November 28, 2022

Canadiannpizza

Cooking Is My World

Ground Beef Quesadillas – Chelsea’s Messy Apron


Beef

Beef

These Ground Beef Quesadillas are an explosion of flavor! From the perfectly-seasoned ground beef dotted with crisp corn and a sweet bell pepper to the gooey, melted cheese and finally to the crisp tortillas — every bite is spectacular!

Make these quesadillas on the stovetop OR in the air fryer — instructions are included for both methods.

QUICK TIP

Vegetarian? No problem! Save this quesadilla with ground beef for the meat-eaters in your family and try our Black Bean Quesadillas instead!

Image of a stack of the Ground Beef Quesadillas

Ground Beef Quesadillas

Since getting an air fryer, quesadillas and grilled cheese sandwiches have been two of our frequent “go-tos” for lunches or quick dinners. The kids love ’em, I can’t get enough of them, and they’re quick and easy with minimal clean-up! The texture imbued on the tortillas or sandwich bread after air frying is unbeatable — and especially when considering they aren’t being fried in oil.

That said, we also love these cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas in a skillet and directions for both methods are included in this recipe! In fact, I’ll often air fry a couple of these quesadillas while cooking a few more in a skillet– so dinner is ready at the same time for everyone.

QUICK TIP

To make healthy Ground Beef Quesadillas, choose extra-lean ground beef or replace the beef with ground turkey or even vegetarian meat substitute. Reduce the amount of cheese and replace the tortillas with low-carb or lighter tortillas.

Process shots-- images of the ground beef being cooked; seasonings, garlic, tomato paste, corn, and cilantro being added

Ground Beef Quesadilla Ingredients

This recipe for Ground Beef Quesadillas uses everyday ingredients. Included below are a few more in-depth notes on a couple of the ingredients!

  • Flour tortillas. We love these unbaked tortillas by TortillaLand® (not sponsored). They have the best flavor and are generally found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store near the cheese. That said, any flour tortillas will work fine.
  • Taco seasoning. Seasoning ground beef for quesadillas is done best with a taco seasoning blend. Taco seasoning packets can vary in spice level and even in overall flavor. If you don’t mind spending a couple of extra minutes of prep time, you can always make your own. (I like to make a few homemade taco seasoning “packets” when meal prepping for the week.) Check out my “quick tip” box below!

QUICK TIP

For this Ground Beef Quesadilla Recipe, you can make your own taco seasoning blend instead of using a packaged mix, if you prefer. (Homemade always tastes best!) And while you’re at it, make a big batch of this and divide it into packets for convenience next time you need seasoning! Alternatively, you can store the seasoning mix in a larger container and measure out 3 tablespoons to equal one packet.

Here’s my go-to taco seasoning blend (this mix perfectly replaces the store-bought mix in this recipe):

  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder (McCormick® for mild chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, fine sea salt, and pepper

Process shots of Ground Beef Quesadillas-- images of the cheese being added to a tortilla; meat being layered on top; another layer of cheese being placed on top

How To Make Ground Beef Quesadillas

Here are a few tips for this Ground Beef Quesadilla recipe:

  • Spray (with cooking spray) or brush oil on each side of the quesadilla before cooking. This promotes even browning and crisping.
  • I use, love, and recommend this Air Fryer (affiliate link). Air fryers do vary a bit from brand to brand, so the timing for quesadillas may need to be slightly tweaked for your specific model. Also keep in mind that after the initial air fry, the machine is warmed up and will cook the next batches a bit faster.
  • If you’re air frying the quesadillas, press toothpicks in each corner and/or on the center edge to keep the tortilla from lifting up as it fries. Even with the toothpicks, the tortilla may want to lift up, so press it down to keep the layers together when flipping the quesadilla.

How To Make Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

  • First off, let’s chat cheese. We recommend sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar, which has a richer and more present flavor. Mild or medium Cheddar tends to get muted. In addition to the Cheddar, we like using Monterey Jack as well. The combo of these two cheese are unbeatable!
  • The “secret” to the cheesiest quesadillas? Add cheese on either side of the ground beef filling
  • This recipe is aimed at being simple, but the one thing we highly recommend to get ultra gooey cheesy results is grating your own cheese to ensure a nice, even melt. Pre-grated cheese contains preservatives that keep the shreds from clumping together in the bag, but they also keep the cheese from melting smoothly in these quesadillas.

Process shots-- images of the quesadilla being cooked in a skillet and in an air fryer

Ground Beef Quesadilla Toppings

While the quesadillas are cooking, assemble any and all toppings you’d like. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Chili-lime sauce. This sauce first appeared on these Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls and has been a staple in my home ever since. We are obsessed with this sauce and any excuse I have to use it, I’ll take! This is our favorite sauce for these Ground Beef Quesadillas.
  • Cilantro-lime sauce. If you prefer more of a cooling, citrusy sauce, this Cilantro-Lime Sauce is wonderful with these quesadillas.
  • Guacamole. Try our favorite homemade Guacamole Recipe or get some at the store for ease/quicker dinner prep. A ripe diced avocado is also a great topping
  • Sour cream. Fat-free, light, or regular all work great!
  • Salsa. Again, this homemade Salsa is sublime, but store-bought works great too. Pico de gallo is also especially delicious here.
  • Fresh lime and/or cilantro. A squeeze of fresh lime and a sprig or two of cilantro make such a great addition to these quesadillas — they add a burst of freshness and acidity.
  • Hot sauce. ‘Nuff said!

