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Leftover BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

Wondering what to do with your leftover pulled chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken? These BBQ chicken quesadillas combine pulled chicken with sautéed red onion, fresh parsley, and melty cheese inside crispy golden brown tortillas. They’re easy to make and can seriously elevate your leftovers.

I’ll walk you through the recipe and cover ingredient substitutes in the post below, and you’ll find a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Making BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

Here’s everything you will need:

  • 6″ flour tortillas
  • shredded cheese (soft melting cheese like havarti or Monterey jack)
  • leftover pulled BBQ chicken or rotisserie chicken mixed with BBQ sauce
  • olive oil (optional)
  • diced red onion (optional)
  • chopped parsley (optional)
flour tortillas, leftover bbq pulled chicken, chopped parsley, diced red onion, havarti cheese

I included links to the recipes I use for the chicken in the recipe card below. If you’re using rotisserie chicken, I’d use something like 10 oz of chicken and 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce. Adjust the sauce to your liking but try not to make it too runny. You can use the skillet to thicken things after adding the chicken, however.

For the cheese, I used havarti like my BBQ chicken sliders but took the spice level up a notch with a jalapeño havarti. Other soft cheeses like Monterey jack and mozzarella or a blend of cheese will work best. But be sure you’re buying blocks of cheese and shredded yourself for best results!

As for the optional ingredients, you could certainly skip out on the veggies. In that case, you probably don’t need my help making a quesadilla!

Sauté diced red onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes until soft.

sautéed diced red onion

If you have the time, feel free to slow things down and go for caramelized onions. That would be great here.

Add leftover bbq chicken and chopped parsley, stirring everything together.

leftover bbq chicken with sautéed red onion and parsley

Like I mentioned above, if you’re using rotisserie chicken you could add the BBQ sauce to the onion and reduce/thicken before adding the chicken and parsley. You obviously just need enough time to reheat the chicken in this step. Don’t overdo it or the chicken will be tough.

This recipe also works great with something like the leftover chicken and peppers from our smoked chicken tacos recipe.

You could also use this recipe with leftover pulled pork or chopped pork tenderloin (like in our pork fried cauliflower rice). And leftover shredded chicken would work in recipes like our kolaches and pulled pork grilled cheese, in case you have lots of leftovers.

Place two flour tortillas in the skillet and top each with 1 oz of shredded cheese. Add 1/4th of the chicken mixture to one side of each tortilla.

flour tortillas with havarti cheese and leftover bbq chicken mixture

You can see the leftover sauce in the skillet pictured above. That’s key for extra golden brown quesadillas. If you’re skimping on the veggies or reheating your BBQ chicken without the skillet, you’ll miss out on some of the color/flavor development.

A workaround might be adding a little oil to the skillet or using some juices from the leftover BBQ chicken to brush on the tortillas. That’s a big benefit of using something like the BBQ chicken thighs I used—the extra fat!

Tortilla Note: The Mission Carb Balance flour tortillas I used for our ground turkey quesadillas make a surprisingly good, lower carb quesadilla.

Fold the other half of the tortilla over to seal the quesadilla. Cook until each side is golden brown.

folded quesadillas before browning each side

You can give your chicken quesadillas a little squeeze to press some juices out the sides. Like we just talked about, that will help with the browning. Move the quesadillas around to coat the sides in the good stuff.

Managing the heat of your pan is the key to make perfectly melty quesadillas. If your tortillas are browning too quickly, don’t be afraid to take the pan off the heat or turn off the heat entirely. It may take some adjustments along the way.

Side Note: Another cooking method that makes bulk prep much easier is baking in the oven. Check out my baked chicken quesadillas recipe for an example.

Serving Your BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

four bbq chicken quesadillas on a wooden tray with two bowls of bbq sauce

I kept it simple with some of Trader Joe’s Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce on the side, but you could do something like this Alabama White Sauce or the mixture of honey mustard and BBQ sauce I serve with my Copycat Chick-Fil-A Grilled Nuggets. If you’ve tried my Japanese BBQ chicken and rice, you know I’m a huge fan of Bachan’s Japanese barbecue sauce, and it would work great here.

All that said, these leftover chicken quesadillas are great on their own without any dip at all.

Whatever you end up doing with your BBQ chicken quesadillas, I’d love to hear about it. Let us know in a recipe review or comment below. Enjoy!

Leftover BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

Leftover BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

Yield: 4 Quesadillas
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

BBQ pulled chicken with sautéed red onion, fresh parsley, and havarti cheese inside golden brown toasted tortillas.


  • 12 oz Pulled BBQ Chicken*
  • 1 Tbsp (16g) Olive Oil
  • 1/2 (150g) Red Onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp (10g) Chopped Parsley
  • 4 oz Shredded Cheese**
  • 4 6-inch Flour Tortillas


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the diced onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and add the leftover chicken and chopped parsley. Stir until the chicken is fully reheated, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Place 2 tortillas in the skillet and cover each with 1 oz of shredded cheese.
  4. Add about 3.5 oz of the chicken to one side of each tortilla and fold the other half over to seal. Continue cooking until each side is golden brown. (You can use some of the juices from the chicken mixture and increase the heat to a medium-low to help with browning.)
  5. Transfer the finished quesadillas to a plate and repeat with the remaining 2 tortillas.


*I use my Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken or Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs recipes, but you can use any pulled bbq chicken. Take your quesadillas in a Tex Mex direction with Mexican pulled chicken. You could even use shredded rotisserie chicken and add BBQ sauce.

**I used jalapeño havarti, but you could use Monterey jack or another soft melting cheese. For super cheesy quesadillas, you can add an extra 1/2-1 oz of cheese to each quesadilla.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Quesadillas Serving Size: 1 Quesadilla
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 435Total Fat: 26gCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 27g


Friday 4th of August 2023

Yum city! Quick, easy, and husband loved.


Saturday 23rd of July 2022

Just made the chicken quesadillas, I added sweet chilli sauce, delicious 😋 got the thumbs up from hubby …


Monday 23rd of August 2021

Huge fan of your “leftover” recipes!! Using chicken and beef in different ways makes it seem like it’s not even leftover.😊

Natzimi Massa-Santiago

Thursday 19th of August 2021

Yes…just yes.🤤


Tuesday 17th of August 2021

Delicious. Made these in the air fryer to get the crispier and crunchier.

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