over a few times, 10 seconds between flips. Air pockets should begin to form within the tortilla.

2 When pockets of air begin to form, take a handful of grated cheese, sprinkle over the top of the tortilla, making sure that the cheese does not land on the pan itself. Add whatever additional ingredients you choose - green onion, sliced mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, etc. If you would like your quesadilla to be a chicken quesadilla, add some diced cooked chicken. Take care not to layer on the ingredients to thickly - this is a quesadilla, not a quiche.

3 Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. The cast iron pan should be hot enough by now to have plenty of residual heat to melt the cheese and brown the tortilla. If the quesadilla begins to smoke too much, remove from the heat. After a minute, check to see if the cheese is melted. If not, return the cover and keep checking every minute until the cheese is melted. When the cheese is sufficiently melted, use a spatula to lift up one side of the quesadilla and flip over the other side, as if you were making an omelette. The tortilla should by now be browned slightly. If it is not browned, turn the heat up to high and flip the quesadilla over every 10 seconds or so until it gets browned. Remove from pan and cut into wedges.

To make the lettuce to accompany the quesadilla, thinly slice some iceberg lettuce. Sprinkle some cider vinegar on it and some salt.

Serve with the lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

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70 Comments

  1. Chrissey

    Thanks for the gr8 recipe, I’d attempted this before, but couldn’t get the tortilla part right! We’re looking forward to trying this now.

  2. Billy

    This recipe rocks!

  3. Casey

    I want to try this recipe, but I have a question. When the cheese is melted, you say to turn the quesadilla over like an omlette, won’t the cheese stick to the pan? No where in the recipe do you say to cover the cheese with another tortilla. I probably sound stupid and just don’t get it, but please fill me in because I would really like to try it!

  4. Elise

    Hi Casey, You flip half of the tortilla over onto the other half, with the cheese in the middle. I apologize for the instructions not being clear enough. Enjoy!

  5. Bryanna

    I was craving a quesadilla that wasn’t prepared via the microwave and found this. An excellent recipe! I loved it.

  6. Andy

    very nice recipe, easy and delicious.

  7. Kevin D.

    Thanks for the recipe.
    It’s better than making a two tortilla quesadilla.
    I tend to put too many ingredients in those.

  8. augie mikesell

    I love it I have always wondered how to make them and had to go out to get one. Now thanks to your great instructions I can have them at home. I just published a book called living inside his closet, if you like to read true story’s.

  9. Anonymous

    I have always made these in the toaster, not the pan. I will try this for a party coming up! Thanks!

  10. Lizz

    I LOVE the recipe!!!!! I was lookin on the web via google for a spainish food assignment and this was the best i found! Thx fr the recipe!!!!

  11. Norima

    Lizz: if you’re looking for a recipe for a Spanish language class, that kind of “Show and tell” classes, this is a great recipe, because it’s Mexican. If you need a Spanish recipe, a recipe from Spain for a World Culture class, try searching for a Paella, or a Spanish tortilla or a Galician Empanada.

  12. TT

    Thanks heaps! I needed something quickly and this looks like the goods :)

  13. Arvin

    Hi Elise, I love the recipe. I’m a guy who was raised with mum and or grandma to cook so i am clueless. I always wanted to learn to make these myself.

    If i may i have a suggestion (unless i’m blind O_o):
    i really wanted to print the recipe, having a “printable version” would be very nice…

    but, i printed it (so i can go to the grocery store and go by the list) .

    thanks

  14. Lauren

    I’m doing a project for my spanish class, and I had to have a recipe on a typical mexican or spanish dish; I chose the quesadilla and used your recipe!!! My teacher loved it and I got a 100!!! :)

  15. Tia

    Great recipe, I work at a place that sells quesadillas, but they’re no good, I’m glad I found this recipe.
    I also love your ideas on what to serve on the side and the different variations that you used.

    much love
    ~*~tIa~*~
    xx god bless

  16. Hillorie

    This was great! I have been thinking about getting one of those quesadilla makers, but now I realize that I don’t need one! Also, I don’t have a cast iron pan, so I just used a regular sautee pan (one big enough for the tortilla to fit into) and covered it up with a cookie sheet – it worked fine! Thanks!

