These spicy Chicken quesadillas packed with shredded chicken, black beans, corn, and cheese are the perfect easy weeknight meal! Make them in a skillet, baked in the oven, or a sheet pan version to feed a crowd.
386 CAL 37g CARBS 16g FAT 23g PROTEIN 8
Spicy Chicken Quesadillas Recipe
This time of year can be so busy and I am always looking for quick and easy meals that I can throw together. These Spicy Chicken Quesadillas with melty cheese, spicy chipotle chicken, black beans, and corn are so good and so easy!
They taste so much better than your basic chicken and cheese quesadillas and only take about 5 more minutes of prep.
The other thing I love about these quesadillas is that it is so easy to switch things up to make everyone happy. Leave out the chipotle peppers for kids or those who don’t love spice (or try these healthy chicken quesadillas). Add some extra veggies for anyone eating healthy. Make some vegetarian for non-meat eaters.
Plus there are three different ways to make these, depending on how many people you are serving. Make them in a skillet if you only need 1 or 2 servings. Bake them in the oven for a family meal. Or make a sheet pan version to feed a crowd.
Why You’ll Love These Spicy Chicken Quesadillas
- Ready in 15 minutes: Without any difficulty chopping or prepping, these quesadillas truly are a 15-minute meal that’s packed with protein and fiber.
- Versatile: Change up the fillings, veggies, and salsa to make these quesadillas work for anyone! Make some spicy and some mild. Add extra veggies. Try different proteins. This is a great clean out the fridge and pantry meal.
- Freezer friendly: Quesadillas are one of the best freezer meals for busy homes. Make a double or triple batch and freeze extras for future meals.
Ingredients and Easy Swaps
Here is everything you need to make these spicy chipotle chicken quesadillas.
- Chicken: This recipe works with any kind of cooked chicken. Normally I reach for leftover shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken. Swap in any cooked protein including ground turkey, ground beef, or deli meat. Or make it vegetarian with just beans,
- Diced tomatoes: Instead of salsa, I used diced tomatoes with green chilies (like Rotel) to add flavor, heat, and moisture. Swap in thick and chunky salsa or any diced tomatoes, just make sure to drain them or the quesadilla will end up soggy.
- Black beans: Black beans add fiber and protein to these quesadillas. Use pinto beans, black beans, chickpeas, or any other cooked beans you like.
- Corn: Corn adds a pop of color and some sweetness to the quesadillas that balances the spice. Fresh corn, canned corn, or defrosted frozen corn all work.
- Chipotle peppers: These spicy chicken quesadillas get their spice from canned chipotle peppers in adobo. Chipotle peppers are spicy and smoky, adding tons of flavor. If you don’t love chipotle peppers, swap in diced jalapeno peppers (fresh or pickled) or add chili powder to taste.
- Cilantro: Cilantro brightens things up and adds a pop of color and fresh flavor. Leave it out if you don’t love cilantro, it will still have plenty of flavor.
- Tortillas: Quesadillas are typically made with flour tortillas. These work with any kind of tortillas including corn tortillas, low-carb tortillas, and wraps.
- Cheese: Any good melting cheese can be used in quesadillas. Pepper jack adds another layer of spicy flavor, but uses cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, Oaxaca cheese, asadero cheese, Mexican cheese blend, or Monterey jack cheese.
Three Methods for Making Chicken Quesadillas
Although normally we think about making quesadillas right in a pan, there are a few different ways to make these spicy chicken quesadillas.
1. Skillet Quesadillas (Best for 1-2 Quesadillas)
This is the classic way to make quesadillas. Heat a cast iron (or heavy) skillet over medium-high heat. Add a touch of butter or oil if you like, although I find it isn’t necessary since the oil from the cheese will toast the outside of the tortilla.
Once the pan is hot, add the tortilla. Add a small layer of cheese, then add the spicy chicken mixture, and then add another thin layer of cheese. Add the second tortilla on top (or fold over if making smaller quesadillas).
