Chicken enchilada on the inside, taco on the outside is what makes our Chicken Enchilada Taco Quesadillas the perfect handheld hybrid of three classic tex-mex dishes. Each whole-wheat tortilla is filled with saucy shredded chicken (made with our epic homemade enchilada sauce) and cheese, pan-fried and then smothered with all your favorite taco fixings!
I am fully aware the title of this post is somewhat obnoxious, after all, it kind of sounds like it could be the newest concoction at Taco Bell, but there is no other adequate way to put it. We have a homemade chicken enchilada filling. All the essential taco toppings. And it’s definitely a quesadilla. So Chicken Enchilada Taco Quesadillas it is!
Coming up with catchy, creative names is obviously not my strong suite.
Strangely enough I’ve never really been a quesadilla person, as many of you all know by now, when it comes to tex-mex, I almost always go for the chicken enchilada or the taquito, but since having kids, I have zero shame in breaking out the tortillas and the cheese for a quick kid-friendly meal.
While these particular quesadillas are somewhat elevated from your average shredded cheese and tortilla combination, they aren’t much more complex to make.
The filling of pulled chicken, sautéed onion and enchilada sauce is generously stuffed between two fiber packed whole-wheat tortillas, crisped up in a dry sauté pan, and smothered with your favorite taco toppings. You can serve them whole, already dressed, or cut them up into triangles and let guests build their own, taco bar style.
However you serve them rowdy football fans, children and foodie snobs alike will gobble these up faster than you can make them.
Ingredients in Taco Quesadillas
Chicken. We like to use leftover chicken, but you can also buy a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store.
Enchilada Sauce: Technically speaking, the “enchilada” filling consists of only three ingredients – chicken, enchilada sauce, and cumin – I highly encourage you all to make your own enchilada sauce. It’s ridiculously easy to make so the little bit of adding time is 100%worth the extra effort. The results are infinitely better than what you’ll find in a can, lurking amongst the packages of boxes Mexican rice and sodium-filled pouches of processed taco seasoning packs
Cumin. Even though our enchilada sauce has notes of cumin in, we like to add a little bit more in the taco quesadillas. This is even more encourage if you’re using store-bought enchilada sauce.
Cheese. We like to use a combination of Monterey Jack and Cheddar, but your favorite combination of cheese is great.
Tortillas. When it comes to quesadillas for my family, I’m all about sneaking in a little bit of health and protein, so we go with low-card whole-wheat tortillas. You can find them at pretty much any grocery store these days. If you prefer white tortillas, that’s fine too.
- sour cream or greek yogurt
- shredded cheese (cotija cheese would also be nice)
- shredded romaine lettuce
- black olives
- diced tomatoes
- green onion
- sliced jalapenos
Let’s make Taco Quesadillas
Make the enchilada sauce. If you’re going the homemade route. (Please say you are!) Start by sautéing the garlic in a little olive oil. You only need to do this for a quick few seconds before adding the tomato paste. Cook both of those ingredients for a minute or so and them dump everything else in. That’s it! Simmer for 10 minutes, season to taste and you’re ready to make enchiladas.
Make the filling. Add the shredded chicken, cumin, and enchilada sauce to a bowl. Toss until the chicken is coated in the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Fill ’em. Place a large whole-wheat tortilla on a flat surface. Spoon chicken filling on half of the enchilada. Sprinkle with plenty of cheese. Fold over. Repeat. The reason I like to fold the quesadilla over instead of putting one tortilla on top of the other is because they taco quesadilla can get quite messy. This is a good thing. However, having a little “pocket” to contain the filling helps to cut down on the mess a little bit.
Cook. If you have a griddle, use that so you can make multiple quesadillas at the same time. Sometimes if I’m feeling indulgent, I’ll guild the lily by glazing the griddle with a touch of butter to cook the quesadillas in. It’s not necessary, but it sure is delicious.
Top. Cut the quesadilla in half, top with all your favorite toppings and serve! As we mentioned before, you can also serve all the toppings on the side and let your family make their own perfect chicken enchilada taco quesadilla.
Can I make these in advance?
You can prep the taco quesadilla in advance, but I would not cook them in advance. Use cold ingredients and assemble all of the quesadilla. Wrap in plastic and then cook when you’re ready to eat. You can also prep all the toppings ahead of time.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Use any kind of tortilla. We simply prefer whole-wheat.
- Swap out the shredded chicken for shredded beef or pork.
- Add in sautéed bell pepper and onions for a spin on a fajita-style quesadilla.
- Have a napkin handy. These guys can be MESSY.
- Change them into a verde chicken enchilada quesadilla by using our verde sauce from these enchiladas.
Other Tex Mex Favorites
- Our One Pot Turkey Mexican Pasta is the easiest dinner on the planet. Packed with low-fat ground turkey, taco seasoning, fiery salsa, and cheesy aldente noodles.
- Decadent and full of flavor, our Shredded Beef Enchiladas are a labor of love but 100% worth it.
- If you want a departure from classic chicken enchiladas, give our Enchiladas Verdes a try.
- 4 cups shredded chicken
- 1 cup enchilada sauce
- 1 tsp cumin
- 8 whole-wheat tortillas
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese
- 1 cup light sour cream
- 1/4 cup sliced black olives
- 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- Add pulled chicken and enchilada sauce, and cumin to a large bowl. Toss until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add chicken to half of the tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese. Fold the other half of the tortilla over.
- Heat a large non-stick sauté pan or griddle to a medium-high heat. Cook quesadillas until golden brown and cheese is melted, about 2-3 minutes per side. Cut into wedges andn top with sour cream, lettuce, black olive cheese and tomatoes.