Fajita Style Chicken Quesadilla Recipe
Crispy on the outside, flavorful and juicy on the inside, these Fajita Chicken Quesadillas check all the boxes when it come to a quick weeknight dinner. Shredded chicken cooked in fiery fajita seasoning and tossed with sauteed peppers, onions and garlic is sandwiched in a crispy tortilla with melted cheese.
Weeknights are fleeting….the work day can tend to feel like it’s never going to end but when it does, the evening hours seem like they’ve been sped up with your time lapse setting on your phone. Am I right?
I always have BIG, big plans for dinner because I think about food all day long…it’s my job so at least I have a good excuse. And knowing my family will most likely not want leftovers…..or pudding for that matter when it’s time for dinner…I try to have something tasty on deck to whip up. The truth is, we tend to resort to the path of least resistance which ends up being either take out….or something equally easy like Chicken Quesadillas.
Any quesadilla recipe comes together quickly and simply….like a sandwich. But better because crispy, crunchy tortilla with melty, salty, buttery cheese is always better than a typical ham and cheese sandwich. But the fact that this Chicken Quesadilla is a fireball of epic flavor makes this one our go-to for quick and easy dinners.
Chicken Fajita Quesadillas come together simply with precooked chicken. You can grab a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store on the way home from work, then shred it up when you’re just about to cook dinner.
OR if you’re a meal prep fan like I’m trying to be lately, you can use this easy roast chicken recipe OR my new favorite SHREDDED Chicken recipe straight from the Instant Pot. Both options are super fantastic ways to get ahead on the weekend. Which, as I’m learning, is a crazy sanity saver during the week when you know take out may be your only option.
What is a quesadilla?
Literally meaning “little cheesy thing”, quesadillas originated in the northern and central region of Mexico in the 16th century. It’s, in a nutshell, a tortilla that’s been folded over and filled with cheese, meat or other ingredients before being pan-fried or baked.
They used corn tortillas, which had been around for a number of years, and filled them with squash or pumpkin for a sweet treat. (That actually sounds wonderful right about now!)
Later, taking a more savory twist with beef, chicken and veggie fillings they were baked in clay ovens, later becoming staples on the street food scene. Current day quesadilla are commonly filled with Oaxaca cheese which is, basically, Mexican mozzarella.
Now, quesadillas have taken many forms around the world. You can basically fill them with whatever your heart desires like these Spinach Artichoke Quesadillas I made years ago or these breakfast quesadillas filled with apples and brie!
How To Make Quesadillas
Fajita Chicken Quesadillas are super easy to make, especially if you already have precooked chicken at the ready. And if you make these easy Chicken Breasts early in the week, you can use the leftovers for this Chicken Quesadilla recipe even skipping the fajita seasoning since they’re already flavored up!
Here’s how to make a chicken quesadilla:
- Saute your veggies…I like to use peppers, onions, garlic and jalapenos but you can skip the jalapeno if you’re sensitive to heat.
- Reheat your cooked chicken in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of water and stir in the fajita seasoning. Set aside.
- Brush one side of a flour or corn tortilla with canola oil and place in a skillet over medium high heat.
- Add 3 tablespoons shredded cheese, 1/4 of the chicken, 1/4 of the veggies and 3 more tablespoons shredded cheese to one half of the tortilla.
- Fold the unfilled side of the tortilla up over the filling and cover the pan with a lid to melt the cheese.
- Cook the chicken quesadilla for 2-3 minutes or until the bottom of the tortilla is crisp and golden.
- Carefully flip the quesadilla over and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until crisp and golden.
- Cut the quesadilla with a sharp knife into quarters and serve immediately with chopped cilantro, chopped scallion, sour cream and salsa, if desired.
Sometimes we cut corners in our house to get these Chicken Fajita Quesadillas on the table even faster by making a double batch of Grilled Chicken Fajitas early in the week and then stuffing the leftover into the quesadilla. I can have dinner on the table in about 10 minutes on those nights. Now that’s a leisurely weeknight!
If you’re not much of a chicken fan, you can easily turn these into Steak Quesadillas and might I suggest just using leftovers from my Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas to get you started? See how I easy I make things for you?
