A quesadilla al pastor is a type of quesadilla that features al pastor meat as the main filling. Al pastor is a popular Mexican meat preparation that is typically made with marinated pork.

The meat is traditionally cooked on a vertical spit called trompo and used to make tacos al pastor or al pastor burritos. The pork is marinated with a combination of spices, such as achiote paste, pineapple juice, garlic, and various herbs and spices.

The quesadilla al pastor itself is made by placing the al pastor meat and usually some cheese, such as Oaxaca or Chihuahua cheese, between two tortillas and cooking it on a griddle or skillet until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crispy.

Quesadilla al pastor on a cutting board with guacamole, salsa, and pico de gallo on the side.

Ingredients

  • Tortillas: I suggest flour tortillas, the larger the better. Check out our recipe for tortillas de harina if you want to make them at home.
  • Cheese: Use your favorite type of melty cheese such as Mexican blend, Oaxaca cheese, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, etc.
  • Meat: You can use pork shoulder or pork loin. You can also use chicken for this recipe.
  • Chiles: To make the al pastor sauce marinade a mixture of different types of chiles is needed, the most common are guajillo chiles, pasilla peppers, and ancho chiles, but using only 2 types works fine too. In a pinch, you can use canned chipotle in adobo pepper.
  • Spices: Mexican oregano, cumin seeds, black pepper, bay leaves, and garlic are the most popular choices for spices. Each of them adds its distinctive flavor and aroma.
  • Achiote paste: In addition to its coloring properties, achiote also imparts a mild, slightly peppery, and earthy flavor to foods. You can find this ingredient at any Latin American grocery store or on Amazon.
  • Pineapple: You will need fresh pineapple chunks and pineapple juice.
  • Onion: I like to add some sliced white onions to the meat for extra flavor and texture.
  • Oil: To cook the meat and quesadilla al pastor, any cooking oil you prefer.

How To Make Quesadilla Al Pastor

Start by making the al pastor sauce. Clean the chilies with a damp kitchen towel and remove the stems and seeds. Place in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 10 minutes.

Drain and place chiles in a blender along with all the spices and salt. Add 1/2 cup of water and the pineapple juice. Blend to make a dense sauce, almost like a paste.

Al pastor adobo sauce.

Make sure that the sauce has cooled down to room temperature then place it in a bowl.

Add the pork meat to the bowl and coat with the sauce. Cover the bowl with cling film and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator (or overnight for more flavor).

Al pastor meat marinating in a bowl.

In a large pan heat the oil over medium-high. Add the marinated pork and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the onions and cook stirring constantly for about 15 minutes or until the meat is nicely cooked through.

Stir in the diced pineapple and cook for half a minute. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Cooking al pastor meat in a pan.

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush with a bit of oil and place one tortilla on the heated skillet and sprinkle some shredded cheese evenly over the tortilla.

Spoon some al pastor pork on top of the cheese and then sprinkle with more cheese on top.

A tortilla topped with cheese and al pastor meat in a pan.

Place another tortilla on top to form a quesadilla.

Cook the quesadilla for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the tortilla turns golden brown and the cheese melts. Repeat this process for the remaining tortillas and ingredients.

A quesadilla al pastor fully cooked in a pan.

TOP TIP: As the quesadilla cooks, you can press it down gently with a spatula to help seal the tortillas together and to create a crispier texture.

Once the quesadillas are cooked, remove them from the skillet and slice them into wedges or halves. This makes them easy to handle and serve as finger food.

Slicing a quesadilla al pastor with a pizza cutter.

Serve quesadilla al pastor with your desired toppings such as chopped onions, chopped fresh cilantro, salsa, guacamole, or sour cream.

