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Make Quesadillas at Home (Plus an Easy Tortilla Recipe)

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It's easy to make quesadillas at home, and homemade quesadillas are one of my sons' favorite meals.

When we have leftover chicken or beef from a meal, quesadillas are one of the boys’ favorite “leftover makeovers”. They were one of the first dishes that my guys learned to make on their own.

homemade quesadillas

I don’t always make tortillas from scratch, but it nice to have the option in case we decide to have Mexican food and don’t have any tortillas in the house. (My favorite grocery store is about 20 minutes away, so it’s not exactly convenient to pick up random items.)

If you plan to do quesadillas on a regular basis, they have funky little quesadilla makers to make the process even easier, but a large fry pan will do.

Easy for Kids to Assemble

My youngest has been crowned “Quesadilla King” of the house for his prowess in converting the blank template of a tortilla into a cheesy, saucy snack (or meal).

Somewhere I have a lovely photo of the first one Dunc ever made – which was charred to black on the outside. He scraped off the char and enjoyed it anyway. (Waste not, want not.)

Since then, he’s gotten much better, to the point where my husband will specifically request that he makes the quesadillas. (This may be a clever ploy to make sure the boys are involved with making dinner, but I’m not complaining.)

How to Make Quesadillas

I make no claims to this being “authentic” quesadilla recipe, but it's tasty, easy and a great way to use up leftover meat that's not enough to make a meal on its own. A chicken quesadilla will run you several bucks, even at a fast food joint, and homemade tastes better.

Choose Your Tortilla

Start with a tortilla of your choice – homemade or store bought, wheat flour, gluten free, etc. We like a good sized flour tortilla because it's easier to fold and slice into wedges.

Decide on Fillings

Prep a mix of cooked, finely chopped meat or refried beans and a little salsa, chipotle sauce or seasoning of your choice. Add veggies if you like, such as chopped bell pepper or red onion.

Don't use too much salsa, or the filling will be runny.

Shred cheese or cheeses of your choice – we normally use a good local mild cheddar cheese that melts very well. Monterey jack cheese is another favorite.

Assembling and Cooking

Spread meat, refried bean, and veggies on half of one side of the tortilla, and top filling with grated cheese.

Preheat skillet on medium high heat. Add olive oil or butter in the pan. Place the half-filled tortilla in preheated, greased pan.

Alternatively, you can put the tortilla in the pan first and then spread the filling on, as larger tortillas may get a little floppy and difficult to move.

Don't spread it too thick, or all the filling will pop out the sides when you slice it, and the cheese will take a LONG time to melt.

Place a lid on the pan and heat through until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is golden brown.

Fold the tortilla over the filling, transfer the quesadilla to a plate, slice and enjoy. Top with sour cream if you like, and serve warm. The process is easy enough for a teenage boy to master.

Those with quesadilla makers can follow the cooking directions from the manufacturer.

Make Quesadillas Your Way

Once you've mastered the basic process, you can mix and match any way you like with different meats, different cheeses and different sauces.

Use your imagination – or get a quesadilla cookbook and use someone else's imagination. 😉

Homemade quesadillas don't have to stick to savory fillings. You can mix things up with cream cheese, cinnamon sugar and thinly sliced apples or dried apple slices.

Quesadilla literally translates to “little cheesy thing”, so you can experiment with all sorts of cheesy goodness.

Quesadilla making is a great way to get kids involved with cooking and mix things up for family nights.

homemade flour tortillas

Easy Flour Tortilla Recipe

Makes 10-12 tortillas.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups white or whole wheat flour or half each
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder (optional)
  • 1/3 cup lard, coconut oil or  shortening
  • 1 to 1-1/4 cups water

Directions

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. The baking powder is optional, but will make the tortillas lighter. Cut in the lard with a pastry blender or fork; mix until crumbly.

Add enough water to form a soft dough. You may need to use a little more or less depending on your flour, just don’t get it too sticky. Knead the dough ball about 20 times. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 10-12 equal balls. Let balls rest on a sheet of wax paper or clean, well-floured surface while rolling the rest of the balls.

Roll each ball into a 6-7 inch diameter circle, spreading the dough as thinly as possible.

rolling out flour tortillas

Carefully lift tortilla and place into a hot, dry skillet.

