How to Make a Quesadilla That Tastes Like it Came From a Restaurant


If you’ve ever made quesadillas at home, then you've likely experienced the struggle of recreating one of the picture-perfect quesadillas you've had at your favorite restaurant. Although a quesadilla is a super simple dish, it can be trickier than you think it should be. Lucky for you, it's easy to upgrade your at-home quesadilla technique to make something that might not be exactly restaurant-quality but it'll be pretty darn close. Here's what you need to know.

Related: The Secret Ingredient for Making Jarred Pasta Sauce Taste Like It Came From an Italian Restaurant

The Trick for the Best Gooey, Cheesy Quesadillas

Once you’ve gotten all of your ingredients together, your first instinct after heating the pan and laying down the tortilla might be to start layering on all of the ingredients one at a time. However, according to The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science author, J. Kenji López-Alt, there’s a much better way to go about adding all of those tasty quesadilla ingredients.

According to López-Alt's story on Serious Eats, one of the keys to making an excellent quesadilla at home is to mix all of your fillings instead of layering them on top of one other. This method eliminates the possibility of pulling large strips of chicken out with each bite because the quesadilla filling is more of a cohesive mix of ingredients bound together by ooey, gooey cheese.

Related: The Secret Ingredient for the Best Garlic Bread You’ll Ever Have

How to Make the Best Gooey, Cheesy Quesadillas

Start by chopping or shredding your fillings into bite-size pieces before tossing them together with the shredded cheese. To take things up a notch, you can also add bright ingredients to offset the creamy richness of the cheese. Pickled peppers, smoky chipotles in adobo, sweet corn or minced jalapeños (fresh or pickled) are all great options.

Once you’ve gotten your fillings shredded and mixed, and the tortilla has had time to heat up on the skillet, the next step is to spread the fillings over one-half of the tortilla. Make sure to leave a small border of filling-free tortilla around the edge to ensure all the goodies stay inside the quesadilla during the cooking process. Next, fold the empty half of the tortilla over the filling to create a semicircle.

Kenji López-Alt recommends using plenty of oil while the quesadilla cooks to ensure optimal browning and crisping all over the surface. Additionally, it is important to keep the quesadilla moving during the cooking process. Swirl it around, rotate it, or shake the skillet. Keeping the tortilla moving will help with even browning and filling that's warmed all the way through. Add some salt on top between flips, and give the quesadilla a final drain on paper towels before cutting it into triangles and devouring it immediately.

Up next: How to Make a Burger That Tastes Like it Came From a Restaurant