How To Make Quesadillas

 

My grandmother used to get a kick out of hearing my young toddlers ask for things like quesadillas and guacamole — apparently a barely verbal child using 4-syllable words is pretty darn cute. But these requests are normal when a child is born and raised in Texas, where a quesadilla is the equivalent of a grilled cheese sandwich.

How to make a quesadilla

Quesadillas are a tasty and quick weeknight meal. And like baked potatoes, they are a great way to use up leftovers — so go ahead and cook that whole chicken in the crock pot.

Quesadillas are also a perfect snack for teenagers. My kids regularly make simple quesadillas with cheddar, leftover chicken, and pico de gallo.

What is a quesadilla?

What is a quesadilla? In its simplest form, a quesadilla is a grilled tortilla with cheese (unless you are in Mexico City). Other ingredients are often added: chicken, beef, shrimp, grilled peppers and onions, beans, pico de gallo, or corn.

How do you pronounce “quesadilla”? kay-suh-dee-uh or kay-suh-dee-yah are common pronunciations in the Southwestern United States.

How to make a quesadilla

Quesadillas are as easy to make as a grilled cheese sandwich. Just warm a griddle or skillet, use a little butter, top your tortillas with grated cheese, and if desired, add a couple of other ingredients as fillings. The melted cheese holds the whole thing together.

Flour tortillas are best for quesadillas as they are larger than corn tortillas and they are easy to cut.

Ingredients

  • Flour tortillas

  • Butter or canola oil

  • Grated cheese — cheddar, colby, monterrey jack, or any other melting cheese

  • Optional fillings — cooked meat or seafood, pico de gallo, grilled vegetables, cooked beans, corn, or any other leftovers

  • Optionally serve with guacamole, salsa, or sour cream

Instructions

  1. Warm your griddle or skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Melt just enough butter to coat the cooking surface, about 1/2 teaspoon.

  2. Add a tortilla and top with cheese. Add any other fillings in a single layer. Note, if you are cooking only one tortilla, place ingredients on just 1/2 of the tortilla so you can fold the other half over. If you are using 2 stacked tortillas, place the second one on top.

  3. When the cheese starts to melt, check to see if the underside of the tortilla is toasted. When it is toasted, use a spatula to either fold the one tortilla in half (ready to eat!), or flip over your stacked tortillas to toast the 2nd side. When the tortilla is toasted and the cheese is melted, transfer the quesadilla to a cutting board and cut into wedges with a pizza cutter. If making more, wipe your pan, and repeat the steps above.

Make-ahead Tips

If making quesadillas for a crowd, you can keep quesadillas warm in a 200°F oven on a baking sheet and slice just before serving. Quesadillas can be stored in an airtight container for a few days in the fridge.

Quesadilla Recipes

Quesadillas may have originated in Mexico, but you can branch out from traditional Mexican or Tex-Mex flavors and try your own quesadilla recipes:

  • Vegetarian Quesadillas: cooked beans, corn, roasted red peppers, and cheddar

  • BBQ Quesadillas: pulled pork, caramelized onions, and monterey jack

  • Shrimp Quesadillas: cooked shrimp, avocado, and mozzarella

  • Italian Quesadillas: leftover chicken, sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and fontina