Breakfast Quesadillas are the ultimate, hearty, satisfying quick and easy breakfast everyone will LOVE!
Breakfast Quesadillas are your favorite cheesy stuffed tortillas but with a breakfast twist! Crispy tortillas are loaded with two kinds of molten cheese, fluffy green chile scrambled eggs and fiesta spiced breakfast sausage. Top these quesadillas with guacamole, sour cream and/or salsa and you have the most delicious Mexican comfort food to start your day. Best of all, these breakfast quesadillas are all made in one pan, in less than 30 minutes and perfect for freezing for busy mornings. I’ve also included all sorts of ways to customize your breakfast quesadillas with bacon, ham, hash browns, etc. But any way you serve them, I promise they will boast a delightfully crispy, golden exterior, an ooey gooey cheesy interior and be bursting with flavor all over.
If you’re in love with these breakfast quesadillas, you’ll also love my breakfast burritos, breakfast tacos, or breakfast enchiladas to start your day, this cilantro lime chicken salad for lunch and these smothered burrito for dinner. It will be the most delicious day of our life. Repeat.
Breakfast Quesadilla Recipe
I am ecstatic to share this breakfast quesadilla recipe! I actually wasn’t planning on sharing them until next week but they are my very favorite recipe I’ve made in weeks (and I love all the recipes I share, so that’s saying something), so I’m expediting them to NOW. So, please make them today, tomorrow, or as soon as you want to be whisked away to taste bud heaven.
We all know quesadillas are fabulous. What’s not to love about the shatteringly crispy tortilla, the juicy, seasoned filling and the ooey, gooey cheese? But did you know they are just as fabulous for breakfast? Stuff the tortillas with breakfast fixings and you have the ultimate comfort food – for breakfast. Genius.
Why you’ll love this breakfast quesadilla recipe:
- Flexible. I love the addition of fiesta-seasoned sausage to these breakfast quesadillas, but you can mix up the protein by adding bacon or ham or omit it altogether. You can also add veggies such as spinach, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes etc. – make them YOUR breakfast quesadillas!
- Protein-packed. Breakfast quesadillas are not only scrumptious, but a protein-packed meal to fuel you throughout the day; or at least until you gobble another one for dinner. And I can guarantee your kids won’t argue about eating breakfast when these quesadillas greet them at the table.
- Quick and easy. Breakfast quesadillas are the easiest one-pan complete breakfast and take just minutes to make. Simply brown the sausage, scramble the eggs, layer and crisp. We’re talking 30 minutes tops for a crowd-pleasing favorite.
- Anytime, anywhere. These breakfast quesadillas can be made for breakfast, lunch or dinner or are a favorite afternoon snack, or even party food. They’re also extremely portable so just grab a wedge and go!
- Pantry friendly. Keep eggs, cheese and tortillas on hand (which I always have on hand anyway) and you can make these breakfast quesadillas any time! Now, just keep some sausage in the freezer for the ultimate breakfast quesadilla experience.
- Make ahead. You will love that you can assemble the quesadillas beforehand and then it’s just a 3-minute stint in the skillet to cheesy, crispy heaven. They also reheat like a champ.
- Freezer friendly. You will also love that these breakfast quesadillas are freezer friendly so all you have to do is heat and eat!
- Inexpensive. Breakfast quesadillas are an inexpensive way to serve the family a restaurant worthy breakfast but are so crave worthy I would spend big $$ on them.
What Is A Quesadilla?
The word “quesadilla” roughly translates into “little cheesy pastry” in Spanish. In the US, we associate quesadillas with crispy flour tortillas filled with melted cheese, much like a grilled cheese sandwich, but the quesadilla wears many hats. In most of Mexico, homemade corn tortillas are used and flour tortillas are only used in northern Mexico and the US. Quesadillas can also be filled with your choice of cheese, seasoned meat, vegetables, and even without cheese! In Mexico City, quesadillas don’t come with cheese unless you ask for it.
So essentially, a quesadilla is a dish made from corn or flour tortillas that is filled with anything and grilled. So, let your imagination run wild because everything tasted better in a quesadilla!
Where do Quesadillas come from?
Quesadillas are so perfect in their simplicity that it’s hard to imagine they haven’t always been around. While corn tortillas have almost always been a way of life for the Mexican people to create tortilla chips, tacos, taquitos, tostadas, chilaquiles, etc., cheese was a later addition. It wasn’t until the 1500s that Spanish settlers brought cows to South America and thus dairy products to Mexico. Shortly after, quesadillas were born and have since evolved into enumerable tasty variations.
Breakfast Quesadilla Ingredients
Breakfast quesadillas usually include eggs and cheese (cheddar, Pepper Jack, Monterrey, or Oaxaca) but they can essentially be filled with practically anything from meat (bacon, sausage, chorizo or ham), potatoes (roasted potatoes, hash browns, tater tots or French Fries) and vegetables (onions, bell peppers, spinach). I’m outlining what you need for my favorite breakfast quesadilla recipe below and including tons of variations in the following section so you can mix and match depending on your mood or simply what’s in your fridge. For this breakfast quesadilla recipe, you will need:
- Flour tortillas: medium taco size flour tortillas that are 7-8 inches are the easiest to rotate. You can use smaller tortillas for smaller quesadillas (and use more of them) but I wouldn’t go any larger. Look for quality tortillas like my favorite La Fe Tortilleria that get crispy in the pan without breaking apart when you fold or cut them.
- Cheese: use both sharp cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese for the best flavor and texture. Monterey Jack is the absolute best accessible cheese for quesadillas because it melts beautifully with a mild buttery flavor. Sharp cheddar adds the needed kick of flavor that’s sublime with the green chile eggs and Tex-Mex sausage.
- Sausage: you can use either breakfast sausage and remove the casings or a plain pork sausage roll (like Jimmy Dean). They both will taste great because we are seasoning them with a custom blend of seasonings. If you use the plain sausage, you will need to add salt to taste.
- Seasonings: chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper sublimely season the sausage so you’ll want to eat it with a spoon!
- Eggs: 8 large eggs will do the trick. They get seasoned with salt, pepper, chili powder and garlic powder because every item should be independently delish.
- Green chiles: one 4 oz. can mild diced green chilies please. Make sure they are MILD and not HOT – been there, regretted that.
- Cilantro: is optional, but I love the fresh, zesty, citrusy dimension it adds.
Can I use Corn Tortillas?
The short answer is no, please don’t use corn tortillas in this breakfast quesadilla recipe unless you make your own 8-inch corn tortillas.
The long answer is: Flour tortillas are thought to be used in quesadillas in US as opposed to corn tortillas because we area closer to Sonora, Mexico which uses flour tortillas. I suspect, however, that we don’t use corn tortillas because our store-bought tortillas aren’t very large and crumble when folded. Normally, I would suggest La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortillas which are my favorite handmade non-crumbly corn tortillas, but they are too small to be folded in half for this recipe and you don’t want to use two tortillas and flip because the quesadillas are too loaded and the filling will fall out.
Breakfast Quesadillas Recipe variations
Breakfast Quesadillas can be made differently every time! The key is to always season your eggs and use plenty of cheese, the rest is up to you. Here are some ideas to play with:
I wouldn’t swap out the sharp cheddar as it adds tons of flavor, but you can swap the Monterrey Jack for:
- Pepper jack: is a derivative of Monterey Jack, flavored with sweet peppers, rosemary, garlic, habañero chilies and jalapeños – yum! Like Monterey Jack, it also melts well.
- Colby Jack: is produced almost identically to Monterrey Jack but is seasoned with annatto (derived from seeds of the achiote tree) so its mild, slightly sweet and nutty.
- Oaxaca cheese: is most authentic to Mexican quesadillas. It has a mellow, buttery flavor similar to Monterey but melts more easily with a mozzarella-like texture.
- Asadero: is Oaxaca’s cousin that isn’t quite as moist. It’s a mild, excellent melting cheese with a creamy-smooth, velvety texture. It’s more authentic to Mexico and will instantly elevate your quesadillas.
MORE CHEESE PLEASE! Here’s a winning bonus cheese tip for extra cheesy flavor and crunch: after the quesadilla is barely golden, remove it from the pan and sprinkle a little bit of shredded cheese in the pan then place the quesadilla on top. The cheese will fry up against the quesadilla to create a cheesy crust. Repeat with the other side.
- Bacon: fry up one-pound bacon in place of the sausage. You could use the bacon grease to coat the pan for the eggs, but I find this creates overwhelming bacon on bacon flavor. To cook bacon, lay bacon strips on a COLD pan – it is okay if the bacon is touching – it will shrink as it cooks – then increase heat to medium low. When the bacon starts to curl, loosen it with tongs and flip. Continue to flip periodically so it browns evenly. Cook bacon until crispy, keeping in mind it will cook a little off heat. Using tongs, transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with the second batch of bacon.
- Ham: you can use leftover ham, breakfast ham (Canadian bacon) or deli ham. Ham is convenient because it’s pre-cooked so you don’t have to cook it first, but it’s still nice to sizzle up, especially Canadian bacon.
