Cheese Quesadilla

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On our many trips to Mexico, I learned the secrets to a perfect cheese quesadilla: the gooey, melty, golden, cheesy deliciousness. It’s become more than one of my standard go-to easy recipes for a busy weeknight, it’s a simple dinner I really love (especially with some avocado crema and a side of Instant Pot Mexican Rice).

Wedges of cheese quesadillas, accompanied by a small cup of avocado crema.

What Makes a Perfect Cheese Quesadilla?

A cheese quesadilla starts with a tortilla, typically a flour tortilla, that is warmed on a skillet or griddle. The tortilla is then generously showered (and I mean showered – no restrained sprinkle here) with a flavorful cheese, such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a Mexican cheese blend. The choice of cheese is crucial as it adds richness and gooeyness to the quesadilla.

Butter the tortilla like you would butter bread for a grilled cheese.

Once the cheese is added, the tortilla is folded over to create a half-moon shape, enclosing the filling. It is then cooked until the tortilla is golden brown and crispy on the outside, and the cheese inside has melted to a luscious, gooey consistency.

This is one of the easiest Mexican dishes to make and is total comfort food.

Gather Your Ingredients

Ready to get cooking? Let’s start by assembling the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Large Flour Tortillas: These will form the base and the top of your quesadillas, enclosing all that delicious filling. Quesadillas are also often made with fresh corn tortillas. If you can make or get your hands on them, DO IT.
  • Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend: This cheese is the heart and soul of your quesadilla. It melts beautifully, binding the tortillas together and providing a creamy, savory flavor. A Mexican cheese blend typically includes cheeses such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, queso quesadilla, asadero, Oaxaca, and cotija for a flavorful and melty combination. You can also use Tex Mex cheese blend, Monterey jack cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, and/or mozzarella cheese – any favorite melty cheeses will work.
  • Butter: This is used to crisp up the tortillas, giving them that golden-brown color and slightly crunchy texture. It adds such yummy flavor as the quesadilla toasts in the skillet (tastier than using, say, olive oil).
  • Optional Fillings: These extras let you customize your quesadilla. Add cooked veggies for a burst of flavor and color, or cooked meat for an extra protein punch. Beans or corn add a different texture and an extra layer of flavor.
  • Sour Cream, Guacamole, Salsa, or Pico de Gallo: optional, for serving. They complement the cheesy quesadilla, adding a refreshing tanginess, creaminess, or a hint of heat.
Ingredients for cheese quesadilla on a kitchen countertop, including flour tortillas, shredded Mexican cheese blend, and butter.

Should I Use Corn or Flour Tortillas for Quesadillas?

Both corn and flour tortillas can be used for quesadillas, but they offer slightly different experiences. Flour tortillas are softer, more pliable, and larger, often resulting in a fluffier quesadilla with more room for fillings. They also have a mild, slightly sweet flavor that lets the cheese and fillings shine.

Corn tortillas, on the other hand, are smaller, sturdier, and have a more pronounced flavor. They can add a delightful crunch to your quesadilla but might hold fewer fillings. If you’re aiming for a gluten-free meal, or simply want to enjoy the distinct taste of corn tortillas, they’re a fantastic option.

What’s The Best Cheese for Quesadillas?

When it comes to selecting the best cheese for quesadillas, you’ll want to choose one that melts well and complements the other ingredients in your quesadilla. Here are some top picks:

  1. Monterey Jack Cheese: This is a classic choice for quesadillas. It’s creamy, mild, and melts beautifully.
  2. Cheddar Cheese: A sharper option, cheddar can add depth of flavor. It’s often mixed with Monterey Jack.
  3. Colby Jack: This is a blend of Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses, resulting in a very smooth, mild flavor.
  4. Asadero or Queso Quesadilla: These are traditional Mexican cheeses that are creamy and great for melting.
  5. Mozzarella Cheese: This is a good option if you’re after a mild flavor and a lovely, stretchy texture.
  6. Oaxaca Cheese: Oaxaca cheese is a stringy and semi-soft Mexican cheese that originated in the region of Oaxaca, Mexico, known for its smooth, meltable texture and delicate, milky flavor, often used in dishes like quesadillas and melted cheese toppings.

Feel free to experiment with different cheeses until you find your favorite. Or, mix and match cheeses for a more complex flavor profile. Just make sure whichever cheese you choose, it melts well to create that irresistible, ooey-gooey texture we all love in a good quesadilla.

Wedges of cheese quesadillas, accompanied by a small cup of avocado crema.

Best Additional Fillings for Quesadillas

Quesadillas are incredibly versatile and can be filled with a wide variety of ingredients. Of course, a quesadilla starts with a good melting cheese. Try cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a Mexican blend for optimal meltiness and flavor. If you want to fill it up with more tasty add-ins, here are some crowd-pleasing suggestions:

  1. Protein: Cooked chicken (leftover from chicken tacos), grilled steak, or diced ham can add substance and protein to your quesadilla. My favorite add-in in Mexico was fresh chorizo. Crumbled bacon is also delicious.
  2. Vegetables: Sauteed onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms are popular choices, as are fresh tomatoes, spinach, or corn.
  3. Beans: Black or pinto beans can add a hearty touch to your quesadilla. I often use drained, canned black beans or refried beans.

