Just Like Taco Bell- Chicken Quesadillas!

January 21, 2013

chicken quesadilla recipe

The only fast food that I have truly ever enjoyed is Taco Bell. Mmmmm, love it! I don’t get to have it hardly ever now a days, but back in my youth it was always my choice meal at the mall’s food court or when traveling. And my favorite meals? Definitely a toss up between the chalupa and chicken quesadilla. Most of the time I couldn’t decide and would just end up getting one of each rather than a “meal” option.

Quesadillas are one of my favorite foods. Whenever I go out to eat at chains’ like Applebee’s or Chili’s I always opt for the quesadilla off their appetizer section as my meal. I can never make homemade quesadillas hold up quite to those standards though. Their queasdilla’s- Taco Bell’s in particular- have a much saucier filling. Mine always end up pretty dry, despite the loads of cheese I pile on. It has been my quest to make a chicken quesadilla that held up to the zesty sauciness of Taco Bell’s for a long time now and I have finally hit the jackpot!

chicken quesadilla recipes

This recipe was taken from the Enchilada Dip Roll-ups that I made a while ago. I had a bunch of leftover filling and wasn’t sure what to do with it. Well, the lightbulb went off in my head and I knew that they would make the perfect chicken quesadilla! With the heat of the skillet the cream cheese, sour cream, and shredded cheese would melt into a delicious sauce, reminiscent of what Taco Bell uses. The actual taste is not spot on where the spices are concerned, but the texture- it’s pretty darn close! I don’t think I will make another chicken quesadilla any other way now : )

chicken quesadilla

4.8 from 9 reviews
Just Like Taco Bell- Chicken Quesadillas!
  • 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 Tb plus 1½ tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove finely minced/pressed)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • pinch cayenne pepper, optional
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (or cut into tiny chunks), about 2-3 cups worth
  • 1 (10 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles, drained
  • 1 package burrito sized flour tortillas
  • spray oil or butter
  1. Beat the cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth and well softened.
  2. Mix in sour cream until well blended.
  3. Add spices, then cheese and chicken (eyeball the amount of chicken- you don't want the mixture too loose or too dry, it should have a nice spreadable consistency).
  4. Add Rotel.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Grease pan with either spray oil or butter. Fill half a tortilla with about ⅓ cup chicken mixture. Fold tortilla over and place in skillet. Toast each side until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Serve warm!
There are SO many variations you can use with this recipe. -use a taco spice packet to taste instead of individual spices. -use fresh monterey jack cheese. -Loosen the mixture with taco sauce (maybe even from Taco Bell!) -add more or less chicken/cheese depending on your preference



{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Alek January 26, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Why in god’s name would I want ANYTHING ‘just like Taco Bell’?


Mikk Gray September 1, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Kind of what I was thinking, you can just buy their sauce I’m pretty sure for cheaper than making it, The rest should be easy enough to figure out. but this does give a good jumping off point for you to experiment from. get the basics then change it to what you would like.


hf November 29, 2015 at 5:36 am

What kind of stupid ass comment is that? Didn’t you read Taco Bell right at the start and all the way thru the article? Why would a snob like you even read thru the article for any other reason other than to be mean?


Abby January 28, 2013 at 11:38 pm

This looks really awesome! I love Taco Bell but don’t love not knowing what ingredients they use. Thanks so much for this!


Tamara February 7, 2013 at 2:22 am

Just made these for my teenage boys and they loved them!!! Could not get over how much they taste JUST like the real thing!!


lmachell February 11, 2013 at 11:17 am

I’m glad that you thought so! They are definitely the closest I have come to getting homemade ones taste at all similar.


Jennifer February 28, 2013 at 11:43 pm

FYI-You can buy the actual sauce that Taco Bell puts in their quesadillas at walmart for like $1.50.


Kate March 3, 2013 at 8:52 pm

What is the name of the sauce they put in it??


gback March 13, 2013 at 10:24 pm

It’s taco bell brand, they’ve packaged their own sauce apparently. I’ve never bought it but have seen it at grocery stores in the mexican food sections, usually.


