These bbq chicken quesadillas are a quick and tasty camping meal whether you're cooking over a campfire or on a camp stove.
When we go camping, I like to meal plan.
And then there are my backup meals. Meals that use mostly shelf-stable ingredients, and that are perfect for using up any leftover ingredients from other meals.
On our longer camping trips, I like to plan for a quesadilla and fajita night towards the end of the trip.
If it turns out we didn't have leftover cheese, then I pivot and make campfire fajitas instead. Or sometimes we'll have both!
Recently, after enjoying campfire chicken jalapeno enchiladas, I felt inspired by how delicious the chicken and jalapeno combination was, and decided to plan a little more carefully for our next quesadilla night to make it even better.
These BBQ chicken quesadillas are an easy camping meal that comes together in minutes!
Do I Need a Camping Cooler For These BBQ Chicken Quesadillas?
Yes, because you'll need to keep the cheese cold. If you decide to be extra fancy and add fresh cilantro and fresh jalapenos, you'll want to keep those items in the cooler too.
If you're camping without a cooler and still want quesadillas, plan to cook these on a night when you'll have access to a nearby grocery store so that you can pick up cheese just before dinner.
Shopping for a camping cooler? We use this Igloo BMX cooler.
Should I Use a Campfire or a Camp Stove?
We've cooked quesadillas on a campfire and on a camp stove, and both options work well.
If you're cooking on a campfire, make sure you've got a campfire-safe pan, such as this Lodge cast-iron skillet.
Can I Skip the Cilantro?
But if you like cilantro, it adds a nice pop of fresh flavor to these quesadillas.
Can I Swap the Canned Chicken?
You sure can.
We opted for canned chicken because it's already cooked and is shelf-stable. It makes things so much easier than dealing with raw chicken at camp.
If you prefer to cook raw chicken and shred it, we recommend using chicken thighs. Bring along an instant read thermometer, sear the chicken in a pan until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and then shred the meat with two forks.
Make sure to keep raw chicken stored in an extra-cold cooler, bring along an extra cutting board for meat, and clean your utensils and cutting board with hot soapy water after cooking.
How to Make Camping BBQ Chicken Quesadillas
If you're using fresh jalapenos (instead of pickled), start by dicing the peppers. I like to use my favorite camping knife, this Dfacto high-carbon stainless steel santoku knife.
Using the cutting board as your workspace, add shredded cheese, a little chicken, the sliced jalapenos and BBQ sauce to half of a large tortilla.
Fold the tortilla in half, and place it on a hot pan.
If cooking on a campfire, the pan should be over indirect heat (scooted away from the hottest part of the fire). If cooking on a camp stove, cook on medium heat.
When the bottom side of the tortilla is golden, flip it and cook on the other side.
After a couple more minutes over the heat, they should be ready to dish up! Before serving, you can (optionally) cut the quesadilla into wedges.
Top with cilantro and serve right away!
Camping BBQ Chicken Quesadillas
- 10” or 12” cast iron pan
- Metal spatula (to flip the quesadillas)
- Leather glove or pot holder (for moving the cast iron pan)
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or another high smoke point oil)
- 4 large tortillas (burrito-size) Or 8 taco-size tortillas, see Recipe Notes.
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese Or use shredded pepper Jack cheese
- 10 ounce can chicken, drained
- ¼ cup BBQ sauce (amount approximate)
- Sliced Jalapeños (pickled or fresh), optional
- 1 bunch cilantro (optional)
- Place pan over indirect heat on a hot campfire grate, or heat over medium heat on a camp stove. Add the oil.Add about ¼ cup cheese to half of a tortilla. Add a spoonful of chicken, a drizzle of BBQ sauce and desired amount of jalapeños (if using) to the cheese. Ingredient amounts are appropriate. Use more or less as desired.
- Fold the tortilla in half and cook about 2 minutes, or until the bottom of the tortilla is golden.
- Flip the tortilla and cook about 2 more minutes, or until both sides are toasted.Optionally, add cilantro to the inside of the cooked quesadilla, and top with more cilantro.Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve right away.