Chicken quesadillas are a fast and family-friendly answer to the question, “What’s for dinner?” Simply pick up a deli-roasted chicken from your local grocery store, or reheat leftover chicken; shred or dice into small pieces; and add it during quesadilla assembly for a well-rounded meal that only takes minutes to prepare. Quesadillas can be customized in countless ways. Try adding sauteed onions and peppers; experiment with different shredded cheeses; or serve with your choice of dipping sauce, such as chipotle ranch dressing.
Shred deli-roasted chicken into small pieces, using your fingers to gently pull the meat apart, or dice leftover chicken into smaller pieces using a sharp knife. Heat cold chicken in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat until just warm. Transfer warmed chicken to a bowl and cover to keep warm until needed. If you plan on adding additional ingredients that need to be warmed or cooked, do so now and add them to the bowl to keep warm.
Heat a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add a pat of butter or a drizzle of olive or vegetable oil to the pan. Be careful not to add too much, as you only want the butter or oil to barely coat the bottom of the skillet. When the butter has melted and is bubbling or the oil shimmers with heat, add a large flour tortilla.
Sprinkle a small handful of shredded cheese onto half of the tortilla. Add a few pieces of chicken on top of the cheese, making sure to arrange in a single layer. If you have additional ingredients, add them now.
Watch the quesadilla as it cooks. When the cheese begins to melt, lift a corner of the tortilla with a spatula to check the underside. If the underside is dotted with golden-brown spots and is crisp, the tortilla is ready. This should take approximately 4 minutes.
Fold the quesadilla in half with a spatula. Remove the quesadilla from the pan and let cool for a minute on a cutting board. Cut the quesadilla into 4 pieces and serve with a side of salsa and guacamole.
- Customize your chicken quesadillas with the addition of ingredients such as green pepper, onions, cilantro, mushrooms, chorizo, black beans, bacon, steak or corn.
- Give quesadillas a spicy kick with the addition of jalapenos or hot sauce; add Asian inspiration with hoisin sauce and sautéed bok choy; or add a generous drizzle of barbecue sauce for a Southern twist.
- Serve quesadillas with a side of salsa, mango chutney, guacamole, sour cream, ranch dressing or bean dip.
- Let the quesadilla cool for a minute before taking a bite as the contents will be hot.
- Be careful not to overfill your quesadilla as doing so will result in a quesadilla that falls apart when you try to pick it up.
Christina Kalinowski is a writer from the Twin Cities who began her career in 2011. She contributes food and drink related articles to The Daily Meal. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from Purdue University.