We Tasted And Ranked 7 Fast Food Quesadillas

quesadillas with salsa
quesadillas with salsa - Fdastudillo/Getty Images

While making quesadillas is easy with the toaster hack, when I'm on the road and in the mood for a quick snack, I often try to hunt down a fast food quesadilla. As a lifelong cheese lover, it doesn't get much better for me than a crispy and buttery tortilla oozing with shredded jack or cheddar. Stuff it with some juicy grilled chicken, throw in sides of guacamole and salsa, and I'm in heaven. What can I say? I'm a man of simple pleasures.

As Daily Meal's resident Quesadilla Connoisseur, I've tasted my fair share of this popular Mexican dish. To rank these fast food quesadillas (all of which I've ordered on multiple occasions), I took several factors into consideration, including texture, customization options, quality, and flavor. You'll find more information about how I evaluated each one at the end of this article, but for now, let's get on with the ranking!

Read more: The Best Fried Chicken Chains Ranked By Crunch And Flavor

7. Taco Bell

Taco Bell quesadilla
Taco Bell quesadilla - Taco Bell/Facebook

Taco Bell tends to get a bad rap, but the truth is that a fresh sack of this stuff can really hit the spot when the munchies strike. Hands down, my all-time favorite item is the Grilled Stuft Burrito, which was one of the Taco Bell menu items that was sadly and inexplicably discontinued in 2019. To be honest, a part of me hasn't really ever forgiven Taco Bell for this, and I haven't spent much money there in the past few years. But when I do, I almost always throw a quesadilla in the mix. Is it the best quesadilla in the world? Of course not. But does it scratch that ever elusive itch that only Taco Bell seems to satisfy? Absolutely.

I'm not exactly sure why this happens, but the quesadilla at Taco Bell is often soggy, which is why it's ranked on the lower end of the list. There appears to be grill marks on the tortilla, but the texture seems more steamed than grilled. When the quesadilla does hit the grill a bit longer it results in a crispier exterior that is lightyears better.

On the menu, there are only a few quesadilla options to pick from, including plain cheese, chicken, and steak. I like ordering the chicken quesadilla, and then adding pickled jalapenos with a side of nacho cheese to dip it in. These additions only cost an extra couple bucks, but it takes the flavor of the quesadilla to a whole new level.

6. Chipotle

Chipotle fajita quesadilla
Chipotle fajita quesadilla - Chipotle/Facebook

Like some of the other picks on this list, Chipotle falls more in the fast-casual category than fast food, but these realms still occupy a similar domain with the same goal: quick service. Chipotle emphasizes its focus on freshness, and even though it's a little more expensive than some other competitors, the quality of the ingredients do seem to justify a higher price point. Cast in point: Chipotle's quesadilla. If I had to choose between Taco Bell and Chipotle for a quesadilla, I'd pick Chipotle without a second thought.

For starters, the tortilla on Chipotle's quesadilla is nicely grilled until it's golden brown. Better texture aside, the quality of the cheese and the meat are also much better than Taco Bell's. At Chipotle, the meat is juicier and it's seasoned better to give it more depth of flavor.

There are also a lot more choices for fillings on the menu at Chipotle, including barbacoa, carnitas, fajita veggies, and pinto beans. The salsa is fresh and herbaceous, and is far superior to Taco Bell's ultra processed sauce packets. Chipotle's guacamole is also quite good for a major chain; I love that it is usually on the chunkier side. Altogether, these things add up to a very solid quesadilla experience. Strangely, Chipotle only offers its quesadilla to customers who order them online; as of this writing, the quesadilla can't be ordered by customers at the registers inside of Chipotle's stores.

5. Baja Fresh

Baja Fresh quesadillas
Baja Fresh quesadillas - Baja Fresh/Facebook

Baja Fresh sets itself apart from the pack with a few healthier menu items that many of its competitors don't offer, such as mango salsa, fish tacos, wheat tortillas, and Impossible plant-based protein options. Similar to Chipotle, customers at Baja can order menu items like burritos and tacos, or opt for customized rice bowls. A bonus to Baja's menu is that burritos and nachos can be upgraded to enchilado style. Enchilado style comes smothered in red sauce, melted cheese, and sour cream. Essentially, this is Baja's version of turning a dish into enchiladas.

The quesadilla at Baja comes with a choice of protein that includes options such as chicken, steak, shrimp, or roasted pork. Baja uses different cheeses that include jack and cheddar, which gives the quesadillas a tangy bite. Another great thing about ordering quesadillas at Baja is that the meal comes with a side of sour cream and guacamole. Many other restaurants charge extra for those, but at Baja they're included with the meal. The more extensive options on the menu, tasty cheese blend, and inclusion of sour cream and guacamole nudges Baja above Taco Bell and Chipotle.

