Okay so this is not nearly the first time I came up with a way to serve quesadillas at a party., and I'm sure it won't be the last. Why? Because I'm not sure I've ever seen someone turn down a quesadilla. Crispy flour tortillas surrounding melted cheese and whatever other fillings you decide to toss in? Great for an easy lunch, or for a late-night weekend snack, but ESPECIALLY great for party food.
And this Chipotle Chicken Sheet Pan Quesadilla with Avocado Salsa Verde is my favorite way to fiesta so far.
I write about it every year, but in case you forgot, it has become a bit of a tradition for me to throw myself a big Cinco de Mayo party every year. Since my birthday is so close to the holiday, I figure why not embrace the theme and celebrate with margaritas and delicious Mexican-inspired dishes? Apparently a lot of people think that's a great idea because we usually get around 50 or so friends coming by all throughout the day and night.
Which means 50 mouths to feed.
Which means that I will be making quite a few of these smoky, meaty, insanely cheesy Sheet Pan Quesadillas this year.
I keep starting to write "the best thing about these quesadillas is..." and then stopping to wonder what is actually my favorite thing about them. There's a lot to love.
For one, there's the fact that you aren't using bland canned or rotisserie chicken for these, you are roasting up chicken thighs that are tossed in a well-seasoned honey chipotle mixture. It's so much more flavorful than the alternative options and seriously takes very little effort. And while you're at it, you also roast the ingredients for the Avocado Salsa Verde-- all on the same sheet pan! Cooking it all together allows the juices and flavors to meld together a bit, which gives the quesadilla the kind of depth that surprises your friends and makes them keep coming back for more.
Then there's the fact that they easily CAN come back for more. Making the Chipotle Chicken Quesadilla in giant sheet-pan form means that you can slice it up to serve in as many pull-apart pieces as you'd like.
And since we're on the subject of making a big batch and cutting into small pieces, guess what else this quesadilla is great for? Yup, meal prepping. When I was testing out (and then remaking for video), I made so, so many batches of quesadillas that, despite the fact that I had a big group of friends over TWICE (who could not get enough of them, by the way), there was still a ton leftover. It became meal-prep quesadillas for the week... for me, James, and Mike. At least we all loved them enough to eat them twenty billion times over.
Honestly, now that they're all gone, I'm craving them again. Good thing Cinco de Mayo is only a week away!
Oh and by the way, I mentioned a video just a few minutes ago. Check it out below!
Adapted from Bon Appetite
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 2 pounds
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 6 tablespoons oil, divided
- 1 ½ cups diced bell pepper
- ½ cup diced white onion
- 12 ounces tomatillos, about 6-8 medium-sized
- 1 jalapeño, stemmed, halved, and seeded
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 scallions, cut crosswise into 2" pieces
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed
- 1 ripe avocado, halved and seeded, scooped from the skin
- 1 ½ pounds shredded Mexican-blend cheeses (I use queso quesadilla and cheddar)
- 8-10 burrito-sized flour tortillas
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- In a large bowl, toss the chicken thighs with salt, cumin, smoked paprika, adobo sauce, honey, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.
- On a large baking sheet, toss the bell peppers and onions with salt and a drizzle of oil. Push to the right side of the baking sheet, so that the onions and peppers take up about ⅓ of the sheet.
- On the left side of the baking sheet, toss the tomatillos, jalapeño, garlic, and scallions with salt and a drizzle of oil. Push to the left to take up about ⅓ of the sheet.
- Use tongs to place the chicken thighs in the center of the baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes, or until thighs are cooked through.
- Transfer the ingredients on the left side of the baking sheet-- the roasted tomatillos, garlic, jalapeño, and scallions-- to a food processor. Add in the cilantro and avocado. Blend until smooth. To thin the salsa verde, add a few spoonfuls of the juices from the pan, if desired. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until ready to serve.
- Transfer the chicken thighs to a large bowl and shred with two forks. Stir in the roasted bell peppers and onions, and then the shredded cheeses.
- Rinse and dry the baking sheet, then rub lightly with oil. Place the tortillas so half of each tortilla is hanging over the edge of the pan. Layer 6 tortillas around the border of the sheet tray and one tortilla in the middle, covering the exposed tray.
- Top with the chicken and cheese mixture and press into an even layer. Place one tortilla in the center of the pan. Fold over the remaining tortillas so they cover up the fillings.
- Place another sheet pan on top to press the quesadilla. If the sheet pan isn't heavy, add an oven-proof weight, such as a cast-iron skillet, on top of the sheet pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the top sheet pan. Bake for an additional 15 minutes until the tortillas are golden. Flip the quesadilla onto a cutting board and slice into small servings. Serve warm with the avocado salsa verde.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour