5-ingredient spicy chicken quesadillas

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My lighting was too yellow, I didn’t feel like setting up the tripod, and the daylight was already spent. Whatever, though. Lazy meal, lazy photography.

5 ingredient easy spicy chicken quesadillas

In all honesty though, I’m not a food photographer — at least, not yet — and am just getting started with sharing some of my own recipes here on the UDH. I gave it a lot of thought considering how focused I’ve been on remodeling, but after more than 7 years of talking mainly about DIY and dirt and finally having a kitchen to cook in, suddenly talking about something meant to actually look appetizing is… well, kind of fun.

And that’s how I decided that the very first thing I’d share with all of you guys would be something almost laughable to call a “recipe” — my very easy, not-at-all-healthy-for-you, face-stuffing quesadillas. I first made this when I was craving Mexican food like no other during a semester-long study abroad in college. Italy is awesome and has amazing food, but when you’ve grown up in the southern US, food cravings are serious business. I needed something to at least satisfy whatever part of my stomach that kept reminding me that spaghetti sauce tastes nothing like salsa. I had only the few ingredients I could find at the little Italian grocer ten blocks away (so basically, not the best place to find tortillas and queso), and what came out of it was a meal I still eat to this day. And that every boyfriend I’ve ever cooked for has asked me to make a number of times, so that at least tells me that it’s not just me that really likes it.

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In years past, my diet has consisted of quick meals that I could heat up before going back to whatever project causing me to drip more sweat off my forehead (P.S., the new fire pit I built this weekend is coming your way soon!). In that time, I’ve learned a small handful of easy meals that are probably great for more than just project fuel (easy for kids, easy for parties, etc.). This will also be a fun learning experience for me as I get a chance to learn what food photography is all about (note to self: create studio area in garage). Still though… I probably got the best shot I ever could have, thanks to a certain curious redhead at the other end of the dining room table:

5-ingredient spicy chicken quesadillas

Hahahahahhahahaha… oh, Charlie.

The Ultimate Lazy-Gal Meal: Savory Quesadillas with only 5 ingredients!

In all seriousness, these are pretty darn good quesadillas. They’re easy to make, even when you’re really tired, and can even do some of it as a make-ahead meal (you can make the chicken ahead of time and then whip out the tortillas and cheese as needed, and the tortillas come out all warm and crispy). I will often make a large batch and either freeze or chill the leftover chicken for a later date. But the best part is that it’s exactly perfectly spicy and buttery and filling, which is exactly what I want in my comfort food. And when you’re entertaining, you can make a whole bunch of these really fast and cut them up into small wedges as finger food. It’s a crowd-pleaser and goes great with a beer. I plan on making them a lot this football season.

It’s also an incredibly versatile recipe since it needs so few ingredients. I prefer to eat it as a working-and-eating dinner: with one hand, while working on the computer (or with a beer in the other). Or when I feel like pigging out but also don’t feel like dirtying a lot of dishes.


5-Ingredient Spicy Chicken Quesadillas

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5 from 1 review

These spicy chicken quesadillas are SO easy!! And kind of can’t-get-enough spicy. But if heat isn’t your thing, you can still customize these for kids, tailgate parties, or just bachelorette-style over the sink. <3

  • Author: Sarah


  • soft taco flour tortillas (I prefer these but for GF or keto, these)
  • chunky salsa (I prefer Tostitos – Medium heat)
  • pepper jack cheese (I prefer Sargento, and yes I’ve used pre-sliced when I’m feeling extra lazy)
  • boneless chicken breasts
  • butter or cooking spray for the griddle pan


  • Cut chicken breasts into medium-sized chunks and place in skillet/frying pan over medium heat. Cover with salsa and let it cook a little until the chicken becomes shreddable (I use forks).
  • Once chicken is fully cooked, move pan aside to a cold burner on the stove (or if saving for later, let cool and store in sealed plastic container and refrigerate).
  • Add griddle pan over medium heat. Prepare each quesadilla by buttering the outside of each tortilla and filling with chicken and cheese. Cook on both sides until the tortilla is golden brown.


  • It may sound counterproductive, but I like to pre-butter the quesadillas before putting them on the griddle pan instead of in the pan itself. This gives me a buttery bite every time, but to keep it mess-free, I butter the tortilla, flip it over against another, and fill it with ingredients before placing it on the pan.
  • Use a wide spatula for easier flipping.
  • For less heat, use mild salsa and/or monterey jack cheese with no peppers.
  • Chunky salsa is better (IMO) than blended… I like the tomatoes and peppers in each bite.

For kids

You can make these an easy dinner for kids by scaling down the size (use a smaller tortilla) and heat of the ingredients used (I love medium heat salsa, while you can use mild and regular monterey jack instead of pepper jack cheese, or you can use hot salsa to dial up the heat… dealer’s choice!). If you’re a cheddar fan, load up the quesadilla with some shredded cheddar (ick). A certain bearded dude likes cheddar and hot sauce on everything, so I’m forced to add a little variety to the original these days (obviously, he can’t be trusted with taste like this, but it’s still easy and quick).

Gluten-free, Low Carb, Keto Friendly

I modified these when I started eating keto by switching out the tortillas for a lower carb option that’s made with coconut flour (I have no desire to make my own most days, so I buy storebought). It adds a little sweetness, so you may want to kick up the heat (jalapeño tabasco sauce) and salt like I do.


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  1. I discovered something to use instead of butter – mayonnaise! You don’t taste the mayonnaise and it gives the tortilla a bit of crispness instead of the softness you get with butter. I shall have to try your recipe. Hubby usually puts the salsa on top of the quesidilla and I’ve been wanting to try somethung else.


    1. I find that by cooking the quesadilla on the griddle the edges still get nice and crispy, but I’ll have to compare the two and see which I like better! Thanks for the tip!

  2. Thanks for this recipe!! This is ACTUALLY a quick and easy meal, unlike a lot of recipes you see that say they’re quick and easy, but then you look and they require chopping 73 herbs and veggies and then it’s 10:00 pm and you’re hangry.
    I’m going to try this soon!!

  3. I think your photos still came out really nice! But the dog ears in the background doesn’t hurt ;)

    I might have to try these, I’m always looking for simple/easy recipes with stuff you most likely have on hand anyway. This seems to fit all those criteria!

  4. Oh my goodness ! These look delicious and tasty ! I Love this recipe ! I will definitely be trying it !

  5. These are so stinkin’ good. I didn’t have enough salsa the first time I made them so I added a can of cream of chicken soup; perfectly cheesy and delicious! Thanks Sarah :D