How to Make Easy Chicken Quesadillas

Chicken quesadillas are stacked on top of a wooden cutting board.
Recipe At-A-Glance
Weeknight Dinner15 minutes
Cheesy and flavorful, this Easy Chicken Quesadilla Recipe is a great option for a speedy weeknight dinner that everyone will enjoy!

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I would consider myself pretty accomplished in the kitchen, but there was one super simple dish that I just couldn’t get right for even after decades of cooking experience: a quesadilla! It sounds simple—it’s just cheese and filling melted on a tortilla—but my chicken quesadillas always turned out soggy or burnt.

So a few years ago, I took it upon myself to conquer quesadilla making—for myself and for you folks! And I’m happy to report that after lots of testing, I have absolutely nailed the best method for making a chicken quesadilla.

Wholefully Protip

Cast iron is ideal for evenly melting the cheese in a quesadilla. Use a regular cast iron skillet if you’re making single quesadillas, or a cast iron griddle if you’re cooking for a crowd.

The resulting quesadilla is flavorful and gooey on the inside, a little crispy on the outside, and perfect for dipping in sour cream or guacamole! Chicken quesadillas are now a staple in our house. We have them for easy dinners. I pack them in school lunches. I am a cheesy chicken quesadilla rock star!

Chicken quesadillas rest on a wooden cutting board. A bowl of salsa and a bowl of guacamole sit behind them.

How do you make a chicken quesadilla?

If you start with cooked chicken (like from a rotisserie chicken!), chicken quesadillas come together in about 15 minutes, start to finish. Here’s how to do it:

Split image showing the 4 steps of making a quesadilla- cooking the filling, buttering the tortilla, cooking in a cast iron skillet, and folding the tortilla in half.

  1. Sauté some peppers, onion, and garlic until fragrant. Add the chicken and some taco seasoning to the veggies.
  2. Butter a tortilla on one side (flour, gluten-free, and grain-free tortillas all work well). A buttered tortilla takes your quesadilla to the next level!
  3. Drop a tortilla into a hot skillet, butter side down, and sprinkle cheese over the entire tortilla. Then, put the chicken filling on half of the tortilla.
  4. Cook until the cheese starts to melt, and then fold the tortilla in half and press with a spatula to seal.
  5. After a few minutes, flip the quesadilla over to crisp up the other side.
  6. Slice and serve!

Wholefully Protip

Feel free to experiment with quesadilla fillings, but avoid using anything liquid-y—like salsa or uncooked veggies—that will turn the tortillas soggy before they can crisp up. Save those wet ingredients for topping the quesadilla after cooking.

 

A hand pulls apart two halves of a quesadilla. A teal bowl of salsa sits on a white and brown plaid dishtowel.

What kind of cheese should I use?

I like to use a blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses. They both melt easily, and their flavors match well with the chopped chicken. But if you have other shredded cheese on hand, go for it—make it your own!

Can I make these quesadillas vegetarian?

You sure can! To keep it super simple, just skip the chicken. Alternatively, replace the chicken with black beans to give the quesadillas more texture and protein. I’m also loving Isabel’s green chile corn quesadillas!

Stack of quesadilla slices filled with chicken, peppers, and cheese. The stack sits on a teal-edged cutting board.

How do you make a gluten-free chicken quesadilla?

Double check that your taco seasoning is gluten-free, sub out the tortillas for a GF option, and bam—gluten-free quesadilla! I like using corn tortillas or Siete cassava tortillas.

Wholefully Protip

It takes a lot less filling to fill up a quesadilla than you think! A good quesadilla errs on the side of less filling and more cheese.

What should I serve with my chicken quesadilla?

It’s easy to make these chicken quesadillas into a full meal. Dip them in:

And then serve them with one or more of these:

A hand lifts the top of a folded quesadilla. Chicken, peppers, and cheese are inside.

Wait, butter instead of oil?

