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The Perfect Grilled Cheese Quesadilla

Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with my grilled cheese quesadilla recipe. Mexican-inspired and finished with punchy chilli crisp and lime, this quesadilla’s perfect for any meal. Cheesy goodness awaits!

Cheesy Grilled Cheese Quesadilla

Cheese Quesadilla Evolution: A Flavorful Journey Through History

Quesadillas have a rich history in Mexican cuisine, dating back to ancient times when flatbreads filled with cheese and local ingredients were enjoyed by the Aztecs. The Spanish arrival in the 16th century introduced new elements like wheat flour and dairy products, transforming the traditional dish into the modern quesadilla we know today. This evolution has led to a wide variety of quesadilla variations, showcasing the adaptability and diversity of Mexican gastronomy over the years.

Looking Gouda-enough to eat

My grilled cheese quesadillas are a twist on tradition, inspired by South Africa’s vibrant ‘braai’ culture, akin to what many may call a BBQ. In South Africa, we treasure our ‘braais,’ and an appetiser often slung onto the coals before the meat is a ‘braaibroodjie.’ These are essentially like grilled cheese sandwiches but with a South African flair, cooked over open flames. The braaibroodie has always been one of my BBQ highlights, with the smoke transforming it into so much more than a humble grilled cheese. So I thought, why not try this with quesadillas?

Grilling these quesadillas on the BBQ adds a smoky flavor that elevates the experience. It’s also a fantastic way to kick off a BBQ gathering. When the coals are still too hot for meat, grilling these cheesy delights gets everyone involved, making it a fun and sociable start to your BBQ.

Tortilla wise have options – go for store-bought tortillas corn and flour mix tortillas or try my home made version. I adapted a traditional recipe by adding flour, butter, baking powder, and a pinch of salt to create pliable and sturdy tortillas. Stuff them with mozzarella for that melt-in-your-mouth goodness and gruyere for a creamy, flavorful kick. Grill them directly on the barbecue until the cheese turns irresistibly gooey. Finish with a squeeze of lime juice to balance the richness and a generous dollop of Chinese chili crisp for an extra kick.

The Art of Saying “Cheese”

Whether you opt for the sharpness of Cheddar, the meltiness of mozarella, smokey provolone, or the sophisticated gruyere, one thing is certain: a combination of melty cheese is near guaranteed to be good.

Selecting the ideal cheese mix for your quesadilla is a matter of preference, but a mix is bound to yield the perfect balance of texture and flavour. Start with a neutral, melty cheese like mozzarella or Swiss for that classic stringy, gooey cheese pull as you take a bite. Then, add your favourite semi-hard, flavorful cheese like Gruyere, smoked provolone, or sharp cheddar to round things out. 

In the realm of quesadillas, the choice is yours—so say cheese, experiment and see how you get on. Whichever path you take, it’s bound to be a delicious adventure!

Looking to Spice Up Your Lunch? Why not try my Coronation Chicken Taco or Smashed Chicken Gyoza with Kimchi & Rice?


Homemade Mexican Quesadilla

Tips for the Best Grilled Cheese Quesadilla


  • Boost the Flavor: Cheese quesadillas are naturally rich, so you want to mix things up for a tastier bite. In our recipe, we keep it simple by squeezing some lime over the quesadillas for a fresh zing. But you can get creative with toppings like pickled red onions, a tomato salsa, or even a zesty chimichurri sauce. Plus, don’t forget to add a bit of crunch and heat with chili crisp – it really takes it to the next level
  • Play with Cheese: Don’t stick to just one cheese; go wild! Mozzarella or Swiss gives that classic gooeyness, and throw in your favourite semi-hard cheese like cheddar to achieve the perfect balance of texture and flavour.
  • Don’t Overload: While it’s tempting to go crazy with the cheese, remember that excess cheese will ooze out onto the coals. Keep your fillings in check for a mess-free cookout.

Rate My Grilled Cheese Quesadilla

Did you put my Perfect Grilled Cheese Quesadilla to the test? Tell me about it! Please leave me a comment, give this recipe a rating, and remember to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with.

Perfect Grilled Cheese Quesadilla

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this vegan?

Sure simply sub the cheese for vegan alternatives, and replace the butter in the tortillas if making your own with vegan butter.

Can I use corn tortillas instead of flour?

I found homemade corn tortillas to be a little fragile on the BBQ.Try your favourite brand of gluten-free shop bought and see how you go. In a pinch simply wrap the quesadillas in tinfoil and grill, which will keep them moist and pliable. 

How do I reheat leftover quesadillas?

Pop them in the oven at 350°F / 180°C for about 10 minutes or until heated through. This helps maintain the crispiness.

