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When you are thinking about meals with ground beef, you can’t get to a quicker and easier answer than quesadillas. Cheesy, beefy, indulgent, this is a perfect answer to the perennial “What can I make with hamburger meat?” question. If you have ground beef and tortillas, and getting dinner on the table stat is the name of the game, this is the fast and easy solution!

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 salads and fish recipes, I continue to pepper this blog with dishes such as One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni and Beef and Three Cheese Casserole. And these amazing quesadillas!

Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas on cutting board alongside glass of beer.

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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Ingredients

  • Ground beef – Use whatever type of ground beef you have, but make sure you buy it from a good market or butcher with a high turnover.
  • Onion – Any color works here.
  • Tomato paste – Adds deep flavor and helps bind the filling together.
  • Spinach or baby kale – Beef and cheese quesadillas are the perfect place to slide in some vegetables, particularly leafy greens. They cook down and almost melt into the filling beautifully and unobtrusively.
  • Minced garlic – Just a little, but a lot of flavor.
  • Chili powder – Gives the quesadillas a slight Tex-Mex or Southwestern vibe.
  • Cilantro – Optional; leave it out if you don’t like it.
  • Unsalted butter – Just a little bit adds a lot of flavor when cooking the quesadillas and makes them brown up nicely.
  • Flour tortillas – Buy the 8-inch size.
  • Sharp cheddar and havarti – 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 be good to use a combo of queso fresco or cotija and a meltier cheese like the ones listed above.
  • Guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and lime wedges to serve

Variations

  • You can use other ground meat instead of beef, like pork or turkey.
  • Cheesy Ground Beef and Vegetable Quesadillas: Including vegetables in the quesadilla will add so much flavor and some nutritional benefits, too. Sauté ½ cup of corn kernels, ½ cup chopped bell pepper, and ½ teaspoon minced jalapeño together with the onions and spinach until soft. Then continue the recipe as written — you will have some nicely overstuffed quesadillas. Or you might want to use more than 8 tortillas and distribute the filling evenly between them.
Woman pulling wedge of cheesy quesadilla.

How to Make Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

  1. Brown the beef, then drain.
  2. Sauté the vegetables: Sauté the onion, then add the tomato paste, spinach, garlic, and chili powder and stir until the spinach is wilted.
  3. Finish the filling: Return the beef to the skillet and stir until everything is blended. Stir in the cilantro if using.
  4. Make the quesadillas: Melt ½ teaspoon of butter in a clean skillet. Place a tortilla in the pan. Sprinkle some of the cheese over half of the quesadilla, top with some of the beef mixture, then top that with a bit more cheese. Fold the tortilla over the filling, cover, and cook until the bottom is golden, then flip and cook until the cheese is melted and the underside is browned. Repeat until all of the quesadillas are cooked.
  5. Serve: Let the quesadillas sit for a minute before slicing into 2 or 3 wedges. Serve with guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and lime wedges.
Stack of cheesy beef quesadillas on cutting board.

FAQs

Do I need to grease the pan when making 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. You can use either butter or oil, your choice!

What is the best ground beef for making quesadillas?

You want to use lean ground beef, which will be less greasy. But the most important thing is to drain it thoroughly after browning. You don’t want any liquid or fat left in the beef, which will make the quesadillas soggy and unable to brown up nicely.

Pro Cooking Tips

There are a number of ways to make quesadillas (and here are methods and tips for making the best quesadillas!). 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, 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.

Woman spooning guacamole onto Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas.

Storage and Reheating

Leftover quesadillas can be stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To reheat quesadillas, you can heat them on a baking sheet in a preheated 325-degree oven for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melty and the filling is hot. Or warm them in a pan for about 2 minutes on each side over medium heat. You can use the microwave, but that will tend to make the quesadillas soggy.

What to Serve With Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

Romaine and Slivered Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing

Brussels Sprouts, Apple, and Pomegranate Slaw Salad

Kale Crunch Salad

Two Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas stacked on cutting board.

More Quesadilla Recipes

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Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

4.86 from 21 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 People
These comfort food quesadillas come together quickly and make a great last-minute dinner or satisfying snack.

Ingredients 

  • 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)

Instructions 

  • 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 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.

Video

Notes

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, 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.

Nutrition

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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Comments

  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. This is a staple in my house now! Everyone including kids absolutely love them! I would give 10 stars if I could

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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!!!!

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

    1. it’s a generous serving, but it’s meant to be an all in one meal! Glad you liked it!

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

  12. What if you don’t have the spinach or the cheese that start with an H? Does it still taste good without it?

    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.

  13. 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!!!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

    1. there are a bunch on the site! And you could use low carb tortillas to make this if you like.

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