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Pan Fried Jerk Chicken Quesadillas

Quick and easy jerk chicken quesadillas for brunch or dinner! Flour tortillas are filled with juicy chicken, onions, bell peppers and LOTS of cheese to make a delicious and satisfying meal that the whole family will enjoy.

Do try these chicken fajitas if you like Tex-Mex. An easy marinade and a quick sear in the skillet is all that’s needed for the most crispy and flavorful fajitas ever!

Two jerk chicken quesadillas stacked on a plate.

Of all the comfort foods out there, chicken quesadillas have to be up there. We are talking about crispy golden brown tortillas bursting with chicken + veggies and gooey cheddar. And the jerk seasoning (hello Jamaica!) just makes everything better.

I mean, why not experiment with the seasoning? Why always put the same old seasoning in there? So, these may not be the most authentic quesadillas (Tex-Mex meets Caribbean), but …. so what? They’re quite delicious and that’s what matters:)

If you are into easy chicken dinners, check out this chicken stroganoff and this orange chicken.

Why this recipe is a keeper

  • It’s quick and easy for starters.
  • No fancy equipment required. You just need a stovetop, a small wok, and a frypan.
  • It’s delicious. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with chicken and cheese, but it really is quite awesome thanks to all those flavor building ingredients like onions, garlic, and the jerk seasoning. The jerk seasoning, especially.
  • A real crowd-pleaser. Place a stack of warm quesadillas in front of a bunch of people and watch ’em disappear. And I don’t mean the people.
  • Customizable. Make them gluten-free or even dairy-free if you follow those diets. More on this below.

Ingredients

Note: exact amounts are mentioned in the recipe card further down.

  • cooking oil – light olive oil or avocado oil are good options, but you can go with any cooking oil of your choice
  • boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • garlic, minced
  • jerk seasoning
  • onions
  • green and red peppers
  • cheddar cheese, shredded
  • flour tortillas

Instructions

Preparation (with short cuts to save time)

1. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Ask your butcher to cut the chicken for you to save on time, or pick cubed chicken from the supermarket.

2. Mince the garlic. If you are out of garlic, you can use bottled, minced garlic as well. I keep a bottle in my fridge and use it when I’m in a hurry or have run out of fresh garlic.

3. Dice the onions and peppers.

4. Grate the cheese if using a block. Freshly grated cheese is the best of course, but you can use pre-shredded cheddar in a pinch.

Make the filling

1. Heat the cooking oil in a small wok and add the chicken cubes. Tip in the garlic and jerk seasoning and stir. Cook the chicken on medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until tender.

2. Add the onions and peppers and stir fry for 1-2 minutes or until the vegetables soften slightly but still retain their crunch. The filling for the quesadillas is ready.

chicken cubes with garlic and seasoning in a wok
jerk chicken quesadilla filling in a wok (chicken, onions, and bell peppers)

Assemble the quesadillas

1. Place a tortilla on a hot frying pan and toast it for a few seconds.

2. Sprinkle a tablespoon of cheese on one half of the tortilla. Top with 1-2 tablespoons of filling. Sprinkle another tablespoon of cheese over the filling.

3. Fold over the tortilla and cook for a few seconds more if needed. The top of the tortilla should have turned golden brown and slightly crispy.

How to make jerk seasoning from scratch

I get it. Not everyone will have a bottle of jerk seasoning lying around. So, unless you have planned in advance to make this recipe and already have it, here’s how to make homemade jerk seasoning.

You will need the following spices and ingredients:

  • Onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne powder, smoked paprika, brown sugar – one tablespoon each
  • Black pepper (ground) – half a tablespoon
  • Sea salt – two teaspoons
  • Red pepper flakes, allspice, dried thyme, dried parsley – one teaspoon each
  • Nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin (ground) – half a teaspoon each

Put the above ingredients in a clean glass bottle with a lid and shake well.

Since this is a dry powder, it will keep well for a few months at least. Use it whenever you want to add some heat and flavor to your meat.

Two jerk chicken quesadillas stacked on a plate.

Top Tips

  • Cut the chicken into small cubes for faster cooking. The bigger the pieces, the longer it will take to cook them through.
  • If you don’t like plain toasted tortillas, swirl a few drops of cooking oil or butter in the frying pan before placing the tortillas in them.
  • Wait for the tortillas to brown slightly before adding the cheese and filling. They taste great when slightly crisped-up and buttery!
  • If you have any leftover quesadillas, wrap them in foil and keep in the fridge for up to one or two days. They are best reheated in a hot oven or an air fryer. Microwaving them will turn them soggy.

Variations

1. Want to make your quesadillas gluten-free and/or dairy free? Swap the flour tortillas with corn tortillas and use guacamole instead of cheese. If using guacamole, add it as the last step before folding the tortillas in the pan since it doesn’t need to be melted like cheese.

2. You can add more ingredients to the filling to make it even more interesting. Corn, pitted whole olives and canned beans of your choice work well.

Quesadillas with leftover chicken

Have cooked leftover chicken, maybe some rotisserie chicken? Use it in your quesadillas! Quesadillas are the ideal candidates for using up leftovers, and you get to cut down on the cooking time even more.

All you have to do is heat the oil, throw in everything (garlic, seasoning, vegetables, and chicken) at the same time, and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Your filling is ready in a snap!

Three jerk chicken quesadillas on a plate.
Two jerk chicken quesadillas on a plate.

Jerk Chicken Quesadillas

Saima Zaidi
Flour tortillas are filled with juicy chicken, onions, bell peppers and LOTS of cheese to make for a delicious and filling meal!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Assembling 10 mins
Total Time 27 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 people
Calories 663 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 wok
  • 1 frypan

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1.1 lbs chicken breast boneless, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 ½ tbsp jerk seasoning
  • 1 cup onions diced
  • 2 cups bell peppers red and green, diced
  • 8 flour tortillas medium-sized
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. 
  • Mince the garlic. 
  • Dice the onions and peppers.
  • Grate the cheese if using a block. You can also use pre-shredded cheese.

Cooking and assembling

  • Heat the cooking oil in a small wok and add the chicken cubes. Tip in the garlic and jerk seasoning and stir. Cook the chicken on medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until tender.
  • Add the onions and peppers and stir fry for 1-2 minutes or until the vegetables soften slightly but still retain their crunch. The filling for the quesadillas is ready.
  • Place a tortilla on a hot frying pan and toast it for a few seconds.
  • Sprinkle a tablespoon of cheese on one half of the tortilla. Top with 1-2 tablespoons of the filling. Sprinkle another tablespoon of cheese over the filling.
  • Fold over the tortilla and cook for a few seconds more if needed. The top of the tortilla should have turned golden brown and slightly crispy.
  • Repeat steps 3-5 for the remaining tortillas. Serve hot.

Notes

  • Cut the chicken into small cubes for faster cooking. The bigger the pieces, the longer it will take to cook them through.
  • If you don’t like plain toasted tortillas, swirl a few drops of cooking oil or butter in the frying pan before placing the tortillas in them.
  • Wait for the tortillas to brown slightly before adding the cheese and filling. They taste great when slightly crisped-up and buttery!
  • If you have any leftover quesadillas, wrap them in foil and keep in the fridge for up to one or two days. They are best reheated in a hot oven or an air fryer. Microwaving them will turn them soggy.
  • To make your own jerk seasoning, see the body of the post. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2tortillasCalories: 663kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 47gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 961mgPotassium: 891mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 3827IUVitamin C: 100mgCalcium: 505mgIron: 4mg
Keyword easy chicken dinner, jerk chicken quesadilla
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