Fried quesadillas for any night of the week when you are craving tasty Mexican food. I have prepared many fried quesadillas in the past, but this one is slightly different. Masa harina corn flour is mixed with a little all purpose flour which yields a more crispy finish when fried. The dough is a little more flexible as well.
Sometimes You Just Got To Fry!
I must confess that I try to avoid including fried foods in my daily meal plan. There are days, when one just has to give in and enjoy some fried foods, in moderation, of course. I always tell my followers on Instagram that I don’t eat everything that I show them, lol! Of course I taste the foods, but I don’t eat the entire recipe. I have other mouths to feed. Frying at the correct temperature is key to not having your foods be overly greasy.
No Tortilla Press? No Problem!
The masa dough balls can be pressed with the bottom of a heavy skillet or flat bottomed large plate. I once had to press out 80 corn tortillas using a cast iron skillet because I forgot my tortilla press!! True story.
What Fillings Work Best?
The fillings that works best are the ones that have the least amount of moisture. In other words don’t use a filling that has a lot of salsa, sauce or broth. If you are going to use carne guisada or picadillo make sure you let it cook down until it gets very thick. Never add a hot filling because the dough will tear.
Fresh Made Garnishes!
This post includes two bonus recipes that are delicious to serve with these tasty fried quesadillas. A simple guacamole and a colorful pico de gallo. Recipes below.
Quesadilla or Empanada?
They look very much like some fried empanadas that I have on the blog, lol! Did you know that in Mexico a quesadilla doesn’t always have cheese inside? It’s just one of those things. The names of certain foods, dishes and even ingredients may vary from one region of Mexico to another. I just try to go with the flow. I love it whether you want to call it a quesadilla or an empanada.
Pork Lard or Avocado Oil?
The first time I prepared these, I used pork lard and they were delicious! The next few times I used avocado oil just to see if it made much of a difference. The difference is flavor! Of course the natural rendered pork manteca(lard) adds flavor to the masa. I still enjoyed the avocado oil version though. For me it’s all about the the fillings, cheese and fresh garnishes too!
- 1 1/2 cups masa harina corn flour
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup oil avocado, canola, grapeseed oil or pork manteca!
- 1 1/2-1 3/4 cups hot water
What Else Do I Need?
- Pick a filling! Beef picadillo, carne guisada, rajas with cheese, chorizo with potato, mushrooms, black beans!
- Mexican Cheese! Oaxaca, queso fresco, Chihuahua, pepper jack
- Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl just to make sure there are no lumps.
- Mix in the oil and then gradually mix in 1 cup of the hot water until you have a semi smooth dough. Grab a piece of masa and roll it into a ball. If it looks smooth with no cracks, then it's ready. If not, gradually mix in more hot water until the dough is smooth and soft. It should feel tacky, but not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- When ready, divide the dough into 8 equal portions and roll them into balls, then flatten with the palms of your hands. Transfer to a plate and keep them covered with plastic wrap.
- Preheat 2 cups of oil(avocado, grapeseed or canola) to medium heat for 5-6 minutes.
- Make sure you have all your fillings ready, tortilla press lined before you begin to press and fry quesadillas. Remember fillings must be cool.
- Line a plate with paper towels and set near pan you will be frying in. Take one dough ball at a time and flatten, using lined tortilla press, to about 4 1/2-5 inches.
- Peel away top plastic to expose flattened masa disc. Fill with 3-4 tablespoons of filling(including cheese). Fold over like a taco using the help the the remaining plastic and gently press edges together. Peel away plastic and transfer to hot oil.
- The quesadillas will fry for 6-7 minutes, flipping them over halfway through cooking time. Gently ladle some oil over the uncooked side of quesadilla to seal the masa. They should be crispy and look golden brown. If they darken too fast, you may need to turn your heat down slightly. Transfer to line plate to drain off excess oil. Let them rest for a few minutes.
- Using a small sharp knife, carefully slice the qusadillas open and garnish with guacamole and salsa! Or, you can lay them on your plate and add all of your favorite garnishes on top! Either way, they are delicious!
We make these all the time at our house, except we call them “quesadillas suaves”. Your recipe looks DELICIOUS, especially with sliced steak and queso Oaxaca, which we had not thought of before. Yummy!!
Any time I have leftover steak, I like preparing these with lots of melted cheese!
I’m wondering if these can be cooked in the oven?
Well, the masa harina is really not that great for baking, to be honest. It tends to dry out a bit and I don’t know how crispy they would be.
I have seen this recipe with stritcly just the masa dough and no baking powder or AP flour but i have heard from a good friend that your recipe is the one that they use at their restaurant, my question is what do you think he addition of flour and baking powder does for the recipe that makes it different?
Hi Devon, this is just a variation on how to prepare the dough. I also have the all corn masa recipe for empanadas that are fried. Adding the flour and baking powder yields a lighter, crispier fried quesadilla. The all corn version is a little more heavy and dense. Both are delicious though.