These Kimchi Chicken Quesadillas are filled with gochugaru-spiced chicken, kimchi and melted cheese in a Korean twist on a Tex-Mex classic.
What is a quesadilla?
The fillings can vary and consist of meat, vegetables and other cheeses.
What is kimchi?
Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made of salted, fermented cabbage and radish.
It is spiced with gochugaru (Korean chili pepper powder), garlic, spring onions, ginger and sometimes seafood.
Kimchi is widely used in many Korean dishes such as Budae Jiggae (Korean Army Stew) or enjoyed as a side dish alongside rice.
What does kimchi taste like?
Kimchi can vary in taste and spiciness but is generally salty, crunchy and tangy with an effervescent kick.
Why you'll love this recipe
Similar to Kimchi Grilled Cheese, this Kimchi Chicken Quesadilla recipe is super easy to prepare.
Using store-bought rotisserie chicken is a convenient and effortless way to make these on a weeknight.
The chicken is additionally flavored with gochugaru chili pepper, sesame oil, and sesame seeds for extra flavor.
The gochujang-sour cream is a delicious pairing of spicy and cooling to be enjoyed with the quesadillas.
You'll only need a handful of ingredients.
Ingredients you'll need
- tortillas: you can use flour or corn tortillas
- cooked chicken: rotisserie chicken is great here or you can cook or bake up chicken thighs or chicken breast
- seasonings for the chicken:
- gochugaru (Korean chili pepper): or substitute with cayenne powder; if you don't like it spicy, you can omit
- garlic powder: you can also use 1 clove garlic (finely minced) if you like
- black pepper
- toasted sesame oil: adds flavour and aroma to the chicken
- sesame seeds
- salt (add to taste): the rotisserie chicken is already brined and salted so I did not need to add any salt
- kimchi: a Korean side dish consisting of salted and fermented cabbage and vegetables
- Monterey Jack cheese: shredded; or any melty cheese such as cheddar cheese
For serving (optional):
- gochujang sour cream: a mixture of gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) with sour cream
- cilantro: chopped; or shiso/perilla leaves, or parsley
- green onion/scallions: chopped
You can find these ingredients at your local Asian supermarket or at Korean grocery stores.
How to make the quesadillas
In a small bowl, combine the seasonings for the chicken: gochugaru, garlic powder (or finely minced garlic), black pepper, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.
Add in the chicken and toss to combine.
Heat up a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat.
Place a tortilla onto the pan.
Sprinkle on some Monterey Jack cheese onto the tortilla and layer on the seasoned chicken.
Add the kimchi over the top and sprinkle on more cheese.
Place a 2nd tortilla on top and press firmly with a spatula.
Cook over medium-low heat until the tortilla is slightly crisp and golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
Carefully flip the quesadilla with a spatula and cook for another few minutes until the cheese is completely melted.
Remove from the pan and place onto a cutting board.
Cut into wedges, garnish with additional sesame seeds, chopped green onions and cilantro and serve with gochujang sour cream.
Make the gochujang sour cream:
In a bowl, combine 1 tablespoon gochujang with 1-2 teaspoon hot water and mix until smooth.
Stir in ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar or honey.
Mix in the sour cream and stir until combined.
How to serve
Serve the Kimchi Chicken Quesadillas warm or at room temperature.
They're great for a snack, lunch, dinner or as an appetizer.
How to store
You can store the Kimchi Chicken Quesadillas in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Wrap the quesadillas in aluminum foil and place into a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
How to reheat
Remove the aluminum foil and reheat the Kimchi Chicken Quesadillas in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through.
Alternatively, you can bake them in a 350F oven (with the foil) from frozen for 15-20 minutes, until heated through.
Or reheat the quesadillas in a large dry skillet/frying pan over medium heat.
- bulgogi ground beef (in place of the chicken)
- bbq sauce
Expert tips & FAQs
If using large 12-inch flour tortillas, you can simply place the ingredients on one half side and fold it over in a crescent shape.
Proceed with cooking the quesadillas as per the recipe.
This is my preferred method since there will be a seam to hold in the fillings.
Can I make these vegan/vegetarian?
You can omit the chicken and/or sub in tofu for a vegan/vegetarian version.
Choose a dairy-free/vegan cheese and/or sour cream.
Note: not all kimchi is vegan/vegetarian -- check the labels for any shellfish.
Can I make this gluten-free?
You can use corn tortillas or gluten-free tortillas in place of flour tortillas.
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Kimchi Chicken Quesadillas
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 1 C cooked rotisserie chicken shredded or cut into pieces
- 1 teaspoon gochugaru (Korean chili pepper) adjust to your taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- sea salt optional, to your taste
For the quesadillas:
- 4 tortillas flour or corn
- 1 C Monterey Jack cheese shredded
- ½ C kimchi drained
Gochujang sour cream:
- 1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
- 1-2 teaspoon hot water
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar or honey
- ¼ C sour cream
- 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped
- 1 green onion/scallion chopped
Make the quesadillas:
- In a small bowl, combine the seasonings for the chicken: gochugaru, garlic powder (or finely minced garlic), black pepper, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.
- Add in the chicken and toss to combine.
- Heat up a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat.
- Place a tortilla onto the pan.
- Sprinkle on some Monterey Jack cheese onto the tortilla and layer on the seasoned chicken.
- Add the kimchi over the top and sprinkle on more cheese.
- Place a 2nd tortilla on top and press firmly with a spatula.
- Cook over medium-low heat until the tortilla is slightly crisp and golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
- Carefully flip the quesadilla with a spatula and cook for another few minutes until the cheese is completely melted.
- Remove from the pan and place onto a cutting board.
- Cut into wedges, garnish with additional sesame seeds, chopped green onions and cilantro and serve with gochujang sour cream (recipe below).
Make the gochujang sour cream:
- In a bowl, combine 1 tablespoon gochujang with 1-2 teaspoon hot water and mix until smooth.
- Stir in ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar or honey.
- Mix in the sour cream and stir until combined.
- Serve with the Kimchi Chicken Quesadillas.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.