Easy Cheesy Beef Quesadillas

I have yet to meet a combination of ground beef and cheese that doesn’t make the people I live with extremely happy.  They are not unusual in that respect, I know, which is why tucked amidst the salad recipes and salmon dishes, I continue to pepper this blog with dishes such as One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni and Grilled Cheeseburgers with Herb Sauce.  Really, let’s hear it for ground beef.  And cheese.  And Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas.

Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

Quesadillas with Ground Beef

When you are thinking about meals with ground beef, you can’t get to a quicker and easier answer than quesadillas. This is a perfect answer to the perennial “what to do with that ground beef” question.  You can use ground pork or ground turkey instead of ground beef, if you like, as well. There are lots of things to do with leftover ground beef, but if getting diner on the table stat is the name of the game, this is the 15 minute solution.

Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

Ground Beef Quesadillas with Vegetables

While not 100% required, I do think beef and cheese quesadillas are the perfect place to slide in some vegetables, particularly leafy greens, like spinach or kale. They cook down and almost melt into the filling beautifully and unobtrusively. And while I am not a fan of going out of your way to hide vegetables in food (no cauliflower in my brownies, thanks very much), I definitely like it when I can add nutrition to a dish that my family is already wildly in love with, with no negative consequences.

What is in Ground Beef and Cheese Quesadillas?

A few of the ingredients are obviously from the name of the recipe! Browned ground beef, tortillas, and cheese. For this quesadilla I like a mixture of cheddar and havarti, but you can use any cheese or combo of melting cheeses that you like.

Also included:

  • Onion and garlic – for a bit of savory kick
  • Tomato paste – helps bind everything together and adds savoriness.
  • Chopped Spinach or Kale – because some vegetables are welcome in this cheesy beefy decadence.
  • Seasonings – a nice dash of chili powder adds heat and a Tex-Mex flavor. And if you have cilantro fans in your household, a bit of the minced herb adds freshness
Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas: The perfect combo of melty cheese with savory beef; like the best bar food in your very own home.

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Greasing the Pan for Quesadillas

You don’t need to grease the pan when making quesadillas, but I think a tiny bit of butter or oil goes a long way in adding flavor.

Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

Making 2 Quesadillas at a Time on the Stove

First, there are a number of ways to make quesadillas (and here are methods, and tips for making the best quesadillas, however you choose to make them!). In this recipe, the directions say to make one quesadilla at a time, which, if you are new to the quesadilla making business, is the easiest way to get comfortable assembling and flipping them. 

However, because once the quesadilla is folded, it makes a half moon shape, you could in fact assemble two of these on a cutting board, and fold them up and then cook them together in a pan, lining up the straight sides of the half moons so two easily fit in the circle.  This isn’t hard at all, but if the notion of flipping a quesadilla makes you want to take things a little slowly, start with the one-at-a-time method.

Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

What Kind of Cheese to Use in Ground Beef Quesadillas

Use any delicious melty cheeses you like—I picked cheddar and havarti, but a Mexican blend is terrific, a blend of two other cheeses (or more), or just a single cheese, be it havarti, cheddar, provolone, gouda, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, etc. Other Mexican Cheeses like queso fresco can be used, but they might not get as melty – it would good to use a combo of queso fresco, or cotija, and a meltier cheese like the ones listed above.

Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

What to Serve with Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas:

Other Beefy, Cheesy Dinner Recipes:

Plus, also read: 10 Things To Make With Leftover Ground Beef.

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Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

Like the best bar food in the world, but right here in your own kitchen.
Yield: 4 People
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup roughly chopped spinach or baby kale
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro optional
  • 4 teaspoons unsalted butter divided
  • 8 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup shredded havarti
  • Guacamole, sour cream, salsa and lime wedges to serve


  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, and brown the beef, breaking it up with a spoon until it is all browned and crumbly, about 5 minutes. Turn it into a colander to drain, and carefully wipe out the skillet.
  • Return the skillet to medium heat and add the vegetable or olive oil. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 3 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add the tomato paste, spinach, garlic and chili powder and stir for another minute until the spinach is wilted and everything is well combined. Return the beef to the skillet and stir until everything is blended. Stir in the cilantro if using, turn the mixture into a bowl, and wash and dry the skillet (or grab a new skillet).
  • Combine the cheddar and havarti in a bowl. Place the skillet over medium heat and add a half teaspoon of butter. Place a tortilla in the pan. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture over half of the quesadilla, and distribute 1/8 of the beef mixture over the cheese. Top that with another 2 tablespoons of the shredded cheese. Flip the bare half of the tortilla over the filling, cover the pan, and sauté for about 2 minutes until the bottom is golden and the cheese has started to melt, then use a spatula to flip the half-moon quesadilla, and continue to cook, uncovered, until all of the cheese is melted and the underside is browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove the quesadilla to a cutting board and let the quesadilla sit for a minute before you slice into 2 or 3 wedges. Repeat until all of the quesadillas are cooked. Serve with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and lime wedges.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 701.97kcal | Carbohydrates: 37.83g | Protein: 34.33g | Fat: 45.7g | Saturated Fat: 22.31g | Cholesterol: 127.09mg | Sodium: 827.09mg | Potassium: 657.34mg | Fiber: 2.89g | Sugar: 6.02g | Vitamin A: 1511.55IU | Vitamin C: 7.7mg | Calcium: 351.13mg | Iron: 5.12mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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  1. fabulous recipe – looking for recipe other than usual to use ground beef – a bit with family!!!

  2. Amazing! The whole family enjoyed. I added quesidlla seasoning and skipped chili powder. Very filling. I made 4 large quesidllas out of this. Cilantro was an amazing touch! Thank you.

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