Absolutely! Oil can be trickier to use, and you’re more likely to end up with greasy or soggy quesadillas. On the flip side, butter will help the tortilla crisp up beautifully. Plus, it tastes delicious! In a pinch, though, plant-based butter or coconut oil will also work.

Wholefully Protip

Buttering the tortillas is a MUST for crisp and flavorful quesadillas! Plant-based butter or coconut oil also do the trick.

Can I make quesadillas in advance?

To prep quesadillas for later meals, just cook them all the way through and refrigerate. When you’re ready to eat, reheat the quesadillas in a skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the cheese is melted again, or warm them in a toaster oven.

I also make these quesadillas at least weekly for school lunches. I prep them the evening before, and just stash them in the fridge—my kid likes to eat them cold, but you can also reheat them in a skillet until warmed through, and then send them in a Thermos container. They won’t be quite as crisp, but they will still be delicious!

How long will chicken quesadillas keep?

Quesadillas will last in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Want more recipes like this? Try one of these!

  • Healthy Chicken Pad Thai Recipe. This recipe is veggie-packed, and makes a great weeknight dinner or meal prep lunch.
  • Meal Prep Caprese Chicken Quinoa Bowl. Another meal prep winner, this time with fresh mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, and spicy-sweet basil.
  • Black Bean and Corn Salsa. When you do it like this, salsa can definitely be its own meal—just add chips!
  • Salsa Chicken Burger Recipe. My secret ingredient keeps these Salsa Chicken Burgers moist, juicy, and tender!
  • Black Bean Fiesta Salad in a Jar. This vegan meal prep salad in a jar is a total party in your mouth.
  • Curry Chicken Salad. The curry powder gives this chicken salad a depth of flavor, while the grapes give it some fresh sweetness.
  • Chicken Stir Fry. Making stir fry at home can be just as fast as picking up takeout! Let us show you how.

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A stack of quesadillas sits on a wooden cutting board. A red bowl of sour cream sits in the background.

Chicken quesadillas are stacked on top of a wooden cutting board.

Easy Chicken Quesadillas

Yield: 2 quesadillas
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Cheesy and flavorful, this Easy Chicken Quesadilla Recipe is a great option for a speedy weeknight dinner that everyone will enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced jalapeño pepper, optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped cooked chicken (a rotisserie chicken works great for this)
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (see notes)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 burrito-size flour tortillas
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese (I like a blend of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack)
  • Fresh lime wedges, guacamole, sour cream, or pico de gallo, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat the avocado oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, garlic, red onion, and jalapeño (if using). Sauté until just tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the cooked chicken, taco seasoning, and water. Bring to a simmer, and cook until just thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove the chicken mixture from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Wipe the skillet clean. Return the skillet to medium-high heat.
  4. Working with one tortilla at a time, spread 1 tablespoon of butter on 1 side of the tortilla. Place the tortilla, butter side down, in the hot skillet. Then immediately sprinkle on half of the shredded cheese over the entire tortilla. 
  5. Place half of the chicken mixture onto one half of the tortilla, and cook until the cheese just begins to melt. Using a spatula, flip the side that just has the cheese on it over on top of the chicken mixture. Use the spatula to press down to seal.
  6. Continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes, and then flip the entire quesadilla over and cook for an additional 2 minutes on the other side—this is to crisp up the tortilla.
  7. Remove from heat, and immediately cut into wedges using a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Serve with fresh lime wedges, guacamole, sour cream, or pico de gallo.

Notes

  • No taco seasoning around? No problem! Whip up your own quesadilla seasoning by combining 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon cumin powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, plus 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1021Total Fat: 59gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 2394mgCarbohydrates: 88gFiber: 14gSugar: 10gProtein: 39g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.
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Hello. My name is Cassie, and I’m a healthy home cooking expert.

I'm a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I've been developing healthy recipes professionally for over 15 years. Food is my love language, and my kitchen tips and nourishing recipes are my love letter to you!

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