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Beef/ Cheese/ Tex Mex

Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

July 19, 2019 (Last Updated: October 3, 2023) by Chris Collins

These Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas are made with a homemade spice mix, two different kinds of cheese and bulked out with black beans and red pepper. Better still, they’re SO easy to make!

As one of my most loved and most popular recipes, I had to include this in my Debut Cookbook ‘Comfy’!

quesadillas stacked on top of each other with filling slightly pouring out

Ground Beef Quesadillas

Here I’ll share with you a few tips and tricks for creating beef quesadillas which are crispy on the outside and bursting with flavour on the inside. First things first, let’s talk about minced/ground beef.

You want to get lean beef, preferably 5% fat. If you’ve only got beef with a higher fat percentage, you’ll want to drain the fat once it’s browned, before you add the spices. The spices I use for this are incredibly similar to my Homemade Taco Seasoning, so feel free to sub that if you’ve got it on hand. 3 tbsps worth will be fine.

Ground Beef Quesadillas Fillings

  • Onion
  • Red Pepper (Bell Pepper)
  • Black Beans
  • Jalapenos (optional)

Nothing fancy, just enough to bulk out the quesadillas, but not too much you can’t wrap your face around them. Sweetcorn is also a popular filling for these types of quesadillas!

Top Tip #1 – Use flour tortilla wraps, not corn. Flour tortillas fold easier and are much less likely to crack.

overhead shot of quesadillas sliced in half with cheese pouring out

Juicy Beef, not dry!  

There’s nothing worse than dry taco meat is there? As such, I add a nice dollop of tomato puree/paste and pour in some water or low-sodium beef stock with a dash of cornstarch/cornflour. This will glaze the beef to ensure it doesn’t dry out. You can also leave out the cornstarch/cornflour and just reduce the amount of liquid.

How to make Ground Beef Filling for Quesadillas (quick summary)

  1. Fry red pepper and onion in a drizzle of olive oil until soft.
  2. Push to the outside of your pan and fry your beef.
  3. Stir tomato puree/paste.
  4. Pour in liquid and add cornstarch/cornflour.
  5. Add black beans.
  6. Simmer and completely reduce.
Top Tip #2 – Once you’ve cooked and reduced, place in a bowl to cool. It’s important to leave the beef to stop steaming otherwise it’s going to steam the tortilla and make it go soggy when you’re frying it.

How to make ground beef quesadilla filling - 6 step by step photos

Cheesy Quesadillas

When it comes to what cheese to use, I usually go for a 50/50 combo of Cheddar and Monterey Jack. The aim of the game is to use two layers – one on the top, and one on the bottom. This will keep the quesadilla ‘glued’ together. Because cheese truly does make the best glue!

How to Pan Fry Ground Beef Quesadillas (quick summary)

  1. Brush one side of a tortilla with oil and place oil side down in a pan (with the heat off) and sprinkle cheese.
  2. Add beef.
  3. Add jalapenos (optional).
  4. Add more cheese.
  5. Place another tortilla next door.
  6. Layer up.
  7. Fold over and turn on heat.
  8. Cook both sides until golden.
Top Tip #3 – After each batch, place them in the oven at a low temp to keep them warm before serving.

how to pan fry ground beef quesadillas - 8 step by step photos

Serving Ground Beef Quesadillas

And there we have it! From there I usually slice each ‘half moon’ in half and serve them up right away. I recommend 1 ‘half moon’ per person with a side. I’ve actually got a whole category page on Easy Quesadilla Side Dishes so do check that out, but here are some classics:

What to serve with quesadillas?

Okay, let’s tuck into this beef quesadilla recipe shall we?

row of quesadillas lined up on a chopping board, sliced in half with cheese pouring out

How to make Ground Beef Quesadillas (Full Recipe & Video)

quesadillas stacked on top of each other with filling slightly pouring out

Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

These Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas are made with a homemade spice mix, two different kinds of cheese and bulked out with black beans and red pepper. Better still, they're SO easy to make! Makes 6 bulky folded quesadillas. I recommend serving one of these each with a side (fries/wedges).
5 from 8 votes
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Servings (click & slide): 6
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican / Tex Mex
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Calories per serving: 587kcal
Cost per serving: £2.50 / $3

Equipment:

  • Chopping Board & Sharp Knife (for chopping veg)
  • Colander or Sieve (for draining beans)
  • Spatula (for flipping quesadillas)
  • Brush (for oil - or use oil spray)
  • Large Bowl (storing beef to cool)
  • Paper Towels (to wipe out pan after beef)
  • Large Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon (for cooking quesadillas/filling)

Ingredients (check list):

Spice Mix

  • 2 tsp EACH: Paprika, Cumin
  • 1 tsp EACH: Garlic Powder, Oregano, Salt
  • 1/2 tsp EACH: Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper (can alter to spice preference)
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Beef

  • 1lb / 500g Lean Minced/Ground Beef
  • 1/2 a 14oz/400g can of Black Beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml Water or Low Sodium Beef Stock
  • 1 small Red Pepper, finely diced
  • 1 small White Onion, finely diced
  • 1 heaped tbsp Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
  • 1 tsp Cornstarch/Cornflour (see notes)
  • Olive Oil, as needed

Quesadillas

  • 6x small Flour Tortillas (approx 7-8")
  • 1.5 cups / 150g Cheddar, grated
  • 1.5 cups / 150g Monterey Jack, grated (see notes)
  • 1 cup Pickled Jalapeños, sliced (optional)
  • Oil Spray, as needed (or sub 2 tbsp oil and brush on)

Instructions:

