Melty, gooey, savory, and crispy - oh, there are probably no things greater than a lovely cheese quesadilla. It's both very easy to make and inexpensive, making this a great Tex Mex option that beats anything out of a fast-food joint.
This cheese quesadilla recipe is very simple and very easy to follow. And no wonder! After all, there are only two main components - tortillas and cheese. But even then, there are a few things you should consider before you start.
First, the tortillas.Flour tortillas work best here. And generally speaking, any store brand would do. As a matter of fact, just a little spritz of water before cooking can even bring some old stale tortillas back to life, making them perfect for these cheese quesadillas.
But if you wish for the ultimate experience (and a good way to save money!) definitely consider making some homemade tortillas that will bring these cheese quesadillas to a completely new league. With a good tortilla press, it's also a very simple process. You may not go back to store-bought ones ever again.
Now, quesadilla cheese. When looking at how to make a cheese quesadilla, you want two things: flavor and gooeyness. Both together - never separate! You may want to load your quesadillas with sharp parmesan, but the flavor would be too strong, and the texture? The less spoken about it, the better. Same way, you may be interested in loading the quesadillas with soft mozzarella, but it would just be all the gooeyness with no flavor to match.
In this cheese quesadilla recipe, I used a combination of cheddar and white cheeses. In fact, the "Mexican cheese" you may find in bags at the store, is very likely just the blend of cheddar and Monterey jack, a very popular white cheese!
When put together, they make a perfect combination of flavor and texture. But you can play by your own rules, and mix in some mozzarella, or even American cheese. The golden rule is to have a cup of cheese for each 9-inch quesadilla. What it may be, depends on what you have or can get!
Then, it's all about the extras. I really recommend adding a bit of fresh parsley in your cheese quesadillas. It's a nice note that cuts through the rich flavors and makes everything so much better. You can add jalapenos as well, for a nice little kick. Some people also love adding a bit of extra cream cheese (ideally, smeared on a tortilla before cooking). These are plain cheese quesadillas, after all - so you add some toppings of your own to make it just a little bit personal.
And when you have that one sorted out, it's all about one solid cast iron pan, a bit of butter, and a few minutes of your time. So, here's how to make quesadillas!
For 2 quesadillas:
A well-seasoned cast iron skillet works best in this situation, as it heats evenly, and retains that heat very well. If you don't have that, a non-stick skillet is a decent substitute.
Melt a tablespoon of butter over medium heat. If the pan starts smoking, reduce the heat down a bit.
Lay down your tortilla on the pan. Immediately after, evenly spread the cheese on the tortilla (one cup per quesadilla total). Add your optional toppings now.
Keep checking with a spatula is the underside of the tortilla is nice, toasted and golden brown. By now, the cheese should be partially melted. Add the second tortilla on top of the cheese and flip. If feeling less confident, you may put a large plate over your quesadilla and flip the skillet over the plate. Then, just carefully return it back to the skillet, this time with the other tortilla down.
Give the second tortilla a couple more minutes to cook, checking the underside until it's ready.
Give the quesadilla a minute or so to rest. Immediately after cooking, the cheese inside is basically molten lava! If making several quesadillas ahead of time, keep them inside an oven set at around 200-220 ºF. When ready to serve, cut the quesadilla up into however many wedges you want.
You don't need to wash up the skillet every time you make a quesadilla. Just move it away from the heat, wait for a minute or so and wipe down with a paper towel so there are no visible specks left. Then, you can add the butter and repeat the process all over again.
This homemade quesadilla is perfect with pico de gallo, sour cream, refried beans - or whatever you wish!