Turkey Quesadillas

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Upgrade your quesadilla game with these tasty Turkey Quesadillas stuffed with shredded or ground turkey, fajita vegetables, black beans, and cheese.

456 CAL 41g CARBS 21g FAT 29g PROTEIN 10

When I need a quick and easy dinner that the whole family will eat, quesadillas are high on the list. Normally I make these healthy chicken quesadillas or black bean and corn quesadillas, but knowing I will have some leftover turkey at the end of the week - turkey quesadillas it is!

This is the perfect way to utilize leftovers in a whole new way, hello Mexican flavors! It’s also the perfect meal when you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. In less than 15 minutes dinner is done.

It’s cheesy. it’s packed with protein, fiber, and veggies. It’s fresh, delicious, and so much better than takeout.

Why You’ll Love These Turkey Quesadillas

  • Use any turkey: Leftover cooked turkey, deli turkey, and ground turkey all work in this versatile recipe
  • Quick and easy: Just 7 ingredients and 15 minutes to a restaurant-style packed quesadilla. This isn’t bland or boring!
  • Crowd favorite: Everyone loves quesadillas and since they cook quickly, it’s easy to adjust the fillings for different preferences.

Looking for more quesadilla ideas? Don't miss these Spicy Chicken Quesadillas, Buffalo Chicken QuesadillasBreakfast Quesadillas.

Quesadillas with turkey, bell peppers, black beans, and cheese served with cilantro, guacamole, and salsa.

Ingredients and Easy Swaps

Here is everything you need to make these tasty turkey quesadillas.

  • Turkey: This recipe works great with any type of turkey including leftover cooked turkey, deli turkey meat, and cooked ground turkey. It would also work with leftover shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken.
  • Onion and peppers: Adding sauteed peppers and onions takes this from a basic cheese and meat quesadilla to something special. Add or swap in other veggies like zucchini, spinach, corn, red onion, or poblano peppers for more spice. Use poblanos or jalapenos for some spice. Skip them if you prefer.
  • Taco seasoning: Another way to kick up the flavor is by adding taco seasoning to the veggies and turkey. Again this is totally optional but takes this from a simple quesadilla to something crave-able.
  • Black beans: We love adding beans to our quesadillas. Not only do they add a creamy texture, but they also add fiber making the quesadilla more filling. Use any type of beans including pinto beans, refried beans, or homemade black beans.
  • Cheese: Most Tex-Mex style quesadillas usually use Monterrey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, or shredded Mexican cheese blend. More authentic quesadillas use Oaxacan, Chihuahua, or Asadero cheese. Choose what you have on hand or prefer, just make sure it is something that melts well.
  • Tortillas: Flour tortillas are the most common. For a lower-calorie or carb option, choose high-fiber, low-carb tortillas. Whole wheat tortillas also work or make mini-quesadillas with corn tortillas.

How to Make Turkey Quesadillas

These quesadillas come together in less than 15 minutes! Even less if you skip the sauteed veggies.

1. Prep the Turkey and Vegetables

Start by heating a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle with olive oil and add the peppers and onions. Cook for 6-8 minutes until they are soft, but not mushy.

Add the turkey, black beans, and taco seasoning to the skillet. If you are using leftover cooked turkey, it only needs to cook for a couple of minutes. If you are using ground turkey, cook it for 6-8 minutes until browned and fully cooked. Taste and season as needed.

Remove the turkey and bean mixture and put in a bowl. Wipe the skillet clean. 

2. Cook the Quesadillas: Skillet or Sheet Pan

Add the flour tortilla to the pan. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Add the thin layer of the ground turkey mixture and sprinkle with more cheese. Add the second tortilla and cook until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is lightly browned. Carefully flip over with a spatula and repeat. 

Note: For a richer flavor, many people add a touch of butter to the pan. It isn't necessary, but it will add that rich, restaurant-style crust to the quesadilla.

Make a big batch in the oven: If you are making a big batch of quesadillas, consider baking them instead. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or brush with oil or melted butter. Fill the flour tortillas and fold them over. Place on the baking sheet in a single layer. Spray the tops with cooking spray or brush with oil. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Variations and Recipe Ideas

There are so many ways to change up these quesadillas and make them your own. 

  • Add more or different veggies: This recipe is versatile and can be made with almost any veggies or filling. Favorites include diced zucchini, spinach, butternut squash, and diced cauliflower. Just always make sure to cook the vegetables first. Raw veggies release liquid as they cook which will lead to soggy tortillas.
  • Switch up the protein: Make these with almost any protein you like including chicken, ground beef, or leftover shredded pork carnitas.
  • Meal prep: If you are making this with ground turkey, double up the turkey and make this Turkey Taco Salad or Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps as well to stretch the protein into two meals.
  • Lean into the holidays: If you are making this with Thanksgiving leftovers, lean into the holiday spirit and serve it with some cranberry sauce on the side. You can also make a delicious cranberry salsa by adding cranberries to a blender until they are finely chopped. Then add jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Or consider adding other leftovers like roasted sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, or even mashed potatoes.