  • In a small bowl, combine 2 tsp paprika & cumin, 1 tsp garlic powder, oregano & salt, 1/2 tsp onion powder & cayenne pepper and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Place to one side.
  • Add a drizzle of olive oil to a large pan over medium heat, then add the onion and red pepper. Fry until soft and starting to pick up colour, then add in the beef. Fry until brown all the way through, breaking up with your wooden spoon as you go, then incorporate the spice mix.
  • Stir in 1 heaped tbsp tomato puree and fry with the beef for a couple of mins. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup water/low sodium beef stock, then stir in 1 tsp cornstarch/cornflour (or just use a few tbsp liquid and no cornstarch/cornflour). Add the black beans and simmer until thickened (beef should be juicy, with no liquid in the pan).
  • Transfer the beef to a bowl and allow to cool, at least until it stops steaming. Meanwhile, wipe out the pan with kitchen roll/paper towels.
  • Lightly coat one side of each of your tortilla wraps and place one oil side down in the pan with the heat off. Sprinkle over 1/4 cup of cheese, then around 1/2 cup beef (or 1/6th of the mixture) top with a few jalapeños (optional) then finish with another 1/4 cup of cheese. Fold over and repeat with another one next to it. Switch on the heat a medium and fry for a few mins each side, or until golden and hollow to tap. Repeat with remaining quesadillas.

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Beef - Definitely try and get lean beef (5% being optimum). If you don't have lean beef and/or there's excess fat in the pan, remove it BEFORE adding the spices.
b) Cornstarch - Cornstarch is optional (will add a glossy kind of gravy to the mince). If you're using it, use around 1/2 cup of liquid to 1 tsp cornstarch and allow to simmer until it thickens. If you're not using cornstarch, just add liquid as needed to make the beef juicy, not dry. A few tbsp should be sufficient.
c) Cheese - If you can't find Monterey Jack just add more Cheddar. A Mexican Cheese Blend also works nicely! In any case, just mix them together before constructing the quesadillas.
d) Cool the filling - It's important to leave the filling to cool, at least until it stops steaming. If you add it to the tortillas still steaming, it's going to steam the tortilla and cause it to go soggy, instead of crispy.
e) Keeping Warm - I recommend keeping the oven on at a low temp to keep them warm as you finish cooking the rest. Or just use separate pans.
f) Calories - based on using: 95% lean beef mince, 1/2 tbsp olive oil to fry beef, water as the liquid and no jalapenos. Calories per 'half moon'.

Your Private Notes:

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas
Amount Per Serving
Calories 587 Calories from Fat 285
% Daily Value*
Fat 31.67g49%
Saturated Fat 14.132g71%
Trans Fat 0.835g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.34g
Monounsaturated Fat 11.805g
Cholesterol 104mg35%
Sodium 779mg32%
Potassium 698mg20%
Carbohydrates 38.6g13%
Fiber 4.6g18%
Sugar 3.61g4%
Protein 37.57g75%
Vitamin A 1325IU27%
Vitamin C 22.5mg27%
Calcium 447mg45%
Iron 4.62mg26%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
Tried this recipe?Show me how you got on by tagging @dontgobaconmyheart_ on IG and #dontgobaconmyheart
Looking for more?You'll find plenty more delicious comfort food like this in my Debut Cookbook 'Comfy'

Hey, whilst you’re here why not check out my other recipes?

Easy Tex Mex Recipes


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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Barry Freeman
    December 30, 2023 at 8:32 pm

    5 stars
    Recipe worked great with leftover Boston butt pulled pork! Water rehydrated dry overcooked meat. Used 1/2 spice mix to taste with a little smoked paprika.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      December 31, 2023 at 10:59 am

      Thanks so much for the review, Barry! Great to hear the quesadillas went down well 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    carly rae
    August 9, 2023 at 8:26 pm

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. Our new family favourite!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      August 10, 2023 at 10:06 am

      Great to hear, Carly! Thanks so much for the review 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    Mark S
    January 29, 2023 at 10:00 pm

    5 stars
    They have just enough heat for me. They are really awesome! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      January 30, 2023 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks Mark! 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    sheenam @ thetwincookingproject
    July 20, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    Love that this is such a well explained recipe! Totally appreciate your step-by-step blog post. Looks so yumm!!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      July 20, 2019 at 6:31 pm

      That’s so kind, glad you found it helpful! 🙂

  • Reply
    Beth Neels
    July 19, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    5 stars
    Perfectly bursting with cheesy goodness! I read somewhere once a professional food photographer said that shooting quesadillas was her Achilles heel! Apparently, you have mastered that art, Chris!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      July 19, 2019 at 8:30 pm

      That’s so kind of you to say! Thanks Beth!

    • Reply
      John
      April 20, 2020 at 6:01 pm

      Yes

  • Reply
    Sara Welch
    July 19, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    5 stars
    I know what I will be making for dinner tonight! This looks so easy and packed with flavor, too! Delicious!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      July 19, 2019 at 8:28 pm

      Enjoy!!

  • Reply
    Roxana
    July 19, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    5 stars
    Wow, that is one flavor packed recipe. I need to make quesadillas soon. I like the nice tutorial.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      July 19, 2019 at 8:28 pm

      Thanks Roxana 🙂

  • Reply
    Raia
    July 19, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    5 stars
    I’m totally drooling over these and I haven’t even had breakfast yet. There’s no law against having cheesy beef quesadillas for breakfast, is there?

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      July 19, 2019 at 8:27 pm

      Do it! Do it! 🙂

  • Reply
    SHANIKA
    July 19, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    5 stars
    Wow! These Quesadillas look so delicious! I’m loving all the flavors and cheesiness! Pinned for later!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      July 19, 2019 at 8:27 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

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