Make the BEST chicken quesadilla recipe with juicy seasoned chicken, peppers, onion, and plenty of cheese – a quick, easy, filling, satisfying family-favorite meal!
If you loved the quesadilla-adjacent viral tortilla hack (where I enthusiastically shared lists of global filling ideas, breakfast ideas, and even dessert wraps), get ready to fall in love with this classic chicken quesadilla recipe.
These homemade quesadillas are made with common kitchen ingredients and pantry staples and are a family-favorite, crowd-pleasing, restaurant-quality meal in under 25 minutes – perfect for busy and/or hectic weeknights.
Best of all, these crispy homemade chicken quesadillas are so easy to make, either from scratch or with pre-cooked chicken (for an even faster, low-fuss meal), with just 10 ingredients, one pan, and plenty of options for customization.
Once cooked, these easy chicken quesadillas are perfectly toasty and crisp outside (never soggy!), oozing melty cheese in the middle, packed with flavor, and make for a super satisfying, well-balanced meal you can enjoy on game days, at family gatherings, and for quick meals at home or on the go!
Chicken quesadilla ingredients
- Tortillas: I use burrito-sized flour tortillas; regular or whole wheat. Make sure to use tortillas that fit your skillet (or griddle).
- Chicken: It’s best to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I butterfly and cut them into strips myself, but you can save time by buying pre-chopped chicken strips.
- Vegetables: This easy chicken quesadilla recipe uses a typical combination of onion (yellow, white, or red onions) and bell peppers (any color or a mix).
- Seasonings: All you need is a simple, pantry-friendly combination of salt, black pepper, onion powder, cumin, dried oregano, and chili powder/cayenne pepper. OR, use your favorite taco seasoning or fajita seasoning.
- Cheese: I like combining cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, though just one type would work. Pepper Jack, Tex Mex, and/or Colby Jack could also work.
- Oil: Use a neutral cooking oil like vegetable oil, canola, olive oil, avocado oil, etc.
To reduce the amount of oil, you could use a splash of broth to cook the veggies and chicken, then optionally just use a little cooking spray/a few drops of oil when cooking the quesadillas for an extra crispy shell, or use a good non-stick pan.
- For serving: (Optional) I love to serve the crispy quesadilla with sour cream, scallions (green onion) and cilantro (or flat-leaf parsley), and diced avocado (or guacamole). Pico de Gallo and/or shredded lettuce would also work.
How to make chicken quesadillas
Prep the ingredients
First, measure out and mix the spice blend.
Then, slice the onion (into half-moons) and peppers (into thin strips), thinly slice the green onion, and shred the cheese.
Next, butterfly the chicken breasts (click the link for the full process and tips on butterflying chicken breasts), and cut them into thin strips, about ½-inch thick.
Cook the quesadilla fillings
Heat the oil in a large, wide skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and peppers and sauté until softened (3-5 minutes), then remove them from the pan.
To the same pan, add the remaining oil, reduce it to medium heat, add the chicken strips, sprinkle in the spices, and then cook the chicken, stirring often, until it’s cooked through (about 4-7 minutes).
Assemble the chicken quesadillas
First, heat the tortillas in the skillet with a little oil (or butter) for a few seconds.
Then, add a sprinkle of the cheese to the entire surface area of the tortilla, with a ½ inch border around the edges. Then add some of the cooked veggies and the chicken to just one-half of the tortilla, and use a spatula to help you fold the tortilla in half.
Alternatively, add everything on the one half: a layer of cheese, veg, chicken, then more cheese. It comes down to personal preference.
Leave it to pan-fry just enough for the cheese to melt (2-3 minutes), flipping it halfway. You should be able to pan-fry two quesadillas at a time in a skillet.
Press lightly while it cooks to ensure a good seal between the cheese and wrap. A panini press will also work.
Remove the tortilla from the pan, slice it into 3-4 pieces, and optionally serve with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of green onion and/or cilantro, and some chopped avocado. Enjoy!
Alternative cooking methods
Oven: Spread the assembled and folded quesadillas on a baking sheet and bake at 425ºF/220ºC for 10-14 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
Air fryer: Use tortillas that will fit your air fryer and cook at 350ºF/175ºC for 6-10 minutes.
For either method, use a toothpick to hold the quesadilla/s together, if needed.
How to serve chicken quesadilla
Enjoy a cheesy quesadilla as a finger-food style snack or main, either alone or with:
- A dipping sauce – sour cream, hot sauce, Ranch, guacamole, etc.,
- Salsa – fresh Pico de Gallo, salsa Verde, or roasted tomato salsa,
- Grains – cilantro lime rice, Spanish/Mexican rice, rice and beans, or quinoa,
- Refried beans or a bean-based salad,
- Fresh, crisp coleslaw,
- Regular fries or wedges or sweet potato fries,
- Mexican-style street corn (elote) or spiced corn ribs,
- A light leafy green side salad with vinaigrette.