Image of the Ground Beef Quesadilla stacked on top of each other

STORAGE

Ground Beef Quesadilla Storage/Freezing

These quesadillas store really nicely (uncooked) in the fridge for up to 5 days. We wrap each one individually and put them all in a large airtight freezer bag or container. Cook them straight from the fridge, adding a minute or two on cook time. Once cooked (in a skillet or air fryer), these quesadillas are best enjoyed promptly and don’t store very well.

Want to freeze your Ground Beef Quesadillas? Here’s a wonderful resource that goes into depth about freezing, thawing, and reheating leftovers!

 

Ground Beef Quesadillas

These Ground Beef Quesadillas are an explosion of flavor! From the perfectly seasoned ground beef dotted with crisp corn and a sweet bell pepper to the gooey, melted cheese and finally to the crisp tortillas — every bite is spectacular!

Ground Beef Quesadillas

These Ground Beef Quesadillas are an explosion of flavor! From the perfectly seasoned ground beef dotted with crisp corn and a sweet bell pepper to the gooey, melted cheese and finally to the crisp tortillas — every bite is spectacular!

Instructions

  • PREP: If using uncooked tortillas, warm them in a skillet according to package directions and set aside. (These tortillas need to be cooked through before assembling quesadillas regardless of what cooking method (skillet or air fryer) is used.) If using already cooked tortillas, no prep is needed there. Dice onion and red pepper. Finely chop cilantro. Grate cheese.

  • BEEF: Add the olive oil to a large skillet over high heat. Once oil is shimmering, add onion and red pepper. Sauté until golden, about 3-5 minutes. Push veggies to the side and add the ground beef to the center of the pan. Let beef sear (brown) before crumbling with a wooden spoon and browning all the way through. (Drain/remove any grease if needed.) Reduce the heat to medium and add in the seasoning mix, tomato paste, water, and garlic. Stir until very fragrant, about 1-3 minutes. Remove from heat and then add in the frozen corn and cilantro. Mix through.

  • ASSEMBLY: Divide cheese and meat filling among 6 tortillas (on one side of each tortilla). Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cheese on one-half of the tortillas. Add a heaping 1/2 cup ground beef on top and then sprinkle another 2 tablespoons cheese over that. Press together.

  • SKILLET: Use a pastry brush to coat both sides of the quesadillas with some oil (or use cooking spray). Add 2 quesadillas at a time to a dry non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Cover skillet with a lid and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Remove the lid, carefully flip the quesadilla and press down lightly with a spatula to seal the edges. Cook, uncovered for another 2-3 minutes or until crispy, browned, and cheesy filling has melted. It’s important to keep the heat low so the cheese can melt before the tortilla browns too much (reduce heat if tortilla is browning before cheese is melted). Repeat this process to finish cooking all the quesadillas (See Note 4).

  • AIR FRYER: Stick toothpicks through the center edge of the quesadillas. Generously spray both sides of the quesadilla with cooking spray. Place 2 quesadillas in the air fryer insert, giving each plenty of space. Cook at 350 degrees F for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through or until quesadillas are crisp, golden, and the cheese is melted. (Note 6) Before flipping, press the quesadilla close together to seal the edges. Quesadillas have the tendency to open even with toothpicks. Remove carefully from the air fryer and let cool a couple minutes before cutting and serving. Repeat the process to finish cooking all the quesadillas (See Note 4).

  • SERVE: Once quesadillas are cooked, cut into wedges and serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa. etc. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Tortillas: We love these unbaked tortillas by TortillaLand® (not sponsored). They are generally found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store near the cheese and have the best flavor. That said, any flour tortillas will work.
Note 2: Taco seasoning: Taco seasoning packets can vary in the spice level and even in overall flavor. We love McCormick® and Old El Paso® mild taco seasoning packets. Otherwise, we usually use a homemade taco seasoning blend. If you’re concerned about heat, be sure to pick a packet that is labeled mild.
Here’s our homemade blend: 1 tablespoon ground chili powder, 1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, fine sea salt, and pepper
Note 3: Cheese: We recommend freshly grating your own to avoid waxy quesadillas. We like sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar for maximum flavor and love combining Cheddar with Monterey Jack — delish!
Note 4: Cooking/air fryingAir fryers do vary a bit from brand to brand, so the timing for quesadillas may need to be slightly tweaked for your specific model. Also keep in mind that after the initial air fry, the machine is warmed up and will cook the next batches a bit quicker. This also applies to the skillet — after the skillet is warmed, subsequent batches also cook quicker.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 568kcal | Carbohydrates: 36.4g | Protein: 37.8g | Fat: 30.2g | Cholesterol: 110.8mg | Sodium: 997.7mg | Fiber: 1.6g | Sugar: 4.3g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.