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Judge my culinary standards if you must, but a good Chicken Quesadilla recipe is one of the great dinner standbys of our time. Cheesy, crispy, and ready in a flash, what’s not to adore?

A stack of chicken quesadilla pieces

Meet The Best Chicken Quesadillas

A plain cheese quesadilla of the white tortilla + prebagged cheese + microwave-until-melted variety can be made a bit of a joke when describing someone’s ability to “cook,” but this juicy chicken quesadilla is well-above basic.

Sauteed, seasoned chicken thighs (or chicken breasts if that’s your preference), fajita-style vegetables, and yes CHEESE make this the best chicken quesadilla recipe.

While easy, it will be appreciated by cooks of all levels.

Chicken quesadilla with sour cream and salsa

I’ve taken to making the chicken vegetable filling in bulk, portioning and freezing it (I love these containers), then pulling one portion out to thaw overnight.

Come dinner time, all I need to do is pile it onto a tortilla with freshly shredded cheese and pan fry it to golden perfection.

We have dinner ready in 10 minutes!

Even if you haven’t made the filling ahead, this cheesy chicken quesadilla is faster than delivery or preheating your oven for frozen pizza.

It tastes so much fresher and is better for you too!

Chicken quesadilla on a plate with guacamole

How to Make a Chicken Quesadilla

A chicken quesadilla might be easy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it the ultimate.

For the best chicken quesadilla that’s crispy outside and melty inside with just the right filling-to-cheese ratio, follow these tips:

  • Be sparing with the oil. If you use too much oil in the pan when cooking, it will make your quesadilla greasy. I usually make my quesadillas in a nonstick pan with either no oil (the tortilla doesn’t usually need it) or a bit of nonstick spray.
  • Grate your own cheese. Ever wondered why your quesadilla cheese isn’t as smooth and melty as your favorite restaurants? Likely you were using prebagged cheese which, while convenient, is coated with a powdery substance to keep it from clumping. Unfortunately, that powder means the cheese does not melt as smoothly.
  • Be patient. I know you want to crank up the heat and just get on with it already, but if you have the pan too hot, the outsides of the tortilla will burn before the cheese is melted inside.
  • Let some of the cheese melt out of the tortilla. Or, even add a little extra cheese on top of the tortilla a few minutes before flipping. That oozy cheese will become snackably golden and crispy.
Cheesy chicken quesadilla with vegetables

Endless Filling Options

I’ve suggested my favorite blend of chicken, bell peppers, and pepper Jack cheese here, but once you have a melty cheese, you can put just about anything inside a quesadilla that you like!

  • Add different veggies like zucchini or mushrooms (try this Mushroom Quesadilla too).
  • Switch up the protein by using beans (like in this Breakfast Quesadilla) or pork like this Pulled Pork Quesadilla.
  • Use a different kind of melty cheese like white cheddar.
  • Or, do a little of each to create the custom quesadilla of your dreams!

The Ingredients

  • Chicken. Tender, protein-packed chicken breast (or thighs) helps make this quesadilla filling, flavorful, and nutritious. Chicken is rich in iron and minerals. Want more Tex-Mex chicken? Try my Shredded Chicken Tacos.

Tip!

Cut this recipe time even further by swapping in precooked chicken or leftover chicken made with one of these easy methods (or use store-bought rotisserie chicken):

  • Cheese. The gooey, cheesy inside is a large part of what makes this quesadilla so wonderful. It helps hold the filling together and tastes absolutely scrumptious.

What Kind of Cheese is Best for Quesadillas?

The best kind of cheese for quesadillas is melty, flavorful, and versatile enough to pair with a variety of different fillings.

I like to use a combination of pepper Jack or Monterey Jack and sharp cheddar cheese. If you prefer, you can swap the sharp cheddar cheese for extra pepper Jack or Monterey Jack.

