When I want fast, easy, and delicious, this cheesy chicken quesadillas recipe is a go-to favorite. There is just something perfect about a warm and slightly crisp tortilla filled with chicken, cheese, and tons of flavor. Since this is cut into small pieces and easy to serve, it's ideal as an appetizer, lunch, kids meal, or as part of a Mexican inspired fiesta meal with your family.
Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas
This is one recipe that your kids are going to absolutely love! In fact, quesadillas of all kinds are typically the most popular item on Mexican restaurant kid menus. While this is far from an authentic Mexican recipe, it is still a popular and tasty choice. The common Mexican flavors bring a bit of the traditional flavors to what is an Americanized version that is tasty in its own right.
Can I Use Rotisserie Chicken For This?
If you want or need to save time on preparation, you can easily use chopped or shredded rotisserie chicken for this recipe. Just toss the chicken with the seasonings and sauce in the skillet and cook until heated through. This method takes less time but still gives you all of the flavors you want.
Another great option is to prepare this easy salsa chicken and use it inside quesadillas for a simplified but still tasty version of this meal. If you prefer beef, check out this copycat Chipotle barbacoa beef. It's absolutely delicious!
What's the Best Cheese for Quesadillas?
I prefer using cheddar in this recipe because it is easily available, affordable, and has a nice flavor. In some circles, people would be in shock seeing you add cheddar. While it's not traditional by any stretch, it is tasty, and easy to use, especially with kids who may have pickier taste buds.
Traditionally you will find manchego, oaxaca, asedero, or Chihuahua cheeses in quesadillas. You may even see some restaurants turn to mozzarella for the mild flavor that melts easily. The real punch of flavor in this comes from the spices and the slight grill on the tortilla.
What Add-On's Can Go Into This Quesadilla?
A basic cheesy chicken quesadilla is just that. Chicken and cheese. You can add more to the recipe though with great success. I love adding other items to mine, and you might also. Below are a few additions that amp up the flavor and can also add texture.
- Bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, or tomatoes
- Black olives or avocado
- Fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
What Sauces Should I Serve?
One of the best parts of quesadillas comes in dipping them in delicious sauces. You can use some of the items listed above for extra flavor, or use the items below as toppings or sauces.
- Salsa, pico de gallo, or verde sauce.
- Sour cream or nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- Queso dip
- Chipotle ranch dip
- Jalapeno dip
- Ranch dip or dressing
- Sriracha sauce or hot sauce
Yes, ranch dip and ketchup both sound odd, but my kids eat them on pretty much everything. It's not recommended, but if your kids are like mine, then ketchup and ranch can be added to any meal.
What Goes with Chicken Quesadillas?
Quesadillas can easily be a meal in themselves. Sometimes, they are also used as an appetizer. If you plan to use them as part of a meal as an entree, you may want to serve them with something on the side.
I like to have a nice side salad or vegetable with my meals. Roasted vegetables work well for this alongside or in place of a salad. Spanish rice or this Instant Pot Mexican rice both work great as a side. You can always add a side of refried beans or this quinoa black bean salad. You could even start with tortilla soup, black bean soup, slow cooker taco soup, or a chicken enchilada soup and it will work great with this meal.
- Olive oil
- Chicken breasts or thighs
- Black pepper
- Taco seasoning
- Garlic cloves
- Red enchilada sauce
- Flour tortillas
- Cheddar cheese
- Sour cream
How to Make Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas
In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and taco seasoning until coated.
Heat oil in a large skillet until sizzling over medium-high heat.
Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through and golden.
Remove from heat and set aside.
In a separate skillet, add 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat.
Once hot, place a tortilla into the skillet with the oil, and top with a sprinkle of cheese, sprinkle of green onions, spoon of chicken, ¼ cup spoon of enchilada sauce, and additional cheese. Spread a pinch of minced garlic over the top and cover with a second tortilla.
Cook for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and the tortilla is golden brown then flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Repeat this until four quesadillas are ready to serve.
Cut each quesadilla into quarters and serve with sour cream, salsa, or your choice of dipping sauces.
If making quesadillas in batches, you may want to place on a cookie sheet in the oven at low heat to keep warm. You can also cover with aluminum foil to hold heat in until ready to serve.
If you struggle to flip your quesadillas in a skillet, try using a flat top griddle or a crepe pan. The lower sides or lack of sides make it easier to get underneath the tortilla to flip it without making a mess.
More Recipes You'll Love
If you are looking for more fast and easy chicken recipes that kids will enjoy, then you'll love the ones below. There are tons of great additions to your menu that take little time to prepare and are kid-approved.
- Garlic and Herb Baked Chicken Breast Recipe
- Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Herbs and Flaky Crust
- Herbed Sheet Pan Chicken with Mushrooms
- Delicious Chicken Salad in Homemade Puffs
- Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos
- Instant Pot Pulled Chicken Sliders
- Oven Baked Chicken
- Chicken and Stuffing Casserole Recipe
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas Recipe
- Balsamic Chicken Thighs Recipe
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
- 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp taco seasoning
- 8 medium flour tortillas
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- 6 green onions, diced
- 1 cup red enchilada sauce
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup salsa
- Fresh chopped salsa
- In a large bowl, mix together the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and taco seasoning;
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat;
- Add the chicken to the hot skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally until cooked through;
- Remove from the heat and set aside;
- In a separate clean skillet, add the remaining vegetable oil over medium heat;
- Once the oil is hot, place a single tortilla into the skillet, top with a sprinkle of cheese, a sprinkle of green onions, ¼ the chicken mixture, ¼ cup enchilada sauce, more cheese, and the second tortilla;
- Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted;
- Repeat with 3 more quesadillas;
- Cut into quarters and serve with salsa and sour cream.
Substitute chicken thighs for breasts if desired.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1123Total Fat: 56gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 283mgSodium: 2663mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 6gSugar: 10gProtein: 93g