How to make a Taco Bell Chicken Quesadilla: Recipe + Jalapeno Sauce!
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Mm mm. Just thinking about Taco Bell chicken quesadillas is getting my mouth watering. What’s in the Taco Bell chicken quesadilla recipe that makes it taste so irresistible?
It ain’t love.
What’s in the Taco Bell chicken quesadilla?
I think the secret to its deliciousness is in the sauce—jalapeño sauce. As stated on tacobell.com, “The quesadilla is a simple flour tortilla with some grilled chicken, a hefty portion of melted three-cheese blend, creamy jalapeño sauce, and absolutely zero bells and whistles.”
Oh, Taco Bell! You had me at, “…creamy jalapeño sauce!”
Open-minded folks need not feel confined to the meat-and-cheese simplicity of a Taco Bell chicken quesadilla, though. Contents of a non–Taco Bell quesadilla can vary wildly depending on taste. Quesadillans—people who eat quesadillas—often experiment with additions like bacon, onions, black beans, salsa, guacamole, jalapeño, spinach, zucchini, tofu, or whatever the heart desires. So feel free to throw this in if you dare. As for me, I’m a plain Jane, and I love the simple Taco Bell version. Who knew there are even dessert quesadillas that may have chocolate, caramel, or butterscotch in the middle?
Me? I’ll stick to the plain ol’ cheesy Taco Bell chicken quesadilla
An Alternative Sauce: Light Southwest Ranch
Since I might feel a tad guilty if I were to live out my dream of eating Taco Bell for dinner every night—that’s what my college days were for—I’ve come up with a pretty close at-home copycat Taco Bell chicken quesadilla recipe. I scoured the internet years ago for a recipe, and there was only one at the time on allrecipes.com. It had some weird ingredients and only fed two people, so I adapted it significantly to fit my family’s tastes and size.
Before I adapted this recipe, I used to use a store-bought sauce. If you’re looking for a quick sauce to use that tastes similar to a Taco Bell chicken quesadilla, try Fred Meyer’s Light Southwest Ranch. It’s not quite the same thing, but it’s delicious nonetheless. Plus it’s yummy on turkey sandwiches for lunch during the week.
Taco Bell chicken quesadilla ingredient tips
I love using chicken thighs in my quesadillas because it’s such a tender meat, it’s so easy to make, and it’s dirt cheap. Stock up your freezer whenever you find them under 99 cents per pound. Then you’ll be good-to-go when quesadilla-making time comes around. If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge for 1-2 nights beforehand. To cook, throw them in the slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours. I usually cook 8 thighs for 5 hours on low, then use 4-5 thighs for quesadillas. I save the remaining thighs for salad toppings the next night.
New at-home quesadillans might need to buy a few ingredients they don’t traditionally have in the pantry or fridge. A jar of Great Value jalapeños costs $1.50 at Walmart. I use the juice from the jar for my chicken quesadillas and the jalapenos for nachos or sandwiches. You can also pick up other brands on Amazon, but they often come in bulk sizes. Feel free to freeze extra!
Mission Carb Balance tortillas come in the perfect size on Amazon.
Taco Bell Chicken Quesadilla Recipe w/ Creamy Jalapeno Sauce
- 8 8-inch flour tortillas (taco-size)
- 2 cups cooked cut-up chicken thighs or breasts
- 2 cups mexican style shredded cheese
Chicken Quesadilla Creamy Jalapeno Sauce Recipe
- 3/4 cup mayo (try Best Foods Lite)
- 3 TBS jalapeno juice
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- 1.5 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1 tsp paprika
- I like to cook 4-5 chicken thighs in slow cooker for 5 hours on low, and then strip the meat with my fingers to get tender chicken for my quesadillas. You can also cook a few boneless chicken breasts in a buttered pan and chop them up, or simply use leftover rotisserie chicken picked from the bone.
- Preheat a skillet over low-medium heat (I use a 4 out of 10), and spray with non-stick spray. Lay a tortilla in skillet and cover with 1/2 cup of cheese and 1/2 cup chicken. Sprinkle with pepper.
- Take a new tortilla and spread 3 TBS quesadilla sauce on one side. Lay this side down on the chicken and cheese tortilla in the skillet, and press with spatula. Let cook for about a minute–or until bottom tortilla is light golden.
- Flip over and cook other side until golden.
- Remove from pan with spatula and let it cool for a moment on a plate. Use pizza roller to cut that bad boy into wedges; first cut the circle in half one way, then turn and cut in half again the other way. Each quesadilla circle yields 4 wedges.