Easy Chicken Quesadillas

Quesadillas are one of my favorite quick and easy meals to throw together. This is a really basic version that you can customize however you like – use steak or tofu instead of chicken, use fancier cheese, add veggies, spice it up, whatever you prefer! It’s almost impossible to mess up, and gives you tons of leftovers.


  • Approx. 1 lb boneless chicken breast or tenders
  • Chicken broth or water
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce (or salsa if you prefer)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning or other mixed spices
  • Shredded taco/Mexican cheese blend
  • Tortillas
  • Hot sauce to taste (optional)
  • Sour cream, guacamole, whatever condiments you like (optional)

If you’re using chicken breasts instead of tenders, cut them into smaller strips or chunks so they’ll cook faster. In a large skillet or pan, heat a quarter cup of chicken stock or water (add a little salt, onion powder, and garlic powder to the water if you use it), then add the chicken in a single layer and cook covered for five minutes on med-high heat. After five minutes, flip the chicken pieces over, add more liquid if needed, replace the cover, and cook for an additional five minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a cutting board and rinse the pan to remove any excess fat. Roughly cut or shred the chicken into thin, bite sized pieces, then return to the pan over low heat. Add the tomato sauce or salsa, hot sauce to taste if you like, a quarter cup broth or water, and the taco seasoning, and stir until it’s heated through.

chicken in sauce
Starting to look good!

Once the chicken and sauce are heated through, you can start to assemble the quesadillas. On medium, preheat a flat griddle or other pan that’s larger than your tortillas (if it isn’t nonstick, it’s probably a good idea to brush on a little oil). On a plate, add a nice thick layer of cheese to your first tortilla, then a layer of chicken, and more cheese on top of the chicken. Be sure to leave some space between the pieces of chicken so the cheese can stick the tortillas together.

Tortilla with cheese and chicken
(Still needs second cheese layer.)

Carefully slide the whole shebang onto the heated griddle and add a second tortilla on top. Cook for several minutes, pressing down with a spatula to make sure the top tortilla sticks. When the cheese is melted and the bottom tortilla starts getting crispy, carefully flip the whole thing over and cook for a couple more minutes. If you’re making more than one, the later ones will probably cook faster so keep an eye on them.

quesadilla on the griddle
Hungry yet?

Ta-da! Cut into wedges and serve with your favorite side dish and condiments. Try to remember to breathe between bites!

finished quesadilla
Dig in!

You’ll probably have plenty of leftover chicken; you may just want to nuke the chicken for 30 seconds to a minute before assembling future batches. If you store the chicken in a plastic storage container, coat the inside with a thin layer of nonstick cooking spray to keep the tomato sauce from staining the plastic.

By [E] Hillary

Hillary is a giant nerd and former Mathlete. She once read large swaths of "Why Evolution is True" and a geology book aloud to her infant daughter, in the hopes of a) instilling a love of science in her from a very young age and b) boring her to sleep. After escaping the wilds of Waco, Texas and spending the next decade in NYC, she currently lives in upstate New York, where she misses being able to get decent pizza and Chinese takeout delivered to her house. She lost on Jeopardy.

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