Whip up a baked Sheet Pan Ground Turkey Quesadilla with just a handful of ingredients and minimal prep time. Layers of melty cheese, fajita-seasoned ground turkey, peppers, and onions are sandwiched between extra-large tortilla shells and then baked in the oven, saving you loads of hands-on cooking time!
Skip the ultra-slow process of frying up single-serving quesadillas one by one. The sheet pan cooking method bakes up a giant rectangular quesadilla serving up to 12 people!
This cooking technique is super simple to master after you learn a few tips and tricks outlined in this post.
When you include high-protein ground turkey, black beans, and loads of fiber-filled veggies, your Ground Turkey Quesadilla quickly becomes a super satisfying, one-pan meal. Serve it with fresh guac, salsa, and Mexican street corn-style Blackened Corn.
- Why you’ll love this recipe
- Ingredients needed
- Equipment needed
- How to make a Ground Turkey Quesadilla
- Expert tips
- What to serve with quesadillas
- Best cheese for a quesadilla
- Quesadilla variations and substitutions
- How to store, reheat, and freeze
- Recipes you'll also like
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Why you’ll love this recipe
- Minimal prep time: Hands-on prep time is slashed to just 10 minutes, and half of the cooking time is in the oven.
- Feeds a crowd: This sheet pan quesadilla is made with 8 tortilla shells and feeds up to 12 people!
- Perfect party app: They’re great for football Sunday, game day, and easy weekend lunches. They’ll feed a lot of people, FAST!
- Versatile: Use this sheet pan cooking method for an endless combination of quesadilla recipes!
- Full of flavor: Peppers, onions, ground turkey, and black beans are perfectly seasoned in fajita seasoning and covered in savory, melty, cheddar cheese.
- Ground turkey - Use lean ground turkey with a little bit of fat. Fat adds flavor and moisture to ground turkey, so I avoid using 99% fat-free ground turkey.
- Tortilla shells - Your shells must be at least 10 inches in diameter to cover the sheet pan.
- Bell peppers - Any color bell pepper will work! Make sure you thinly slice your peppers into long strips.
- Yellow onion complements the bell peppers and adds savory flavor.
- Mexican blend shredded cheese - Usually a blend of cheddar, Asadero, and Monterey jack cheese.
- Black beans provide plenty of fiber, extra protein, and a delightfully creamy texture.
- Fajita seasoning - Use any fajita seasoning blend you prefer. Fafjita seasoning is usually a mix of chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and salt.
- Olive oil helps the tortillas crisp up and turn golden brown while baking.
This ground turkey quesadilla recipe requires two 13x18” rimmed baking sheets, also known as half pans. One baking sheet will hold the turkey quesadilla, and the second baking sheet is placed on top of it to weigh it down while it’s baking.
How to make a Ground Turkey Quesadilla
Before preparing the ground turkey quesadillas, preheat your oven to 425°F, grease one 13x18" baking sheet with about one tablespoon of olive oil, and set aside a second 13x18" baking sheet.
Step 1: Place two tortillas on the long sides of the greased baking sheet, using a total of four tortillas. The tortillas will overlap where they meet in the center, and half the tortilla should hang over the edge of the baking sheet.
Step 2: Place a tortilla in the middle of the short sides of the baking sheet, using a total of two tortillas. Half of the tortilla should hang over the edge of the baking sheet.
Step 3: Place a single tortilla in the center of the baking sheet, covering the remaining open space in the center of the pan.
Steps 4 -7: Add the sliced peppers and onions to the pan and cook until soft. Remove the peppers and onions, add the ground turkey, and cook through. Return the peppers and onions to the pan, add the black beans and fajita seasoning, and mix to combine.
Step 8: Cover the prepared tortilla shells in a layer of shredded cheese.
Step 9: Top the cheese with the ground turkey and pepper mixture.
Step 10: Place the remaining tortilla shell in the center of the ground turkey mixture, on top of the filling ingredients.
Step 11: Fold the overhanging tortilla shells towards the center of the sheet pan, overlapping them as you go. Start with the tortillas on the short sides of the pan and finish with the tortillas on the long sides.
