Take tacos and quesadillas and combine them to make these taco quesadillas! These cheesy ground beef quesadillas are perfect for on the go eating or at home.
You’ll only need 6 ingredients and 20 minutes for this family friendly dinner recipe.
Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas
I was playing around with leftover ground beef taco meat and I came up with this handheld food idea.
I love this easy dinner recipe because we always have ground beef on hand. It’s one of the benefits of raising cattle, right?
Taco Tuesday night isn’t the only night that’s for tacos in our house. Have you met me?
For those of you not familiar with farming, handheld meals are kind of a big deal. They allow us farmers to drive the tractor with one hand and steer with the other.
Kind of like parents do every time we hit the drive thru. Come on, we’ve all done it, right???
What I’m saying is this is the perfect recipe if you’re busy and need to get dinner going fast, and quite possibly, portable.
So this recipe is perfect for busy people, picky eaters, and the whole family will love it. Could this possibly be the most perfect recipe full of cheesy goodness?!?
Beef Quesadilla Ingredients
Our ingredient list is pretty standard for a quesadillas recipe. We start with cheese and tortillas and we're building up from there!
- Ground beef - lifesaver alert here...if you forget to thaw your ground beef, don’t worry! You can cook your frozen ground beef in the Instant Pot!
- Taco seasoning - you can use a packet of seasoning or use my low sodium taco seasoning
- tomato paste - we're using this ingredient to thicken things up a bit and make the mixture richer
- shredded cheese - Monterrey Jack, cheddar cheese, colby Jack...you pick which kind, they’re all delicious in my world. Just make sure you use plenty of cheese...no skimping here!
- corn tortillas - Making quesadillas with corn tortillas is my first preference. I like how hearty they are and the texture of the corn is slightly firmer. But seriously, whatever kind of tortillas are your favorite, you can use them!
- Butter - we use this to give us a crispy tortilla. We want the outside to be nice and golden brown and toasty. You could use olive oil here, too.
- Toppings - As for toppings, the sky's the limit in taco land! My recipe below has salsa and sour cream which are my favs for quesadillas, but anything you love as your favorite toppings is game here. How about some guacamole or shredded lettuce to serve alongside?
How to Make Taco Quesadillas
Step 1: Brown the ground beef
Then drain the excess grease if needed. You know the drill. Add the taco seasoning, tomato paste and some water. Reduce the liquid, then set aside.
It's just like making tacos, in quesadilla form!
You can place the taco meat mixture in a medium bowl or you can grab a second skillet to assemble the quesadillas.
Step 2: Assemble
Heat your skillet, melt a little butter, then put the corn tortilla in. Top with some cheese and the beef mixture. Put the other tortilla on top and give ‘er a flip with a spatula.
Cook quesadillas until the cheese melts and the outside is light golden brown! Repeat with the next six tortillas.
Recipe Tips and Variations for Taco Quesadillas
- substitute ground turkey for ground beef or use leftover pork to make pulled pork quesadillas.
- this is a great way to use leftover taco meat to save time
- use shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese in place of the monterey jack cheese. In my world, all cheese is good!
- use flour tortillas instead of corn
- make these on a griddle if you’re cooking taco quesadillas for a crowd
- make these as a freezer meal, there are instructions below!
What’s the difference between tacos and quesadillas?
Great question! In my opinion, a quesadilla is like a dippable sandwich using two tortillas with cheese and fillings in the middle.
Basic cheese quesadillas are like Mexican grilled cheese, don’t you think?
A taco is more like, well...a taco?
How to store leftovers
Leftovers store just fine for several days refrigerated in an airtight container. Then you reheat them in the microwave, they won't be as crispy but they'll still taste delicious!
You could always reheat them in the oven on a sheet pan, in a skillet on the stovetop or in your air fryer!
Sides for taco quesadillas
Basically, I view taco quesadillas the vehicle to bring all the yummy sides to the table!
More quesadilla recipes for you
Other taco inspiration you’ll love:
When you make this easy ground beef quesadilla recipe, leave a comment or recipe rating. I’d love to hear from you!
Recipe adapted from one of the most awesome ladies on the planet, The Pioneer Woman. I say this in the least stalker-ish way, but someday Ree, we’re gonna cook together…I just know it!
This post was originally published in October 2019 and updated with much better photos and relevant content in October 2021.
- 1.5 pound ground beef
- 2.5 tablespoon taco seasoning
- 3 tablespoon Tomato Paste
- 12 ounces monterey jack cheese grated
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Salsa and sour cream for serving
TO MAKE FRESH
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef and drain the fat. Add the taco seasoning and tomato paste, ½ cup water, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and reduce the liquid.
- Heat a separate pam over medium heat. Put butter in the bottom of the pan and put one corn tortilla in the pam. Add a portion of cheese, and a few tablespoons of the beef mixture.
- Put the other tortilla on top and cook until cheese is melty. Turn over and cook the other side until lightly browned.
- Repeat with the other tortillas for a total of four quesadillas. Serve with sour cream and salsa.
TO MAKE A FREEZER MEAL
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef and drain the fat. Add the taco seasoning and tomato paste, ½ cup water, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and reduce the liquid. Allow it to cool, then add to a gallon sized, labeled freezer bag.
- Label shredded Monterey jack cheese and tortillas, bag in a gallon sized, labeled freezer bag and freeze with beef mixture.
TO COOK FREEZER MEAL
- Defrost meal in refrigerator overnight. Warm beef mixture in microwave or a pan.
- Follow instructions as above.