Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

5 stars based on 40 votes


Crisp tortillas filled with gooey melted cheddar and shredded chicken in a sweet and smoky chipotle sauce — these are the best quesadillas! The recipe is adapted from the website of Curtis Stone, one of my favorite chefs and cookbook authors. 


What gives these quesadillas such distinctive flavor is the canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. They’re small peppers (usually red jalapeños) that have been dried and smoked, and they come in a spicy, smoky tomato sauce. You can find them in the Latin section of most supermarkets. The recipe calls for six peppers, seeds and all. I know that might seem like a lot, but the quesadillas aren’t all that spicy. However, if you’re making them for young children you might want to cut back a bit.


Minced chipotle peppers in adobo

Begin by cooking the red onions and garlic in olive oil.


Add the diced tomatoes and minced chipotle peppers.


And cook until the liquid is gone and the mixture is thickened.


Stir in the shredded chicken, salt, honey, green onions and cilantro. Keep the filling warm while you prepare the quesadillas. (Note: the chicken mixture can be made up to two days ahead of time.)


Heat a flour tortilla on a griddle or in a sauté pan. Cover the entire tortilla with cheese and spread the filling over one side.


When the cheese is mostly melted, fold the tortilla over the filling into a half-moon shape.


Cook until crisp and golden, a few minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Serve immediately with sour cream and lime wedges, if desired.


To see the original recipe by Curtis Stone, click here. I altered the recipe primarily by increasing the ratio of chipotle-tomato sauce to chicken (for more intense flavor), increasing the honey (to add a bit more sweetness), omitting the avocado (I thought it was unnecessary and muted the other flavors), and decreasing the amount of cheese and filling in each quesadilla (to make them easier to eat).

Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

Servings: 6
Total Time: 45 Minutes


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (you'll need about 6 chilis)
  • 4 vine-ripened tomatoes (about 1-1/4 pounds), seeded and diced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2-1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken (white and/or dark meat)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 6 10-inch diameter flour tortillas
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream, for serving (optional)
  • Lime wedges, for serving (optional)


  1. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in the chipotle peppers and tomatoes. Cook until most of the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated and the mixture is thickened, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Stir in the scallions, honey, chicken, salt and cilantro. Keep warm.
  2. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Lay a tortilla in the pan and heat until hot to the touch but not crisp (air pockets may form). Flip the tortilla over, then sprinkle 2/3 cup of the cheese evenly overtop, being careful to keep it off the pan. Spread a heaping 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture over half of the tortilla. When the cheese is mostly melted, fold the tortilla over to cover the filling and form a half-moon shape. Cook until the tortilla is crisp and golden and the cheese is melted, adjusting the heat as necessary, a few minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Let the quesadillas rest a few minutes to allow the filling to set, then cut into wedges. Serve with sour cream and lime wedges, if desired.
  3. Notes: If you have a large griddle, use that to make the quesadillas so you can make a few at a time. Also, be sure to serve your quesadillas hot of the pan (or off the griddle), otherwise, they’ll get soggy and the cheese will harden. If this does happen, you can pop them in a 350 degree oven to heat them up, but they won’t be as crisp and gooey as they are fresh. The chicken mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Um, yum! These are chock full of flavor and quite simple to make. 13 y/o loved the spice level, as did hubby. I did not add salt and did not miss it at all. Keeper recipe, especially with a little guacamole smeared on them. Thanks for a great and simple recipe!

    - Avidreader on November 24, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made these last night and loved them ! Will definitely be making again .. Less a chili or two ! Lol

    - Mir on November 21, 2015 Reply
  • I really want to make this but I have a question. I like chipotle but I can’t tolerate any kind I can’t do really spicy I can tolerate the chipotle sauce but not actual peppers so is this really spicy? And if it is is there anything else I can substitute the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce with? Thank you

    - Raya on November 18, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Raya, Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid the heat with the chipotle peppers, and I can’t think of a good substitute as they are an integral part of the recipe. So sorry!

      - Jenn on November 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made these about a month ago and they were great. I did add the avocado to the top because I love them, but they definitely don’t need it because they are so flavorful. I think I might reduce the honey next time because it tasted strong to me. My son loved them and said they are definitely something he wants again which is a thumbs up from him.

    - Maria on November 1, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Great recipe! I have found variability in the heat level of adobo peppers, so I add and taste before adding all called for.

    - Jo Silvers on October 29, 2015 Reply
  • I made these last night for my family. My husband, who is very hard to impress, said they were the best quesadillas he has ever had and I totally agree. I boiled my chicken in chicken stock, shredded, and then added to the mixture. They turned out just like the pictures and were amazing.

    - Mary on October 22, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Wow these Chipotle quesadillas are so amazing, really nice flavor, and my wife really loved them! I will definitely be coming back to your website for more recipes.

    - RoboCook McNoob on October 15, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,

    I have some leftover chicken from your Grilled Chicken Fajita recipe, do you think I could use that for these quesadillas, or do you think the flavors might be too strong?

    Sorry I clicked the stars in error, I haven’t tried the recipe yet but I am sure it will be as delicious as all your others!

    - Mary on October 5, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Mary, I think the chicken will work fine for this recipe. Hope you enjoy :)

      - Jenn on October 5, 2015 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Loved them, amazing flavor!

        - Mary on October 16, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was the second recipe I tried from your website. These were fantastic and last night I made them again using store-bought shredded chicken and canned tomatoes to cut down on time. I shredded the chicken along with some cumin and ancho chipotle pepper and added queso to the cheese mix. I add avocados to mine and sour cream to my husbands…awesome! Very much looking forward to trying additional recipes

    - Andrea on August 28, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made these for my daughters graduation party where we served a variety of hearty appetizers. this recipe was a HIT! I made a double batch of the sauce in advance and refrigerated it. Only needed one batch of sauce for the part so I did freeze the other batch. Using it about a month later with shredded chicken thighs and it was just as wonderful. Black beans and roasted sweet potato are also a great addition.

    - Lizzie Mcnett on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These were so good! The chicken filling was just delicious. I probably used half the amount of chipotle peppers. I had a very small , 3.5 oz can and it was perfect. It only had 3 peppers in it, and I used all the sauce. I took some of the seeds out, but I think I’ll leave them in next time. The filling was smoky but not spicy. My entire family loved them. I think I will double the recipe and freeze half in the future since there’s a lot of chopping involved. Having a prepared batch of the chicken will make for a really quick meal. Great recipe!

    - Dwana on August 10, 2015 Reply
  • Added a can of diced green chillies to quesadilla recipe. Improved an already great recipe.

    - Bob W on August 3, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These were fantastic. My husband described them as “fluffy” and “way better than anything you get out there”, meaning most restaurants. One question…I used 6 small peppers, de-seeded 4 of 6 to reduce heat, was short the 1/3 cup due to the size of the peppers, so I added more sauce from the jar to make up the difference. Yikes, they were almost inedibly spicy for my taste and almost my husband’s who loves heat. Did I go wrong when I added the extra sauce? Should I have just stuck to the 6 peppers, despite being under the 1/3 cup? I’m guessing so. Will definitely make again, so your advice would be very much appreciated. Thanks for another great one!

    - Kelly on July 31, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Kelly, Glad you enjoyed! It’s hard to say…the sauce is spicy but there is always some variance with the spiciness of the peppers too. Next time, I would stick with just the peppers (not the sauce) and remove all the seeds — if the filling mixture needs more heat, you can always add some of the seeds back in.

      - Jenn on August 3, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I really liked these! I added extra chipotle because I love the taste and spice. Would recommend trying these — so flavorful.

    - Emily on July 5, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Great recipe. Have been missing my Mexican food since moving from Houston and this is fitting the bill nicely. Also used the filling in hard shell tacos. Thanks for sharing!

    - Glinda on June 18, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars


    - Cynthia on May 30, 2015 Reply
  • can this be frozen @ any point?

