Shrimp Quesadilla Recipe

Shrimp Quesadilla Recipe

Quesadillas are an easy weeknight meal all wrapped in a delicious, crispy, buttery tortilla. This version combines shrimp, peppers, onions, and melty Monterey Jack cheese, but you could also use chicken or beef or go meatless and add grilled vegetables like zucchini or drained black beans.

Any melty cheese will do, like Mexican blend, cheddar, or mozzarella. Skipping the cheese is a nonstarter for this meal, as “quesadilla” literally translates to “cheese little thing” in Spanish. Try serving yours with classic pico de gallo or a zesty salsa verde along with pickled jalapeños and sour cream. If you prefer to chop your shrimp before cooking and building your quesadilla, that is totally OK. Doing this will help ensure you get bits of shrimp in every bite. Just be sure to lower your cooking time slightly so you don’t overcook the shrimp.

This is a meal to make in real time. Trying to make it ahead of time could yield a soggy quesadilla and reheating the shrimp in the microwave could give it a rubbery texture. This quesadilla is great next to a plate of black beans topped with cotija cheese and Spanish rice. You could even cut the quesadillas with cookie cutters in the shape of stars and lightning bolts (or hearts for valentines day and snowmen for wintertime) to make lunchtime a bit more fun for your kids. Plus, you get to eat all the crispy edges yourself. 

“This recipe is easy, quick, and flavorful. It’s a perfect dinner and using just one pan is a big plus for me. The spices are on-point and the butter makes the tortillas perfectly crispy. My only advice is to fry the tortillas on a low heat to allow the cheese to melt properly” —Tara Omidvar

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced

  • 1/2 bell pepper, sliced

  • 1/4 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, divided

  • 2 10-inch flour tortillas

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Shrimp Quesadilla ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 6 minutes.

    Onions and peppers in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Add the shrimp, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and salt to taste. Cook until the shrimp are pink and opaque, about 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.

    Onions, peppers and shrimp in a skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Wipe down the skillet and return it to the heat, or use a separate skillet if needed. Add 1 tablespoon butter and allow it to melt but not brown.

    Butter in a cast iron skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Add the tortilla to the pan and sprinkle about half the cheese on top of the tortilla, then top with the shrimp mixture and add the remaining cheese.

    Tortilla, cheese and shrimp mixture in a skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Top with the second tortilla. Spread the remaining tablespoon butter on top. Cook until the bottom is golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes.

    Quesadilla topped with another tortilla and butter, in a skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. Carefully flip the quesadilla and cook until brown and crisp on the other side and the cheese is melted, about 3 more minutes. Lower the heat if the tortilla is getting too dark before the cheese is fully melted.

    Shrimp Quesadilla cooking in a skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  8. Transfer to a cutting board and slice into wedges using a large knife or a pizza cutter. Serve hot with your choice of toppings or sauces for dipping.

    Shrimp Quesadilla on a platter

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack


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