This is the case for you to make these Pineapple Margarita Chicken Quesadillas. Also known as Killer Quesadillas at Casa Angie.
It all started with this ultra-flavorful chicken.
And when I say ultra, I really mean it. Seriously. Just beyond. It is a flavor that’s magnified by the presence of the triple sec and tequila in the marinade.
The marinade started its life as this pineapple margarita.
So maybe I should have started with the margarita instead of the chicken. But the chicken, that’s been marinated in the pineapple margarita, is what stole the show. It’s the star, the main attraction, the top billing.
It’s so good you want to eat it on its own. Or in a rice bowl like this, if you must. So good!!
Today, though, I’m stuffing it inside these quesadillas. Christened as Killer Quesadillas in this house. But for the sake of transparency, appropriately named Pineapple Margarita Chicken Quesadillas in this post.
Okay, let’s make Pineapple Margarita Chicken Quesadillas aka Killer Quesadillas!
What You Need To Make Pineapple Margarita Chicken Quesadillas
- Pineapple Margarita Chicken
- Onion & Pepper Medley
- Jalapeño jack cheese
- Green onions
- Flour tortillas
Pineapple Margarita Chicken
First, you start off with the best margarita which, in my universe, is the Pineapple Margarita.
You mix pineapple juice with lime juice, then add tequila and triple sec (Cointreau if you want to splurge but any triple sec will do), and you got yourself a pineapple margarita. Easy enough, right?!
And because we’re using it as a marinade, we don’t even need to bother with ice or rimming the glass with salt, etc. Just mix everything in a measuring cup, then add the following:
- Cumin powder
- Oregano (preferably Mexican, but if you don’t have it you can use the Mediterranean, i.e., Italian or Greek variety.)
- Chile powder (by this I mean ground dry chiles like ancho or guajillo peppers, not the chili powder for chili con carne, but if that’s the only thing you have, you can still use it. Just reduce the amount of cumin, oregano, and salt since chili powder most likely has those ingredients added to it.)
The chicken is then marinated in this flavorful concoction overnight before baking. You can save the marinade and reduce it to make a sauce, or if that idea doesn’t appeal to you, you can always double the marinade. Use half to marinate the chicken, and use the other half for the sauce.
Onion & Pepper Medley
First of all, I think it’s a must to add some sautéed onions and peppers to any quesadillas. They add another layer of flavor. They definitely work in these Pineapple Margarita Chicken Quesadillas.
I like using colorful sweet peppers in my onion & pepper medley, but you can use any peppers of your choice. Consider using green and red peppers if you’re making these quesadillas in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Together with the white onions, they evoke the colors of the Mexican flag.
Now we’re ready to actually make the Pineapple Margarita Chicken Quesadillas aka Killer Quesadillas. The rest of the ingredients needed to complete them is pretty straightforward and only require minimal preparation, so let’s go!
- 2 large chicken breasts (or 2 leg quarters if you prefer dark meat)
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons triple sec
- 2 tablespoons white/silver tequila
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 tablespoons chile powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large white/yellow onion, sliced thinly
- 1 or 2 poblano peppers, cut into strips
- Several colorful sweet mini peppers or 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- Salt & pepper
- 8 large (10-inch) flour tortillas
- 8 oz. jalapeño jack cheese, shredded
- Chopped cilantro
- Chopped green onions
- Place chicken in a large Ziploc bag, pour marinade over and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
- Remove chicken from the marinade before baking. Save the marinade *See Notes
- Place chicken on a sheet pan that's been sprayed with cooking spray, and bake in 350° F for 35 minutes. Let it cool slightly, then shred. Set aside.
- Pour the saved marinade (or extra marinade) into a sauté pan and place it on medium heat. Boil marinade for about 5 minutes, or until it's reduced and thickened into a syrup consistency. Add shredded chicken, stir until sauce is completely absorbed by the chicken. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, on medium-high heat, heat oil, then add onion and peppers. Sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Remove from heat, set aside.
- Heat a stove-top grill pan or a frying pan on medium heat. Place a tortilla in the pan, then start layering the fillings on the tortilla. It helps to start with a little bit of cheese first, then the rest of the fillings (chicken, onion & pepper medley, cilantro, green onions), then cheese again on top of everything.
- Place another tortilla to cover the fillings. Press slightly with a spatula.
- Once the bottom tortilla starts browning and the cheese starts to melt, flip the quesadilla. Brown the other side. It should take about 2 - 3 minutes each side on medium heat.
- Place quesadilla on a plate, then cut into wedges. Serve with optional salsa, lime wedges, avocado slices, and sour cream on the side.
If you’re looking for more Mexican recipes to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, let me suggest the following:
Camarones Chipotle Crema
Tres Leches Cake with Fresh Fruits
Cheese & Jalapeno Stuffed Albondigas
If you like this recipe, please give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating in the comments section below. Thanks!
emma fraser says
Beautiful images, and gosh, this sounds as good as it looks, Angie!
Thanks, Emma! I don’t want to toot my own horn, but these were the BEST quesadillas I’ve ever had!
Sandhya Nadkarni says
This looks super delish Angie! Just in time for cinco de Mayo too!
Thanks! It’s the best quesadilla I’ve ever made and had, Sandhya. Truly! Yes, just in time for Cinco de Mayo 🙂
I would definitely be making a double batch of this to serve a pineapple margarita with the chicken. This sounds amazing!
Oh, that’s the best plan! Btw, the marinade is on the tame side. For libation purposes, I usually up the amount of the triple sec and tequila as well as lime juice ? I guess the good thing abt fixing your own drinks is that you can tailor it to your preferences. Let me know how you like it!
Barbara S. Shay says
Omg, I need this!! It is incredible! Pineapple Margarita Chicken, come on. When I saw the notification, I couldn’t wait to find out. I can make this, many steps involved but it doesn’t sound too hard.
That’s the spirit. Give it a try, and let me know how it turns out for you. I think you’ll be pleased with it. Thanks!
I turned this into a burrito bowl and topped it with queso and guac. It was so delicious!!
Thanks so much, Rachel. Queso and guac DO make great additions to the burrito bowl! So glad you like this.