Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

Tested & Perfected Recipes

These quesadillas are filled with gooey melted cheddar, shredded chicken and a smoky chipotle-tomato sauce.

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 you’ll need to make Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

ingredients

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.

How to make Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

minced-chipotle-in-adobo

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

sautéing-red-onions

Add the diced tomatoes and minced chipotle peppers.

sauteing-tomatoes-and-chipotle-peppers

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

cooked-tomato-mixture

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.)

adding-chicken-honey-scallions-and-cilantro

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.

making-quesadilla

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

folded-quesadilla

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.

Chipotle-Chicken-Quesadillas

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).

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Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

These quesadillas are filled with gooey melted cheddar, shredded chicken and a smoky chipotle-tomato sauce.

Servings: 6
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  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 generous 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. Note: 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 F 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.
  4. Note: The nutritional information does not include the optional ingredients.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cooked quesadillas can be frozen for up to 3 months. After defrosting in the refrigerator, reheat them, wrapped in foil, in a 325°F oven until hot, 20 – 30 minutes.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 quesadilla
  • Calories: 694
  • Fat: 45 g
  • Saturated fat: 19 g
  • Carbohydrates: 39 g
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 34 g
  • Sodium: 1383 mg
  • Cholesterol: 121 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Big hit with my son and 5 other Marines that stayed with us this Memorial weekend. I doubled the recipe. They ate like a dozen quesadillas and then I saw them eat the leftovers out of the fridge.

    • — Becky on May 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’m very familiar with chipotle peppers and while I do like them, I typically use them sparingly so I was flabbergasted when the recipe called for 6 of them! BUT since I have enjoyed so many of the recipes here I decided to make the recipe exactly as written. So glad I did. They were absolutely delicious. The honey called for must cancel out some of the heat from the peppers because they were not overpoweringly hot or spicy like I was worried they might be.
    My husband went on and on about the fabulous dinner.
    Oh, and to those worried about the honey making them too sweet…not the case. You really don’t even notice the honey.
    Thanks for yet another fabulous recipe.

    • — Jennifer on May 21, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is just one of your recipes that my family absolutely loves. I would like to make this as a meal for a friend who’s about to have a baby, and am wondering if there’s a way to freeze this, even if I freeze the components separately and have her warm and assemble them when she’s ready to eat the meal. Thank you!

    • — N.W. on May 21, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi N.W., The cooked quesadillas can be frozen for up to 3 months (see the bottom of the recipe for freezer-friendly instructions). You could also cook and freeze the chicken mixture.

      • — Jenn on May 21, 2021
      • Reply
  • Very nice recipe for quesadillas! The cook times and portioning were spot on. I did not find it too spicy at all. There is a nice smoky heat that gently follows your first bite, but it is not overwhelming. I do know each person will have their own palate, and what is spicy for some might be perfect for another. I loved this recipe and even added hot sauce to my portions afterwards. Definitely will do again.

    • — CanadaBri on April 17, 2021
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  • We realized we don’t like the flavor of chipotle peppers in adobo after I made this dish. I like adobo salt and ground chipotle peppers but not chipotle peppers in adobo apparently. My husband threw it out.

    • — Sonia on April 8, 2021
    • Reply
    • So you rate a recipe one because you don’t like the flavor of an ingredient?

      • — Samara on June 7, 2021
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  • I had previously tried another sites’s recipe, but my husband was neutral about it. Since he orders chicken quesadillas almost every time we go out, I was hopeful he would like this, and indeed, it was delicious! Now, with your recipe, Jenn, we no longer have to rely on restaurant quesadillas. I’m not a big fan of tomatos, so I followed a suggestion in one of your reviews and substituted salsa for the diced tomatoes, and that worked well.

    • — Ellen on March 8, 2021
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  • I made these last night and they were AMAZING!!! The chipotle and the honey was a great balance. Will definitely make this again!

    • — Nancy on March 5, 2021
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  • The best part about these quesadillas is that you can make the chicken mixture the day before (and just assemble the day of the meal) and you can freeze the quesadillas for lunch/dinner to have later on one of your busy days. I reduced the honey in half (personal taste). The quesadillas are smoky so if you aren’t a smoky fan perhaps reduce the adobe sauce.

    • — JE on February 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • Sweet Lord these were amazing! I was out of tomatoes so I used salsa instead and added queso cheese as well. So insanely good!

    • — Lisa on February 3, 2021
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  • Hot damn these are delicious! I love that they just use a rotisserie chicken. I can prep the filling ahead of time and then make dinner quickly. I also often make them as an appetizer when having a get together. Do yourself a favor and make these soon!

    • — Kathleen on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • We love this recipe and it’s quick and easy. Have passed the recipe on to many friends.
    Thanks
    Dana

    • — Dana Clements on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was our first Once Upon Chef Recipe. I love it so much that I make a huge batch of the first 7 ingredients plus the salt. I freeze it in portions then when it’s Quesadilla night I thaw it and add the shredded chicken and move on from there. The step by step instructions for every recipe is what keeps us coming back to this site for inspiration. No recipe is too much for us anymore, we are confident in the kitchen.

