Quesadillas – A Flavorful Fiesta in Your Kitchen

Embrace the vibrant and delicious flavors of Mexican cuisine with these easy-to-make Chicken or Beef Quesadillas.

Perfect for a quick dinner or a fun family cooking session, quesadillas combine the hearty goodness of meat, the creaminess of cheese, and the zest of spices wrapped in a golden, crispy tortilla.

Skill Level: Beginner

This recipe is perfect for beginners. It involves simple cooking techniques like sautéing and grilling, and allows for customization according to taste preferences.

Health Considerations

Quesadillas can be a healthy option when made with whole wheat or corn tortillas, lean meats (like chicken breast or lean beef cuts), and reduced-fat cheese. Additionally, the inclusion of vegetables like bell peppers and onions boosts the fiber and nutrient content.

Time & Servings

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Servings: 4

Chicken or Beef Quesadillas Recipe


  • Chicken breasts or lean beef steak, 500g (17.6 oz)
  • Whole wheat or corn tortillas, 8 (medium size)
  • Shredded cheese, 200g (7 oz)
  • Olive oil, 15ml (1 tablespoon)
  • Red bell pepper, thinly sliced, 150g (5.3 oz)
  • Onion, thinly sliced, 100g (3.5 oz)
  • Ground cumin, 5g (1 teaspoon)
  • Paprika, 5g (1 teaspoon)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Meat Preparation: Thinly slice the chicken or beef. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika.
  2. Vegetable Sauté: In a pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and bell peppers, sautéing until soft. (Optionally, you can add corn, peas, beans, any veggie you want!)
  3. Cook Meat: Add the meat to the pan and cook until browned and cooked through.
  4. Assemble Quesadillas: On half of each tortilla, spread a portion of the cooked meat and vegetable mixture. Sprinkle cheese on top.
  5. Grill Quesadillas: Fold the tortillas in half. In a clean pan, cook each quesadilla until the tortilla is crispy and the cheese melts.
  6. Serving: Cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve hot.

Tips for Perfection

  • Use a non-stick pan to prevent sticking.
  • Cook on medium heat to ensure even crisping without burning.
  • Don’t overfill the quesadillas to avoid spilling.

Optional Ingredients

  • Jalapeños, sliced
  • Diced green chiles
  • Black beans, rinsed
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt for dipping

Vegetarian Suggestions

Replace meat with:

  • Grilled portobello mushrooms
  • Black beans
  • Sautéed spinach and corn

Serving Suggestions

Serve with:

  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream
  • Mexican rice
  • Refried beans*

Homemade Refried Beans from Canned Pinto Beans

Did you know you can turn a can of pinto beans into delicious homemade refried beans?

It’s a straightforward process and a great way to add a tasty side to your meal. Here’s how:


  • 1 can of pinto beans (about 15 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Water or chicken/vegetable broth (optional, for desired consistency)
  • A pinch of chili powder or paprika (optional, for extra flavor)


  1. Prepare the Beans: Drain and rinse the pinto beans. This removes excess sodium and improves flavor.
  2. Sauté Aromatics: In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until it’s translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Then, add the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Cook the Beans: Add the pinto beans to the skillet. Also, sprinkle in the cumin, and add salt and pepper to taste. If you like a bit of a kick, add a pinch of chili powder or paprika.
  4. Mash the Beans: Using a potato masher or the back of a spoon, start mashing the beans. Keep mashing until they reach your desired consistency. If the mixture seems too dry, you can add a little water or broth to get a smoother texture.
  5. Simmer: Let the beans simmer for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. This allows the flavors to meld together. If you find the beans are getting too thick, you can add a bit more liquid.
  6. Taste and Adjust: Give your refried beans a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add more salt, pepper, or spices according to your preference.
  7. Serve: Once done, serve the refried beans warm alongside your quesadillas.

This homemade version of refried beans is not only simple to make but also healthier than many store-bought versions, as you can control the amount of salt and oil. Enjoy your meal!

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

  • Calories: Approximately 400-500
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fat: 15g

Storing & Reheating

  • Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: Reheat in a pan over medium heat or in a microwave until hot.

Origin and History

Quesadillas originated in Mexico during the colonial era. The name derives from ‘queso’, the Spanish word for cheese, which is a key ingredient. Traditionally, it was a simple meal of cheese in a corn tortilla, but variations with meat and vegetables have evolved.


Enjoying these Chicken or Beef Quesadillas brings a taste of Mexican culinary heritage to your table. Easy, customizable, and delicious, they are perfect for any meal where fun and flavor are on the menu..

(This post updated from an earlier recipe.)

¡Buen provecho!

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