Breakfast quesadillas, along with chilaquiles, are a superb way to use up your favorite leftover proteins! Instead of the sausage, try:
- Shredded Mexican Chicken (Crockpot): simmered with Mexican spices, salsa and green chilies for amazingly flavorful chicken that’s dripping with flavor and SO tender.
- Honey Lime Salsa Verde Chicken (Crockpot): tangy, flavorful with just the right amount of kick all balanced by a hint of honey.
- Chicken Tinga: is another super quick and easy recipe made with shredded rotisserie chicken tossed in a saucy, smoky, spicy tomato chipotle sauce.
- Quick Ground Turkey (from my tacos): quick, easy, healthy and packed with flavor – you won’t even miss the beef with my secret ingredient!
- Chipotle Chicken: smoky, robust and spicy. It is made with a wet rub which concentrates the flavor so the chicken only requires 30 minutes of marinating. You may also marinate for up to 8 hours – whatever is more convenient for you!
- Beef Barbacoa (Crockpot): crazy juicy beef slow cooked until melt-in-your-mouth tender infused with a tangy, chipotle sauce spiked with cumin, oregano and lime juice – one of my favorites of all time!
- Carne Asada: is the quintessential Mexican steak marinated in orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce and a splash of liquid smoke then spice rubbed with cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic and onion. It’s juicy, flavorful and crazy good.
- Carnitas (Crockpot): juicy pork smothered in a dynamic fiesta spice rub then slow cooked with orange juice and lime juice all finished in the oven to create glorious caramelized crispy burnt ends.
For non-meat eaters, you can sauté tofu with the same sausage seasonings or add sautéed veggies such as sweet potatoes, black beans, zucchini and/or corn also sautéed with seasonings. Use firm tofu and make sure to drain it first or your quesadillas will be soggy. To drain, tofu, place it in a pie plate, top with a heavy plate and weigh down with 2 heavy cans (to release water). Set aside for 10 minutes while you finish prepping your ingredients.
Beans & Veggies
- Beans: refried beans (spread on tortillas before the cheese), pinto beans or black beans add a delightful creaminess. They can be used instead of the sausage and seasoned similarly (you may need to reduce the amount of seasonings).
- Avocado slices: layer thinly sliced avocado slices on top of the cheese before the eggs for a rich creaminess. You can also used mashed avocados or guacamole and spread on before the cheese.
- Jalapenos: I love pickled jalapenos! They will instantly amp up the heat and the flavor.
- Veggies: bell peppers, fresh sweet corn, spinach, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, onions, chayote, zucchini, cherry tomatoes are all tasty. You’ll want to sauté all of the ingredients first except it’s not necessary for the tomatoes. Add the onions with the sausage and the rest of the veggies can be added the last couple minutes of cooking the sausage.
Who doesn’t love breakfast potatoes?! You can add any potatoes to your breakfast quesadillas including Mexican French Fries, hash browns or roasted potatoes:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cut 1-pound Russet potatoes into thin fries and toss with:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili pepper
Spread potatoes evenly over prepared foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tender, then broil fries until golden and crispy.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Cube 1 pound red potatoes into small bite-size pieces.
- Add potatoes to baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and seasonings listed under French Fries above.
- Spread potatoes in an even layer and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until fork tender and golden in some places, stirring half way through. (If you like your potatoes crispy, bake for longer).
- Cook 3 cups frozen hash browns according to package directions, sprinkling with “Fry seasoning” before cooking.
How to make the best breakfast quesadillas:
Making quesadillas might sound straightforward, but there are a couple keys for success:
- Season to taste. Layers of flavor are what create the best quesadillas so make sure to season each layer independently. Whether you use sausage, turkey, ground beef etc., season with fiesta seasonings so the protein is independently delicious. Taste and season with additional salt and cayenne pepper as needed as these seasonings amp up the flavor exponentially. If you use potatoes or other veggies, season those to taste as well.
- Whisk the eggs thoroughly. Use a mixing bowl and whisk (instead of a fork) to vigorously whisk the eggs until light, foamy and airy. Whisking aerates the eggs which creates fluffier eggs when cooked.
- Don’t overcook eggs. Cook the eggs low and slow. If your pan is too hot, the eggs will cook too fast and dry out. As soon as the eggs are almost set but still shimmer with some moisture, remove them from the pan because they will continue to cook in the quesadillas.
