Skip to main content

Pre-Toast Your Tortillas (and 3 Other Tips for Great Quesadillas)

Make a crispier, more flavorful, just-plain-better snack.

A quesadilla—crisp and piping hot and filled with just the right amount of cheese—makes a quick, casual, and satisfying snack or light meal. Here, we offer a handful of tips that will turn an ordinary quesadilla into an outstanding one:

1. PRE-TOAST THE TORTILLA Before assembling the quesadilla, toast both sides of a flour tortilla in a skillet over medium heat so that its layers puff and separate. This will create a pleasing contrast in texture: the tortilla’s outer layer thin and crispy, and its inner layer warm and soft with just a bit of chew.

Sign up for the Cook's Insider newsletter

The latest recipes, tips, and tricks, plus behind-the-scenes stories from the Cook's Illustrated team.

2. GIVE THE FILLING A FLAVOR BOOST In addition to shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, include some minced pickled jalapeños for a spark of bright heat. 

3. FOLD, DON’T STACK Instead of sandwiching the cheese between two tortillas, sprinkle the shreds onto half of a single tortilla and fold the tortilla around the filling. This allows you to cook two quesadillas at one time in the same skillet, if desired, and the fold also keeps the cheese filling from oozing out. 

4. SALT THE TORTILLA To ensure that every bite is perfectly seasoned, brush each quesadilla generously with oil, then sprinkle it with salt before crisping and browning the quesadilla(s) oiled side down in the skillet. Flip and brush the second side with oil, sprinkle with salt, and cook to brown and crisp the second side. 

0 Comments

Try All-Access Membership to Unlock the Comments
Don't miss the conversation. Our test cooks and editors jump in to answer your questions, and our members are curious, opinionated, and respectful.
Membership includes instant access to everything on our sites:
  • 10,000+ foolproof recipes and why they work
  • Taste Tests of supermarket ingredients
  • Equipment Reviews save you money and time
  • Videos including full episodes and clips
  • Live Q&A with Test Kitchen experts
Start Free Trial
JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.