Make these Air Fryer Southwest Quesadillas once, and you’ll make them forever. They are that good! Stuffed in a toasty, crispy tortilla, you’ll find a colorful mix of air fryer fajita veggies, shredded chicken (seasoned with Mexican flavors), cheese, corn, and beans. And that’s not even including that finger-lickin quesadilla dipping sauce.
It’s inexpensive, nutritious, easy, and yummy! The whole family will love them. So are you ready to dive in!
This is the kind of meal you will make all year (there was snow on the ground when we first made this one), but you’ll really want it as you get closer to the Mexican holidays like Cinco de May and Mexican Independence Day.
And if you love these Mexican flavors you’ll love our air fryer Mexican breakfast pizzas.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe!
- Southwest quesadillas are easy, quick, and fun to make in the air fryer using leftover ingredients like shredded chicken, canned corn, beans, fajita vegetables, and cheese.
- The whole family will love the bold cumin, paprika, and chili powder flavors. Salsa, lime, and our special quesadilla dipping sauce make it irresistible.
- Cheese! Cheese! Cheese! They are so cheesy! Fill your quesadillas with your favorite melty cheese like shredded cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey jack, or pepper jack.
- With lots of veggies like bell peppers, corn, and onions, it is a healthier lunch, dinner, or snack option.
- Tortillas – We used flour tortillas for this recipe; they are more pliable than corn tortillas.
- Shredded Chicken – Season it with chili powder, cumin powder, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. You can use our air fryer shredded chicken recipe or leftover rotisserie chicken.
- Shredded Cheese – We used Monterey Jack for its mild flavor (though more flavorful than mozzarella), but feel free to use pepper jack for a kick, mozzarella, cheddar, or Mexican shredded cheese blend.
- Fajita Veggies – Our recipe calls for an assortment of peppers; we like red, orange, green, red onions, oregano, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Corn – We like fire-roasted canned corn, but choose the corn you prefer.
- Black Beans – Use your favorite canned black beans.
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Air Fryer Southwest Quesadillas
First, add a liberal amount of shredded cheese to half of your tortilla.
Next, on the same side as the cheese, add the shredded chicken, fajita veggies, canned corn, beans, and another layer of cheese.
Then, fold the tortilla as shown in the image above. If it doesn’t close easily, apply a bit of pressure.
Finally, brush the quesadilla with about a teaspoon of cooking oil. You will want to be liberal here. Place the quesadilla(s) in the air fryer basket for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, flip it, brush it with more oil, and cook for another 3 minutes.
Hint: If you find the quesadilla is too light in color, apply more oil and cook for another minute or two.
- Southwest Veggie – Omit the chicken and go heavier on the bell peppers, onions, corn, and cheese.
- BBQ Chicken – If you already have shredded chicken, shredded cheese, and BBQ sauce in the fridge, then BBQ chicken quesadillas are just minutes away. Red onions and cilantro are optional.
- Spinach and Mushroom – With an aromatic mix of garlic, sauteed spinach, salty, and mushrooms, you’ll forget there isn’t any meat in this quesadilla. Add a mix of briny feta and mozzarella cheese for a Mediterranean spin.
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean – You can repurpose leftover roasted sweet potatoes and black beans for this veggie quesadilla. All you need is corn and cheese to complete it.
- Pesto and Chicken – You only need shredded chicken, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and mozzarella for this delicious spin
For this recipe, you’ll need an air fryer. We love the Instant Pot Vortex. It performs just as good as the day we bought it which was years ago.
Store leftover quesadillas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
If you would like to freeze them, do the following:
- Allow the quesadillas to cool down.
- Then, wrap each quesadilla individually in aluminum foil.
- Place the quesadillas in a freezer bag. Then place the freezer bag in the freezer.
You can store them like this for up to 3 months.
- Add lots of melty shredded cheese. It’s the glue that holds the quesadilla together.
- If the tortilla doesn’t become golden brown, you can brush with more oil and air fry for another minute.
Classic Southwestern quesadillas usually include black beans, corn, bell peppers, onions, cheese, chicken, or beef.
You’ll want to go for cheese that melts well; cheddar, Monterey Jack, pepper jack, and mozzarella offer a creamy texture with a mild to slightly spicy flavor.
There are several ways to add spice and a bit of heat to your Southwestern quesadillas. You can include pickled jalapenos, chipotle peppers, or even a medium to hot salsa. Also, you can try our quesadilla sauce, which includes chipotle peppers. Control the heat based on the amount of peppers you add.
These quesadillas come out of the air fryer crispy and stay crispy for a long while. Preheating your air fryer and avoiding overstuffing are great ways to ensure they come out crisp.
Other Delicious Air Fryer Recipes
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Air Fryer Southwestern Quesadilla Recipe
- 4 Flour Tortillas
- 1 Cup Shredded Chicken Breast
- 1 Cup Monterey Jack Cheese Shredded
- 1/2 Cup Black Beans Rinsed and drained
- 1/2 Cup Corn Rinsed and drained
- 1/2 Cup Fajita Peppers See recipe
- Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees.
- Arrange some cheese on half of one tortilla. Top with the shredded chicken. Then add some fajita peppers, black beans, and corn. Finally, add some more cheese on top and fold over. Repeat until you have made the rest of the quesadillas.
- Place 2 quesadillas in the air fryer basket and brush olive oil on top.
- Cook for 4 minutes. Carefully flip and brush some more olive oil on top and cook for another 4 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Continue until all quesadillas are cooked. Cut them in half and enjoy with your favorite sauce.
- Depending on the size of your air fryer, you will need to cook this in batches. We were able to fit 2 quesadillas and had to cook 2 batches.
- You can use cooking spray as well. But the oil gets a nice golden brown color.
- We found that sometimes the tortilla can lift away from the fillings as it’s cooking at the very beginning. If this happens, simply push it back down with a spatula and continue cooking.
- Quesadillas will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.
- Reheat any leftovers at 350 degrees for 2-3 minutes.