This air fryer chicken and cheese quesadilla with a quick copycat Taco Bell quesadilla sauce is such an easy meal idea. Making them in the air fryer leaves the tortilla perfectly crisp and the cheese nice and melty.

stack of chicken & cheese quesadillas.

Air Fryer Quesadilla Recipe

I could eat Mexican food any night of the week but Taco Bell has never been my favorite.

I make a copycat Mexican Pizza & Crunchwrap Supreme at home, or a Meximelt when the mood hits, but if I am going through the drive-thru, it’s the quesadilla that I’m ordering.

I think it’s the sauce that is my favorite – it’s creamy and slightly spicy. I usually get it without chicken (because I don’t trust fast food meat, but that’s another story) and it’s perfect dipped in some cool sour cream.

But at home, where you can control the quality of the ingredients, a quesadilla made in the air fryer, especially with leftover chicken, is an easy dinner that the whole family will love.

Finish it off with a copycat caramel apple empanada, also made in the air fryer!

bowl of copycat taco bell quesadilla sauce next to a quesadilla triangle.

Ingredients

Below is a list of ingredients with some helpful tips and suggestions for substitutions. Scroll all the way down for the full, printable recipe card with amounts & instructions. Also included is a list of equipment that will make making these quesadillas a breeze.

Copycat Taco Bell Quesadilla Sauce Ingredients

  • MAYONNAISE – The base of the creamy sauce is mayo. Use your favorite brand.
  • JALAPENOS – Because you’ll need minced jalapeno and jalapeno juice, I recommend using jarred jalapenos. Fresh works as well, of course.
  • SEASONINGS – To season the sauce, you’ll add garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, cumin, and salt. If you want to tone it down, skip the cayenne.
  • SUGAR – You’ll add just a bit of sugar to balance the heat.

Chicken and Cheese Quesadilla Ingredients

  • CHICKEN – You can grill, roast, or even make shredded chicken in the instant pot for these quesadillas. They are a great way to use up leftover, plain chicken.
  • TORTILLAS – Large, burrito size, flour tortillas.
  • CHEESES – You’ll use a mix of sliced American cheese (real American cheese is preferred but cheese product slices will work, too), and shredded cheddar and monterey jack. You could also use colby jack, or pepper jack.
  • OLIVE OIL – Either use non-stick spray or an olive oil mister to spray the tortillas.
overhead shot of labeled ingredients laid out to make copycat taco bell quesadillas.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Air Fryer – This is the air fryer I have and love. I’ve been through a few and this one is my favorite.
  • Large Skillet – If you don’t have an air fryer, you can definitely make these on the stove in a skillet.
  • Cheese Grater – I will always recommend shredding your own cheese for the best taste and results, but I know buying pre-shredded is sometimes easier.
  • Air Fryer Liners – These parchment paper liners make clean up even quicker. Make sure you order the right size/shape for your air fryer.

How to make air fryer quesadillas

  1. STEP ONE: Make the spicy jalapeno sauce. To a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mayo, minced jalapeno, jalapeno juice, and seasonings.
  1. STEP TWO: Assemble the quesadilla. To one half of a large tortilla, add half a slice of American cheese, top it shredded cheese, then lay on the chicken. To the other half of the tortilla, thinly spread on some of the creamy jalapeno sauce. Fold the tortilla over and slice in half.
overhead shot of tortilla covered in jalapeno sauce, cheese, and chicken.
  1. STEP THREE: Cook them. Spray each side of the quesadilla with non-stick spray or mist with olive oil. How many you can make at once will depend on the size of your air fryer. Lay in the air fryer and cook at 370 degrees for 5 minutes or until cheese is nice and melty. Repeat, if necessary, with any additional quesadillas. Serve & enjoy!

You may need to weigh your tortilla down so it doesn’t come apart while air frying. Shown are two ramekins but if you don’t have something that is air fryer safe, two toothpicks will work.

Want a different flavor? Try my buffalo chicken quesadillas next!

overhead shot of a toasted quesadilla in an air fryer.

What is Taco Bell’s quesadilla sauce made of?

