An Easy Beef Quesadilla Recipe!
This “beefy quesadilla” recipe was the fourth recipe that I ever posted on A Flavor Journal! Needless to say, it was time for a glow up!
Although the photos are much better than they used to be, I actually decided to simplify the recipe list a bit. This recipe now has ten main ingredients, not counting the butter (or oil) or salt and pepper. I’m currently working on a list of pantry staples, so I’ll be linking that very soon! It’s being created as a resource for ingredients that should always be on hand, and make your life so much easier. It won’t be crazy, but basic suggestions (like oil, salt and pepper) will be on it.
The other ingredients in this cheesy ground beef quesadilla are what bring all of the flavor. Fresh vegetables, fresh garlic, taco seasoning, some refried beans (for texture!), fresh lime juice, and melty cheese are BIG flavor components! They’re everything you need for a delicious quesadilla, and nothing more. 🙂
Ingredients for this Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadilla:
- Unsalted Butter
- Fresh Tomato (Roma/Plum)
- White Onion
- Bell Pepper (Any color! I love green or red, personally.)
- Fresh Garlic
- Kosher Salt & Freshly Cracked Pepper
- Ground Beef
- Taco Seasoning
- Refried Beans
- Fresh Lime Juice
- 8″ Flour Tortillas
- Shredded Cheddar & Shredded Jack Cheese
Can I swap any ingredients if I have to?
Yes! Here’s my recommendations:
- Unsalted Butter Swap : Olive Oil, Vegetable Oil, Avocado Oil, Canola Oil
- Fresh Tomato Swap : Any tomato variety will work!
- White Onion Swap : Yellow will also work!
- Ground Beef Swap : A plant-based product, such as Impossible® meat, should work, but I haven’t tried it.
- Taco Seasoning Swap : Cumin, Oregano, and Smoked Paprika will do! One teaspoon of each.
- Refried Beans Swap : Whole cooked beans will do, or this can be omitted.
Tips for making the best Ground Beef Quesadillas:
- Use the same skillet to cook the beef mixture AND the quesadillas. First of all, there is no point in dirtying two pans. Secondly, the residual bits of flavor from the beef mixture will latch onto the tortillas, making them that much crunchier and tastier!
- Use only fresh vegetables. I don’t recommend jarred tomatoes or garlic in this recipe. Jarred tomatoes have a time and place, but I honestly don’t support jarred garlic unless there is literally no other option. Fresh garlic is the way to go!
- Use a ground beef blend with a lower fat content. This recipe doesn’t require the fat to be drained from the beef mixture, so I recommend using an 80/20 blend at the most. A 90/10 blend is ideal, as well! The majority of the flavor comes from the veggies, seasoning, and cheese, so using a ground beef with a lower fat content won’t greatly affect the flavor!
- Use refried beans. It may sound odd, but the beans are a delightful creamy binder that helps keep this quesadilla intact. Of course the cheese melts into the beef to hold it together, but the beans add an added layer of flavor and texture! You can use any type you like: fat-free, spicy, refried black beans … it should all work!
- Don’t skip the lime. A healthy squeeze of lime juice in the beef mixture adds a hit of brightness that brings some balance to this rich beefy and cheesy meal. It’s delicious!
- Use a blend of cheeses. More cheese, more flavor! I recommend using half Cheddar, half Pepper Jack cheese for this. If you want less heat, go for Monterey Jack! And if you’re REALLY wanting an ultimate, cheesy, flavor-packed quesadilla … use Chihuahua cheese! Queso Chihuahua is a Mexican melting cheese, and it’s soooo creamy, melty, and delicious! You can use it entirely for this quesadilla, or mix it with another cheese.
Other Recipes to try with these Quesadillas:
- Easy Homemade Guacamole
- Fresh Pico de Gallo with Garlic
- Spicy Smashed Black Beans
- Creamy Refried Black Beans
A couple of other Tex-Mex and Quesadilla Recipes:
- Chicken Fajita Quesadillas
- Favorite Chicken Quesadillas
- Queso Fundido with Chorizo
- Creamy Tex-Mex Sauce
- Cilantro Lime Sauce
- Small Batch Barbacoa
- Small Batch Spicy Carnitas
- Tex-Mex Chicken Fried Rice
- Crunchy Chicken Tostada Stacks
Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup finely chopped tomato
- 1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper green, yellow, or red
- 1/3 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1 clove garlic minced
- salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 1/2 lb. ground beef
- 1 tbsp. taco seasoning
- 1/3 cup refried beans
- 3 10" flour tortillas
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese blend cheddar, pepperjack, monterey jack, or chihuahua cheeses
- If using more than one cheese, blend the cheeses together.
- Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes until slightly tender.
- Add the ground beef and taco seasoning to the skillet. Using a wooden spoon, break the beef into small pieces and mix it into the veggies. Cook the beef for about 5 minutes until it is browned, continuing to break it into small pieces as it cooks.
- Stir in the refried beans until completely blended into the beef and vegetables. Spoon the entire mixture into a large bowl, and cover the bowl with foil to keep it warm.
- Lay one tortilla into the now empty skillet. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese across the surface of the tortilla. Spoon 1/2 cup of the beef mixture onto one side of the tortilla, then spread it to cover the cheese across half of the tortilla.
- Once the cheese is melted on the other half of the tortilla, carefully fold that half onto the beef mixture. Use a spatula to gently press down on the top of the folded tortilla. Cook for 2 minutes until the bottom is browned and crispy.
- Carefully flip the tortilla. Cook for another two minutes until the bottom side is browned and crispy. Transfer the quesadilla to a cutting board, and allow it to cool for about 30 seconds. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut it in half.
- Repeat with remaining two tortillas, remaining cheese, and remaining beefy mixture.
- Serve hot and top with sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, or your favorite toppings!