A quesadilla is a popular Mexican dish made with tortillas and cheese that is often filled with various ingredients. When making quesadillas at home, there are many tasty fillings you can choose from to personalize this simple yet satisfying meal. Here are some ideas for delicious fillings to put in your quesadillas.
Meat makes a hearty and protein-packed filling for quesadillas. Here are some of the most popular meat choices:
Shredded rotisserie or grilled chicken is one of the most universally enjoyed quesadilla fillings. Make sure the chicken is cooked through and shredded into small pieces before adding it to the quesadilla. Season simply with salt and pepper or get creative with spices like cumin, chili powder or garlic powder.
Steak makes a more indulgent, meaty quesadilla filling. Flank or skirt steak are budget-friendly cuts that work well. Cook the steak to medium or medium-well, let it rest, then slice it thinly across the grain. Consider marinating it in lime juice, garlic and cilantro to infuse Mexican flavors.
Spicy Spanish-style chorizo sausage is a flavorful choice for quesadillas. Cook it up in a skillet until browned and add it to your quesadillas along with some of the drippings for extra flavor. Fresh Mexican chorizo also works well if you want a less processed option.
For authentic Mexican flavor, fill your quesadillas with carnitas, which are small pieces of flavorful braised or roasted pork. Purchase carnitas from a Mexican grocery store or make your own by cooking pork shoulder low and slow until fork tender and browned.
Ground beef is an accessible and budget-friendly choice for quesadillas. Cook it with taco seasoning and let any excess moisture evaporate before assembling your quesadillas so the tortillas don’t get soggy. Adding beans, rice or lettuce will provide some textural contrast.
For a quesadilla with extra richness and smokiness, add cooked bacon. Chop or crumble the bacon into smaller pieces. A sprinkling of fresh parsley or cilantro helps balance the saltiness.
Adding vegetables to your quesadillas boosts their nutritional value and provides fresh flavor. These are some tasty options:
Onions and Peppers
For quick quesadillas, saute sliced onions and bell peppers until softened and lightly browned. This filling tastes great on its own or paired with meat or beans. Customize the flavor with garlic, spices like cumin or chili powder, or fresh herbs.
Meaty mushrooms like cremini or portobello make a satisfying quesadilla filling. Saute them in butter or oil until softened and lightly browned, seasoning them with salt, pepper and thyme. Pair with fontina or gruyere cheese.
Get a taste of summer with corn quesadillas. Use fresh or frozen corn kernels sautéed with diced red onion, garlic, cumin and cayenne pepper. The mixture will be moist, so drain off any excess liquid before assembling the quesadillas.
Zucchini and Squash
For a lighter quesadilla, use grated or thinly sliced zucchini or yellow squash. Saute the squash until tender, seasoning it with chili powder, cumin, coriander and garlic. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the finished quesadillas.
Spinach and Kale
Leafy greens make a healthy and low-calorie quesadilla filling. Saute spinach or chopped kale with garlic and lemon juice until just wilted down. The greens will release moisture, so squeeze out excess liquid before filling your quesadillas.
Bean and Rice Fillings
Hearty beans and rice complete a quesadilla wonderfully. These combinations taste great:
Spreading refried pinto or black beans onto quesadillas adds creaminess and vegetarian protein. Season them with garlic, onions, cumin and chili powder. Serve with salsa, guacamole or sour cream.
For whole bean texture, use a can of drained and rinsed black beans. Saute them with diced onions, bell peppers, garlic, cumin and oregano until heated through before filling your quesadillas.
Pinto or Black Beans and Rice
This tasty duo provides contrasting textures and latin flavor. Make Mexican rice seasoned with garlic, onions and tomato. Then fill quesadillas with the rice and drained canned beans combined.
For a Tex-Mex style quesadilla, use cowboy beans loaded with bacon, ground beef, brown sugar and spices. The sweet and savory beans pair well with shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese.
Got leftover chili? Just spoon it into quesadillas for an easy weeknight dinner. The blend of spicy beef and beans tastes delicious between melted cheese in a tortilla.
For a fresh take on quesadillas, try some of these tasty seafood options:
Butterfly peeled shrimp and cook them quickly in olive oil with garlic, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and cilantro. Fill your quesadillas with the seasoned shrimp for a light, flavorful and fast filling.
Use lump crab meat for an elegant quesadilla filling. Fold it gently into the quesadilla with just a squeeze of lemon and fresh parsley so as not to overwhelm the delicate crab flavor. Pair with havarti or Swiss cheese.
Buttery lobster meat makes rich tasting quesadillas for a special occasion. Simply fold chunks of lobster meat into tortillas with cheese like brie or Gruyere and fresh tarragon or chives.
For an easy weeknight quesadilla, use a can of tuna fish drained of excess liquid. Flake it into the quesadilla with mayonnaise, lemon juice, diced celery, onion powder and black pepper.