Taco Bell’s quesadilla sauce is a creamy jalapeno sauce with a mayo base, minced jalapenos, and jalapeno juice. Other ingredients include garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, cumin, and salt.

If you want an alternative, try this quesadilla dipping sauce.

Serving Suggestions

I like to serve my quesadilla with a side of cool sour cream for dipping. You could also include some homemade salsa, cilantro lime rice (try putting that IN the quesadilla), and homemade tortilla chips.

stack of quesadillas topped with sliced jalapenos.

How to store them

Any leftover quesadillas should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. They’ll keep up to 3 days.

Can you freeze quesadillas?

You can absolutely freeze these quesadillas, in fact they freeze really well. Assemble them, wrap in plastic wrap and then foil, and save in the freezer. They reheat in no time, I like to put them back in the air fryer but the microwave or even oven will work.

Need more air fryer recipes? Try these:

Air Fryer Sticky Chicken Thighs
Air Fryer Buffalo Wings
Air Fryer Egg rolls
Air Fryer Baked Potatoes
Air Fryer Edamame

Need more restaurant copycat recipes? Try these:

TGI Friday’s Jack Daniels Sauce
KFC Honey BBQ Sauce
Cheesecake Factory Chipotle Chicken Pasta
Panera Bread Kitchen Sink Cookies
Cracker Barrel Country Style Green Beans

Click here for my entire collection of copycat recipes.

melty cheese pull between two quesadilla triangles.

Did You Make This?

If you made this recipe, I’d love to know how it went in the comments section below.

You can also tag me on Instagram – @melissa_ppplates or share a pic in the Persnickety Plates Community Facebook group. I love seeing what you’ve tried!

stack of chicken & cheese quesadillas.
5 from 5 votes

Air Fryer Chicken Quesadilla – with copycat Taco Bell quesadilla sauce

Servings: 5 quesadillas
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
This air fryer chicken and cheese quesadilla with a quick copycat Taco Bell quesadilla sauce is such an easy meal idea. Making them in the air fryer leaves the tortilla perfectly crisp and the cheese nice and melty.

Ingredients
 

For the Taco Bell Quesadilla Sauce

  • cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons jalapeños minced
  • 2 teaspoons jalapeño juice
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the Chicken Quesadilla

  • 1 pound cooked chicken roasted/grilled or shredded
  • 5 burrito flour tortillas
  • 3 slices American cheese
  • 2 ½ cups Cheddar & Monterey Jack shredded cheese divided
  • olive oil spray

Instructions

  • To a small mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise, jalapeño, jalapeño juice, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, sugar, cumin, and salt and stir until combined.
  • Lay open one tortilla on a flat surface. Place half a slice of American cheese one half of the tortilla, long ways. Top the American cheese with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
  • Place cooked chicken on top of the cheese.
  • Thinly spread approximately 1 tablespoon of sauce on opposite side of tortilla.
  • Fold tortilla closed and cut in half.
  • Lightly spray quesadilla with non-stick spray or mist with oil. Place in the air fryer (how many you can fit will depend on the size of your air fryer). Depending on your air fryer, you may need to weigh the tortilla down so it doesn't come apart while air frying. Make sure whatever you use is air fryer safe (like a ramekin), or toothpicks will work.
  • Cook at 370° for 3 mins, flip and cook for another 2 minutes, or until cheese is fully melted.
  • Repeat as necessary for additional quesadillas.
  • Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Notes

  • These are a great use for leftover chicken – either grilled, roasted, shredded, or even a cut up rotisserie. 
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 
  • If you don’t have an air fryer, you can use a large skillet and a weight or just a spatula to press the quesadilla down.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 507kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 887mg | Potassium: 292mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 678IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 517mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram @melissa_pplates so I can see!

Originally published January 10, 2012; photos updated August 31, 2021 & February 26, 2024

taco bell copycat quesadilla on a white plate with red napkin


5 from 5 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing and super easy to prepare! Perfect for meal prep for the work-week ahead. Thanks so much for posting this! Had to try one to ‘test it out’ (husband had to help me on that LOL) and we both agree that it’s actually better than the Mainstream Counterpart. 10/10 will make again!