The best chicken quesadilla
  • Veggies. To make this chicken quesadilla healthy, I packed it with delicious veggies. Bell peppers and onions add flavor, vitamins, and antioxidants.
  • Spices. Chili powder, salt, and garlic powder add just the right amount of flavor to the quesadilla. (Short on time? You can swap taco seasoning.)
  • Hot Sauce. While optional, you can kick it up with a dash of hot sauce if you please.
  • Whole Wheat Tortilla. Whole wheat tortillas have more fiber than regular tortillas, making them a healthier alternative. They crisp up just as well and taste delish! Use the burrito size and fold it in half, or you can layer two smaller tortillas with the filling in the center.
  • Toppings. Salsa, guacamole, queso, and sour cream (plain Greek yogurt works well too) are our go-to toppings. You could also add pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, or shredded lettuce.

The Directions

  1. Add the chicken to a bowl, then stir in half of the spices.
A chicken and vegetable mixture in a bowl
  1. Sauté the vegetables with spices.
A tortilla with cheese, chicken, and vegetables on a plate
  1. Assemble the quesadillas by piling the fillings onto one half of a tortilla.
A tortilla folded in half on a plate
  1. Fold the empty tortilla half over the top. Repeat.
Two tortillas with cheese and meat in a skillet
  1. Cook the quesadillas two at a time in a skillet.
chicken quesadillas being cooked in a skillet
  1. Flip after about 4 minutes, cooking on the other side for a few minutes. Let cool, slice, and DIG IN!
A chicken quesadilla being pulled apart

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftover quesadilla in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Freeze the quesadilla in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

Prepare the chicken and vegetable filling up to 1 day in advance. Assemble and cook the quesadillas as directed when you’re ready to finish the recipe.

Leftover Ideas

Top leftover quesadillas with your favorite dip (like Mexican Corn Dip), Grilled Corn Salad, or Black Bean Corn Salad for a hearty, flavorful meal.

What to Serve with a Chicken Quesadilla

A stack of chicken quesadilla triangles with sour cream

Whether you call it in as a pinch-hitter or make it part of your regular meal plan, this hearty chicken quesadilla is a home run!

Chicken Quesadilla Recipe

4.89 from 168 votes
Crispy, cheesy inside and packed with juicy seasoned chicken and veggies, this is the best chicken quesadilla recipe! Fast and always delicious.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Servings: 4 quesadillas

Ingredients
  

For the Quesadillas:

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups cooked diced or shredded chicken about 2 medium breasts or 2 to 3 thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 orange, yellow, or green bell pepper diced (or 1 cup chopped veggies of choice: baby spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, etc.)
  • Hot sauce optional
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese divided
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese divided (or additional pepper/Monterey Jack)
  • 4 medium whole wheat tortillas
  • Oil, butter, or nonstick spray optional for cooking the quesadillas

For Serving:

  • Prepared salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, salt, and garlic powder. Place the chicken in a separate, medium bowl and sprinkle with half of the spice mixture. Stir to coat. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until it is hot and shimmering. Add the onion and bell peppers, and any other vegetables you are using (wait to add spinach, however). Sprinkle the remaining spice mixture over the top and stir to coat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is turning translucent and brown and the other vegetables are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. If using spinach, stir it in a few handfuls at a time until it wilts. If you’d like the filling spicy, add a few dashes of hot sauce to taste. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the chicken and stir to combine.
  • Assemble the quesadillas: For each, top half of a tortilla with an eighth of the pepper Jack (about 2 1/2 tablespoons) and an eighth of the cheddar (about 1 1/2 tablespoons). Spread one-quarter each of the vegetables and chicken evenly on top of the cheese (it will seem like a lot, but go with it). Top with one-eighth additional pepper Jack (2 1/2 tablespoons) and one-eighth additional cheddar (1 1/2 tablespoons).
  • Fold the empty tortilla half over the toppings, pressing gently. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • Cook the quesadillas: With a paper towel, carefully wipe out the skillet you used for the vegetables. Heat over medium to medium-low heat, adding a little butter or oil to the skillet if you’d like the tortillas crisper. Place 1 quesadilla in the pan with the folded edge running down the center and the open edge facing outward. Lay a second quesadilla down beside it facing the opposite direction so it fits in the skillet nicely. With the back of a spatula, lightly press down on the tops so they flatten (don’t worry if some of the cheese oozes out; it will become crispy and DELISH). Cook on the first side until golden and crisp, adjusting the heat as needed so the quesadillas crisp but do not burn, about 4 or so minutes depending upon your stove.
  • Carefully flip and cook the other side for about 2 more minutes, until both sides are a yummy, lightly crisp golden brown.
  • Let the quesadillas cool on a cutting board for a few minutes (or transfer to a 200 degrees F oven to keep warm while finishing remaining batches). When ready to serve, with a sharp knife or pizza cutter, slice into three pie-shaped wedges. Enjoy hot with toppings.

