How to make the best cheese and onion quesadillas in a skillet or pan on the stove. This simple and easy recipe is healthy because it's packed with veggies. Great for a vegetarian dinner or lunch. Serve with a little salsa for the perfect snack, too.
Do you remember the restaurant called Chi-Chi's? It was a Mexican-style chain restaurant that folded in the late '90's after a salmonella outbreak linked to their scallions.
In high school and college, I loved Chi-Chi's; I ate there at least a few times a month.
My favorite menu item was Cheese & Onion Enchiladas.
We've made all sorts of enchiladas and quesadillas and burritos here, and we've made all sorts of cheese and onion recipes, always trying to come close to the flavor of my old favorite.
I've previously shared recipes for my own cheese and onion enchiladas, baked chicken enchiladas, BBQ chicken enchiladas (my favorite favorite meal), and beef enchiladas, as well as chicken bacon quesadillas and turkey quesadillas.
These quesadillas are really, really good, but they are nothing like my old favorite enchiladas.
Those were heavy, laden with enchilada sauce and grease. They came with more grease on the side. They were so very delicious.
These cheese and onion enchiladas are healthy because they use rice vinegar for flavor rather than sour cream or butter. Thanks to the vinegar, they have a tangy sweet flavor without a glut of calories (unless you go overboard with the cheese).
What you'll need to make cheese and onion quesadillas
I make quesadillas often enough to have purchased a quesadilla maker. It's a sort of double sided griddle that allows me to put the whole tortilla sandwich in at once, close the lid, and out pops a finished quesadilla a few minutes later.
If you have a quesadilla maker, this recipe is super simple. If you don't have one, you can still make the quesadillas on the stovetop or on an electric griddle. There are a few more steps, but it's still easy.
- 1 tablespoon butter - This is for cooking the onions. I love onions cooked in butter, but you could also use olive oil, canola oil, or even bacon grease if you have some on hand.
- 1 teaspoon taco seasoning - This gives a nice flavor to the onions.
- 5 ounces mild green chiles - These come in a small can in the Mexican aisle of the grocery store. You should drain them before adding to the skillet.
- 1 large onion, sliced into ¼" pieces - Slices are better than rings or chopped onions. I wouldn't recommend chopped because they are going to make your quesadilla lumpy.
- ⅓ cup rice vinegar - I prefer the red pepper flavor in this recipe, but any flavor will work. If you can't get rice vinegar, white vinegar will substitute.
- 4 whole grain flour tortillas
- 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese - You can use cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese, or pepper jack, as long as it's shredded. If you like your quesadillas extra cheesy, you may want to use more than one cup.
How to make cheese and onion quesadillas in a quesadilla maker
These quesadillas are so simple and so easy. It's just a matter of sprinkling ingredients over the tortilla and cooking it. If you have a quesadilla maker, it will be super simple. This is how we make ours.
- Prepare the filling. Heat butter and taco seasoning over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers, and sauté for 10 minutes or until soft and browned. Add vinegar and cook for 4 minutes or until the vinegar is evaporated.
- Prepare the quesadilla maker. Brush the plates of the quesadilla maker with vegetable oil or prepare the top and bottom plates of the quesadilla maker with a spritz of cooking spray. Preheat the machine as indicated in the instructions.
- Assemble the quesadilla. When the machine is hot, place one tortilla on the bottom plate. Top with ½ cup of cheese, half of the onion mixture, and another ½ cup of cheese. Top with a second tortilla and close the lid of the quesadilla maker. Cook until the cheese is completely melted and the tortilla is crispy.
- Cut and serve. Cut in quarters to make 6 wedges, and serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, guacamole, and salse. Repeat with the other tortillas.
How to make cheese & onion quesadillas in a large skillet on the stovetop
Most quesadilla instructions have you either fold the tortilla in half or flip the whole thing in the pan. Prepare the filling. Heat butter and taco seasoning over medium-high heat.
Add the onions and peppers, and sauté for 10 minutes or until soft and brown.
Add vinegar and cook for 4 minutes or until the vinegar is evaporated.
Prepare the tortilla. Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and then add a tortilla. Top half of it with 2 tablespoons of cheese and allow the cheese to melt.
Assemble the quesadilla. Add ¼ of the onion mixture to the quesadilla then top with 2 tablespoons of cheese. Fold tortilla in half and cook until the cheese is completely melted and the quesadilla is glued together.
Cut and serve. When the quesadilla is done, remove it from the skillet and cut into 3 wedges. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, guacamole, and salsa, if desired. Repeat for 3 more quesadillas.