Crisp tortillas filled with melted cheddar and shredded chicken in a sweet and smoky chipotle sauce

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.

Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas
Serves 6
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Total Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 large red onion, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
  3. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 1/3 cup minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (you'll need about 6 chilis)
  5. 4 vine-ripened tomatoes (about 1-1/4 pounds), seeded and diced
  6. 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  7. 2 tablespoons honey
  8. 2-1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken (white and/or dark meat)
  9. 1 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  11. 6 10-inch diameter flour tortillas
  12. 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  13. Sour cream, for serving (optional)
  14. Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
  1. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  4. Stir in the chipotle peppers and tomatoes.
  5. Cook until most of the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated and the mixture is thickened, stirring often, about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in the scallions, honey, chicken, salt and cilantro.
  7. Keep warm.
  8. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  9. Lay a tortilla in the pan and heat until hot to the touch but not crisp (air pockets may form).
  10. Flip the tortilla over, then sprinkle 2/3 cup of the cheese evenly overtop, being careful to keep it off the pan.
  11. Spread a generous 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture over half of the tortilla.
  12. When the cheese is mostly melted, fold the tortilla over to cover the filling and form a half-moon shape.
  13. Cook until the tortilla is crisp and golden and the cheese is melted, adjusting the heat as necessary, a few minutes per side.
  14. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
  15. Let the quesadillas rest a few minutes to allow the filling to set, then cut into wedges.
  16. Serve with sour cream and lime wedges, if desired.
  1. Notes: If you have a large griddle, use that to make the quesadillas so you can make a few at a time.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. The chicken mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated.