Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.

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

chipotle chicken quesadillas on serving platter

Crisp flour tortillas stuffed with gooey melted cheddar and tender shredded chicken, all smothered in a sweet, smoky, and savory chipotle sauce—these could easily claim the title of the world’s best quesadillas! Think of them a gourmet twist on my classic chicken quesadillas—I’m a fan of those too, particularly for kids, but these are truly in their own league. The recipe is adapted from Curtis Stone, one of my favorite chefs and cookbook authors.

“Sweet Lord these were amazing!”


What You’ll Need To Make Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

chipotle chicken quesadillas ingredients
  • Red onion, garlic, and scallions: These aromatics form the flavor base, adding depth and a slight sweetness to counter the heat of the peppers.
  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce: Provide a smoky, spicy flavor that is the signature of these quesadillas. They add heat and a rich, complex taste. See the FAQs to learn more about these peppers.
  • Tomatoes: Offer a fresh, acidic, and slightly sweet component that balances the smokiness of the chipotle peppers and also adds moisture to the sauce.
  • Honey: Adds sweetness to balance the heat from the chipotle peppers and the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Cooked shredded chicken: Serves as the protein base; you can use leftover or rotisserie chicken and either white or dark meat based on your preference.
  • Cilantro: Brings a fresh, herbal element that brightens the dish and pairs well with the other flavors.
  • Flour tortillas: Act as the casing for the quesadillas, holding all the ingredients together. They crisp up when cooked, adding a satisfying texture.
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese: Melts into the quesadillas, adding a rich, creamy texture and a tangy flavor that complements the spicy and smoky elements.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step Instructions

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

cooking the red onions and garlic in olive oil in a skillet

Add the diced tomatoes and minced chipotle peppers.

tomatoes and chipotle peppers in adobo added to skillet

Cook until the liquid is gone and the mixture is thickened.

sauce for chipotle chicken quesadillas

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.)

shredded chicken added to the sauce in the skillet

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.

cooking the quesadilla in a skillet

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

folded quesadilla in skillet

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are chipotle peppers in adobo sauce?

Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are typically small peppers, often red jalapeños, that have been dried, smoked, and then preserved in a spicy, smoky tomato sauce. You can usually find them in the Latin section of most supermarkets. If you’re looking for more ways to use them, try my chipotle honey vinaigrette and black bean and corn salad.

chopped chipotle pepper in adobo on marble cutting board

How can I make these less spicy?

This recipe uses six peppers, including the seeds, which might sound like a lot, but it doesn’t make the quesadillas overly spicy. However, if you are sensitive to heat or making these quesadillas for kids, you might want to use fewer peppers.

Can I make the quesadillas ahead of time?

For the crispiest texture, quesadillas should be assembled and cooked just before serving. However, the chicken mixture can be prepared up to two days in advance, cooled, covered, and stored in the refrigerator.

Can leftover quesadillas be frozen?

Yes, the cooked quesadillas can be frozen for up to three months. To serve, defrost them in the refrigerator and then reheat, wrapped in foil, in an oven preheated to 350°F (175°C) until hot, which should take 15 to 20 minutes.

You May Also Like

Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

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

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (you'll need about 6 chilis)
  • 4 vine-ripened tomatoes (about 1¼ pounds), seeded and diced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2½ cups cooked shredded chicken (white and/or dark meat)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ 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 ⅔ cup of the cheese evenly overtop, being careful to keep it off the pan. Spread a generous ½ 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.
  4. Note: The nutritional information does not include the optional ingredients.
  5. Make-Ahead/Freezing Instructions: For the crispiest texture, the quesadillas should be assembled and cooked just before serving. However, the chicken mixture can be prepared up to two days in advance, cooled, covered, and stored in the refrigerator. Leftover quesadillas can be frozen for up to three months. To serve, defrost them in the refrigerator and then reheat, wrapped in foil, in an oven preheated to 350°F (175°C) until hot, which should take 15 to 20 minutes.

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, 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.

See more recipes:


  • Absolutely delicious!

    • — Mendee on June 1, 2024
    • Reply
  • Maybe someone asked this: where’s the chipotle? Doesn’t matter to me; I’m a seasoned (heh heh) cook and will simply add some minced to the sauce.

