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Two of your favorite Mexican-inspired meals come together in one delicious and easy dinner recipe — Taco Quesadillas! The cheesy ground beef quesadillas with taco seasoning are full of flavor and perfect for busy families. Best of all, you only need 4 ingredients and about 30 minutes!
This fun little twist on Taco Tuesday comes from my brother, who created Taco Quesadillas for lunch one afternoon when he was trying to use up leftover ground beef taco meat. The end result was so simple and so tasty, that he immediately called me with the details. In case you haven’t thought of this quick dinner recipe, now is your chance to “wow” your family!
Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas
Since we almost always have cheese, tortillas, taco seasoning and ground beef on hand, this is a last-minute lunch or dinner option that I don’t need to shop for. Gotta love pantry staples!
At its most basic, a quesadilla is a Mexican dish consisting of a tortilla that is filled with cheese. Quesadillas sometimes include additional ingredients such as meats, veggies, beans or spices. Cook the tortilla on a griddle to melt the cheese and crisp up the exterior and you’ve got an inexpensive and satisfying meal ready in minutes.
A full quesadilla is made with two tortillas that hold a layer of cheese between them. A half quesadilla is a single tortilla filled with cheese and folded into a half-moon shape. This recipe uses the “half quesadilla” method, because I find that it’s easier to flip the tortilla when it’s smaller. That said, you can certainly take the same ingredients and make yours “full” taco quesadillas.
How to make Taco Quesadillas
The base of this recipe requires just 4 ingredients: cheese, tortillas, ground beef and taco seasoning (plus water, which I don’t really count as an extra ingredient). You can add as many additional “toppings” as you like, such as onions, tomatoes, salsa, guacamole or avocado, sour cream and pico de gallo, but those extras are completely optional!
Ingredients for Cheesy Quesadillas
- Ground Beef: brown the meat in a skillet and season with the taco seasoning for a flavorful addition to the basic cheese quesadilla
- Taco seasoning: use homemade seasoning or a packet
- Cheese: try any of your favorite melting cheeses, such as Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby, Cheddar Jack, Queso Oaxaca, or a Mexican blend.
- Tortillas: I like flour tortillas, and typically use the larger 8-inch “burrito size.”
Step 1: Prepare Taco Meat
Brown the ground beef in a large skillet and drain off the fat. Add water and taco seasoning, cooking and stirring until thickened (about 3-4 minutes).
Step 2: Assemble Taco Quesadillas
Spread cheese on half of a tortilla. Top with taco meat and sprinkle with another layer of cheese. Fold the tortilla over, and then continue to assemble additional quesadillas with the remaining ingredients.
Step 3: Cook on Griddle
Grease a griddle or large skillet and cook quesadillas over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Depending on the size of your griddle, you may need to do this in batches. Allow the quesadillas to cool on a cutting board for a few minutes before slicing into triangles and serving.
How to make Ground Beef Quesadillas in the Microwave
Assemble the quesadillas as instructed. Place on a microwave-safe plate and cook on HIGH until the cheese is melted (about 1 minute).
How to make Cheesy Quesadillas for a Crowd in the Oven
Assemble the quesadillas as instructed. Brush each side with olive oil (or spritz with olive oil spray) — this will help them turn crisp and golden brown in the oven. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the quesadillas at 450 degrees F for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and tortillas are golden brown.
What to serve with Taco Quesadillas
I like to offer classic taco toppings to garnish individual taco quesadillas, including salsa, guacamole or diced avocado, sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, olives or green onion.
To round out the meal, pair the beef quesadillas with any of these easy Mexican-inspired sides:
- Easy Guacamole
- A simple green salad dressed in a cool Buttermilk Dressing
- Refried beans or Ranch-Style Beans
- Chips and Homemade 5-Minute Salsa or 3-Ingredient Queso Dip
- Healthy and Easy Corn Salad
- Quick and Easy Pico de Gallo
- Black Bean and Corn Salad
How to reheat Taco Quesadillas
Quesadillas are best when served warm from the griddle. If you have leftovers, the ground beef quesadillas will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat the quesadillas, warm in a skillet over low heat or in a 375 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes (or until heated through). This will help crisp up the tortillas again. I do not recommend reheating in the microwave, since the tortillas will get soggy.
If you’d like to cut down on the cooking time when your family is hungry at the end of the day, you can make the taco meat in advance and keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Microwave the meat just to warm it through before adding it to the quesadillas. You can also grate the cheese ahead of time to eliminate a little bit of the extra prep work!
More taco recipes that your family might enjoy:
- Taco Casserole with Rice
- Doritos Taco Salad
- 5-Ingredient Taco Casserole
- Dump-and-Bake Taco Casserole
- Taco Pasta Casserole
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 (1 ounce) packet taco seasoning (such as Old El Paso brand)
- ⅔ cup water
- 6 (8-inch) flour tortillas (“burrito size”)
- 3 cups grated cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese
- Optional, for serving: sour cream, guacamole, salsa, diced red onion, sliced green onion
- Cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain and return to skillet. Stir in taco seasoning and 2/3 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 3-4 minutes (stirring often), until thickened.
- Preheat a flat griddle or a large skillet over medium heat.
- To prepare one quesadilla: Spread ¼ cup of cheese on half of a tortilla. Sprinkle with about ¼ – ½ cup of the taco meat. Add another layer of cheddar on top of the meat.
- Fold tortilla over. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make additional quesadillas.
- Grease a griddle or large skillet and cook quesadillas over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
- Remove to a cutting board and allow the quesadilla to cool for a few minutes. Cut into triangles and serve.