More Easy Mexican-Inspired Recipes
- The Best Ground Beef Tacos
- Easy Shredded Chicken Tacos Recipe
- Easy Taco Casserole Recipe
- Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas
If you try this easy chicken quesadilla recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
The Best Chicken Quesadilla Recipe
- 21.5 oz boneless skinless chicken breast 3 medium-sized
- 9.4 oz bell peppers 2 large or 3 small
- 7 oz onion 1 small
- 2 tablespoon olive oil divided; OR another neutral oil; use broth for an oil-free method or some low-calorie cooking spray
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder adjust amount to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 5-6 flour tortillas medium-sized; regular or whole wheat
- 2 cups Monterey Jack shredded; OR Colby Jack, Tex Mex, Pepper Jack, etc.
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
Prep and cook the quesadilla fillings
- Measure out and mix the spice blend.
- Slice the onion into half-moons. Slice the peppers into thin strips. Thinly slice the green onion. If needed, shred the cheese.
- Butterfly the chicken breasts (by slicing it in half lengthwise – optionally pound to make it even in thickness), and cut it into thin strips, about ½-inch thick.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large, wide skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and peppers and sauté until softened (3-5 minutes), then remove them from the pan.
- To the same pan, add the remaining oil, add the chicken strips, sprinkle in the spices, and then cook the chicken, stirring often, until it’s cooked through (about 4-7 minutes).
Assemble the quesadillas
- Heat the tortillas in the skillet with a little oil (or butter) for a few seconds.
- Add a sprinkle of the cheese to the entire surface area of the tortilla, with a ½ inch border around the edges. Then add some of the cooked veggies and the chicken to just one-half of the tortilla, and use a spatula to help you fold the tortilla in half.Alternatively, add everything on the one half: a layer of cheese, veg, chicken, then more cheese. It comes down to personal preference.
- Leave it to pan-fry just enough for the cheese to melt (2-3 minutes), flipping it halfway. You should be able to pan-fry two quesadillas at a time in a skillet.Press lightly while it cooks to ensure a good seal between the cheese and wrap. A panini press will also work.
- Remove the tortilla from the pan, slice it into 3-4 pieces, and optionally serve with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of green onion and/or cilantro, and some chopped avocado. Enjoy!
- Make ahead: You can prepare the chicken and vegetable fillings in advance, storing them for 1-2 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.Store: Once assembled and cooked, allow any leftovers to cool and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.Freeze: Spread them flat on a parchment-lined tray to flash freeze, then store them for up to three months in a Ziplock bag in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge.To Reheat: It's best to reheat them back in a skillet to bring back the crisp texture of the tortillas while it heats through. To reheat a lot, use an oven instead.
- Use freshly shredded cheese: Rather than pre-shredded cheese. This is because it will melt better, which is important for holding the quesadillas together.
- Don’t overstuff the quesadillas: Otherwise, they’ll be difficult to fold and cook without coming apart and creating a mess.
- Use a hot pan: It’s important to preheat the pan before adding the assembled quesadillas for the most even, crisp exterior.
- Layer the filling properly: Spread the cheese all over the tortilla to work as “glue,” keeping both sides of the quesadilla together. OR, layer them up only on one half, but with cheese at the top and bottom.
- For easier cutting: Leave the quesadilla to rest for a few minutes before cutting (with a sharp knife/pizza cutter) to give the cheese time to “set” up.
- To reduce oil: Use a splash of broth to cook the veggies and chicken, then just use a little cooking spray or a few drops of oil when cooking the quesadillas for an extra crispy shell, or omit it entirely if using a good non-stick pan.
- Other vegetables: Like corn, black beans (or refried beans), sauteed mushrooms and/or zucchini, spinach, etc.
- Heat: Add extra spice with freshly diced jalapeño or other chili. Canned mild diced green chiles can be mixed into the veg mixture for mild heat but with plenty of flavor. Alternatively, why not squeeze in a little hot sauce?
- Black beans: Or kidney beans/pinto beans/ refried beans. Use canned reduced-sodium beans or home-cooked beans.
- Sliced olives: For a salty, briny, tangy flavor.
- Swap the protein: Replace the chicken with carnitas, brisket, ground beef, shrimp, etc.
- Other spices: You could add garlic powder and/or smoked paprika for more flavor.