Quesadillas are by far one of the easiest meals to pull together. And they’re great, because you can adjust the fillings to accommodate special requests, like “skip the onions, please!” This shredded beef quesadilla recipe uses tender beef and cheese for an easy weeknight meal.
No matter how delicious they might be at my favorite Mexican restaurant, I never order quesadillas. They’re just too easy to make at home. I’d rather order something more difficult to replicate in my own kitchen and this easy quesadilla recipe at home.
Beef Quesadillas Recipe
My entire family loves quesadillas and they are often a go-to for quick lunches. They’re a great way to use up leftovers, from shredded beef to grilled chicken, taco meat, roasted veggies, and more.
Shredded beef: You’ll need about 2 cups of shredded beef to make four folded quesadillas. This Mexican shredded beef recipe is perfect, but be flexible. If you’ve got leftover steak, slice that thinly. Leftover lean ground beef? Use that! Any kind of leftover beef will work to make these.
Tortillas: Flour tortillas are my go to for quesadillas. The recipe calls for 10″ tortillas, but you can use smaller ones if you like; just adjust the amount of fillings accordingly. Prefer corn tortillas? That’s totally fine. Instead of folding the tortillas as directed, place one corn tortilla flat, fill it, and top it with a second tortilla.
Cheese: I like cheddar cheese, Monterey jack cheese, or a ready-made Mexican cheese blend. Opt for shredded cheese for the most even distribution and a perfectly cheesy quesadilla.
Toppings: The sky is the limit here! Add whatever flavors you like to round out the flavors.
- Finely diced red onions are great, but you can also use sliced green onions.
- Open a can of black beans and sprinkle some of those in. Or spread refried beans on one half of a tortilla before adding the beef.
- Add chopped green chilies or simply sprinkle on a few red pepper flakes for a little extra heat.
- Use bell pepper for flavor without added heat.
- Thinly sliced radishes.
- Shredded cabbage or lettuce or fresh cilantro.
To Make Quesadillas
Set a tortilla on a cutting board or flat surface and put 1/2 cup beef and 1/2 cup cheese on one half of the tortilla. Sprinkle with extra toppings of your choice.
Tip: It’s helpful for holding the quesadilla together to have cheese touching both halves of the tortilla. To do this, put half the cheese on the tortilla, cover with beef, add toppings, and sprinkle cheese that remains over all the filling before folding the tortilla.
Fold tortilla over the fillings and transfer to a pan. Heat skillet and cook over medium-high heat until one side of a tortilla is golden brown and lightly crispy; flip and repeat on the second side. As the cheese melts, it may begin to ooze out of the quesadilla. Not only is this okay, but the crisped up escaped quesadilla cheese is delicious!
Transfer quesadilla to a cutting board and cut into wedges for serving.
These crispy quesadillas are delicious served with an assortment of flavorful sides for dipping:
If you love the flavor and spice of Mexican food, be sure to check on this collection of recipes inspired by Mexico.
While any melty cheese will work, I prefer cheddar, Monterey jack, or a Mexican cheese blend. Save the mozzarella cheese for pizza.
First, don’t overfill the tortilla. Secondly, cheese. Cheese is the glue for quesadillas. Aim for equal parts beef and cheese; if you add a lot of extra toppings, you might need to add a bit more cheese.
I tend to use a dry pan, which works completely fine. Adding a little butter to the pan can help with browning, though, and who doesn’t love butter?
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- 4 large flour tortillas (10")
- 2 cups leftover shredded beef (see notes for full recipe)
- 2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, or Mexican blend)
- Toppings: chopped onion, hot peppers, bell pepper, radish, cabbage, lettuce
- Distribute the shredded beef and cheese between four tortillas, covering half of each tortilla.
- Add any extra toppings, as desired.
- Fold tortilla to cover filling.
- Heat a frying pan (no oil) or griddle on medium-high heat and transfer quesadilla to pan. You may be able to cook two at once, if you have a large griddle.
- Cook over medium heat until bottom side of the tortilla is golden. Carefully flip using a spatula and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until cheese is fully melted.
- Cut quesadilla into wedges and serve with sour cream, salsa, cilantro lime crema, or guacamole.
To make shredded beef:
- 2½ pounds beef chuck roast
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- ½ onion, medium sized, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
- 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, dried
- 10-oz. tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- In the slow cooker: Generously season the beef with salt and pepper on all sides and place in crock pot. Add all remaining ingredients, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.
- In an Instant Pot: Generously season the beef with salt and pepper on all sides and place in the inner pot. Add all remaining ingredients. Put the lid on and turn the valve to sealing. Select manual (high pressure) and set the cook time for 60 minutes. When the cook time is over, turn the Instant Pot off and let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes. Turn the valve to vent; once pressure is released, remove the lid.
- Shred the beef: When done cooking, remove lid of slow cooker or pressure cooker; use two forks to shred beef while still inside the cooking pot.
Recipe yields 6-8 servings, more than enough for 4 quesadillas.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 folded quesadilla
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 525Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 625mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 34g
Love quesadillas? Be sure to try these avocado quesadillas, too!