What is Cheese Quesadilla?

A cheese quesadilla is a classic Mexican dish that has become popular worldwide. It consists of a flour or corn tortilla filled with melted cheese and other optional fillings, then grilled or pan-fried until the tortilla is crispy and the cheese is oozing. Quesadillas make for an easy, fast meal or snack that both kids and adults love.

What is Cheese Quesadilla

The word "quesadilla" comes from the Spanish words “queso” meaning cheese and “tortilla” meaning a thin round of unleavened bread. So literally, a quesadilla is a "little cheese tortilla".

Quesadillas originated in Mexico, dating back to the 16th century. They were made with simple ingredients - corn tortillas warmed on a griddle and filled with local Mexican cheeses like Oaxaca, queso quesadilla, or asadero cheese.

Over the centuries, quesadillas evolved with the addition of other fillings like meats, beans, and vegetables. As they became popular in the United States, flour tortillas replaced corn, and cheeses like cheddar and Monterey jack became the norm. Regardless of variations, the classic combo of melted cheese in a grilled tortilla remains the tasty essence of any quesadilla.

Ingredients for Cheese Quesadilla

Quesadillas require only a few simple ingredients:

  • Tortillas - Flour or corn tortillas can both be used. Flour tortillas are larger, softer and more pliable, while corn offer great flavor and hold up well on the griddle.
  • Cheese - The cheese provides the main flavor in quesadillas. Good melting cheeses like cheddar, Monterey Jack, queso quesadilla, and Oaxaca are classics. Feel free to experiment with different cheeses too.
  • Butter or oil - This is used to grease the pan or griddle to grill the tortillas. Butter provides extra flavor.
  • Optional fillings - You can add any fillings you like such as cooked chicken, beef, beans, veggies, etc.

That's it! With just these basic ingredients, you can make simple yet delicious cheese quesadillas.

How to Make Cheese Quesadillas

Making quesadillas at home is easy and quick. Here is a step-by-step guide:

1. Prepare the Ingredients

Start by assembling all the ingredients you'll need - tortillas, shredded cheese, butter, and any optional fillings.

If using corn tortillas, warming them briefly can make them more pliable.

Shred, dice, or chop any additional fillings before starting to cook.

2. Heat the Pan and Prepare the Tortilla

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add about 1/2 tablespoon butter to the pan and let it melt.

Brush or spread the melted butter evenly over one side of a tortilla. This will help it get nicely browned and crispy.

3. Add the Filling

Place the buttered tortilla in the skillet, buttered-side down. Sprinkle an even layer of shredded cheese over half of the tortilla, leaving a little border.

Add any other fillings like cooked chicken or veggies on top of the cheese. Don't overload it or the fillings will fall out when grilling.

4. Fold and Grill

Fold the empty half of the tortilla over the filling to create a half-moon quesadilla. Gently press down with a spatula to help it seal.

Cook the quesadilla for 2-3 minutes until the bottom tortilla becomes lightly browned and crispy.

5. Flip and Cook Again

Carefully flip the quesadilla over. Continue cooking another 2-3 minutes until both sides of the tortilla are golden brown and the cheese is fully melted.

6. Cut and Serve

Remove the quesadilla from the pan and place it on a cutting board. Let it cool for a minute before slicing into wedges with a pizza cutter or knife. Enjoy right away!

Key Takeaway: Quesadillas come together quickly by grilling tortillas with melted cheese and other fillings in a hot skillet for just a few minutes per side.

Tips for Perfect Quesadillas Every Time

With the simple quesadilla-making method above, it’s easy to make tasty quesadillas at home. Here are some extra tips to take them to the next level:

  • Use the right cheese - For optimum meltability and binding, opt for cheeses like Monterey Jack, cheddar, queso quesadilla, Oaxaca, etc. Shred your own cheese instead of pre-shredded for the best consistency.
  • Don’t overfill - Too many fillings will fall out and prevent even cooking. Stick to an even layer of cheese with a modest sprinkling of other fillings.
  • Get the pan hot - Use a well-heated skillet and cook over medium heat to achieve a crispy exterior while melting the cheese inside.
  • Butter is best - Brushing tortillas with butter adds incredible flavor as they grill up crispy and golden brown.
  • Flip carefully - Use two spatulas to flip quesadillas gently and keep the fillings securely inside.
  • Let rest before cutting - Allow quesadillas to cool for a minute after cooking so the cheese can set up before slicing.
  • Add flavor to the cheese - Stir in spices like cumin or chili powder into the cheese for extra zing.