    - Lala on May 27, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Lala, I do you think you could freeze these after they are cooked.

      - Jenn on May 28, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    LOVE this recipe! I live in Arizona and this recipe was a great new way for me to use Chipotle chilies! As with all of your recipes, this one was very easy to follow and the pictures are a perfect additional tool to help novice and seasoned cooks alike.

    The quesadillas had just the right amount of smokey heat – and my family loved them as well!

    Thanks so much for posting this yummy recipe!

    - Carla on May 11, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I followed the recipe as written, it was another recipe that pleased the entire family (the seven that were home), including my picky 9 year old son and my “vegetarian” daughter! ;) Thanks for sharing!

    - Elaine on April 23, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We have this basically once or twice a month, it’s addicting and delicious. We cut down on the number of chipotle peppers, find it to be a bit too spicy but aside from that, another perfect recipe!

    Thank you!!!!

    - Natalia on March 31, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is such a hit! Sometimes you just need more punch in your quesadilla! Thanks!

    - Teri Palmer on March 31, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious and very easy to make!

    - Jessica Herring on March 25, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    These were juicy and flavorful. I ended up eating them with a fork because the contents fell out. Delicious nonetheless!

    - Lindsey on March 22, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Made this for dinner last night following the instructions, and family LOVED it

    - Lisa on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is AWESOME! It has so many amazing flavors. Definitely a keeper!

    - Michelle on January 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this recipe with shrimp – outstanding!!

    - Tamera Gjesdal on December 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Substitutd canned diced tomatos, and 1/2 and 1/2 mix of sharp cheddar and 4 cheese Mexican mix. Everyone loved them.

    - Robert wendel on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Guess what’s for dinner @ my house tonight? This will be easy and GREAT!!
    Off to the market!!
    Thanks Jenn-Keep them coming!!

    - Jim on November 25, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made these tonight, and myself and my husband loved them! Our 9yr old said they were good, and she is picky. I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

    - Kristen on October 27, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Living in Arizona I eat a lot of mexican food and these Quesadillas were delicious and easy to make.

    - DonnaA on August 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Yet another wonderful recipe from this site! I now love cooking with chipotle thanks to Jenn! Any suggestions for how to make a vegetarian version?

    - Blair on July 24, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Blair, So glad you enjoyed the quesadillas. For a vegetarian version, you could try replacing the chicken with black beans. Please let me know how it turns out :)

      - Jenn on July 25, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We made this last weekend when entertaining some old friends (we made it along with the Black Bean & Corn Salad with Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette!) and while it was a little more time consuming than I expected ~ the results were well worth it: everything was divine and devoured!

    Aside: I think the addition of HONEY in both of these recipes is a stroke of genius!

    - Jesselyn Andersyn on July 23, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We love this! And we are not typically fans of heat. But the smoky heat and well balanced flavors were really yummy and with a relatively quick prep and cook time I was happy. The bonus was, with a couple of slight mods (increasing chicken/tomatoes and decreasing filling size slightly) this made 9 quesadillas resulting in 3 meals for me and my daughters – talk about budget pleasing!

    We added more chicken (3/4 C), more tomatoes (2 more) and more cilantro because I wanted to stretch it … sides of rice and beans along with some sour cream and home made limeade made it the perfect meal!

    - kirsten on July 23, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Love these quesadillas! The chiles in adobo have such great flavor! I wouldnt change anything with the recipe! We love the so much I pulled out my copy of the recipe to take with on vacation!! Thanks for all the great recipes.

    - Kelley on July 22, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    First of many recipes I have tried from this site and another huge hit with my family. Great flavor, fast easy meal to prepare and even great leftovers. This is a recipe I go back to time and time again. You can’t miss with this step by step recipe. Great Tex -mex flavor and not to spicy.

    - Joanne Lee on July 21, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for supper. Love it. Easy to make. Thanks for showing me how to fold over the tortilla so it looks nice too. I’m obsessed with your site. I’ve made several recipes over the past week and all are delicious.