  17. Sarah

    I got the quesadilla maker as a wedding present. It is definitely my favorite gift! This recipe has become a standard in my kitchen.

  18. Tylor

    The recipe is great. Thanks for providing me with optional ingredients, it helped with the project.

  19. Cheryl

    I grew up in an hispanic family, but we always used corn torilla’s cooked in a frying pan with a little hot vegetable oil. Our favorite cheese was muenster. You should try these, they are wonderful!

  20. Cecilia

    Me gusta este receta. Es muy excelente. Tuve que hice un proyecto para mi clase de español. Mis quesadillas fue deliciosas y mi familia le encanta la comida. Muchas gracias!

  21. Kymry

    Quesadillas are like American grilled cheese sandwiches – and I adore both!!! A friend of mine used to drizzle his with chili con queso after they were made – extra little zip. Also I tend to make mine in similar fashion except I use corn tortillas – matter of preference I guess similar to making a grilled cheese sandwich with wheat bread versus white bread.

  22. Bryan master of quesadillas

    The recipe is easy to understand. It says to take one side and flip it to the other side. That means you have one tortilla with all this stuff on it. no other. take one piece of the tortilla on one side…fold it over the stuffing and to the other side..so it is like the taco bell quesadillas. it’ll just look like a stuffed half tortilla. Get it now? sure hope so. If not…then not sure what to say. I tried helping anyway.

  23. Erin

    I love your recepe…it is close to what I’ve already done, but I put fresh salsa inside of it and it is great… I love quesadillas!!!

  24. danny boy

    I’ve always made quesadillas by pre-packing them with all the goodies before actually putting it in the pan but I think this actually more fully cooks the cheese. Cheers to you, recipe!!

  25. Misha

    A Casey.
    No. you just flip it, it doesnt really matter if the cheese melts to the side. As a matter of fact, the burned cheese taste excellent!

  26. Steve Metsker

    Thanks! for a great recipe. The clear instructions made it easy for me to produce quesadillas that got rave reviews on my first attempt. I’m a newbie cook, and I really appreciate the help.

  27. trisha

    Great, easy receipe! I loved it! SO filling too!

  28. Cathie

    I just bought a quesadilla cooker in the clearance bin without directions. Could you please tell me how to work one? Do I spray a vegetable oil on ‘both’ surfaces? Or do I just brush both sides with a ‘real’ vegetable oil? I love quesadillas and have never made them before. So any help to get me started would be great. I also want to use more than one cheese type in mine with the cubed chicken. I can’t wait to try this recipe out. Yummy my mouth is watering just thinking of eat one.

  29. Kaitlyn

    I love it! I made it and it was wonderful thank you so much for the recipe.

  30. megan

    Hi Elise!

    This quesadilla recipe was simply amazing! I loved it! It was so easy and also fun! This recipe also helped me tremendously because at my work we each needed to bring something for a Christmas lunch party, and everybody wanted to know where I got this recipe!

    Thanks alot!

  31. Ashley

    I love this recipe, i tried it and it was great…… its was so easy!

  32. longcat

    Simple and straighforward, recipe turned out great.

  33. Nurse Hamster

    This is the only good looking recipe I have found and I want to customize it to copy a 3 Sisters (corn,squash,bean) Quesadilla in an out of town college pub I will probably never get to again. It had yellow corn, black beans, some sort of orange squash, and jalepeno slices mixed with cheddar and these were served with fresh salsa and sour cream. They were yum! The squash was cooked but just barely and was cut in 1/2″ x 1″cubes. Does anyone think I should precook it? If so, how?

  34. Soledad

    Bring from a hispanic family I could never remember how to make these and my husband has never had quesadillas (other than from taco bell…lol) I can’t wait to make these for him and our kids. Thanks for posting how to make them :)

  35. jackson

    Hey, I’m doing a Spanish project and this was perfect all of the kids loved it. Thx a bunch.