4. Qdoba

Qdoba quesadilla
Qdoba quesadilla - Qdoba/Facebook

I went through a big Qdoba phase at one point. I was a bit burnt out on Taco Bell and Chipotle, so I rolled the dice and tried Qdoba. The chain's quesadilla was actually the first menu item that I tried, and the portion feels generous and filling. At many other fast food restaurants, quesadillas are on the smaller side and almost seem more like a snack than a meal. That's not the case at Qdoba.

Qdoba offers a few different types of quesadillas. Of these, one of the most unique is the cheese-crusted quesadilla, which features a tortilla with a golden cheese crust, making it ultra cheesy. Qdoba also has interesting fillings to pick from, including Cholula flavored chicken, Mexican street corn, slow-cooked birria made from brisket, grilled steak, pickled red onions, and braised pulled pork. Qdoba's steak fajita quesadilla is one of my personal favorites; the combination of grilled steak, pico de gallo, peppers and onions, shredded cheese, and salsa roja come together for an explosively flavorful dish. Between Qdoba's generous portions and interesting menu choices, it's one of the best chains around for a quesadilla.

3. Del Taco

Del Taco quesadilla salsa
Del Taco quesadilla salsa - Del Taco

One of the best things about Del Taco is the fact that the restaurant freshly grates all of its own cheese at each of its locations. This may seem like a trivial detail, but freshly grated cheese vastly improves its taste and texture. Let's face it: The star of the show when it comes to quesadillas is the cheese. And because Del Taco shreds it by brick on-site, the flavor of the cheese can truly shine in the restaurant's quesadillas.

Del Taco has five different quesadillas on its menu. One major highlight: The restaurant's birria quesadilla that comes with a side of consomé for dipping. The beef is tender and succulent, and the consomé ensures that each bite is dripping with extra flavor. There aren't many places where you can score birria quesadillas with consomé, nacho cheese fries, and snickerdoodle milkshakes all in the same place — but Del Taco makes that a reality. And for that, I'm truly grateful.

2. Moe's

dipping Moe's quesadilla in queso
dipping Moe's quesadilla in queso - Moe's/Facebook

Moe's lands a coveted slot towards the top of this ranking for a few reasons. Not only does it offer its "Moe Monday" specials on the first weekday, but the chain's chicken club quesadilla is top-notch. This is a unique spin on a classic club, but brilliantly concocted in the form of a quesadilla. Moe's chicken club quesadilla comes with chicken, bacon, lettuce, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, and chipotle ranch dressing. All of these ingredients combine to form a dish that exemplifies casual fusion at its finest.

Moe's also allows customers to customize quesadillas with a number of fillings. Steak, chicken, beef, or tofu — an ingredient rarely seen in taco chains — can be selected as proteins. Other fillings, such as beans, fresh jalapenos (in addition to pickled jalapenos), roasted corn salsa, and poblano crema are available. The queso at Moe's is also truly tremendous — perfectly creamy and cheesy — and makes a righteous dipping sauce for some crunchy tortilla chips on the side.

1. Bubbakoo's Burritos

Bubbakoo's Burritos quesadilla
Bubbakoo's Burritos quesadilla - Bubbakoo's Burritos/Facebook

Bubbakoo's Burritos is a growing chain with locations in 15 states, mostly based around the South and East Coast, including Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and New York. The first thing that impressed me about Bubbakoo's quesadilla was the texture: It was perfectly grilled. The tortilla was a light golden brown with a buttery, crispy exterior that provided the ideal crunch to balance out the gooey goodness of the melted cheese inside. My favorite quesadilla filling at Bubbakoo's is the carnitas, which is tender, juicy, and deeply flavorful.

Bubbakoo's delivers a level of quality and inventive customization options seldom seen in casual dining. Filling options include three types of chicken (grilled, shredded, and fried), hibachi steak and shrimp, barbacoa, and fried cauliflower. Each of these filling options can be tossed in over a dozen sauces, including mango habanero, barbecue, serrano pepper, buffalo, and general Tso. This makes it easy to put regional spins on quesadillas, such as barbecue chicken, buffalo shrimp, or Asian-style beef. All the familiar ingredients are also available for a more traditional quesadilla for those who just want to keep it simple. Bubbakoo's menu is extraordinarily creative and delicious, thanks to the wide range of flavor combinations that it presents, creating some of the best quesadillas imaginable.

How We Chose The Best Fast Food Quesadilla

man eating quesadilla
man eating quesadilla - LightField Studios/Shutterstock

I took various factors into consideration when ranking these fast food quesadillas. First and foremost: texture. Worst case scenario, the tortilla hasn't been toasted long enough, resulting in a soggy mess. Ideally, the quesadilla is crispy enough to maintain some level of structural integrity, boasting a light golden crust. Another important variable I took into account is the amount of customization on the menu. If a restaurant offers a wide range of proteins, fillings, and flavor options, it receives higher marks in my book. But what matters most is the overall quality. How juicy is the chicken? How good is the salsa that it comes with? These are the types of questions I pondered as I assembled this ranking.

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