Recipe Notes

  • While the al pastor meat and cheese are the main ingredients, you can add extra fillings to enhance the flavor and texture. Consider adding sliced bell peppers, or even mushrooms.
  • Traditional Mexican cheeses like Oaxaca, Manchego, or Chihuahua cheese work well for quesadillas. They melt smoothly and have a mild flavor that complements the al pastor meat. Feel free to experiment with different cheeses to find your favorite combination.
  • Cook al pastor quesadillas over medium-low heat to ensure that the tortillas get crispy and the cheese melts without burning. This allows for even cooking and prevents the fillings from spilling out.
Close-up of quesadilla al pastor.
Crispy Quesadilla Al Pastor!

Serving Suggestions

When serving quesadillas, there are a few different options and accompaniments you can consider. Here are some popular serving suggestions:

Toppings: Provide a bowl of freshly made guacamole or pico de gallo for spreading or topping the quesadillas. I suggest also a hot salsa like this salsa roja if you want to add more heat to your meal.

Sides: Quesadilla al pastor can be served alongside various side dishes to create a complete meal. Consider options such as frijoles refritos, frijoles puercos, Mexican red rice, or cabbage salad.

How To Store & Reheat

Allow the quesadillas to cool completely before storing them. This helps prevent condensation and sogginess. Wrap each quesadilla al pastor tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to protect them from drying out and to prevent them from sticking together.

Keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

When you’re ready to enjoy a stored quesadilla al pastor, follow these steps:

  • Refrigerated quesadillas: Remove them from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature for about 10-15 minutes. Then, reheat them in a skillet or oven until warmed through, or use a microwave for a quicker reheating option.
  • Frozen quesadillas: Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, reheat them using the same methods as for refrigerated quesadillas.

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Quesadilla al pastor recipe.

Quesadilla Al Pastor

4 quesadillas
This quesadilla al pastor recipe is the perfect appetizer for parties and game day! Flavorful al pastor meat is sandwiched with cheese between two tortillas and cooked to perfection.
prep 20 minutes
cook 30 minutes
Resting time 2 hours
total 2 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 8 large flour tortillas
  • 3 ⅓ cups shredded cheese (such as Oaxaca, Monterey Jack, or Chihuahua cheese)

For al pastor meat

  • 2 pound pork shoulder (cut into small cubes)
  • 3 guajillo chilies
  • 1 ancho chile (or 1 chipotle in adobo pepper)
  • 1 pasilla chile (or 1 chipotle in adobo pepper)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple (diced)
  • 1 large onion (sliced)
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil (+ more to cook the quesadillas)

Instructions
 

Make al pastor meat

  • Clean the chilies with a damp kitchen towel and remove the stems and seeds. Place in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 10 minutes.
  • Drain and place chiles in a blender along with all the spices. Add ½ cup of water and the pineapple juice. Blend to make a sauce.
  • Place the meat in a bowl and add the sauce. Toss to coat well.
  • Cover the bowl with cling film and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • In a large pan heat the oil over medium-high. Add the marinated pork and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Then add the onions and cook stirring constantly for about 15 minutes or until the meat is nicely cooked through.
  • Stir in the diced pineapple and cook for half a minute. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Make the quesadillas

  • Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush with a bit of oil and place one tortilla on the heated skillet and sprinkle with some shredded cheese evenly over the tortilla.
  • Spoon some cooked al pastor pork on top of the cheese and then sprinkle with more cheese on top.
  • Place another tortilla on top to form a quesadilla.
  • Cook the quesadilla for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the tortilla turns golden brown and the cheese melts.
  • Repeat this process for the remaining tortillas and ingredients.
  • Once the quesadillas are cooked, remove them from the skillet and slice them into wedges or halves.
  • Serve quesadillasr with your desired toppings such as salsa, guacamole, or sour cream.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 quesadilla al pastor | Calories: 859kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 55g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 166mg | Sodium: 1147mg | Potassium: 1018mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 4093IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 622mg | Iron: 6mg
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Recipe Rating




One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Loved it! The chicken was so flavored and the crispy tortillas OMG! I served these al pastor quesadillas with guacamole and cream, my family literally devoured them lol!