This simple recipe for an authentic Air Fryer Cheese Quesadilla is the easiest and quickest way to get food on the table! Stick to the classic version and fill your tortilla with gooey, melty cheese. Or let your imagination run wild and create your own fillings!
Homemade Quesadillas Couldn't Be Easier
If you’ve ever made quesadillas before, you know they can be tricky. Flipping them over in the pan without losing the filling can seem impossible. Take your eyes off of them for 2 seconds and your lightly golden tortillas can become a burnt black mess.
So skip the pan and make easy air fryer cheese quesadillas the next time you’re in the mood for a Mexican classic! This handy piece of kitchen equipment gives you perfect results every single time. It's fuss-free and there's no guesswork. You'll get crisp outsides and melted centers without fail!
Why You'll Love It
- They're great on the go! Make a big batch to pack for work or a school lunch box.
- It’s super versatile! You can keep it simple and use basic ingredients for a plain version or get fancy and use gourmet add-ins for a five-star dish.
- This homemade quesadilla is the perfect quick meal or snack. Prep is minimal and each one cooks in only 5 minutes.
- Air frying gives the quesadillas the best texture. Soft and gooey on the inside, crisp and crunchy on the outside.
- Great for picky eaters. Classic cheese tortillas are always a hit and can be customized to suit different tastes.
- Tortillas: You can use any type of tortilla you like or have on hand. I particularly love corn tortillas!
- Shredded cheese: You can use pretty much any type of cheese you'd like. For an authentic cheese quesadilla, my favorites are Monterey Jack, cheddar, or Oaxaca cheese. And I recommend skipping the pre-shredded cheese. It has anti-caking ingredients and won’t melt as well. Instead, use a cheese block and grate the cheese yourself.
- Oil spray: You’re cooking the quesadillas at 400℉, so you don’t need a cooking oil with a super high smoke point. Still, I always prefer avocado oil for its neutral taste and.
- Salt and pepper: Don’t skip the seasoning! A tiny sprinkling of salt and pepper really enhances the flavor of the cheese. If you’re making a plain cheese quesadilla, you’ll definitely notice the difference.
How To Make It
- Assemble the quesadillas. First, spread shredded cheese and any other fillings onto half the tortilla. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and fold the quesadilla in half.
- Preheat your air fryer. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F. If you don't have a preheating function, turn it on and let warm up for 3-4 minutes.
- Fry your quesadilla. Spray the bottom of your air fryer with oil. Then place the quesadillas inside and lightly spray the tops. Place a sheet of foil on top, followed by an oven-safe bowl or mini sheet pan to prevent the top from separating. If you don't have either of these, use a toothpick to secure the quesadilla instead. Air fry for 1 minute, then carefully remove the weight and foil. Then press down with a spatula and continue air frying for another 3-4 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Let cool slightly before serving.
- Since an air fryer is a mini convection oven, there's air blowing around during the cooking process. To prevent the top tortilla from lifting off, use an oven-safe bowl or mini sheet pan to weigh it down. Remove it after the cheese has had time to melt for the perfect golden exterior. Alternatively, you can secure the cheese quesadilla with a toothpick.
- Use several types of cheese for the best homemade quesadilla. I love combining Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses. It gives you an ooey-gooey melted texture with a sharp cheese tang.
- Don’t skip the flipping step. By cooking each quesadilla on both sides, you’re making sure the entire tortilla becomes golden and crispy. Having each side of the tortilla touch the metal basket makes it crispier.
- It can be tricky to know how long to cook a quesadilla in the air fryer. Start off for 2 minutes on the first side before flipping and cooking for another 2-3 minutes on the second side. Regularly check on your quesadilla to make sure it’s not burning. Cooking time will depend on your fillings. The more fillings, the longer the cooking time.
- When cooking for multiple people, let everyone add their own favorite fillings. You can all eat together while still enjoying your own custom-made one.
Substitutions & Variations
- What is the best cheese for quesadillas? Your favorite one. Honestly, any cheese would be delicious! But for an authentic Mexican taste, I recommend Oaxaca or Chihuahua cheese. If you can't find those, Monterey Jack, cheddar, and mozzarella cheese are very classic.
- Want to go gourmet with your cheese selection? Try fontina, blue cheese, goat, Muenster, Parmesan, or Swiss cheese!
