Shrimp Quesadilla

If you are starting with frozen raw shrimp, put them in a bowl of ice water to defrost.

If you are starting with cooked shrimp, just toss them with some salt, pepper, chipotle chile powder and lime juice and let them sit while you heat the tortillas.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves one


  • 1/4 pound of medium-small raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder or chili powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 Tbsp of lime or lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (divided, 2 teaspoons and 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped red onion
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 medium-sized flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • Dollop of sour cream or crema fresca


1 Marinate the shrimp: Toss the shrimp in a small bowl with 1/4 teaspoon of chipotle powder or chile powder, a pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, and a tablespoon of lime or lemon juice. Let sit for 10 minutes. Then drain out the juice.

Shrimp Quesadillas

2 Cook the shrimp: Heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a relatively stick-free skillet (a cast iron skillet works well for this) on medium high heat.

Add the shrimp and cook for half a minute on each side, and remove to a bowl.

The shrimp shouldn't be completely cooked through; they will continue to cook during the next step.

3 Heat the tortillas: Wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Add a small amount of olive oil (about 1/2 a teaspoon, you could use butter as well) and heat the pan on medium high.

Place one flour tortilla on the skillet. Flip the tortilla over a few times, 10 seconds between flips. Air pockets should begin to form within the tortilla.

Remove the tortilla and repeat with the second tortilla. Leave the second tortilla in the pan and reduce the heat to medium.

4 Build the quesadilla: Sprinkle the tortilla with the grated cheese. Distribute the shrimp on top of the cheese. Add chopped onion and cilantro. Place the other tortilla on top.

Flip the quesadilla over when the bottom tortilla is nicely toasted and the cheese has begun to melt. Remove the quesadilla from the pan when the now bottom tortilla has toasted sufficiently.

You can also use just one tortilla instead of two, and fold the tortilla over itself like an omelette.

5 Cut the quesadilla into triangles: Cut like a pie into six pieces (a pizza wheel works well for this). Place on a serving plate. Serve with avocado slices and sour cream. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro. Squeeze a little lime juice over everything.

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  • lynda.mcclary

    Was looking for a quick between snack to hold everyone over until late dinner. I google shrimp meal and this popped up, to my surprise I had almost everything. Substituted chopped shallots for red onion, taco seasoning instead chili powder. Used 4 small tortillas. My kids loved the quesadillas.


  • Nicole Ballas

    I made this recipe last week and I already made it again last night! We loved it! The only thing I added was diced tomatoes.Otherwise these were so simple and delicious!! Thank you, Elise!!!


  • Ann

    Made this tonight and it was so yummy! Unfortunately I did not have avocado but I sautéed mushrooms, ginger, coconut cream and a few drops of lime juice and drizzled that on top. It was pretty nice! Thanks for the recipe, Simply Recipes!

  • Jenny

    I made these last night for a few friends, and everyone loved them! Thanks for such a wonderful recipe!

    PS. I love the blog — I’m slowly working my way through all the yummy recipes!


  • alisa

    This is a remarkable site…..I can’t thank you enough for all these amazing recipes. I’m one for getting bored quickly of making the same things….I made the Shrimp Quesadillas this weekend for lunch and they were a HUGE hit! Yummy…..;o)

  • Ni'Chole

    I’ve had this before and it is WONDERFUl…I was just wondering if anyone has tried to make them with corn tortillas instead of wheat or flour? If so how did they turn out?

  • Laryssa

    I made a Mexican-inspired tabbouleh on Friday night and refrigerated all the leftover, chopped-up cilantro, red onion and green peppere. How lucky for me to find this recipe on Saturday morning so that I could put my chopped vegetables to good use. I even made my own guac to go with this yummy dish. So delicious…quesadillas are my weakness. Thanks!

  • Leisureguyy

    If the shrimp are not cooked, soaking them in brine greatly improves texture…

  • Sarah

    I do a similar take on the shrimp quesadilla, but toss in a couple of extra ingredients to make them more substantial. Instead of poaching, I saute the shrimp and toss in some sweet corn (from the freezer) and black beans. I think I need to make these sometime soon.

  • Susan from Food Blogga

    This is one of our go-to meals as well. In fact, we just had them on Saturday. They’re so fast, easy, and versatile. What’s not to love?

  • Janice C. Cartier

    Yummy. Became a fan of shrimp tacos in Santa Fe. Now I can make my own. these look fantastique! Just a note for those of us to whom cilantro tastes like ivory soap (10% of the population) what would you substitute?

    If cilantro tastes like soap to you, I would just skip it! ~Elise

    • EJ

      lol, I’m one of those 10%, but in small doses, and if made correctly, I can withstand it