Stack of freshly cooked Quesadillas, crispy on the outside and molten cheesy goodness on the inside.
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4.98 from 44 votes

Quesadilla (Beef, Vegetable or Chicken)

Recipe video above. Choose ONE Filling! The spice mix adds terrific flavour - great with vegetable, chicken, beef, pork and turkey. Freezer friendly!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex
Keyword: Beef quesadilla, chicken quesadilla, Quesadillas
Servings: 6 - 8 quesadillas
Calories: 418kcal
Author: Nagi



  • 6 - 8 flour tortillas (20cm/8")
  • 2 cups (200g) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or other of choice) (Note 1)
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped coriander/cilantro
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen thawed or can drained)
  • ONE Filling of Choice, below (beef, chicken or vegetable)

Quesadilla Spice Mix:

  • 1 tsp each onion powder, dried oregano, salt
  • 2 tsp each cumin powder, paprika
  • 1/4 tsp each black pepper, cayenne pepper (optional)


    Beef Filling:

    • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves , minced
    • 1/2 onion , finely chopped
    • 500g / 1 lb ground beef / mince
    • 1 small red capsicum/bell peppers , diced
    • 2 tbsp tomato paste
    • 1/4 cup (65 ml) water

    Chicken Filling:

    • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
    • 500 g/1 lb chicken thighs , skinless boneless (Note 2)
    • 2 garlic cloves , minced
    • 1 small onion , quartered and sliced
    • 1 small red capsicum/bell pepper , diced

    Vegetable Filling:

    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 onion , diced
    • 2 cloves garlic , minced
    • 1 can of black beans, drained (400g/14oz)
    • 1 capsicum/bell pepper , diced (any colour)
    • 1 cup corn (canned drained or frozen thawed)
    • 1/4 cup tomato paste
    • 1/4 cup (65 ml) water



    • Place tortilla on work surface. Sprinkle one side with a bit of cheese, top with Filling of Choice. Sprinkle with corn*, coriander and top with cheese. Fold in half.
    • Preheat non stick skillet over medium low heat (no oil, if pan is not non-stick use 2 tsp oil).
    • Place quesadilla in skillet, press down lightly, cover with lid. Cook for 3 minutes until underside is super golden brown and crispy.
    • Carefully flip over the folded edge (see video). Press down lightly. Cook for 3 minutes until crispy (no lid).
    • Transfer to cutting board, cut in half. Serve immediately!
    • Dipping Sauce options: Sour cream, salsa, Avocado Sauce (pictured)

    Spice Mix:

    • Mix ingredients in a small bowl. Use for one of the Fillings Options below.


      Beef Filling:

      • Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes.
      • Add beef and cook, breaking it up as you go. Once it changes from pink to brown, add capsicum. Cook for 1 minute.
      • Add tomato paste, water and Spice Mix. Cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl, cool.

      Chicken Filling:

      • Drizzle chicken with 1 tbsp oil, toss to coat. Sprinkle over Spice Mix, toss well to coat.
      • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Add capsicum and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to bowl, cool.
      • Return pan to stove, reduce to medium heat. Add remaining 1/2 tbsp oil. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes until deep golden. Turn and cook for 3 minutes until cooked through.
      • Transfer chicken to cutting board, rest for 2 minutes then dice and cool. Combine with capsicum mixture.

      Vegetable Filling:

      • Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Add capsicum, cook for 1 minute.
      • Add beans, corn, tomato paste, water and Spice Mix. Cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl, cool.


      * Skip corn for vegetable quesadillas, it's already in the filling.
      1. Cheese options: Monterey Jack was my favourite because it has the melting qualities of mozzarella but has more flavour. It's an American cheese, available at Costco in Australia (used to be sold at Harris Farms too). Cheddar, Tasty or Colby are also great, but any melting cheese of choice is fine here.
      2. Other Proteins: Use the Beef Filling recipe for ground/mince pork, turkey, veal or chicken. Use the Chicken Filling recipe for thin steaks or pork, beef, turkey or veal. The juicier the cut, the better.
      3. General notes:
      * Makes 6 generously stuffed or 8 normal quesadillas
      * Cool Fillings before assembling tortillas = crispier
      * Freezer option: Assemble quesadillas then freeze before cooking. Wrap in cling wrap then place in ziplock bags or airtight containers. Thaw then cook per recipe. Can microwave 40 seconds or so to thaw.
      * Bake option (can make loads in one go): Follow directions in this Chicken Baked Quesadillas recipe.
      * Can also make flattish burritos, wrap in foil then bake until crispy (about 30 minutes at 180C/350F). These can also be frozen, thaw before cooking.
      4. Nutrition per chicken quesadilla, assuming 8 servings. Lean beef quesadillas are 469 calories each, and vegetable is 357 calories.


      Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9.4g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 795mg | Potassium: 299mg | Fiber: 2.3g | Sugar: 1.4g