    • — D3 on March 10, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi, you must’ve overlooked it, but the recipe calls for ⅓ cup minced chipotle peppers in adobo. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 11, 2024
      • Reply
      • Jenn, on the matter of the Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce, you indicated that this is available as a pre-prepared canned product containing jalpenos (re: FAQ) and is so called out in the recipe. However, in the recipe you also show the use of six jalapeno peppers required, including the seeds (re: “How can I make these less spicy” Tip). This is not clear to me as to where the six jalapenos are coming from (and may be the basis of the D3’s question). Additionally, the ingredient pictorial does not show the six jalapeno peppers. Please clarify. Thank you for your kind attention

        RF(Bob) Di Stefano
        Easton, MD

        • — Robert DiStefano on March 25, 2024
        • Reply
        • Hi Robert, the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are the only thing that you’ll need for the recipe. While chipotles in adobo typically use small red jalapeño peppers, that’s all you’ll need – you won’t need fresh jalapenos. Please LMK if you have any other questions. Hope you enjoy the quesadillas!

          • — Jenn on March 25, 2024
          • Reply
  • These are excellent quesadillas! I halved the recipe and made it exactly as written. The combo of chipotle and honey really ramps up the flavor. I used some chicken breast that I had poached and shredded. Made a quick guacamole for topping, along with a dollop of sour cream. Great casual dinner for the 2 of us. As always, thanks for your recipes!

    • — Julia on March 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • Do you think this recipe could be made ahead and the put in a crockpot to keep warm for a potluck?

    • — Kathryn Watson on March 7, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathryn, I don’t think a crockpot is the best option for these — sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 8, 2024
      • Reply
  • I sub out the chicken for canned black beans and this make a fantastic vegetarian dish. I also sub 1 can of good quality diced tomatoes for the fresh tomatoes and this makes for a very easy and tasty weeknight meal for the family. We love it! Thank you Jen!

    • — Elisabeth S. on March 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • These are absolutely amazing. My whole family loves them! Definitely one of my go-to recipes.
    NOTE: I use a rotisserie chicken because it’s so quick and if I’m in a hurry, I’ll use a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh and it’s just as good.

    • — Kelley C on March 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • Fresh tomatoes are out of season, I grow my own every year in NC and nothing at the grocery store compares. Was going to try a can of Rotel, think one can would be enough?

    • — Dawn on February 8, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Dawn, You’ll need the equivalent of about a pound of diced tomatoes.

      • — Jenn on February 8, 2024
      • Reply
  • Another winner!! Absolutely delicious — and the chipotle peppers go so well with the honey. Thanks Jenn! You’re the best!!

    • — Lyne H on December 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • been using this recipe for a year and it’s an absolute win. i’ve never even bothered reviewing recipes but this one deserves it! Five stars.
    For my fellow Australians (who have limited access to whole peppers) use a whole jar of la costena chipotles in adobo from your local woolies or coles. works just fine 🙂

    • — Lilly M-c on December 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • What a great way to use leftover turkey! Love the bite and flavor that the chipotle chiles add. As I did the first time I made these (thanks helpful commenters), I finished them in the oven after spraying the tortillas with olive oil oil @ 430°–8 min. per side.
    Thank you as always, Jenn.

    • — John M. on November 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • These were DELICIOUS!!!! Made with a side of guac…added to the repeat list!

    • — Kristie (Senoia, GA) on November 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was ridiculously good, and very easy! Perfect blend of flavors! We had some nice Jersey tomatoes, which really made it special. Will definitely be making this again!
    My wife works in Washington DC during the week, and usually comes home Thursday night. I try to have something nice for her when she gets home, and your weekly email is often my source. Thanks Jenn, love your stuff!

    • — Fred on July 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • Our favourite chicken quesadillas! Love the chipotle peppers.

    • — Joanne on June 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • Are you supposed to deseed the peppers?

    • — Marie on May 19, 2023
    • Reply
    • No, no need to remove the seeds.

      • — Jenn on May 22, 2023
      • Reply
  • This is the first recipe I tried of yours. WOW! Fantastic.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

    • — Kerri on May 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • Oh my gosh, these are THAT good! I make quesadillas all the time, but these are special. The chipotle peppers are just the right touch, and the honey is the secret ingredient (I only added 1 tbs instead of 2). So excited to have this recipe. Thank you.

    • — Eileen Der Aris on April 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • I cooked and loved the Peruvian style roast chicken and green sauce, used the left over chicken to make this dish – huge success. The green sauce worked well with both dishes and just about everything!!

    I recently came across your site and have already successfully cooked 5 of the dishes and will continue to cook more. Your clear directions and videos make cooking easy!!
    A big thank you Jen, from me and my husband.

    • — Christine Bridges on March 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • These are amazing!!