- Use one tortilla per quesadilla. You can get away with making a whole quesadilla using two tortillas when you’re just stuffing it with cheese, but whenever you add additional filling items like in this breakfast quesadilla recipe, you should make a half quesadilla, meaning one tortilla, half filled then folded to create a half moon. This will make the quesadilla easy to rotate in the pan without having to flip the whole quesadilla over with filling flying out the sides.
- Start and end with cheese. The cheese insulates the tortilla and prevents it from becoming soggy or greasy due to the filling. It also acts as a glue. As the cheese melts into the tortilla, it binds the loose filling ingredients in place so the ingredients don’t topple out with every bite. And of course, more cheese makes the breakfast quesadillas double cheesy for double the YUM!
- Use freshly grated cheese. Only freshly grated cheese will melt in the couple minutes it takes for the tortillas to crisp up. Pre-packaged cheeses contain chemicals designed to prevent the strands from clumping in the packaging – these same chemicals inhibit their melting ability. Pre-shredded cheeses will melt – but they takes too long for quesadillas.
- Use two cheeses. Monterrey provides the ooey gooey factor and sharp cheddar adds the oomph of flavor.
- Chop ingredients small. Large pieces of filling are more likely to come tumbling out with each bite. Chop ingredients such as bell peppers, ham, onions (if using) small so they stay secured in place by the cheese.
- Layer easy-to escape ingredients first. Start with smaller ingredients like crumbled sausage, corn, bell peppers, etc. then add the eggs. The eggs act like a swaddling blanket and secure the smaller ingredients in place.
- Don’t overfill quesadillas. You can stuff the quesadillas pretty full but you don’t want it overflowing or it will continue to overflow in the pan and will defeat the purpose of stuffing it!
- Use a nonstick skillet. Use a nonstick skillet so you don’t have to use any oil and run the risk of a burnt breakfast quesadilla or hardened cheese on the pan.
- Use a large enough pan. Make sure your pan is large enough so it comfortably fits the breakfast quesadilla and heats up evenly. This will ensure an even golden crispy exterior.
- Don’t use oil. Oil is not necessary in a nonstick skillet and will only create a greasy exterior. More importantly, adding oil increases your risk of burning the quesadillas. Oil is a heat conductor which can brown the tortillas quicker than the cheese can melt so you run the risk of a burnt exterior and an underdone filling. If you want to use oil, use ½ tablespoon or less.
- Preheat skillet. You want to preheat the skillet before cooking so it’s hot (not high heat, but hot) so the tortilla will crisp up.
- Don’t use high heat. To that end, hot doesn’t mean high heat. You want to cook the breakfast quesadillas on about medium heat so the cheese has time to slowly melt as the tortillas become deeply golden and crispy without burning. High heat will scorch the tortillas before the cheese is melted. Play with the heat as needed to ensure perfectly golden quesadillas.
- Turn, don’t flip the quesadilla. Filling will fly all over the place if you “flip” the breakfast quesadilla over like a pancake. Instead, turn the quesadilla over by placing the spatula underneath the tortilla and using the folded end as a hinge to rotate the tortilla to the other side while using your hand on the uncooked side to hold it together. This will prevent any filling from falling out.
- Don’t worry about cheese spilling onto the pan. Use your spatula to push any oozing filling back into the tortilla; then enjoy any crispy, crunchy bits that escape – they’re my favorite part!
- Use a pizza cutter. I find it’s easiest to cut the breakfast quesadillas with a pizza cutter to prevent them from cracking.
- Don’t stack quesadillas. Contrary to these photos, don’t stack the breakfast quesadillas or they will steam and you will lose that coveted crispiness. Instead, line the quesadillas in a single layer with a little breathing room in between each one to serve.
How to Bake Quesadillas in The Oven:
Oven baked quesadillas are a great way to cook a large batch of quesadillas at once. When baking quesadillas, you don’t need to make half quesadillas, but can fill the entire tortilla then top with another tortilla. To bake:
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Grease the parchment with cooking spray or lightly brush with olive oil.
- Arrange prepared quesadillas on the baking sheets and brush with olive oil or spray with cooking spray.
- Bake on center rack for 12- 15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
How to serve quesadillas
Breakfast quesadillas should be served immediately while they’re at their ooey, gooey, crunchy prime with your favorite toppings/dipping sauces. Toppings are a fun way to let everyone customize their own quesadillas and make them come alive with the combined explosion of tangy, creamy, and crunchy. Traditional quesadilla toppings include sour cream, salsa and guacamole but you can go as simple as just sour cream or as loaded as your belly desires. Here are some ideas to choose from:
- Sour cream or Mexican Crema: is a must in my book for all quesadillas! Its refreshing, bright, silky creaminess compliments and cuts through the cheesy richness.