Cook fresh salmon fillets and flake the meat into large chunks. Fill quesadillas with the salmon along with diced cucumber, onion and capers for brininess. A schmear of cream cheese tastes great too.
When it comes to cheese, you’ll want to choose options that melt well. Here are some excellent choices:
This melty white cheese is a quesadilla classic. Its mild flavor allows the other fillings to shine. Pepper jack adds a kick of heat.
For great melted texture and tangy flavor, reach for cheddar cheese. Aged sharp cheddar packs the most punch, while mild cheddar is more family-friendly.
Whether you use fresh mozzarella or low moisture shredded mozzarella, this cheese melts beautifully in quesadillas. The mild, milky flavor complements both meat and veggie fillings.
Also called asadero cheese, this braided white Mexican cheese has an appetizing melting texture. Its tang makes it a perfect match for meat fillings.
For a bolder flavored quesadilla, use Spanish Manchego cheese. Its buttery, salty character stands up well to chorizo, steak or shrimp.
This Italian cheese has an ultra-creamy texture when melted. Its earthy, nutty flavor goes well with heartier fillings like mushrooms.
Extra Flavor Boosters
Take your quesadillas to the next level with these easy add-ins:
A spoonful of tomato salsa, black bean salsa or mango salsa adds a punch of fresh flavor to quesadillas. Add it on top of or inside the quesadilla.
Creamy, buttery guacamole is delicious in quesadillas. Simply add a few spoonfuls along with your other fillings for cool richness. Homemade or store-bought both work well.
For spicy quesadillas, add sliced or chopped jalapeño peppers. Pickled jalapeños also provide tangy heat. Just take care not to overfill the quesadillas with liquid.
Amp up the heat even more with dashes of your favorite hot sauce layered into the quesadilla. Valentina, Tapatio and Cholula are some excellent Mexican options.
Fresh, bright cilantro adds Mexican flair to quesadillas. Chop it and sprinkle over your fillings before cooking for maximum flavor.
A squeeze of fresh lime juice right before eating quesadillas adds zesty citrus flavor. Lime zest also infuses a lovely, summery taste.
Sliced or mashed avocado makes quesadillas even richer. Add it on top of your quesadilla for cooling creaminess to contrast with hot melted cheese.
Tangy pickled red onions cut through the richness of quesadillas wonderfully. Just drain them well first so the tortillas don’t get soggy.
A dollop of sour cream adds a cooling tang to finished quesadillas. Mexican crema is even better with its hint of sweetness.
Sauteed onions lend fantastic flavor during cooking, but you can also add raw chopped onion on finished quesadillas for bite and zing.
Extras for Serving
Serve your quesadillas with any of these tasty extras:
A fresh tomato, red chili or verde salsa adds satisfying heat and flavor for dipping.
Creamy guacamole complements quesadillas wonderfully. Either homemade or store-bought work as dips.
Cool and tangy sour cream helps balance out the richness of the quesadillas.
Set out sliced or pickled jalapeños so people can add some heat to their quesadillas if desired.
Fresh lime wedges let people add a bright, citrusy spritz of juice over their plates.
Pico de Gallo
For a fresh topping, make pico de gallo with diced tomato, onion, cilantro and lime.
Buttery sliced avocado is a delicious topping for quesadillas.
Crisp shredded lettuce gives a cool, fresh crunch when added to quesadillas.
Sprinkle more chopped cilantro over quesadillas for color and herby flavor.
Serve homemade or store-bought Mexican rice alongside quesadillas for a heartier meal.
Warm refried beans pair wonderfully with quesadillas for an easy and traditional combo.
Putting It All Together
When constructing your quesadillas, aim for a balanced mix of flavors and textures. Play around with different ingredient combinations to discover your favorites. Here are some tasty combinations to try:
– Chicken, mushrooms, spinach, mozzarella and cheddar
– Steak, caramelized onions, Oaxaca cheese and avocado
– Chorizo, pinto beans, pepper jack, cilantro and pickled jalapeños
– Shrimp, black beans, corn, Monterey Jack, sour cream
– Carnitas, refried beans, tomatillo salsa, cotija cheese
– Zucchini, corn, black beans, queso fresco, guacamole
– Ground beef, cowboy beans, cheddar, lettuce and pico de gallo
The filling possibilities are endless for quesadillas. Use corn or flour tortillas depending on preference. Brush the outside of the tortillas lightly with oil before cooking for optimal browning and a crispy exterior texture. Cook the quesadillas in a skillet over medium heat until the cheese is fully melted and the tortillas are lightly browned and crispy on both sides. Then slice into wedges and serve with your favorite toppings and sides for a delicious homemade Mexican meal. With so many tasty fillings to choose from, the hardest part is deciding what to put in your quesadilla!