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Once I discovered that you could make cheesy, evenly crispy, Pulled Pork Quesadillas in the oven, I've never looked back. With this simple method you can make 4 (or even 6) quesadillas, all piping hot and ready to serve at the same time.
We always keep bags of leftover pulled pork carnitas (Mexican pulled pork) in our freezer for an easy lunch or a quick dinner on a weekday or lazy weekend evening. It's a staple in our house because it's so simple to make in the slow cooker. Just a boneless pork shoulder / pork butt and 15 minutes of prep before cooking low and slow until it's fall apart tender and easy to shred. Crisped up in a skillet, it's excellent on its own and even better in tacos, tostadas (with homemade Tostada Shells), Pulled Pork Nachos, Pulled Pork Enchiladas, Pulled Pork Chili and, of course, Pulled Pork Quesadillas.
Imagine crispy flour tortillas, plump with melty cheese, green onions, fresh cilantro, roasted green chiles, and juicy pulled pork with those essential crispy edges. Serve with your favorite toppings, like: hot sauce, sour cream (or Lime Crema), Jalapeño Ranch dressing, diced tomato, diced onion, cilantro, sliced pickled or fresh jalapeño, Pico de Gallo and Guacamole.
Ingredients You Need to Make Pulled Pork Quesadillas
- Flour Tortillas: 8-inch
- Pulled Pork: Leftover pulled pork (carnitas) is ideal. Chicken Carnitas would also work well here.
- Green Onion: You could also use finely diced raw onion (white onion or yellow onion) or caramelized onions for added depth of flavor.
- Cheese: Monterey Jack cheese or a mix of Jack and cheddar. Mexican blend cheese is also an option.
- Fresh Cilantro: Optional - omit if you don't like cilantro.
- Roasted Green Chiles: canned or homemade (how to roast your own chiles)
- Oil: high heat, neutral flavored oil such as avocado oil
- Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
Why You Should Make Quesadillas in the Oven
Quesadillas originated in Mexico and are traditionally cooked on a stove or griddle, but there are a couple of big benefits to baking them in the oven instead. Not only do they come out crispy and piping hot all the way through, you can make them all at once. With this hands-off method, instead of cooking them on the stove top, they'll bake in a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet where you can make 4-6 quesadillas at a time (depending on the size of your tortillas).
Two key steps make these the absolute best pulled pork quesadillas.
- Mixing the filling ingredients together first makes assembling the quesadillas a snap.
- Brushing the tortillas with oil before baking gives them that quintessential bronze color and crispiness that you get when cooking them on the stove.
Not only will your entire family love these cheesy pork quesadillas (try these Carne Asada Quesadillas too!), they're one of my favorite recipes for parties and get-togethers. Double or even triple the filling and cook the quesadillas in batches for a great way to feed a crowd of hungry people.
How to Make Pulled Pork Quesadillas
Reheat leftover pulled pork in a non-stick skillet in a little bit of hot oil until warmed through with crispy edges. (You can skip this step if you're using freshly made pulled pork, though you still may want to crisp it up.) Season with salt and pepper and transfter to a large bowl. Set aside to cool slightly.
Gently stir green onions, cilantro, diced green chiles, and shredded cheese into warmed pulled pork.
Lay tortillas out flat in a single layer on clean countertop or work surface. Divide pulled pork mixture evenly over one half of each tortilla, leaving about a ½-inch border at the edge. Fold tortillas over filling and press to compact. Brush visible tortilla halves oil and arrange, oiled side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush other side of tortillas with oil.
Bake 10 minutes in a 425˚F, or until quesadillas begin to brown. Carefully flip each quesadilla and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.
Pulled Pork Quesadillas
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil such as avocado oil or other high heat, neutral oil, divided
- 12 ounces pulled pork ideally from this Carnitas / Mexican Pulled Pork recipe
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 green onions very thinly sliced
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 ounces canned roasted and diced green chiles drained (recipe note #1)
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese shredded
- 4 8-inch flour tortillas
- Preheat oven to 425˚F.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- If pulled pork has been refrigerated (not freshly made and still warm), warm it by adding 1 tablespoon oil to a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add cold pulled pork and cook and stir until warmed through with a few crispy edges. (Add a little water or chicken stock to moisten if needed.) Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a medium bowl to cool slightly.
- To warmed pulled pork add green onions, cilantro, diced green chiles, and cheese; gently stir to combine.
- Lay tortillas out in a single layer on clean countertop or work surface. Spread ¼ of pulled pork mixture over one half of a tortilla, leaving about a ½-inch border at the edge. Repeat with remaining pulled pork mixture and tortillas. Fold tortillas over filling and press down to compact. Brush visible tortilla halves with 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange tortillas oiled side down on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer with round edge facing to the baking sheet center. Brush other side of tortillas with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
- Bake 10 minutes, or until quesadillas begin to brown. Carefully flip each quesadilla with a spatula, pressing down gently to compact. Bake an additional 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer baking sheet from oven to cooling rack and let stand 5 minutes. With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges and serve.
- If you want to roast your own chiles, see my Green Enchilada Sauce post for detailed instructions.