Remember, the key to a great quesadilla is balance. You don’t want to overfill your tortilla or the ingredients will spill out during cooking. Also, a mix of textures and flavors—creamy, crunchy, spicy, sweet—will make for the most satisfying bite. Top with fresh cilantro if you’re feeling fancy.

Essential Tools

To prepare these quesadillas, you’ll need a large skillet or griddle, a spatula, and a pizza cutter, kitchen scissors or chef’s knife for cutting it up. Simple tools for a simple yet satisfying dish.

How to Make the Ultimate Cheese Quesadilla: Easy Step-by-Step Directions

Now that we’ve got our ingredients, let’s dive into the process:

In a preheated large skillet or griddle over medium heat, place a buttered flour tortilla, buttered side down. Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded cheese evenly over the tortilla, along with any additional fillings if desired.
  • Preheat the Skillet: This is the first step towards achieving that perfect crispy exterior. Preheating ensures an even cooking temperature from the get-go.
  • Butter and Fill the Tortillas: Butter one side of the tortilla and place it buttered-side down in the skillet. This gives the tortilla a golden-brown crust and prevents it from sticking to the skillet. Add cheese to one half of the circle and fold the empty side over top of the cheese.
  • Cook Until Golden Brown: You’ll cook the quesadilla until the bottom tortilla is golden and the cheese begins to melt. Then, you’ll flip it carefully to cook the other side.
  • Cut and Serve: Once both sides are cooked to golden perfection, remove the quesadilla from the skillet, let it cool slightly, and then cut it into wedges.
The empty side is folded over the cheese with the buttered side facing upwards. Cooking until the bottom tortilla turns golden brown and the cheese begins to melt takes about 2-3 minutes. The quesadilla is then gently flipped and cooked until the second side also turns golden brown and the cheese is fully melted, which takes an additional 2-3 minutes. It is removed from the skillet and allowed to cool for a minute. The quesadilla is then cut into wedges using kitchen scissors, a pizza cutter, or a sharp knife.

Expert Tips for Making Perfect Cheese Quesadillas

  1. Use the Right Cheese: The ideal cheese for quesadillas is one that melts well. Monterey Jack, cheddar cheese, and Colby are great choices, and authentic Mexican cheese options like quesadilla cheese, queso de bola, or asadero are obviously fantastic. Mozzarella is an excellent melter (not traditional, but good!). If you want a dramatic cheese pull, add a few cubes of cheese instead of just shredded cheese.
  2. Don’t Overstuff: Less is more when it comes to filling quesadillas. Too much filling can lead to a messy outcome. An even layer of cheese (and a restrained amount of additional fillings) will allow the quesadilla to cook evenly and the fillings to distribute properly when melting.
  3. Pre-Cook Any Additional Fillings: If you’d like to include ingredients like onions, bell peppers, or mushrooms, cook them before adding them to your quesadilla. This will remove excess moisture that can make your quesadilla soggy, and it will also enhance the flavors of these ingredients.
  4. Use a Hot Pan and Watch the Heat: Cook your quesadillas over medium heat. Too low, and the tortilla won’t crisp up. Too high, and the tortilla may burn before the cheese has a chance to melt. A preheated medium-hot pan will give you a perfectly crisp tortilla and melted cheese.
  5. Flip with Care: Flipping a quesadilla can be tricky. Use a wide spatula and do it with confidence, but not too aggressively to avoid the fillings from spilling out. Alternatively, you can use a second pan or plate to assist with the flip: place it over the top of the quesadilla, flip the pan so the quesadilla is on the plate, then slide it back into the pan.

Follow these tips, and you’ll have perfect quesadillas every time!

How to Air Fry a Quesadilla

I do love an air fryer cheese quesadilla on a busy night. To cook a cheese quesadilla in an air fryer, follow these steps:

  1. Preheat your air fryer to the recommended temperature, usually around 375°F (190°C).
  2. Take a flour tortilla and place it on a clean surface or a plate.
  3. Sprinkle your desired amount of cheese evenly over half of the tortilla, leaving a border around the edges.
  4. Fold the tortilla in half to create a half-moon shape, enclosing the cheese.
  5. Lightly press down on the folded quesadilla to ensure it stays together.
  6. Place the quesadilla in the air fryer basket or tray, making sure it is not overlapping or touching the sides.
  7. Cook the quesadilla in the preheated air fryer for about 5-7 minutes, or until the tortilla turns crispy and golden brown and the cheese is melted. Flip halfway through.

What Goes With Quesadillas? Here are Some Tasty Serving Suggestions.

