The Canned Shortcut You Need For Craveable Quesadillas

With their perfect blend of carby goodness and potential for photo-worthy cheese pulls, quesadillas are often the go-to food when the munchies or the midnight snack-attack strikes. Urgency is the common hallmark of this situation — you need that quesadilla sooner rather than later. You could go with the vegetarian version and have a plateful of goodness ready in a few minutes, but sometimes you're just craving the extra satisfaction of a protein. Chicken is a common option in this case, but when that 'dilla urge hits, the last thing you're in the mood for is to take out a chicken breast, flatten it into submission, cook it up to temp, and shred it.


The solution to your snack dilemma lies in a can. Canned chicken (we're talking about the kind that comes in pieces like canned tuna, not those long cans of whole chicken) are a major boon in situations like these. They're fully cooked, taste like what they're supposed to, and have a shelf life of three to five years, so you can stock up to have them on hand in snack emergencies. All you have to do is pop open the lid and, in just a few steps, you'll have that quesadilla plated, garnished, and ready for devouring in just about the amount of time the meatless version would have taken you.

How to use canned chicken in your quesadilla

Of all the ways to use canned chicken, incorporating it in quesadillas is one of the easiest snack shortcuts out there. Just drain the liquid from a five-ounce can of chicken and shred the meat with a fork, if needed, so that it will spread easily. Don't worry if the chicken is pink – pink canned chicken is perfectly safe to eat.


To save yourself an extra bowl to wash, you can stir spices right into the can — cumin, paprika, adobo seasoning, and the like — but if you prefer to heat the chicken in the microwave a minute or so before adding it to your tortillas, you'll need to transfer it to a different bowl. The quickest option is to move it straight from the can to the tortillas in their pan, using as much or as little as you like. If you want the chicken a bit hotter from the get-go, heating it up in the pan alone first before spreading it on the tortillas is also fine. Whichever method you choose, it's definitely faster than cooking up fresh chicken!