This steak quesadilla recipe is SO DELICIOUS! Seasoned steak, melty cheese, and flavorful sautéed vegetables enclosed within the crispy tortilla. Each mouthful will transport you to a realm of culinary bliss. Enjoy!
A steak quesadilla is a traditional quesadilla that includes steak as the main filling ingredient.
To make a steak quesadilla, thin strips of the steak of choice, such as flank steak or skirt steak, are seasoned with spices and grilled or seared along with onions and jalapeño peppers.
Then a tortilla is placed on a hot griddle or skillet, topped with a layer of cheese and the cooked steak, and then covered with another tortilla. The quesadilla is cooked until the cheese melts and the tortillas become crispy and golden brown.
- Steak: Flank steak or skirt steak work well for quesadillas.
- Tortillas: You can use any type of tortillas you want, I like to use tortillas de harina, but blue corn tortillas are also a good option.
- Cheese: Any melty cheese works fine for this recipe. Oaxaca cheese, Mexican blend, Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, or even Mozzarella.
- Spices: Ground cumin, garlic powder, pepper, chipotle powder (sub with chili flakes or hot paprika), and salt.
- Vegetables: Fresh jalapeño peppers, and onions to add extra flavor and more texture to the quesadillas. You can also substitute the jalapeno peppers with green bell peppers if you want to cut down the spiciness.
- Oil: Use your favorite vegetable oil.
How To Make Steak Quesadilla
Place the steak strips in a medium bowl and season with garlic, cumin, pepper, chipotle or paprika powder, and salt.
Add oil and mix to coat well the meat. Cover and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes.
Heat a cast-iron skillet or a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
Add the steak and cook stirring constantly until is no longer pink but there are still liquids in the pan.
Add sliced onions and jalapeño peppers, a splash of water, and cook stirring constantly for about 10 minutes or until meat is browned and onions are soft and translucent. Turn off the heat and set aside.
TOP TIP: Cover the pan with foil to prevent the steak from drying out.
Heat an iron cast skillet or comal over medium-low heat.
Brush the skillet with a little oil, then place a flour tortilla and top with shredded cheese on half of the tortilla.
Now, spoon some of the steak mixture and a little more cheese on top.
Carefully, fold the quesadilla and keep cooking flipping it from time to time until both sides are slightly crispy and browned.
Remove the steak quesadilla from the skillet and place in a plate covered with foil to keep it warm.
Repeat with all tortillas and steak to make all quesadillas. Before serving cut it in half with a sharp knife or a pizza cutter.
- Choose the right cut of steak: Opt for a tender cut of steak like skirt or flank steak. These cuts are flavorful and become even more tender when cooked properly.
- Season nicely: Before cooking, season well to enhance the taste and tenderness of the meat. Season the meat as first thing to do. So you do other things, like preparing the vegetables, shredding the cheese, making salsas, etc. You can even allow to rest overnight for more flavor.
- Cut the steak thinly: To ensure that the steak is easy to bite into and evenly distributed within the quesadilla, cut it thinly before cooking. This will help in achieving a more tender and enjoyable texture.
- Don’t overstuff the quesadilla: While it can be tempting to load up on fillings, avoid overstuffing the quesadilla as it may become difficult to handle and cook evenly. A moderate amount of fillings will allow the tortillas to crisp up properly and ensure that the cheese melts evenly.
- Press the quesadilla gently: Once you fold the tortilla over the filling, gently press it down with a spatula. This will help seal the quesadilla and distribute the fillings evenly. It also aids in achieving a nice, crispy exterior.
- Use steak leftovers: If you want to use steak leftovers, you just need to slice them as thinly as possible. Then, cook first the onions and peppers, then add the meat, some seasoning, and a splash of water to soften the meat a bit. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes then use it as the recipe calls.
- Be careful when cooking the tortillas: Make sure to keep the heat at medium-low. Flour tortillas burn easily if the heat is too high.
What goes good with steak quesadillas?
You can serve those gooey steak quesadillas with a variety of toppings such as salsa, Mexican crema or sour cream, and lettuce on the side.
- Guacamole. Nothing beats a classic, creamy guacamole.
- Mango pico de gallo. The traditional recipe gets a sweet twist!
- Fake guacamole. Out of avocados? You don’t need them to make this amazing salsa!
- Fermented jalapeno hot sauce. A mild spicy sauce with a fresh & sweet kick.
- Mexican rice: Serve your steak quesadillas with a side of flavorful Arroz Rojo. The rice complements the quesadillas and adds a satisfying element to the meal.
- Frijoles refritos: Creamy and savory refried beans are a classic side dish that pairs well with steak quesadillas. The combination of the tender steak and cheese with the smooth texture and earthy flavors of the beans creates a satisfying and comforting meal.
Make Ahead & Store
You can cook the steak mixture up to 3 days ahead. Allow to cool down, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.
For storing steak quesadilla leftovers, allow the cooked quesadillas to cool down at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes. This will prevent condensation from forming and making the quesadillas soggy.
Wrap each individual quesadilla tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. This will help preserve their freshness and prevent them from drying out in the refrigerator.
Once wrapped, place the individually wrapped quesadillas in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag. This additional layer of protection will help maintain their flavor and prevent any odors from transferring to the quesadillas.
Store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. When ready to eat, reheat in a skillet with a little bit of oil.
What is the best cut of steak to use for quesadillas?
Skirt steak is a popular choice for quesadillas. It has a rich flavor and a nice balance of tenderness and chewiness. Flank steak is another excellent choice for quesadillas. It has a bold flavor and a slightly firmer texture compared to skirt steak.
How are quesadillas traditionally served?
In Mexico, quesadillas are traditional served as a main course or as a snack only with salsa and a drink like agua fresca or a refresco (carbonated drinks).
More Quesadilla Recipes
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For the steak
- 1 lb beef loin (cut into thin strips)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 Tbsp chipotle powder (or smoked paprika)
- 1 large white onion (sliced)
- 3 large jalapeño peppers (veins and seeds removed, sliced)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 flour tortillas (read notes)
- 2 ½ cups grated melty cheese (Oaxaca, asadero, monterey jack, mozzarella, etc.)
- vegetable oil (as needed)
- Place steak in a medium bowl. Add garlic, cumin, pepper, chipotle or paprika powder, and salt. Add oil and mix to coat well the meat.
- Cover and allow to marinate for 20 minutes.
- Heat a non-stick pan (or comal) over medium heat. Cook meat stirring constantly until no longer pink but there are still liquids in the pan.
- Add onions and jalapeño peppers, a splash of water and cook stirring constantly for about 10 minutes or until meat is browned and onions are soft and translucent. Cover and set aside.
Make the steak quesadillas
- Heat an iron cast skillet or comal over medium-low heat. Brush the skillet with a little oil, then place a flour tortilla and top with cheese.
- Spoon some of the steak and a little more cheese on top.
- Carefully, fold the quesadilla and keep cooking flipping it from time to time until both sides are slightly crispy and browned.
- Remove the steak quesadilla from the skillet and cut it in half.
- Repeat the steps with all ingredients until they’re gone. Serve with your favorite salsa and toppings.
- Place your meat to marinate as first thing to do. So you do other things, like preparing the vegetables, shredding the cheese, making salsas, etc. You can even marinate it overnight if it’s more convenient for you.
- You can use corn or flour tortillas as long as they’re about medium size (6-inch /15cm) each. Is ok also to use bigger tortillas, but you either make more steak filling or make less quesadillas.
- Make sure to keep the heat at medium-low. Flour tortillas burn easily if the heat is too high.