- Spice up your quesadilla: add a sprinkle of chili powder, cumin, paprika, Mexican oregano, or taco seasoning for more flavor.
- Turn this fried quesadilla into a full meal with your favorite toppings. Try them with shredded lettuce dressed with a splash of vinegar, guacamole, sour cream, fresh tomatoes or pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, or lime wedges.
- There's no wrong when it goes to fillings. For more protein, try adding shredded chicken, cubed steak or shaved beef, black beans, bacon, or ham.
- Craving a breakfast quesadilla? Add scrambled eggs and either bacon, ham, or cubed sausage. I'd also add peppers and onions too!
- Have a sweet tooth? Then make a dessert quesadilla! Spread a thick layer of cream cheese on your tortilla and top it with sliced fruit. Strawberries and bananas work really well. Add some peanut butter or chocolate sauce for an extra treat then cook according to the recipe.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: To store an air fried quesadilla, leave it to cool to room temperature before wrapping in plastic wrap. You can also place each one inside a zip-top bag or air-tight container. They’ll keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezing: The best way to freeze quesadillas at home is to leave them to cool to room temperature and spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place them in the freezer for about an hour until they’re fairly solid, but not totally frozen.
Then wrap each quesadilla in foil or place them inside a zip-top bag and return it to the freezer. They’ll keep for up to 4 months. I recommend eating them within 2 months for the best flavor and texture.
Reheating: You can reheat any leftover quesadillas quickly and easily in the air fryer. Preheat it to 400℉ or leave to heat up for 3-4 minutes. Cook each quesadilla for 1-2 minutes per side or until heated through. Add more time if they're frozen.
You can put pretty much anything you like in a quesadilla! Keep things simple and make a quesadilla with just cheese. Or stuff your quesadillas with anything you find in your fridge.
So the insides of the tortilla stick together, cheese is an absolute must. But any other ingredients are optional. Raw or cooked veggies, beans, and shredded meats are all great choices.
Yes they are! They go all the way back to the 16th century in the south-central regions of Mexico. When quesadillas were first created, they were made by stuffing a corn tortilla with Oaxaca cheese. The quesadilla was then cooked on a smooth, flat griddle called a comal until the tortilla was crisp and the cheese had melted. It’s pretty similar to how we eat them today!
Over time, more ingredients were introduced into Mexico and added into quesadillas. Pork and beef were the two most popular meat choices. Some of the more complex quesadillas also included cooked beans, chicharron, seasonal vegetables, epazote (a herb known as Mexican Tea), and sauces.
For a traditional quesadilla, I recommend using Oaxaca cheese. That’s what the Aztecs used to make the first quesadillas. But if you don’t have any Oaxaca cheese, a mozzarella quesadilla is a great alternative. Mozzarella has the same stringy texture and melts just as well.
Looking For More?
Air fryers are a great and convenient way to get crispy foods quick! My favorite air fryer recipes include:
- Air Fryer Beef Taquitos
- Air Fryer Honey Garlic Chicken Wings
- Air Fryer Crab Rangoons
- Air Fryer Parmesan Potato Wedges
- Air Fryer Frozen Potstickers
Air Fryer Cheese Quesadillas
- Preheat air fryer to 400°F. If your air fryer doesn't have a preheating function, turn on and let heat up for 3-4 minutes.
- Assemble your quesadillas: lay out a tortilla and place shredded cheese over half the tortilla. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on top and fold the quesadilla in half.
- Spray the bottom of your air fryer with oil. Place quesadilla inside and spray top with oil. Lay a piece of foil on top, followed by an oven-safe bowl or small baking sheet. This will help press the quesadilla down so it doesn't unfold while air frying. If you don't have either of these, use a toothpick to secure the quesadilla.
- Air fry for 2 minutes. Then, use an oven mitt to carefully remove the bowl or baking sheet and foil. Use a flat spatula to lightly press down on the quesadilla. Continue air frying for another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese has melted.
- Tortilla: You can use any type of tortilla you'd like.
- Cheese: I recommend buying a block of cheese and grating it fresh instead of buying the pre-shredded versions. The pre-shredded ones have anti-caking ingredients and won't melt or taste the same.
- Optional fillings: Feel free to add your favorite fillings like shredded chicken, beans, corn, bell pepper, scrambled eggs, jalapeno, etc. You can also top or serve the quesadillas with sour cream, salsa, guacamole, or cilantro.
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