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BBQ Chicken Quesadilla with Leftover Chicken

This BBQ chicken quesadilla recipe turns leftover chicken or turkey into a cheesy Tex-Mex dinner recipe that’s ready in under thirty minutes.

BBQ Chicken quesadilla triangles on a mint green plate with a lime wedge and cilantro

Leftover chicken or turkey

It’s always important to have an arsenal of recipes to use up leftover chicken, because cooking with leftovers is an easy way to save time and money.

Whether you’re making a BBQ chicken quesadilla, or something else, here’s some ways you can have leftover poultry.

Save money by buying your chicken in large quantities instead of a serving at a time. When making grilled chicken, roasted chicken thighs, or baked chicken breasts, you can set yourself up for success by cooking more than you’ll eat for that meal.

Then there are times you’re just going to have leftover chicken or turkey from a store bought rotisserie chicken, oven roasted chicken, or your Thanksgiving turkey. A BBQ chicken quesadilla is a great way to use these up and stretch your food dollar.

What type of chicken is best for BBQ chicken quesadillas?

You can really use any precooked chicken in this recipe, but grilled chicken and rotisserie chicken are my favorites.

Overhead shot of BBQ chicken quesadillas on a mint green plate with a glass of beef, avocado halves, limes, and cherry tomatoes on a light green wooden table

Grilled chicken gives a nice smoky flavor to BBQ chicken quesadillas. But a lot of BBQ sauces have a smoky flavor in them, so you can definitely still get that smokiness with rotisserie chicken.

If you don’t have any cooked chicken, canned chicken can actually work really well in this BBQ quesadilla recipe.

I’ve found the flavor of leftover chicken taco meat also works really in these chicken quesadillas. And of course, if you’ve cooked up some BBQ chicken, just use those leftovers and you can skip the sauce when making your quesadillas!

More leftover chicken or turkey recipes

How to make BBQ chicken quesadillas

Here’s everything you need to know for making a BBQ chicken quesadilla. I’ll share some variations after the instructions, including dairy free substitutions, low carb options, and additional leftover meat options.

BBQ Chicken Quesadilla sliced into wedges with a glass of beer and avocado halves in the background

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Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 cup cooked chopped or shredded chicken
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • juice of half a lime
  • 4 large tortillas (I use high fiber low carb)
  • 2 cups Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • BBQ sauce for dipping (optional)

Making the quesadillas

  1. Start by thinly slicing your onion and bell pepper. I really like using a mandoline slicer for this step. Make sure to save your onion and pepper scraps in the freezer for homemade veggie stock.
  2. Melt a tablespoon of your butter in a pan on medium heat and saute the onions and peppers until nice and soft. I like to cook them a good ten minutes so the onions just start to sweeten up without having to fully caramelize. Then remove from pan and set aside.
  3. In another pan or small pot, mix chicken, BBQ sauce, and lime juice. Heat on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Lightly butter one side of a tortilla, then place butter side down in a large saute pan on medium heat.
  5. Quickly add cheese, BBQ chicken, peppers and onions, cilantro, and green onions to half of the tortilla. Fold the other half over so you have a semi circle.
  6. Cook the BBQ chicken quesadilla until the bottom is golden brown (just use your spatula to pick up a corner and peek at it) then carefully flip it over.
  7. Cook until that side is golden brown as well, then remove from pan.
  8. Repeat with remaining ingredients until you’ve made four BBQ chicken quesadillas.
  9. Cut into wedges and serve with additional BBQ sauce for dipping if desired.
hand holding a slice of a BBQ chicken quesadilla above a plate of more slices

BBQ chicken quesadilla variations

DAIRY FREE BBQ CHICKEN QUESADILLA – To make a dairy free version, simply swap your favorite dairy free cheese in. My daughter likes Daiya Cheddar in her quesadillas. My husband and I prefer Chao Mexican Style Blend.

LOW CARB BBQ CHICKEN QUESADILLA – We use Ole Xtreme high fiber low carb tortillas. They are very similar in taste and texture to white flour tortillas, but much healthier. You can get them on Amazon, but we also find them at our local Walmart and Fred Meyer.