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover quesadilla in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze the quesadilla in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4) quesadillasCalories: 523kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 40gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 112mgPotassium: 394mgFiber: 5gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 2658IUVitamin C: 77mgCalcium: 517mgIron: 3mg

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make this Quesadilla with Other Types of Meat?

While we enjoy this quesadilla with chicken, you could try swapping in cooked and shredded (or diced) pork, beef, or turkey. For a vegetarian option, try adding black beans.

What Else Can I Put Inside a Quesadilla?

If you’d like to bulk up your quesadilla a little more, you could add extra veggies, beans (like Instant Pot Black Beans), avocado slices, tomatoes, or any other filling ingredients you enjoy.

Can I Use Other Types of Tortillas?

I recommend using whole wheat tortillas for the extra health benefits, but you can swap regular flour tortillas if you prefer. Corn tortillas would also work for this recipe, but they are typically much smaller than flour tortillas and tricker to hold together during cooking.

For those who are gluten free and enjoy using almond flour tortillas, those are another good option for this recipe.

More Quesadilla and Taco Recipes

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

4.89 from 168 votes (134 ratings without comment)

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74 Comments

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  1. I experimented with this recipe tonight, and it was a huge hit! Surprisingly, all three of my finicky grandkids went back for seconds.5 stars

  2. I love the seasonings! The dish went together quickly, and it was delicious. I only use a few ingredients so it’s good for using up leftovers.5 stars

  3. Made these quickly with some extra chicken and those little street taco soft tortillas. The flavors are awesome. Packing a few for my husband to heat up at lunch as well. I’ll try this recipe again next time but I will use beef.5 stars

  4. This was SO good! Saving and it will be in my regular rotation. The only adjustment I made was adding some cumin and omitting the salt because the chicken I used had plenty of salt to start with.5 stars

  5. This recipe was amazing! I love how many veggies I was able to mix in there! My husband and I really enjoyed it and will be adding it to our rotation! My husband is dairy free so I used a can of refried beans in place of cheese to hold everything together. He said it was delicious.5 stars

  6. I’ve made many quesadillas before, but never followed a recipe. This was fabulous with my own little tweaks on seasoning. The method is perfect, thank you!5 stars

  7. Really delicious made from ingredients I happened to have on hand. I can see this working with lots of different vegetables, and even without the chicken.5 stars

  8. Delicious! This will definitely be a regular in my meal rotations. And I like the idea of switching out the veggies for slightly different dishes. For my first run, I followed the recipe exactly as written and we all loved it!5 stars

    1. Hi Steven, you’ll be starting the recipe with “2 cups cooked diced or shredded chicken” It’s a great way to use up leftover chicken. If you need some ideas on how to cook it, listed in the post under the “TIP” section, we give about 9 different ways to make your chicken. Hope this helps and ENJOY!

  9. I altered the recipe a bit, added sauteed tomatoes and use my own seasoning mix bit the cheese ration and assembly was Uber easy! I’ve always made it the hard way apparently! I also added a 3-4min bake after assembly at 350°. Thank you for the recipe.4 stars

  10. I’m making chicken quesadillas for my computer science class, There are 18 students in my class + my teacher and the student aids might want some. They will love your chicken quesadilla recipe. So yummy!!!

  11. Very good. I used spinics, red and yellow peppers, pepper jack cheese and mild cheddar cheese (all that I had in house. Very good! I will add mushrooms next time (We don’t eat onions)

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