- Greek yogurt: is a great creamy alternative to sour cream if you are trying to save some calories.
- Avocado Crema: is my addiction and my preference over just chopped avocados. It’s a marriage of avocados, sour cream and lime juice to create a wonderfully silky, tangy sauce and just takes minutes in your blender.
- Guacamole: use my homemade guacamole recipe (amazing!) or your favorite recipe or even use store-bought.
- Avocados: chopped or sliced avocados are the easiest avocado option and add a wonderful creaminess.
- Tomatoes: seeded, chopped Roma tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes for a simple, juicy, vibrant win or, better yet, substitute with pico de gallo.
- Pico de gallo: is fresh tomato salsa that adds a vibrant, punchy freshness. You can use my homemade pico de gallo recipe or store bought. You can make the salsa ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- Salsa: go with traditional restaurant style salsa, or chunky salsas with varying textures and flavors like my black bean corn salsa, avocado corn salsa, charred corn salsa, pineapple salsa, or mango salsa– all SO good!
- Cilantro: if you skip the pico de gallo, you can load on fresh cilantro and tomatoes instead for a fresh, zesty flair.
- Pickle red onions: I can’t believe I haven’t shared a recipe for this yet (coming soon!), but I love pickled red onions! They are bright, tangy, and punchy fantastic.
- Jalapenos: amp up the heat with fresh jalapenos or I love pickled jalapenos.
- Hot Sauce: pass around the hot sauce for an easy, delicious way to customize heat.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH BREAKFAST QUESADILLAS?
Breakfast quesadillas are practically a meal-in-one so they don’t need much as way of sides. We love serving them with simple fruit such as grapes or cantaloupe but they are also delicious with pina colada fruit salad, fruit salad with honey lime vinaigrette, and fruit salad with yogurt.
HOW TO STORE QUESADILLAS
- Let quesadillas cool completely before packaging for less soggy tortillas.
- Transfer to a large sheet of foil or an airtight container and stack with parchment paper in between each layer. This will help prevent the quesadillas from becoming soggy.
- Store breakfast quesadillas in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 3 months (instructions to follow).
How to reheat
You can reheat quesadillas in the microwave, oven, stove or in the air fryer:
- Air fryer: this is my #1 preferred method. It crisps up the tortillas as if they were freshly made – seriously amazing! Place your quesadillas in the air fryer basket and cook for 6 minutes using the air fry “snack” setting, or air fry at 400 degrees for 6 minutes.
- Microwave: this is my least favorite method because the exterior doesn’t crisp up, but honestly, the leftovers are so good, I don’t think you’ll care! Microwave on high or 30 seconds then at 15-second intervals as needed.
- Stove: heat a pan to low then add the quesadilla. Cook over low until reheated, flipping once.
- Oven: place quesadillas on a baking rack placed over a baking pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes or until warmed through.
MAKE AHEAD QUESADILLAS
You can completely assemble and cook the quesadillas up to 5 days ahead of time, cool, then store in an airtight container/freezer bag or you can make individual components then assemble when ready to serve for even fresher, crunchier quesadillas. Here’s how:
- Make protein. Brown the sausage or other desired protein and refrigerate for up to three days. Gently warm sausage in a skillet when ready to serve.
- Make eggs. Scramble the eggs but leave them slightly underdone. Store in an airtight container for up to three days. Gently warm on the stove when ready to use.
- Toppings. Homemade salsa or guacamole are great to make ahead. The guacamole will keep for up to a day without changing color very much – just make sure to press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation.
How to Freeze Quesadillas
Freezing breakfast quesadillas makes for a quick and easy, grab and go breakfast, lunch or snack. Here’s how:
- Slice quesadillas into wedges then let cool completely.
- Line a baking sheet or platter(s) that will fit into your freezer with parchment paper.
- Arrange wedges in a single layer on prepared baking sheet without touching and transfer to the freezer to flash freeze for 2 hours (this will prevent them from sticking together).
- Transfer solid quesadillas to a freezer safe plastic bag and squeeze out excess air.
- Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Air fryer: creates the crispiest leftovers! Air fry for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees F, or until cheese is oozing.
- Microwave: the tortilla won’t crisp up in the microwave but this method is the quickest if you’re running out the door. Transfer quesadilla to a microwave safe plate and heat for about 2-3 minutes or until cheese is oozing.
- Skillet: is also quick and easy and will crisp the exterior back up. Warm quesadilla in a skillet over medium-low heat until filling is warm and the outside is crisping up,
- Oven: Bake for 15-25 minutes at 350 degrees until the cheese is oozing.
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