    - Suzan on July 15, 2014 Reply
    • Thank you, Suzan! So glad you are enjoying the recipes :)

      - Jenn on July 16, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love this recipe! I’m a working mom so the best part for me was that I could make the chicken mixture ahead of time which made it much easier to come home from work and get dinner on the table. The recipe called for vine-ripened tomatoes but they didn’t look very good so I substituted plum tomatoes. They were fine, but I would have preferred the juiciness of the other tomatoes…oh well, next time. I agree with the previous reviewer that the most time consuming part was shredding the chicken.

    - -Suzanne on July 15, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Perfect as is :) Loved these!

    - Sandy on July 8, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I like this recipe to use leftover roasted chicken. I find it is a little too spicy for my toddler kids but my husband loves it, as do I. The most time-consuming step is shredding the chicken but it’s otherwise a pretty simple dish to make.

    - Ponyo on July 6, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious! The first time I tried this I made it with leftovers from the Peruvian-style roast chicken. I gotten so many compliments from this recipe, it’s my husband’s favorite quesadilla.

    - Mictian on July 4, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Huge hit with my family! Did not change a thing. Wonderful recipe!

    - Jo-Anne L. on June 26, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Your recipes are FABULOUS! They are a hit every time!
    So easy to follow with the pictures showing step by step. I am in love with your site!
    Thank you so much!
    Can’t wait to try this one! Did the baja fish with the chipotle, they were amazing!

    - Addie on June 19, 2014 Reply
    • So nice to read, Addie. Glad you are enjoying the recipes!

      - Jenn on June 19, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made these last night for dinner and my son couldn’t stop raving about them. The chicken filling is even delicious on its own. Definitely going in the keeper file. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes!

    - Karen on June 5, 2014 Reply
  • Made this last night, my husband was drooling. We both loved it and it is also great for lunch the next day too. Great smokey flavour with a bit of heat. I will definitely be doing this again!

    - Rosaleen on May 29, 2014 Reply
  • What kind of cheese did you use here, thanks.

    - Charlene on March 2, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Charlene, I used sharp cheddar.

      - Jenn on March 2, 2014 Reply
  • Love the clearcut directions on constructing a great looking quesadilla – something I had attempted, but not figured out. Mine looked great, but more importantly, tasted delicious. Much better than what you get at most restaurants. Will definitely make them again. Thank you, Jenn!

    - Liz on February 14, 2014 Reply
  • I made this recipe for a second time this weekend with shredded pork. I think it may have been better than the chicken! We added black beans and corn to some and they came out great.

    - Kim on February 10, 2014 Reply
    • Great idea, Kim. I look forward to trying it!

      - Jenn on February 10, 2014 Reply
  • I made it & yet again it was a hit , just like the the other recipes I had made from your blog. Keep up the good work .

    - Taruna on February 10, 2014 Reply
  • Just finished devouring this meal! Very easy prep, though lots of chopping. Next time I will do the prep hours or a day inadvance. The flavor was WONDERFUL. It was a tad spicier than we like, but so , so good. I will cut back on the peppers next time.
    Very good, great instructions and supporting pics. This will go in our rotation of favorite meals!
    Next time, it would be more helpful if you repeated the quantity of the items within the instructions. I followed along on my iPad and spent a lot of time scrolling down to the quantity and then back to the instructions.

    - Beth Tyler on February 7, 2014 Reply
  • I tried this today. I liked the amount of heat and the rich taste. It was a hit at home. Thank you!

    - Jamie on February 7, 2014 Reply
  • Wonder if this could be made as a stacked pie?

    - Judy on February 6, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Judy, I think it would work well. Please let me know how it turns out if you try it.

      - Jenn on February 6, 2014 Reply
  • I live in the Southwest and I’m always looking for new recipes like this. I’m really glad that I can pick up a roasted chicken from my grocer for this recipe, and that most of these ingredients are already in my kitchen. This shall be tonight’s dinner! Thank you.

    - Kim on February 6, 2014 Reply

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