Main Dish, Recipes

Chicken Quesadillas with Fresh Pico de Gallo

Chicken Quesadillas are an easy, tasty meal that you can use leftover rotisserie chicken in! Impress your family and have them asking for more in about 35 minutes!

Chicken Quesadillas are an easy, tasty meal that you can use leftover rotisserie chicken in! Impress your family and have them asking for more in about 35 minutes!

Use leftover rotisserie chicken to make the best chicken quesadillas!

One of my favorite aspects of cooking is figuring out how turn leftovers into a new delicious meal. A rotisserie chicken is perfect for making that happen. This recipe creates a time-saving recipe using the ready-made chicken. Personally, I love the combination of dark and light meat, but you can use one or the other if you have a preference. The dark meat is juicier and adds more flavor.

Please note that a rotisserie chicken is not required to make this recipe. You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, too. When I cook bone-in chicken, I will often pull the meat from leftover pieces and place in a small freezer bag. Those come in handy for recipes like this!

This recipe calls for 1-2 serrano peppers, which can be up to five times hotter than jalapeño peppers. Of course, the amount used will depend on the desired amount of heat. A good rule of thumb is to start by adding a small amount and gradually adding more, if desired, after the flavors have a chance to develop.  

For fast weeknight Mexican or Tex-Mex-themed meals, prepare double, triple, or larger batches of the taco seasoning mix. The unused portion can be stored in an airtight container for several months.

Chicken Quesadillas are an easy, tasty meal that you can use leftover rotisserie chicken in! Impress your family and have them asking for more in about 35 minutes!

Ingredients and Tools You’ll Need to Make Chicken Quesadillas and Pico de Gallo:

For the Taco Seasoning:

1 Tablespoon ground chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
¾ teaspoon sea salt

For the Pico de Gallo:

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, diced
½ medium red onion, finely diced
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 large lime, juiced
1-2 serrano peppers, finely diced
2-3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Quesadillas:

2 cups rotisserie chicken meat, shredded (or choice of chicken)
1 cup sour cream
1½ – 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning (see above)
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
6 large flour tortillas
¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into 6 equal-sized chunks
1½ cups Mexican blend cheese
Optional: 3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped + more for garnish

To Serve:

2 large limes, cut into wedges
Diced avocado or guacamole

Tools:

Large rimmed baking sheet
Non-stick baking mat
Small bowl
Medium glass bowl (or non-reactive)
Cocktail muddler
Large bowl
Large spoon
Non-stick skillet
Cutting board
Knife

Chicken Quesadillas are an easy, tasty meal that you can use leftover rotisserie chicken in! Impress your family and have them asking for more in about 35 minutes!

How to Make Chicken Quesadillas:

Place the top oven rack in the center position and pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat and set aside.

Prepare the taco seasoning by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.

To prepare the Pico de Gallo, combine all ingredients in a medium glass or other non-reactive bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.

Tip: Use a cocktail muddler to get as much juice out of the limes as possible.

Add the shredded rotisserie chicken to a large bowl and set aside.

Combine the sour cream and taco seasoning in a smaller bowl and stir to combine. Add one-half cup of the seasoned sour cream to the shredded chicken and season with additional salt and black pepper, to taste. Toss to combine and set aside.

Note: Reserve the remaining seasoned sour cream for serving.

Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add a chunk of butter and spread over the bottom of the skillet with a spatula as it melts. Add a tortilla to the hot skillet and toast on one side for about 1 minute, or just until golden brown, as shown.

Transfer the toasted tortilla to the prepared baking sheet, toasted side down. Carefully wipe out the skillet with a clean, damp cloth, then add another chunk of butter. Once the bottom of the skillet is coated, add a second tortilla.

While the second tortilla is toasting, add one-sixth of the seasoned chicken meat and one-quarter cup of the shredded cheese to one half of the non-toasted side of the first tortilla.

Note: If using, add the chopped cilantro at this stage, as well.

Fold the tortilla over, as shown, and press down with a spatula to set. Set aside.

Repeat Steps #6 – #8 until all tortillas are toasted, filled, and arranged on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted and the quesadilla is heated through.

Remove from oven and cool slightly before cutting each quesadilla into thirds. Sprinkle with some fresh cilantro and serve immediately with lime wedges, diced avocado (or guacamole), the Pico de Gallo, and the remaining seasoned sour cream on the side. Enjoy!

Fresh homemade Pico de Gallo
Chicken Quesadillas are an easy, tasty meal that you can use leftover rotisserie chicken in! Impress your family and have them asking for more in about 35 minutes!

Chicken Quesadillas with Fresh Pico de Gallo

Yield: 6 quesadillas
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Chicken Quesadillas are an easy, tasty meal that you can use leftover rotisserie chicken in! Impress your family and have them asking for more in about 35 minutes!

Ingredients

Taco Seasoning Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon ground chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt 

Pico de Gallo Ingredients:

  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, diced
  • ½ medium red onion, finely diced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped 
  • 1 large lime, juiced 
  • 1-2 serrano peppers, finely diced 
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Quesadilla Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken meat, shredded
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1½ - 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning (see above)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 6 large flour tortillas
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into 6 equal-sized chunks
  • 1½ cup Mexican blend cheese
  • Optional: 3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped + more for garnish

To Serve:

  • 2 large limes, cut into wedges
  • Diced avocado or guacamole

Instructions

Place the top oven rack in the center position and pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat™ baking mat and set aside.

Prepare the taco seasoning by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.

To prepare the Pico de Gallo, combine all ingredients in a medium glass or other non-reactive bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.

Tip: Use a cocktail muddler to get as much juice out of the limes as possible.

Add the shredded rotisserie chicken to a large bowl and set aside.

Combine the sour cream and taco seasoning in a smaller bowl and stir to combine. Add one-half cup of the seasoned sour cream to the shredded chicken and season with additional salt and black pepper, to taste. Toss to combine and set aside.

Note: Reserve the remaining seasoned sour cream for serving.

Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add a chunk of butter and spread over the bottom of the skillet with a spatula as it melts. Add a tortilla to the hot skillet and toast on one side for about 1 minute, or just until golden brown, as shown.

Transfer the toasted tortilla to the prepared baking sheet, toasted side down. Carefully wipe out the skillet with a clean, damp cloth, then add another chunk of butter. Once the bottom of the skillet is coated, add a second tortilla.

While the second tortilla is toasting, add one-sixth of the seasoned chicken meat and one-quarter cup of the shredded cheese to one half of the non-toasted side of the first tortilla.

Note: If using, add the chopped cilantro at this stage, as well.

Fold the tortilla over, as shown, and press down with a spatula to set. Set aside.

Repeat Steps #6 - #8 until all tortillas are toasted, filled, and arranged on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted and the quesadilla is heated through.

Remove from oven and cool slightly before cutting each quesadilla into thirds. Sprinkle with some fresh cilantro and serve immediately with lime wedges, diced avocado (or guacamole), the Pico de Gallo, and the remaining seasoned sour cream on the side. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 724Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 159mgSodium: 1254mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 7gSugar: 12gProtein: 40g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 5/5/2021

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Chicken Quesadillas are an easy, tasty meal that you can use leftover rotisserie chicken in! Impress your family and have them asking for more in about 35 minutes!

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