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

There was a delightful little exchange on the show West Wing many years ago (here I both a] date myself and b] feel weepy to think we would have been excited to watch a show about the West Wing not so long ago) that went something like this:

President Josiah Bartlet: How you doing? You know I gave the kids candy all the time, right?

Abbey Bartlet: Behind my back?

President Josiah Bartlet: Yes.

Abbey Bartlet: You bought their love.

President Josiah Bartlet: Well, it was for sale, and I wanted it.

Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

Only in this case the candy is ground beef and cheese.

And here, tortillas!  But look, also spinach or kale!  A leafy green can help validate/justify a lot of cheese, says me.  A great way to elevate a beef quesadilla.

Cheesy Ground Beef 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.

Like the best bar food in the world, but right here in your own kitchen.

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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 Quesadillas on the Stove

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 Mexican 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.

  3. Just made these for supper and we love them! they are delicious! Thanks for sharing recipe. I will be making these again in the future.

  4. I ditched the kale and spinach because… who puts kale or spinach in a Mexican quesadilla recipe? And I changed the cheese up to something a little more standard to Mexican dishes (some weird choices for this recipe from the author). Well, really just because I didn’t have any havarti cheese. Still though, not bad. Not great, but not bad.

  5. Awesome and fast and easy. My family loves these and they are already planning the next time I make them

  6. This recipe is by far the best. Made it for supper tonight and added few things but went off the basic. Hubby absolutely loved it! Thank you so much!!!!

  7. Wow.. 2 thumbs up!! I could NOT get these out fast enough! There’s always one family member that has something to say about what I make for dinner (and yes, these were dinner), but not this time – everyone was thrilled! My husband even came in from the pool to watch me make the last one so he could replicate it for friends out of town!

  8. This was amazing and very easy. Was so delicious!!! I would however use large tortillas as this will cut down on assembly time. It was so good that I would make this meat mixture for other recipes too!

  9. Is your serving size for one quesadilla (700 cal seems like a lot for one)? thank you, and they were extremely delicious! your recipe is a keeper!

  10. I am always looking for recipes my whole family likes. It is rare to find one but, this one was a hit. thank you!

    1. it will! you can swap in any cheese you like, as long as it’s melty, and also skip or sub in another vegetable for the greens.

  11. I made these last night exactly as directed and WOW! They were SO delicious, the whole family loved them. I doubled the recipe and my family of 6 ate them all up! Thank you for this awesome recipe. So simple and quick to make, better than the Mexican restaurants!!!

  12. Came across this a few months ago and forgot to post. I am the main cook in the household and was looking for something different, easy, and quick to fix with what was in the freezer or on the shelf before payday. This was a God send, stretched what I had into a couple of meals and after payday made a bunch and popped them in the freezer for a quick snack or meal.

    Passed this on to some friends and they loved it.

  13. Made this for my family as a variation on our typical taco and burrito Mexican nights. So delicious! These were a big hit. Will definitely be making again.

  14. Where is the recipe?
    More and more I’m coming across these sites with so much advertising finding the recipe becomes a challenge!!!
    Well I finally found the recipe here and a damn pop up appeared right in the middle of it!!!
    Hope you guys are making money but you are wasting my time! Filtering you guys out. In my opinion you are ruining Pinterest. Deleting another one.

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