Samantha December 11, 2013 at 5:13 am

FYI- It’s not the same thing. I bought two of the three different sauces they make and they’re disgusting. I’d rather try this.


Lindsey March 8, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I’m a little perplexed by the “1 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove finely minced/pressed)” part. In every conversion I’ve ever seen 1 clove equals 1/8 tsp garlic powder. Thus, 1 tsp garlic powder is equivalent to 8 cloves of garlic. 1 clove versus 8 cloves is a pretty huge gap. Which do you usually use?


lmachell March 11, 2013 at 8:33 pm

I used garlic powder. I definitely don’t use 1/8 tsp powder to equal 1 clove, I usually use more like 1/2 tsp. But that is just me. So I guess you could technically use 2 fresh cloves if you are going to follow my train of thought with that.


Ashley March 8, 2013 at 11:06 pm

The sauce that Taco Bell uses is a creamy jalapeño sauce, Kraft sells it now. Try adding really fine jalapeño bits to the sauce and it may taste a bit more like it!


Lindsey March 15, 2013 at 6:03 pm

The Chipotle sauce that Taco Bell puts out is pretty good too. I mix it with sour cream to dip my quesadillas in. Mmmmmm.


nickie May 20, 2013 at 1:40 pm

The sauce in the Taco Bell Quesadillas is just a spicy ranch! they sell it at walmart but i like to make my own, with ranch a smidge of hot sauce and a little bit of chili powder 🙂


nickie May 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm

I used to just go to taco bell and ask for their quesadilla sauce! lol.. i use it to make cheese dip for football season too 🙂 so yummy!


lmachell May 20, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I had no idea you could do that! How awesome!


Sarah Burkett October 1, 2015 at 3:36 pm

Actually it is creamy jalapeño sauce. Not ranch at all.


SamBam March 23, 2017 at 7:51 pm

They do have a spicy ranch, however the sauce in quesadillas is not the same, nor does it taste the same. The sauce in quesadillas is called Creamy Jalapeno Sauce. I used to be a manager there, they have about 6-7 different sauces, many of which are similar but NOT the same.


Leah October 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm

This recipe is amazing. It taste just like taco bell’s quesadilla if not better. It was creamy, cheesey and delicious. My family could not get enough. We loved it!


Ashley November 16, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Thanks for the recipe! Actually at Taco Bell it’s called jalapeño sauce so I mince jalapeños and pour some of the juice in with the ingredients you listed. Taco Bell does sell sauce but none are just like what they use at the restaurant! This is pretty close with a little tweeking!


Bree March 12, 2014 at 10:21 pm

This is how to make the sauce.
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
2 teaspoons minced jalapeno slices
2 teaspoons jalapeno juice
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of salt

Mix together and chill for flavors to develop.


Stephie February 23, 2016 at 7:23 pm

That is the exact sauce recipe I found to taste EXACTLY like Taco Bell quesadillas. No cream cheese or sour cream needed. I think using those would make the sauce taste too rich IMO. I really liked the sauce recipe like the one Bree shared and thought it was exact.


Nikkie June 26, 2014 at 12:35 pm

I’ve made these for my husband multiple times and he loves them! I’m planning a copy-cat recipe post in the near future and would love to link to this page if that’s okay, although I see that you have moved!



Teasha January 31, 2017 at 1:47 am

I love this recipe. SO good and SO easy for when I need a quick week night meal. Tonight was probably my 5th time I’ve used this recipes and I always get compliments on it. Thank-you!!


Amanda February 13, 2017 at 12:35 am

First, I want to say my favorite taco bell snack since i was a teenager has been the chicken quesadilla! When I found this, I had to try. I was going to cheat and use the bottled taco bell stuff, but I opened it and it didnt look appealing so I decided to go with this recipe and see what happens…..BAM! It tastes just like taco bell (but better becasue I can add some here and there of what i want). Thankyou so much for an awesome dinner! Will deffinitely be making these again! (By the way, this is my first comment, so it was delish!). 😋


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