Ingredients You Will Need
The ingredient list for these quesadillas is short and simple. You can use my homemade fajita seasoning or your favorite packet of fajita seasoning. It all depends on how much time you have even though the homemade version whips up in like 30 seconds flat. BUT this is a judgement free zone so you do you.
Here’s what you need to make Chicken Fajita Quesadillas:
- Cooked Shredded Chicken
- Green and Red Bell Pepper
- Fajita Seasoning Mix
- Red Onion
- Jalapeno (optional)
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Shredded Colby Jack Cheese
- Green onion, salsa, cilantro
Again, feel free to play with the ingredients….my husband LOVES black beans and corn in his quesadillas and my little guy likes just a plain old cheese quesadilla. That’s why I LOVE making quesadillas for dinner because everyone is happy.
Tips for Making the Best Chicken Quesadilla
- CHEESE – Cheddar cheese is an epic flavor booster in quesadillas but it tends to get a bit greasy. So, I like to do a blend of cheddar and colby jack with has the same melting cheesiness of mozzarella but not an overpowering flavor. If you can get your hands on Oaxaca cheese then it’s seriously epic in this Chicken Fajita Quesadilla recipe.
- TORTILLAS – While the go-to is usually a flour tortilla when it comes to quesadillas, corn tortillas are phenomenally better tasting. The corn gets a nutty, roasted quality to it when it’s in the pan while the flour tortilla tastes like….a flour tortilla. I used flour for this recipe because the size is larger and they fold nicely for photos. BUT I’m a fan of corn torillas while the rest of my family loves a flour tortilla. PLUS, corn tortillas are gluten free!
- CHEESE – YES, cheese again….this time is my warning for avoiding the urge to put too much cheese in your quesadilla. I’ve done it, it makes things slide all over the place, it makes your quesadilla too difficult to flip, it makes a big mess. So, stick to just a sprinkle….enough to hold everything together in perfect harmony.
- OIL – Cook your tortillas with a thin coating of oil painted lovingly over the outside surface of your quesadilla. Try to not use butter because butter contains water which can tend to make your tortilla limp, loose and not crispy at all. Oil, on the other hand, is pure fat so it’s going to help things get golden, crisp and perfect every single time. This is one of the only times I’ll say not to use butter.
More Easy Mexican Recipes
- Craving a soup? This Pozole Rojo is simple, quick and amazing.
- Cilantro Lime Rice is a great and easy side dish.
- No cooking required for this quick Shrimp Ceviche.
- BEST EVER Chicken Enchiladas are the make ahead meal of your dreams!
Get the Recipe: Fajita Style Chicken Quesadilla Recipe
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper , diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 2 cups shredded chicken breast
- 3 tbsp fajita seasoning
- 4 fajita sized flour tortillas, or corn tortillas
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- chopped scallions
- chopped cilantro
- sour cream
- 2 cups shredded cheddar
- 2 cups colby jack cheese
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a stainless steel skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the pepper and onions to the skillet. Cook the vegetables until softened and beginning to char.
- Stir in the garlic and jalapeno (if using). Cook for 1 minute. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and wipe the skillet clean.
- Add an additional 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and return to the heat. Add the chicken to the pan with 2 tablespoons water. Stir in the fajita seasoning and heat through, approximately 4-5 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken to a separate bowl and set aside. Wipe the skillet clean.
- Brush one side of each of the tortillas with canola oil to coat lightly.
- Return the skillet to the heat and place one tortilla in the pan. Sprinkle half the tortilla with 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar, 1/4 of the vegetables, 1/4 of the chicken and then top with 2 tablespoons shredded colby jack.
- Fold the unfilled side of the tortilla over the quesadilla filling and place a second tortilla in the pan. Repeat with the filling layers and then fold the tortilla over the quesadilla filling of the second tortilla.
- Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the tortilla is golden and crispy on the bottom. Carefully flip the quesadillas over and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.
- Cut the quesadillas into quarters and serve with chopped green onions, cilantro, jalapeno, sour cream and salsa, if desired.