Cook for about 3-4 minutes on the first side until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is golden brown. Carefully flip the tortilla and cook for about 2 minutes on the other side until golden brown.
2. Baked Quesadillas (Best for 4-6 Quesadillas)
If you are making quesadillas for more than one or two people, baking them in the oven is the way to go. Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees.
Prep the spicy chicken filling and slightly warm the tortillas in a moist towel in the microwave so they don’t rip. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray or cover with parchment paper.
Add the flour tortilla and cover one-half with a thin layer of cheese. Add the chicken filling and top with another layer of cheese. Fold over and repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Spray the tops with cooking spray or brush with olive oil or melted butter. Bake for 8 minutes. Then flip over and bake for another 8 minutes or until the cheese is melted, the filling is warmed through, and the tortillas are golden brown.
3. Sheet Pan Quesadillas (Best for a Crowd)
If you are feeding a crowd or making quesadillas for a party, sheet pan quesadillas are the way to go! Bake a whole pan of quesadillas and then cut them into individual squares.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or brush with oil or melted butter.
Layer the flour tortillas on the baking sheet, overlapping as needed, so that the entire baking sheet is covered and half of the tortillas overhang the rim on all edges.
Add a layer of cheese on the bottom and then add the spicy chicken filling. Cover with more cheese on top. Then add 1-2 flour tortillas in the center, slightly overlapping. Fold in all the overhanging edges so that the filling is completely covered. Spray with cooking spray or brush with oil or melted butter.
Place another baking sheet on top of the quesadilla to weigh it down and create a crispy top layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the top baking sheet and bake for an additional 5 minutes until golden brown.
Recipe Variations: Buffalo, Chipotle, and More
There are so many ways to make these spicy chicken quesadillas. Here are some of our favorite recipe variations.
- Buffalo Chicken: Instead of adding diced tomatoes and chipotle peppers, add buffalo sauce to taste to make buffalo chicken quesadillas. Then serve the quesadillas with homemade skinny ranch, blue cheese dressing, or extra buffalo wing sauce.
- Chipotle chicken: For even more chipotle flavor, add a pinch of chipotle chili powder to the mixture and serve with creamy chipotle sauce.
- Extra veggies: Saute some diced bell peppers and onions to add extra veggies. Or consider adding sauteed zucchini, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, or butternut squash.
- Vegetarian: Skip the chicken for a vegetarian version of these spicy quesadillas.
- Creamy chicken: Add a few dollops of sour cream, Greek yogurt, or cream cheese to the chicken filling for a creamier option.
Toppings, Salsa, and More
Just like tacos, quesadillas taste even better with toppings and salsa. Here are some we love to add:
How to Freeze Quesadillas
One of our favorite make-ahead freezer meals is quesadillas. My kids love them and it’s easy to make a bunch with different flavors and freeze them for later use.
- Cook quesadillas: Cooking the quesadillas before freezing so that if you decide to reheat them in the microwave, they still have that browned crispy exterior.
- Cool completely: Let the quesadillas cool completely and come to room temperature.
- Layer with parchment: Stack the quesadillas, placing a layer of parchment paper between each one so they don’t stick together. Label and date and filling.
- Store: Place in a freezer-safe bag or container and store in the freezer. They can be stored for up to 3 months.
- Reheat in the microwave: Wrap the quesadilla in a moist paper towel and microwave for 1-3 minutes until heated through.
- Reheat in a pan: Gently warm on each side with a touch of cooking spray until the cheese is melted and the filling is heated through.
- Reheat in the toaster: Wrap the quesadilla in aluminum foil and reheat in the toaster until heated through.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making these quesadillas.
The best cheese options for quesadillas are Monterey jack, pepper jack, Oaxaca cheese, asadero cheese, cheddar cheese, or mozzarella cheese. Freshly shredded cheese will always melt better than packaged shredded cheese.