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Killer Chicken Quesadillas

  • Author: Stacey
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 quesadillas 1x


This easy, cheesy chicken quesadilla is a go-to for me. The crunchy tortilla, seared chicken, lime, salsa, cilantro, sour cream - these are all my favorite flavors! And if you don't have time to make the individual quesadillas: heat smaller tortillas and serve everything as a fajita bar! 


Units Scale

For the chicken:

  • 2 pounds of chicken tenderloins (12 tenderloins)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced (AFTER the chicken is cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (AFTER the chicken is cooked)
  • 1 package of large tortillas (at least 6-8)
  • 2 8 ounces bags of cheddar/jack cheese
  • More olive oil for cooking

It’s best to chop ½ a bunch of cilantro for this whole recipe to be used to mix with the chicken, the cilantro-lime sour cream and to garnish. Same with the scallions – chop ½ a bunch of that. 

Onion/pepper mix:

  • 1 green poblano pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cilantro-lime sour cream:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Pinch of salt
  • Juice from one lime

Additional toppings:

  • scallions
  • cilantro
  • salsa (your favorite)
  • 2-3 avocados, sliced


  1. Slice your orange pepper, green poblano pepper, and onion. Set aside. 
  2. Chop ½ bunch of scallions. Set aside. 
  3. Chop ½ bunch of cilantro. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the cilantro-lime sour cream. Add sour cream to a bowl with the fresh squeezed lime juice, cilantro and a pinch of salt. Whisk together and refrigerate until serving.
  5.  Cut your chicken tenderloins into small pieces and put in a bowl. Add cumin, garlic powder, salt and olive oil. Mix everything together well and let marinate for 15-20 minutes. 
  6. After chicken has marinated – start cooking your pepper and onions. Add both sliced peppers, onion, olive oil, salt and pepper to a pan on low-to-medium heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Stir a few times while cooking. 
  7. Start cooking your chicken. You’ll see in the video I cooked the chicken in two batches because I didn’t want to crowd the pan. If you crowd the pan the chicken will steam and your pan will fill with water. Drizzle a little olive oil pan, put half the chicken in the pan and break up the pieces. Spread out the chicken and give it space. Cook on medium-to-high for 3-4 minutes on one side so the pieces get a good brown sear on the bottom. When the pieces are browned, give them a stir and use tongs to turn any pieces that need it. Let them cook on the OTHER side for 3-4 so they get a nice brown seat on that side too. Again, don’t touch them just let them sear. Repeat the process for the remaining chicken. 
  8. Once all the chicken is cooked, put it in a large bowl, add the onion and pepper mixture, fresh squeezed lime juice, fresh chopped cilantro, and give it a stir. You could throw in some scallions here too if you’d like. Quesadilla filling is done!

Final Assembly: 

  1. You’ll need two pans for this. Drizzle a little olive oil in both, lay down a tortilla in each pan and rub it around so the olive oil lightly coats the bottom. Heat should be low-to-medium. 
  2. Add cheese to the whole area of each tortilla. 
  3. Add chicken mixture to HALF of the quesadilla. Let tortilla get crispy on the bottom as the cheese is melting. Lift up tortilla with your spatula to see when tortilla is nice and crispy. Then FOLD the tortilla over with your spatula and press down gently. 
  4. Repeat this process until all quesadillas are complete! If you are using avocados, slice them now. I always wait until the end for this so they stay fresh looking. Put out all your toppings: cilantro-lime sour cream, your favorite salsa, scallions, cilantro – everything your little heart desires!


  1. I made 8 total quesadillas – 6 with cheese and 2 without cheese. I always cook for someone who doesn’t want cheese. Keep this in mind when distributing your cheese in the other 6 quesadillas. 
  2. These reheat very well. I usually do this the same way I reheat a slice of pizza. I put it in a pan on very, very low heat and cover it until it’s warm. Take the lid off when you want to crisp it at the end. You can microwave it too, of course, but this method is a little better.