Best tortillas for WW Low Carb Mexican Casserole Recipe
Get Ole Xtreme Wellness Tortillas on Amazon

LEFTOVER BEEF OR PORK – Feel free to swap other leftover meats for the chicken in your quesadilla. Leftover BBQ pork or BBQ beef is an easy swap, but you can also chop up pork chops, steak, or brisket.

BEST BBQ SAUCE FOR A BBQ CHICKEN QUESADILLA – Feel free to use whatever BBQ sauce your family loves. We usually use Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce. I also sometimes have homemade BBQ sauce on hand like this incredible Chocolate BBQ Sauce.

What to serve with BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

If a quesadilla isn’t quite enough for a full meal, there are a few sides that pair really well with these BBQ chicken quesadillas.

I love serving quesadillas with a fresh fruit salsa like mango salsa and or pomegranate salsa. Raw fruit salsas are filling and flavorful while also being light enough to not feel heavy with the cheesy quesadillas.

Grey blue hand thrown bowl of colorful fresh salsa with chunks of mango, red bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, and jalapeno

If you want a more traditional salsa, salsa verde or pico de gallo are great options as well.

Some simple rice and beans or a pot of lentils are good sides for adding protein and fiber to your BBQ chicken quesadilla meal.

And don’t forget the drinks! Lime mint and cucumber water is a refreshing flavored water option. But mango margaritas or Moscow mules are my favorite cocktail pairings.

Margarita glass with a spicy chili salt rim filled with golden mango margarita with lime wedges and chips and salsa

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A hand holding a quesadilla wedge and a plate of BBQ chicken quesadillas
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Printable BBQ Chicken Quesadilla Recipe

Yield: 4 quesadillas

BBQ Chicken Quesadilla

hand holding a slice of a BBQ chicken quesadilla above a plate of more slices

This BBQ chicken quesadilla recipe turns leftover chicken or turkey into a cheesy Tex-Mex dinner recipe that's ready in under thirty minutes. You can use any precooked chicken in this recipe, but chopped grilled chicken and shredded rotisserie chicken are my favorites.

Nutrition info is an estimate and uses regular white flour tortillas rather than the low carb ones I like.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 cup cooked chopped or shredded chicken
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • juice of half a lime
  • 4 large tortillas (I use high fiber low carb)
  • 2 cups Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • BBQ sauce for dipping (optional)

Instructions

  1. Start by thinly slicing your onion and bell pepper. I really like using a mandoline slicer
  2. Melt a tablespoon of your butter in a pan on medium heat and saute the onions and peppers until nice and soft. I like to cook them a good ten minutes so the onions just start to sweeten up without having to fully caramelize. Then remove from pan and set aside.
  3. In another pan or small pot, mix chicken, BBQ sauce, and lime juice. Heat on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Lightly butter one side of a tortilla, then place butter side down in a large saute pan on medium heat.
  5. Quickly add cheese, BBQ chicken, peppers and onions, cilantro, and green onions to half of the tortilla. Fold the other half over so you have a semi circle.
  6. Cook the BBQ chicken quesadilla until the bottom is golden brown (just use your spatula to pick up a corner and peek at it) then carefully flip it over.
  7. Cook until that side is golden brown as well, then remove from pan.
  8. Repeat with remaining ingredients until you've made four BBQ chicken quesadillas.
  9. Cut into wedges and serve with additional BBQ sauce for dipping if desired.

Notes

DAIRY FREE BBQ CHICKEN QUESADILLA - To make a dairy free version, simply swap your favorite dairy free cheese in. My daughter likes Daiya Cheddar in her quesadillas. My husband and I prefer Chao Mexican Style Blend.

LOW CARB BBQ CHICKEN QUESADILLA - We use Ole Xtreme high fiber low carb tortillas. They are very similar in taste and texture to white flour tortillas, but much healthier. You can get them on Amazon, but we also find them at our local Walmart and Fred Meyer.

LEFTOVER BEEF OR PORK - Feel free to swap other leftover meats for the chicken in your quesadilla. Leftover BBQ pork or BBQ beef is an easy swap, but you can also chop up pork chops, steak, or brisket.

BBQ SAUCE - Feel free to use whatever BBQ sauce your family loves. We usually use Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce. I also sometimes have homemade BBQ sauce on hand like this incredible Chocolate BBQ Sauce.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1 quesadilla

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 626Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 1162mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 3gSugar: 24gProtein: 29g

Nutrition information is an estimate only.


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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.


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