  36. Jessy

    I love your recipe ! For the people without quesadilla makers, cast iron pan, frying pan, etc I’m suggesting a tortilla warmer with separators I used it. Thank you, for your different variations to make quesadillas.

  37. trever

    This over complicates it.

    Just shove whatever you want with cheese on a tortilla then place it in the pan with a little heated oil, when the cheese melts fold it over then keep it there a little longer.

  38. April

    I’m making it right now. It smells great! Got to go, it’s starting to smoke!

  39. Stacia

    I’ve been making these quesadillas for a few months now and I love them! It’s great when I have some leftover chicken or shrimp, I just cook those up with some spices, then put them in the quesadillas with cheese and a few veggies. I will never go back to one of those tabletop grill quesadilla presses again.

  40. jan

    Wow! The recipe was simple, and great!
    If people didn’t understand the instructions they need to spend another 5 minutes a day in the kitchen. Cooking is Love-Thanks again!

  41. Jenny Chan

    I just tried this recipe. Turned out awesome! It was easy to make and simply delicous. My husband loves it, my mom loves it, my 2 year old loves it. Thank you so much

  42. Shana

    If I want to prepare these for a party, would it be okay to cook as instructed, freeze them overnight, and then bake right before the party begins so that they are served fresh?

    Uh, no, I don’t think I would even attempt that. It’s sort of like making a grilled cheese sandwich, freezing it and reheating, it’s just not going to be good. Of course if you try it and it works for you, great! ~Elise

  43. Piotrek

    I followed this recipe since these were my first quesadillas ever and I found it clear and simple. I used large 10” burrito style tortilla and it worked just fine, more to eat :D. I used only cheese, green onions and tomatos. As you mentioned you gotta make them thin and to achieve that dice tomatoes in small cubes using one, maybe two slices of tomato. The smallest the ingredients, the flatter will the quesadilla be :-), I also used the spatula to press it down after I fold it. My third quesadilla was perfect, crisp, perfectly fried not burned, yummy! Someday I’ll give it a try using chicken or turkey meat.
    THANKS FOR YOUR DIRECTIONS AND TIPS!

  44. yin

    This recipe sounds good, thanks! I’m having some guests over and they’re quite the fan of quesadillas, so I thought I’d try my hand at making some. Thanks again!

  45. louise

    Hi Elise,
    Just want to thank you once again for “bringing” your Quesadilla recipe to the online picnic. A wonderful time was had by all…

  46. Stephen

    Thanks! Just made one. It was Delicious!

  47. Luisa

    Hello Elise..This is will be my first time making quesadilla.. I was wondering.would you also be able to make a quesadilla with corn torilla instead? Would you be able to taste the difference between flour and corn tortilla?

    Hi Luisa, actually in Mexico quesadillas are usually made with corn tortillas, you can see how to do it in the cheese tacos recipe on the site. You need to soften the corn tortillas more, and not toast them the way you would a flour tortilla. There is definitely a difference in taste, the way that there is a difference in taste between corn bread and regular bread. ~Elise

  48. Arline

    Loved the quesadilla … thanks a million for sharing. I’ll be back!!

  49. ncoel

    Can you use white cheddar?

    Yes. ~Elise

  50. Debi

    I wanted to cook my daughter some homemade chicken quesadillas for supper tonight, so naturally I Googled up some recipes (she’s part Mexican, but I’m not and although I love Mexican food, cooking it doesn’t come naturally to me)… this was by far the easiest (and tastiest) looking one I found… I’m sure it’s going to be delicious… I also printed out your recipes for pico de gallo and cooked-tomato salsa… thanks so much for sharing your recipes, and also a great big thanks for including pictures!

  51. K

    Thanks for the recipe! They were delicious and so easy to make.