Topping and Salsa Ideas

Salsa and toppings are a must for any good quesadilla. Here are some of our favorite options:

Crispy turkey quesadillas with beans, peppers, onions, and melted cheese folded in flour tortillas.

What to Serve with Quesadillas

These quesadillas are a complete meal on their own with plenty of protein, fiber, and veggies. However, if you want to add a side dish, try one of these:

What’s the best cheese for quesadillas?

The best cheese for quesadillas is one that melts really well. If you have access to a Mexican grocery store or store with more Mexcian cheese options, look for Oaxaca cheese, Chihuahua cheese, or Asadero cheese. Those will give you the most authentic option.

For a more Tex-Mex feel, look for a blend of cheese including Monterey jack, cheddar cheese, and pepper jack cheese.

Also, shredding the cheese at home always works better than buying packaged shredded cheese. Packaged cheese has an additive that keeps it from sticking together, but it also means it doesn’t melt quite as nicely.

How to Meal Prep Quesadillas and Store Leftovers

Did you know quesadillas are a great option for meal prep? They reheat well and freeze really well. Here’s what to know:

  • Store cooked quesadillas: Store any leftover cooked turkey quesadillas in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap. Reheat in the skillet or in the toaster. Do not reheat in the microwave, if possible, since it will get soggy.
  • Freeze uncooked quesadillas: Prepare the quesadillas, but do not cook them. Place in the freezer on a baking sheet for 3-4 hours until frozen solid. Then freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months..
  • Freeze cooked leftover quesadillas: Let the cooked quesadillas fully cool. Then wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them for up to 3 months.
  • How to cook frozen quesadillas: Let defrost before cooking for best results. If you do not have time to defrost, you can warm the quesadilla in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Then cook it in a skillet or bake in the oven.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making this quesadilla recipe.

Generally speaking, if you are cooking quesadillas in a nonstick skillet, you do not need to add butter or oil to the pan. With that said, some people like to add butter to the pan to help brown the tortilla and make sure it gets crispy. 

While many people think the word quesadilla comes from a combination of the word "queso" (Spanish for cheese) combined with tortilla, it actually comes from an indigenous Nahuatl word quesaditzin. Quesaditzin means "folded tortilla". 

That's why when traveling in Mexico, you normally have to specify that you want cheese in a quesadilla. Quesadillas don't always have cheese. 

Leftover turkey quesadillas served with black beans, peppers, and onions in a skillet.
The Recipe
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Turkey Quesadillas

456 CAL 41g CARBS 21g FAT 29g PROTEIN 10
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  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (red and green)
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning (more to taste)
  • 1.5 cups cooked turkey breast (or 1/2 lb lean ground turkey or deli turkey)
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1.5 cups shredded Mexican cheese (Monterey jack and cheddar mixture)
  • 4 flour tortillas (regular, whole-wheat, or low-carb)

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Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and peppers. Cook for 6-8 minutes until softened. They should still have some texture.

Diced peppers and onions in a skillet with olive oil.

Stir in the cooked turkey, black beans, and taco seasoning. Stir together and remove from heat. If using ground turkey, add the ground turkey to the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until cooked through. Then add the taco seasoning and black beans.

Turkey and black beans being added to a skillet with peppers, onions, and taco seasoning.

Add this mixture to a bowl and use a paper towel to clean out the pan. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Place the tortilla in the skillet and sprinkle one-half with about 3 tbsp of cheese. Add about 2/3 cup of the turkey filling. Top with another 3 tbsp of cheese. Fold the tortilla over and cook on one side until the cheese is melting and the tortilla begins to brown.

Flour tortilla with shredded cheese and turkey quesadilla filling in a skillet.

Flip over and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes more until the tortilla browns and cheese is fully melted. Repeat with remaining quesadillas.

Turkey quesadilla cooking in a skillet.


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 quesadilla
Amount Per Serving
Calories 456
Calories from Fat 12180
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g
Saturated Fat 10g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 69mg
Sodium 1129mg
Total Carbohydrate 41g
Dietary Fiber 7g
Sugars 4g
Protein 29g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.


If using ground turkey, add it to the peppers and onion once softened. Cook until it is browned and cooked through.

If using deli turkey, simply layer the turkey slices on top of the bell pepper and bean mixture. You could also chop it into small pieces it and add them to the mixture.

Points with a low-carb tortilla. Lighten it up more with low-fat shredded cheese or less cheese.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Turkey Quesadillas
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Zainab Ibraheem
January 9, 2024 - 15:06
Is it a small tortilla or a large toro
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January 10, 2024 - 08:04
This uses a standard-size (8-inch) flour tortilla. You can also use smaller or larger tortillas, just adjust the amount of filling.
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