Can I add other fillings into my quesadilla? 

Sure, cooked, shredded meat like chicken, or slow-cooked lamb would be great here. I also love adding sauteed zucchini, corn or spinach. Just be sure not to overstuff them or the fillings can tend to spill out. 

What does chilli crisp bring to the grilled cheese quesadilla?

Chilli crisp adds a layer of complexity with its spicy, savoury, and crunchy elements. It elevates the flavour profile, providing a delightful kick and toothsome crunch, enhancing the overall experience.

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Cheesy Grilled Cheese Quesadilla

The Perfect Grilled Cheese Quesadilla​

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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: <45 Minutes


Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with our mouthwatering grilled cheese quesadilla recipe. Learn how to make a quick and easy homemade Mexican quesadilla that’s perfect for any meal. Cheesy goodness awaits!




1 pack of corn and flour tortillas


Make Your Own Tortillas:

  • 1/2 cup (80g) masa harina
  • 1/2 cup (80g) all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (22g) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 80100ml water

For the filling:

  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella or 1 cup grated melting cheese of choice, like swiss
  • 1/2 Cup your favourite semi hard cheese, like gruyere, cheddar, pepper jack or havarti

For serving

  • 2 Tbsp chilli crisp (I use Lao Gan Ma brand)
  • 1 lime



Instructions for making tortillas from scratch are at the end of the recipe.

  1. To begin, start your fire: If you’re using coals, you’ll want a central fire that’s nice and hot. Place a pile of charcoal briquettes in the centre of your grill. Make a well in the middle of the charcoal, and add some crumpled newspaper or fire lighters in the centre. No firefighters? See our FAQs
  2. Light the fire lighters, and allow the flame to build slightly, then use tongs to place the charcoal briquettes over the flame, in a pyramid shape, leaving some gaps to allow the flame to breathe.
  3. Let the coals burn until they’re covered with white ash.
  4. While the coals are catching, shred or grate the fresh mozzarella or melting cheese of your choice, as well as the semi-hard cheese. Mix the cheeses together and set aside
  5. Stuff the Tortillas: Take your prepared tortillas, either homemade or store-bought, and place a generous amount of the cheese mix on one half of each tortilla.
  6. Once the fire has reached the right temperature, use your tongs to spread the coals into an even layer. To test the heat, hold your hand 30cm above the coals. If you can comfortably keep your hand there for 5 seconds, the coals are ready to cook the quesadillas.
  7. Place your grill onto your BBQ then place the stuffed tortillas directly over the hot coals.
  8. Flip the tortillas halfway through cooking to color the other side and ensure the cheese becomes melty. This should take about 2-3 minutes per side.
  9. Remove the grilled quesadillas from the BBQ and place them on a serving tray. Finish by squeezing fresh lime juice over the top and adding a generous dollop of chili crisp for an extra kick.
  10. Enjoy: Serve your delicious grilled cheese quesadillas immediately while they’re hot and gooey.

If making your own Tortillas:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the masa harina, all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix well.
  2. Add the softened butter to the dry mixture and stir to incorporate.
  3. Gradually add water while mixing until a smooth dough forms. Start with 80ml of water and add more if needed. The dough should be soft but not sticky, like play-doh.
  4. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it’s soft and pliable. If it’s too sticky, you can add a little more masa harina; if it’s too dry, add a bit more water.
  5. Divide the dough into golf-ball-sized portions and roll them into balls. Place the balls on a tray and cover them with a clean kitchen towel. Let them rest for about 15-20 minutes while you start the fire.
  6. Now, you have two options for pressing the tortillas:
    Using a Tortilla Press:
    Preheat your tortilla press. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on the bottom plate.
    Take one dough ball, place it between two sheets of plastic wrap, and flatten it with the tortilla press until it’s about 6 inches/15cm in diameter.
    Carefully peel off the top plastic wrap, then gently lift the tortilla with the bottom plastic wrap and place it on a pre-heated hot non stick pan or cast iron pan

    Without a tortilla press
    Place a dough ball between two sheets of plastic wrap.
    Use the bottom of a heavy flat-bottomed pan or two books to gently press down on the dough ball until it’s about 6 inches in diameter.
    Carefully peel off the top plastic wrap, then gently lift the tortilla with the bottom plastic wrap and place it on a hot non stick pan or cast iron pan
  7. Cook each tortilla for about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until they change from doughy to cooked and have some light brown spots.
  8. Once cooked, remove the tortillas from the griddle or skillet and place them between clean kitchen towels to keep them warm and soft.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes including the fire
  • Cook Time: 5-10 minutes
  • Category: Snacks
  • Cuisine: Mexican
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