Step 12: Lightly brush the remaining tablespoon of olive oil on the tops of the tortilla shells, then place the second sheet pan on top of the quesadilla to weigh it down.
Step 13: Transfer both baking sheets to the oven and bake the ground turkey quesadilla for 20 minutes, then remove the top baking sheet and continue baking the quesadilla for an additional 5 minutes. When finished, remove it from the oven and let it cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing it into squares.
- Sheet pan quesadilla recipes require two 13x18” rimmed baking sheets, also known as half pans. One baking sheet will hold the turkey quesadilla, and the second baking sheet is placed on top of it to weigh it down while it’s baking.
- Layer properly - Start with a layer of cheese on the bottom and top with other ingredients. The cheese acts like glue, holding everything together.
- Brush with oil - Before baking, brush the top of the quesadilla shells with olive oil. This helps with browning and produces a crispier top crust.
- Allow the quesadillas to cool for a few minutes after baking, then use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to slice them into squares.
What to serve with quesadillas
Quesadillas are a meal on their own, especially these easy ground turkey quesadillas! They’re unbelievably hearty and satisfying! But, we need those delicious dippers and toppings, right!?
- Fresh tomato salsa, Pico de Gallo, or salsa verde
- Sliced avocado, guacamole, or chopped jalapeño peppers
- Sour cream or Crème Fraîche
- Squeeze of fresh lime juice or chopped fresh cilantro
- Crumbly cotija cheese or an extra sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese
Best cheese for a quesadilla
Of course, melty cheese is the priority, and flavor is a close second! The cheese must be a glue for the quesadilla filling and provide gooey, cheesy bites. The best cheeses for quesadillas are:
- Monterey jack and Colby jack cheese have a mild flavor and creamy texture and melt smoothly.
- Cheddar cheese - Another superior melting cheese with a sharp flavor and rich taste
- Pepper jack cheese - Similar to Monterey jack cheese, infused with peppers for a spicy kick!
- Mozzarella and Oaxaca cheese have a mellow flavor and slightly salty taste.
- Asadero - Creamy and stringy when melted, you’ll find this in many shredded Mexican cheese blends; it’s perfect for quesadillas!
- Cotija - Crumbly and salty, great for sprinkling on top after cooking, but not the best for using as a melty filling.
Quesadilla variations and substitutions
Veggies: Peppers and onions are the standard for a fajita-seasoned dish. There’s no reason you can’t use diced tomatoes, mushrooms, corn, spinach, or roasted red peppers, though!
Cheese: If it melts well, use it! This includes all types of cheddar, jack cheeses, and mozzarella cheeses.
How to store, reheat, and freeze
How to store: Let the cut squares cool completely, then transfer them to a glass, airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
How to reheat: My favorite way to reheat individual squares of cooked ground turkey quesadillas is in a frying pan on the stovetop. The tortilla shell crisps up perfectly while the filling slowly warms. Alternatively, the sheet pan quesadillas can be reheated in the oven at 350°F until warmed.
How to freeze: Wrap each cooled ground turkey quesadilla square tightly in plastic wrap, then transfer to a large freezer bag. Freeze for up to three months, and thaw overnight in the refrigerator when you’re ready to eat them.
A quesadilla's only necessary filling ingredient is a creamy cheese that will melt well. A good quesadilla should also include seasoning, vegetables, and protein. The key is to slice and dice your filling ingredients into small, bite-sized pieces and pre-cook them before they’re layered onto the tortilla shell.
Ground turkey can be kind of flavorless and mild on its own. Start with salt, then add a pinch of ground black pepper and any dried herbs and spices that will complement your main dish. Garlic powder, Italian seasoning blend, and chili powder are common choices.
Yes, ground turkey and ground beef are cooked in similar ways. Both are crumbly meats that can be cooked on the stovetop in a frying pan or skillet until they’re cooked through. Ground beef will produce more fat than ground turkey, which should be drained off before it’s added to a main dish.
First, cook the lean ground turkey in olive oil or butter and stop cooking the meat as soon as it’s cooked through. Cook at a low heat, covered, to trap any steam produced while the ground turkey is cooking. Lastly, add moisture-rich ingredients to the ground turkey, such as sauces, vegetables, and broth.