    • — Deb Usprich on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • My family loves these quesadillas. I didn’t make any changes to the recipe. The balance between sweet, spicy and smoky is perfect. I need to improve my technique in flipping them. A wedge of quesadilla and a side salad makes a great dinner

    • — Karen on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Another family favorite and one that started me using rotisserie chicken for so many other recipes! It’s so easy to whip up for a Friday or Saturday night meal to chow in front of the TV. Full of flavor and spice and oh so tasty! 🤤

    • — Jackie on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I love this recipe! The only thing I do differently is that I do not put honey in it because it was too sweet for me. Other than that it’s one of my all-time favorites and my family loves it so much!

    • — Lisa DeLuca on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • So yummy, spicy, quick and easy! This goes great with a simple margarita and chips on the side!

    • — Lori B on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is my go-to recipe for chicken quesadillas. My husband and I both love it so much. Just like all your recipes this one has so much flavor. I really like the taste of the chipotle pepper and honey. That’s such a great combination. I’ve never tasted quesadillas like this before. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing!

    • — Veronica on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was the first recipe we used from Jenn and it certainly did not disappoint. Easy to make and delicious flavors- a little bit of kick with the Adobe peppers. Yum! Thank you 🙂

    • — Emily W on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Thank you Jenn! You continue to please my family through multiple recipes of yours…to many to mention. This was our latest today. I have your cookbook and looking forward to the new one too!

    • — Sara on November 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • Amazing recipe! I’ve been getting into cooking more recently and this was very easy to follow and tasted FANTASTIC! I’m not a spicy fan, so I used less pepper and utilized more of the sauce the peppers are in and it was a DELIGHT! I’ve made several times. Thanks Jen for a great recipe once again!

    • — Mckenzi on November 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • Excellent! No more need to be said

    • — Tony on November 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • I am a huge fan Jenn but I found this recipe too spicy! I had never used chipotle peppers and was convinced after your comments that they were more smokey than hot….not so. I won’t be making these again but will go on and try another one of your tasty recipes.

    • — Cynthia Corcoran on September 14, 2020
    • Reply
    • Try using the chipotle peppers in a jar. They are found in the international section of the market. You can use as little as you like. I use only about a TBSP or less

      • — Lisa DeLuca on January 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • Excellent! The honey cuts some of the heat from the chipotles but the flavor remains.

    • — jcpspear on September 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • I tried it and as with the majority of your recipes, it was delicious! Thank you.

    • — Michella on September 12, 2020
    • Reply
  • Amazing! What a simple and great dish. Thanks again Jenn 🙂

    • — Taline on August 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • These are absolutely divine. I will absolutely be making these again. I had a bit of leftover of the chicken mixture after making the quesadillas. I had it on a bed of spinach for a salad the next day—that was incredible too!

    • — Jenna on July 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • A must! Quick and simple and delish. It was a hit for dinner. I love it.

    • — T Toney on July 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • Really good, my husband says I could serve those in a restaurant. Thanks

    • — Rose on July 9, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi! Wondering if we can substitute steak for the chicken? Not sure how this would affect the flavor?

    • — Sylvia on July 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Sylvia, this should work with steak. Just make sure to season it with salt and pepper. I’d love to hear how they turn out if you try them!

      • — Jenn on July 5, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!
    I just made these quesadillas and I love the flavor! I am just wanting more of the flavor in each bite. I’m wondering if you have any suggestions? When cooking these, I boiled my chicken breasts and then shredded them and seasoned them with salt and pepper before adding them to the mixture. I am wondering if I could maybe cook the chicken differently so that the chicken itself has more flavor? Maybe a brine or a marinade? I would love to hear your thoughts!

    • — Rachael on June 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • My other thought is that I may have cooked off too much of the tomato liquid. I cooked the mixture for closer to 30 minutes than 20, because it seemed like there was a lot of liquid! But, once I added the chicken, the mixture seemed too dry.

      • — Rachael on June 10, 2020
      • Reply
      • Yes, I do think you likely reduced the sauce too much. Also, I like to use a store-bought rotisserie here as I think it adds more flavor than your standard chicken breasts. Hope that helps!

        • — Jenn on June 10, 2020
        • Reply
  • Oh my goodness I made this today and I couldn’t believe I was capable of making something so delicious except it’s not really me, it’s THIS RECIPE. Thank you Jenn!! I’m a loyal fan.

    P.S. The sour cream is a must. It complements the flavours perfectly. I tried having salsa and guacamole (also with Jenn’s recipe) on the side but they were completely unnecessary and even detracted from the flavour of the quesadilla.

    • — Sarah on June 8, 2020
    • Reply

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