    • — Stacy Higgins on March 16, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made it and everyone loved it! The prep took me a while. I shredded my own cheese though, but all so worth it! Delicious, love the chipotle peppers flavor. It adds such dimension to the sauce. I also cooked my chicken breasts by chopping them into medium size pieces and then shredding them. Will definitely be in the dinner rotation, and possibly for Super Bowl weekend! Always love your recipes!💕

    • — Donna Walker on February 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi! I’d like to make these for myself (vegetarian) and my meat loving son. Could I mix 1/2 the mixture with a can of black beans and 1/2 with chicken? Or would you recommend something else for the vegetarian version?

    Thanks so much!

    • — Missy on February 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Missy, I think that would work really well! I’d love to know how the vegetarian version turns out!

      • — Jenn on February 5, 2023
      • Reply
  • Had some leftover rotisserie chicken. Made this for dinner tonight and it’s delicious. Added avocado which gave a creaminess to the quesadillas. Will definitely make again!

    • — Rosa R on January 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • We made this recipe a few weeks ago and are making it again today. The only two things that we did differently, and will continue to do, was using two full cans of adobo chilis (and all of the sauce in the cans) and using 4 Tablespoons of honey. We ate this for a few days straight and raved about it with every bite!

    • — SJR on November 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • Delicious. I made them exactly as the recipe instructed and they’ll be my go to now. I thought the addition of the honey seemed strange but it worked perfectly.

    • — Mary Lou on November 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • Excellent! The Chipotle in Adobo really complimented these quesadillas! My husband labelled it “comfort food”!

    • — Hazel Jordan on October 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • These are the best quesadillas! My go-to recipe for the past 2 years.

    • — Joanne on October 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • These were delicious! Didn’t have honey so I used 1 tbsp brown sugar, which was the perfect sweetness for me.

    • — Nicky on October 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • These are THE BEST. I made a double batch to freeze expecting the recipe would be great. Used more dark chicken meat than I normally would and I’m glad I did. Flavor is so much better. Used canned diced tomatoes because it was handy. Used sweet onions because I prefer them. Froze them individually when they cooled and they make the perfect light lunch or quick dinner. Just thaw a bit and reheat in a dry pan.

    • — Barb on September 22, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yes Barb girl! I’m here for that tip!

      • — T on October 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • This has been a go to recipe for me and my partner. Once we had leftover filling but no tortillas – ended up using crunchy taco shells for chipotle chicken tacos which were even better than we were expecting!

    • — Alex on September 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • I love that these come together so quickly and are really flavorful. We enjoy spice, and the smoky chipotles were perfect. I was also happy to be able to use a couple of tomatoes from my garden since we’re a little overwhelmed with them right now. Thanks for another delicious recipe!

    • — Kay on September 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • We absolutely love these! We made them a couple of weeks ago and we have been thinking about them ever since. Instead of the chipotle peppers, we used some chipotle salsa which turned out really well but a little sweet… I’ll cut back on the honey next time. Excellent recipe!

    • — Anne on September 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • These were very flavorful and easy to make, but I found them way too spicy. I went with 4 peppers and thought it would be OK, but it was still too hot. I don’t usually mind a little heat, but I think I will try 1-2 peppers next time. I did use a different brand, not sure if that makes a difference.

    • — Erika on August 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    The chipotle chicken quesdilla recipe looks delicious, like all your recipes! I have what may be a stupid question: If you make the chicken mixture ahead and refrigerate it, do you need to warm it up before adding it to the tortillas?

    Thanks for your help and awesome recipes!

    • — Hannah on August 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Not a stupid question! Yes, I’d warm it up a little before assembling the quesadillas. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 15, 2022
      • Reply
  • This is super yummy. Easy, quick. Used GF corn tortillas. Delightful. Thank you.

    • — Jane on August 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • These are so so good! I served them with lime wedges, sour cream, extra cilantro and my favorite taco sauce. They were restaurant quality and by far the best quesadillas I’ve made at home 🙂
    I try to follow recipes as written to leave a review but when I made these, I didn’t have any chipotle peppers in adobo on hand. In place, I used a small can of diced green chilies, cumin powder and chipotle pepper chili powder which made the filling sweet and mild. Definitely making these again and will use the peppers in adobo! And I’ll grab a rotisserie chicken to save time 😀

    • — amanda on July 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is my second time making this recipe and I made two slight changes. 1) My family thought it was a little too sweet the first time so I cut the honey by 1/2. 2) My can of adobo chilies had 9 in it so I used them all because I hated to waste the ingredients. We like spicy food and it was perfect. I make a full recipe and freeze the leftovers. These reheat very well.

    My husband suggested you maybe creating a soup recipe using these same flavors. 🙂

  • So flavorful! This has become my family’s “go to” quesadilla recipe!

  • ALWAYS add fresh herbs at the very end. Cooking them is useless and cancel their flavour completely. So Cilantro: away from the heat.

Add a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.