Once you’ve prepared your easy cheese quesadillas, it’s time to think about presentation and accompaniments. A quesadilla alone makes a satisfying snack, but add a side or two, and you’ve got a full-fledged meal. Consider serving your quesadillas with:

  • Cilantro Lime Crema or Sour cream: This creamy addition adds a cooling effect, perfect for balancing out any spicy fillings.
  • Guacamole: The creaminess and fresh flavor of guacamole complement the richness of the quesadilla. I also love Avocado Crema.
  • Salsa or pico de gallo: These add a tangy, fresh contrast to the warm, cheesy quesadilla.
  • Salad: A simple green salad or a vibrant Mexican salad can make this dish feel more like a complete meal.
  • Mexican rice: Traditional Mexican side that complements the flavors in the quesadilla and makes the meal more filling.
Serving ideas for cheese quesadilla include accompaniments like guacamole, Mexican rice, and cilantro lime crema.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Storing leftovers is a breeze with this recipe. Simply place any leftover quesadilla wedges in an airtight container and refrigerate. They’ll keep for about 3 days. To reheat, pop them in a toaster oven or back into the skillet over low heat until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is crispy again.

I like to batch meal prep simple cheese quesadillas for my kids’ lunch boxes. Daycare will reheat them, but the big kids even eat them cold.

How to Freeze and Reheat Quesadillas

To freeze quesadillas, let them cool completely first. Then, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. They can stay fresh in the freezer for up to two months.

When you’re ready to reheat the quesadillas, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the frozen quesadillas on a baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until they’re heated through and the cheese is melty (now they’re kinda like my favorite Crispy Baked Ground Chicken Tacos).

You can also reheat them in a skillet over medium heat, just be sure to flip them occasionally for even warming. Whichever method you choose, there’s no need to thaw them first!

A Note on Variations

One of the best things about quesadillas is how flexible they are. You can switch up the cheese—try cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a spicy pepper jack cheese. Change the tortillas—whole wheat, spinach, or even gluten-free options work well. And don’t forget about fillings—cooked chicken, beef, shrimp, roasted vegetables, black beans, corn, or fresh herbs can all take your quesadilla to new heights.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cheese Quesadillas

What kind of cheese is used in quesadillas?

Traditionally, quesadillas are made with a Mexican cheese blend. However, you can use any cheese that melts well. Monterey Jack, cheddar, and mozzarella are popular choices.

What goes good inside a quesadilla?

Almost anything! Try adding cooked chicken, beef, or veggies for added flavor and nutrition. Black beans, corn, and fresh herbs also make great additions.

What block cheese is best for quesadillas?

If you prefer to grate your own cheese, choose a block of Monterey Jack, cheddar, or Colby Jack. These cheeses have great melting properties.

What makes a quesadilla Mexican?

Quesadillas are Mexican because of their origins in Mexican cuisine. They typically feature tortillas and Mexican cheeses, along with other fillings and flavors common in Mexican food.

What kind of cheese do Mexican restaurants use for quesadillas?

Many Mexican restaurants use a blend of Mexican cheeses for their quesadillas, often including quesadilla cheese, a creamy, smooth-melting cheese with a mild flavor.

What white cheese goes in the quesadilla?

Queso fresco, a mild, crumbly white cheese, is often used.

Do real Mexican quesadillas have cheese?

Absolutely! The word “quesadilla” itself means “little cheesy thing” in Spanish.

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5 from 1 vote

Cheese Quesadilla

The perfect cheese quesadilla: gooey, melty, golden deliciousness. Learn how to make the ultimate cheese quesadilla with this easy recipe.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 11 minutes
Servings: 4 Quesadillas


  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend or a mix of cheddar and other favorite melty cheeses, like Monterey Jack
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Sour cream guacamole, salsa, or pico de gallo for serving
  • Optional fillings: cooked onions bell peppers, mushrooms, jalapenos, cooked chicken or beef, beans, corn, chopped tomatoes, or any other favorite ingredients
Save this recipe!
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  • Preheat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat.
  • Butter one side of a flour tortilla. Place the tortilla, buttered side down, in the skillet.
  • Sprinkle a generous amount of cheese (about 1/2 cup) evenly over the tortilla. If you’re using additional fillings, add them on top of the cheese now. Don’t overfill, or the quesadilla may be difficult to flip.
  • Fold the empty side over the top of the cheese with the buttered side facing upwards.
  • Cook until the bottom tortilla is golden brown and the cheese starts to melt, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Carefully flip the quesadilla and cook until the second side is golden brown and the cheese is fully melted, another 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from the skillet and let it cool for a minute. Use kitchen scissors, a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the quesadilla into wedges.



Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 752mg | Potassium: 94mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 683IU | Calcium: 700mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Maria says:

    5 stars
    These cheese quesadillas are so quick and tasty. It’s the only thing my toddler will eat right now lol.