Following these handy tips will ensure your quesadillas come out perfect every single time. Nothing beats a warm, crispy, and gooey quesadilla fresh off the skillet!

Quesadilla Variations

One of the great things about quesadillas is how versatile they are. There are endless possibilities when it comes to customizing them to your tastes:

  • Fillings: Chicken, steak, shrimp, ground beef, beans, roasted veggies, sauteed onions/peppers/mushrooms, jalapeños, etc.
  • Cheeses: Cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella, Mexican blend, goat cheese, etc.
  • Tortillas: Flour, corn, whole wheat, spinach, gluten-free, etc.
  • Spices & seasonings: Cumin, chili powder, taco seasoning, paprika, fresh herbs
  • Sides & toppings: Guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, sour cream, lettuce, hot sauce

So get creative with quesadilla combinations that sound good to you! The basic cheese quesadilla method remains the same, while personalized fillings, cheeses, and toppings allow for infinite variety.

What to Serve with Quesadillas

While cheese quesadillas are a simple and satisfying meal on their own, pairing them with a few sides or sauces makes them even more flavorful and fun:

  • Guacamole - Creamy, fresh guac is a no-brainer topper for quesadillas. The cool contrast to the hot crispy tortilla is so good.
  • Salsa - Whether homemade or store-bought, salsa adds a burst of vibrant tomato flavor and pairs perfectly.
  • Sour cream - A dollop of sour cream offers a cooling tangy contrast to rich quesadillas.
  • Pico de gallo - The fresh tomatoes, onion, lime juice and cilantro in pico de gallo make a zesty topping.
  • Hot sauce - For those who like heat, hot sauce can amp up a quesadilla. Valencia or chipotle hot sauce are good options.
  • Rice and beans - No Mexican meal is complete without these! Spanish or cilantro lime rice with black or pinto beans make excellent sides.
  • Salad - A fresh green salad, cabbage slaw, or Mexican street corn salad balance out the cheese and carbs.

With endless topping and side pairing possibilities, you can create the perfect quesadilla meal.


What's the best cheese for quesadillas?

Good melting cheeses work best. Cheddar, Monterey Jack, queso quesadilla, Oaxaca, and Mexican blends melt smoothly. Mozzarella and pepper jack also work well. Avoid crumbly or non-melting cheeses.

Should I use flour or corn tortillas?

Both work well! Flour tortillas are larger, softer, and more pliable for quesadillas. Corn tortillas have great flavor and hold their shape nicely when grilled. Choose based on personal preference.

How do I stop the fillings from falling out?

Don't overstuff the quesadillas. Use an even layer of cheese and just a sprinkle of other fillings. Fold the tortilla over gently and seal the edges by pressing with a spatula while cooking.

What can I use instead of butter to grease the pan?

Vegetable or canola oil work well instead of butter. For the best flavor, use olive oil or butter. Avoid non-stick cooking sprays which can make the tortillas soggy.

How do I get the tortillas crispy?

Use a well-heated skillet, cook over medium heat, and don't overcrowd the pan. Let the quesadilla sit for a minute or two per side to get a crispy browned exterior. Brushing tortillas with oil or butter helps too.

Can I make quesadillas in the oven?

Yes, baking quesadillas in the oven is an easy hands-off option. Place quesadillas on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through. They may not get as crispy as pan-frying.

How can I mix up the flavors?

Get creative with fillings like taco meat, sautéed veggies, beans, jalapeños, etc. Use different cheese varieties and spice blends. Serve with fresh toppings like guacamole, salsa and lime wedges.

Can I prepare quesadillas in advance?

You can assemble uncooked quesadillas up to 4 hours ahead, then just bake or pan-fry before serving. However they are best made fresh and enjoyed immediately.


Quesadillas are such a flexible and fun meal.

Follow these tips and favorite fillings to make your perfect customized quesadillas at home any night of the week!

AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions