Easy Cheese Quesadilla Recipe (With Filling Ideas)

Cheesy, crispy and easy to make with just 2 ingredients, this cheese quesadilla recipe is a great go-to snack, lunch, or appetizer – plain or jazzed up with your favorite fillings.

We have lots of ideas for sweet and savory combinations. But if you’re sticking to an easy recipe for quesadillas with just cheese, it will be all about the dips to add a burst of flavor.

cheese quesadilla wedges on plate with sour cream.

Quesadillas are a classic Mexican dish and totally adaptable with different tortillas, cheeses, veggies, meats, condiments and toppings. Oaxaca cheese is used in traditional Mexican quesadillas, but any melty cheese will work well. Queso means cheese in Spanish.

For a fabulous, unique combination, try our easy cheesy chicken quesadilla recipe with rotisserie chicken, brie cheese, peach slices, sweet chili sauce and fresh basil. So good!

What to expect

  1. In a nutshell: You are pan-frying 2 simple ingredients – tortillas and cheese – for quick quesadillas. Place a tortilla in a heated skillet, add cheese to half of it, fold it over and cook both sides until browned and crisp.
  2. Choose what you like: You can get creative with various filling combinations or keep it simple.
  3. Cook time will depend on how large your skillet is and how many quesadillas you’re making.
  4. The best way to eat quesadillas is right after they are cooked and cooled for a couple of minutes (so you don’t burn your mouth). The tortillas will be crispy and the cheese will be oozing. If doing cheese-only, serve with a dip.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

tortillas, grated cheese, chopped green onions

Tortillas – these come in small, medium and large sizes. Use whatever fits your skillet. Flour tortillas are more common and easy to work with. Corn tortillas are a bit more delicate.

Cheese: Any melty cheese will do such as Mozarella cheese, Cheddar cheese, Monterey jack cheese, Colby jack, a Mexican grated blend, Gruyere, Brie, Fontina, Havarti. Queso panela, queso fresco, paneer, halloumi, feta, cotija, ricotta and soft goat cheese DON’T melt very well.

Dipping ideas: see ‘what to serve with cheese quesadillas’ below.

Additional filling ideas

Here’s a starter list for sweet and savory filling combinations. Root around your fridge to see what your have. Or think about what else you’re serving to complement the quesadillas.

Sweet and savory combos

Savory combos

  • salsa (or fresh diced tomatoes) and cheese
  • olive Tepanade and cheese
  • sauteed veggies (onions, peppers, mushrooms) and cheese
  • caramelized onions and mozzarella
  • Mediterranean flavors – feta, tomatoes, olives, red onion, cheese
  • eggplant spread and cheese
  • pulled pork and cheddar
  • refried black beans and cheese

Step by step instructions

There are two ways to make quesadillas in a skillet.

  1. The half circle method (pictured below) – where you fill half the tortilla and fold it over.
  2. The whole method – where you fill the entire tortilla and place a second tortilla on top.

Which is better? Both methods are good. If using medium to large tortillas, I prefer the half circle method because it’s the easiest way to flip them in a skillet, especially if you are using several fillings.

tortilla in a skillet
Heat up a large large skillet. Spray with oil and place tortilla in the nonstick skillet oil side down to heat for 2 minutes. It will begin to puff up a bit. See the air pockets?
tortilla with cheese and green onion on skillet
Add grated cheese on top of half of the tortilla. Green onions are optional.
tortilla with cheese folded in half on skillet.
Fold tortilla in half to cover the filling.
two cheese tortillas folded in half in skillet.
Add a second tortilla in the same way.
two folded quesadillas with cheese flipped over and golden brown in skillet.
Cook for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown and cheese melts.
cheese quesadilla wedges on plate with sour cream.
Transfer to a cutting board and cut into wedges with a pizza cutter or knife. Serve with your favorite dip.
cheese quesadilla wedges on plate with sour cream.
This quesadilla has a mix of orange and white cheddar cheese.

Tip

Don’t add too many layers (or thick layers) to the quesadilla as it won’t heat well.

Alternatively, heat or cook the filling ingredients first before you add them.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use store bought pre-shredded cheese for quesadillas?

It’s best to grate the cheese yourself as it will melt more quickly than pre-shredded store bought cheese which is coated with a cellulose powder to prevent it from sticking together. Both will work though.

What are some Mexican cheeses used in quesadillas?

Traditional or authentic Mexican cheese for quesadillas include oaxaca, manchego, queso asadero and chihuahau cheese.

How can I reduce the calories and fat in a cheese quesadilla?

To reduce calories and fat in cheese tortillas, use low carb tortillas, low fat cheese and don’t add oil or butter to the pan.

What healthy ingredients can I add to a cheese quesadilla?

A few healthy fillings to add to a cheese quesadilla are black beans, salsa, avocado, sauteed veggies and tomatoes.

What to serve with cheese quesadillas

A simple cheese quesadilla definitely needs a bold dip as it is fairly bland and one-note if you don’t add other fillings. Here are a few dips to try.

Serve this easy cheese quesadilla recipe with a fresh homemade gazpacho.

Shortcuts

Buy shredded cheese. You can also buy many of the suggested fillings or dips.

Make ahead

quesadilla wedges separated by parchment paper in a stack.

To freeze: Cool, separate wedges with parchment paper in between, place in an airtight container or bag, then freeze.

To reheat: See instructions for 3 methods in the recipe card below.

cheese quesadilla wedges on plate with sour cream.

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟with a comment in the recipe card below. Thanks so much!

cheese quesadilla wedges on plate with sour cream.
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5 from 5 votes

Cheese Quesadilla Recipe

Cheesy, crispy and easy to make with just 2 ingredients, this cheese quesadilla recipe is a great go-to snack, lunch, or appetizer – plain or jazzed up with your favorite fillings.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time17 minutes
Course: Appetizer, appetizers, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 flour tortillas, Note 1 6-10 inches/15-25 cm
  • 2 cups grated cheese, Note 2 (you may need more for larger tortillas)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions, optional (or chives)

Optional additional filling ideas, Note 3

Instructions

  • MAKE THE QUESADILLAS: Heat 10-12 inch/25-35 cm cast iron or large nonstick skillet to medium heat. Spray skillet with oil. Warm up 2 tortillas for a minute on one side (do one tortilla at a time). Tortillas will puff up a little. Place both tortillas in skillet, letting part hang over the side if needed. Sprinkle cheese (and green onions if using) on half of each tortilla. Note 3 to add other fillings. Fold over each tortilla to make two half circles. Let cook for about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown with melted cheese. Transfer to cutting board. If you're making a larger batch, keep warm on a baking sheet in low heat oven.
    Repeat with 2 remaining tortillas.
  • SERVE: Cut each quesadilla into 4-6 wedges (depending on size of tortillas), slicing down firmly with a knife or a pizza cutter. Serve with a dip, Note 4.

Recipe Notes

  1. Tortillas – these come in small, medium and large sizes. Use whatever fits your skillet. Flour tortillas are more common and easy to work with. Corn tortillas are a bit more delicate.
  2. Cheese: Any melty cheese will do such as Mozarella, Cheddar, Monterey jack, Colby jack, a Mexican grated blend, Gruyere, Brie, Fontina, Havarti. How much you need: 2 cups grated cheese = ~ 8 ounces or 226 grams. As a guideline, you will need 1/2 – 3/4 cup (or more) grated cheese per tortilla depending on the size of the tortilla and your preferences. If adding other fillings, you may only need the lower amount.Β 
  3. Additional filling ideas
    • Sweet and savory combos
    • Savory combos
      • salsa and cheese
      • fresh chopped tomatoes, Dijon and cheese
      • olive tepenade and cheese
      • sauteed veggies (onions, peppers, mushrooms) and cheese
      • caramelized onions and mozzarella
      • Mediterranean flavors – feta, tomatoes, olives, red onion, cheese
      • eggplant spread and cheese
      • pulled pork and cheddar
      • refried black beans, onions and cheese
    • Dipping options:Β sour cream dip (any kind), sriracha aioli (2 minutes), guacamole, herb sauce (5 minutes), chunky tomato sauce, red pepper sauce and dip (5 minutes), salsa
    • Make ahead
      • To freeze: Cool, separate wedges with parchment paper in between, place in and airtight container or bag and freeze.
      • To reheat: Stovetop – heat on medium-high heat for 1 minute per side. Microwave – on High in 30 second increments (it won’t be crisp this way). Toaster oven – preheat the oven to 350Β°F/177C and place the quesadilla on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, flipping it once, until it’s hot and the cheese is melted.
    Β 
    Nutrition values are estimates based on a nutrition calculator using flour tortillas and grated cheddar cheese. To reduce calories and fat, use low carb tortillas and low fat cheese.Β 

    Nutrition

    Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 591mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 596IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 445mg | Iron: 1mg
    Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!
    5 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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