Cook 30 seconds to 2 minutes, until pan side is dry with a few brown spots. Flip and cook the second side in a similar manner.

Place the finished tortilla in a sealed container or large food storage bag.

Note:  Homemade tortillas will be less flexible than store tortillas. To help make them more pliable, place them in a covered container or sealed plastic storage bag as they finish cooking and allow them to sit in the steam.

Repeat the process with the rest of the tortillas.

Rolling Tips

If I have room on the counter, I roll out several of the tortillas before I start cooking, so I can keep them moving in and out of the pan quickly.

Whole wheat flour will also make the tortillas a little less flexible and likely to break, so it may be easier to work with white flour first and gradually add more whole wheat as you become more experienced.

The dough make be made up to 24 hours ahead and left to “soak” in a sealed container in the refrigerator for better digestibility. (Soaking reduces phytates.)

Bring chilled dough to room temperature before rolling.

Print

Flour Tortillas

Easy to make flour tortillas are great for homemade quesadillas and other Mexican meals.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 1012 tortillas 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 cups white or whole wheat flour or half each
  • 11/2 teaspoons salt
  • 11/2 teaspoons baking powder (optional)
  • 1/3 cup lard, coconut oil or shortening
  • 1 to 1-1/4 cups water

Instructions

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. The baking powder is optional, but will make the tortillas lighter. Cut in the lard with a pastry blender or fork; mix until crumbly.
  2. Add enough water to form a soft dough. You may need to use a little more or less depending on your flour, just don’t get it too sticky. Knead the dough ball about 20 times. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into 10-12 equal balls. Let balls rest on a sheet of wax paper or clean, well-floured surface while rolling the rest of the balls.
  4. Roll each ball into a 6-7 inch diameter circle, spreading the dough as thinly as possible.
  5. Carefully lift tortilla and place into a hot, dry skillet.
  6. Cook 30 seconds to 2 minutes, until pan side is dry with a few brown spots. Flip and cook the second side in a similar manner.
  7. Place the finished tortilla in a sealed container or large food storage bag. Repeat the process with the rest of the tortillas.

Notes

  • If I have room on the counter, I roll out several of the tortillas before I start cooking, so I can keep them moving in and out of the pan quickly.
  • Whole wheat flour will also make the tortillas a little less flexible and likely to break, so it may be easier to work with white flour first and gradually add more whole wheat as you become more experienced.
  • The dough make be made up to 24 hours ahead and left to “soak” in a sealed container in the refrigerator for better digestibility. (Soaking reduces phytates.) Bring chilled dough to room temperature before rolling.

Did you make this recipe?

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homemade quesadillas

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Originally published in 2010, last updated in 2020.

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11 Comments

  1. Hi Laurie……looks so delicious. I'll have to come back and take a look at this next week. Packed and ready to take off in the morning for a conference for a few days
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Pamela

  2. Thanks for stopping by ladies. These are also great because the whole grains and soaking make them more filling, too. One tortilla normally fills me up (although my almost teen boys can pack away several ;-).

  3. Hi. I found your blog by following links. I saw the homemade soaked grain tortilla post over at Katie's too, and have it marked for a future try. Your quesadillas look great!

    I also want to extend condolences for the loss of your Mom.

  4. Thank you for your kind words, Leigh, and thanks for stopping by. I wish mom could have been around for more of my "real food" journey, but it's been great meeting so many new "sisters" who share the same interests. I'm starting to get my own sisters and brothers on the bandwagon, too. 🙂 Sharing food is a great way to make memories.

  5. Wow. I didn’t expect this article to be so old when I got the link in my email today. Anyway…if anyone is still reading this, keep in mind that you can use just about any leftover meat for your quesadilla. I was desperate one night for a snack and used my leftover meatloaf. It was delicious!!

    1. Through the wonder of updated images and improved SEO, old posts can be made new again in the eyes of pinterest and google. It’s like magic! Maybe not as magical as a meatloaf quesadilla, but I’ve seen updated posts get more traffic than the originals ever did.

  6. Hi,
    This recipe sounded so amazing. Thanks for sharing every details clearly. I couldn’t wait to try for my parents.
    Thanks once again!

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