  52. Melissa

    This was really good! I was looking for a meatless lunch and this was perfect. I had some homemade tortillas in the freezer so I used those along with Cabot Monterey Jack and just a bit of Cabot Habenero cheese. I also topped with fresh homemade salsa. Very satisfying!

  53. Tyler

    Oh my gosh; these were AMAZING!! I loved ‘em! They were quick and easy to make, and were flat-out delicious. I’m never making quesadillas any other way ever again; that’s how good these are!

  54. Elaine

    Can these be made ahead of time and reheated in the oven for a party?

    Great question. I don’t see why not. ~Elise

  55. Edda Caglayan

    Dear Elise,
    I just sent you a question regarding the (advance) preparation of Enchilladas. I am sorry, what I ment were Quesadillas. Can they be made in advance and frozen? And later reheated in the oven, maybe wrapped in foil? (I would slightly sautee the veggies).
    Thanks for your answer.
    Edda

    Hello Edda, hmm, I don’t know how that would work out. Why don’t you try it with one and see? ~Elise

  56. Jason

    Excellent!! I was making these in the oven, using broil.. I couldnt have been more wrong. Thank you!! Love these!

  57. Trish

    This sounds like a great recipe but that picture has to go! A burned quesadilla does not look appetizing! I got a quesadilla machine and it just works so great! Just a nice golden brown, not black! Just a thought! :) I almost didn’t look at the recipe after I looked at the picture!

    It’s not burned, it’s toasted, and honestly, it’s what it should look like. These quesadillas are toasted and those parts that look burned? They taste great. ~Elise

  58. Christina

    Thumbs up for a super easy-to-assemble and make quesadilla! Made these for lunch after returning from vacation and before making a trip to the grocery store. Kids loved them: I filled with shredded mozzarella and refried beans.

  59. Harry

    me gusta… very nice………:)

  60. April

    awesome! now i don’t have to spend so much money at taco bell when i can make them better at home :)

  61. MaryG

    Love to see ideas for quesadillas, they’re so flexible! My kids’ favorite is refried beans, corn and cheese. I cook them on a dry skillet (no oil needed, they still crisp up), and make with two tortillas, cut like a pizza – these are a frequent dinner, so I need to make quite a few at a time!

  62. Juan

    I love quesadillas, other idea for quesadillas, make with cabrales, a spanish blue cheese. Try it!

  63. Vickid

    I like to use bacon and just a dab of onion in my quesadillas, I put just a bit of butter in the cast iron skillet to keep the flour tortilla from sticking.

  64. Suzie

    Great Recipe. Easy…and Good. Thanks so much!

  65. Jessica

    Found this recipe through Google. I’ve never made quesadillas before and I was a little nervous about trying it, but they turned out fantastic. I am the Quesadilla Queen! Thank you! :)

  66. Jamie

    This is a very tasty and easy recipe. I would recommend it for a working Mom for sure. All you would need to do is get prepared the night before and reheat the chicken. Fantastic and tasty! I paired it with a mixed greens salad and refried beans. I also added some sour cream and chipotle salsa for extras.

  67. Doug

    Turned out better than I expected. Put chicken and lettuce in mine. Then topped it later with a mango salsa. Tortilla was perfectly crisped (not overdone) on my cast iron coated with a little oil and butter. Excellent recipe and will try again with different ingredients.

  68. Alex

    Thank you for the recipe. Me and my college roommate throughly enjoyed it! Threw a little salsa on the side, and wah-bam!

    Thanks!

  69. Geeti

    Hi, I had a Quessidila grande in one of the American/mexican restaurants. I avoid items that contain eggs. I was wondering if the Quesadillas contain traces of eggs or the pan on which its fried/toasted? I would prefer eggless anyways.

    Thank you.

    • Elise

      Hello Geeti, if you make your own quesadillas you can control what was cooked in the pan before you use it for the quesadilla. I’ve never encountered a tortilla, flour or corn, that had egg in it. But you can put anything you want into a quesadilla in addition to the cheese. A breakfast quesadilla would likely included eggs, so if I were you I would avoid those.

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