Spicy Chicken Quesadillas Recipe

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

Spicy Chicken Quesadillas Recipe

[Photograph and video: J. Kenji López-Alt]

Shredded chicken, kicked up with jalapeño and pepper Jack cheese, makes a hearty filling for these flaky quesadillas.

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Why It Works

  • Mixing the cheese in with the fillings distributes it evenly and ensures that the quesadilla fillings stay intact instead of falling out.
  • Using plenty of oil gives the quesadillas a puffy, flaky, crispy texture.
  • Yield:Serves 2
  • Active time: 10 minutes
  • Total time:10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces (85g) shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) minced pickled jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 ounces (115g) shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 2 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
  • Salt

Directions

  1. 1.

    Combine chicken, jalapeño, cilantro, and pepper Jack in a medium bowl and mix to combine. Spread half of mixture evenly over half of one tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold tortilla over and seal edges by pressing down firmly. Repeat with remaining filling and second tortilla.

  2. 2.

    Heat oil in a 10-inch cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully add both folded tortillas and cook, swirling and moving tortillas around, until golden brown and puffy on first side, about 2 minutes. Using a flexible metal spatula, flip quesadillas, season with salt, and continue cooking until golden brown and puffy on second side, about 2 minutes longer.

  3. 3.

    Transfer quesadillas to a paper towel to drain. Cut into triangles and serve immediately.