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A cheese crisp is a crunchy open-face quesadilla that is an Arizona favorite!! They are quick, easy, and perfectly dippable.

A crunchy cheese crisp is perfect for dipping into a bowl of fresh red Homemade Salsa or green Salsa Verde. Guacamole is also a crowd-pleaser!

A sliced baked cheese crisp topped with green chili.

We Love This Family Favorite!

The Arizona cheese crisp (aka Sonoran Quesadilla), is said to have originated in Southern Arizona as a way to use leftover Flour Tortillas. It is a popular Mexican-style dish all over Arizona and surrounding areas, although it’s not necessarily a traditional dish.

Cheese crisps are an insanely popular appetizer or after-school snack at our house! We’ve enjoyed them my entire life and now enjoy them as a quick dinner or serve it as a side dish with our favorite Mexican dinners.

Why we love it:

  • A tasty twist. It is similar to a Cheese Quesadilla, except that a quesadilla is folded over and pan-fried until toasted and warm throughout.
  • Irresistible I have yet to meet a child (or adult) who doesn’t love this crispy Mexican appetizer.
  • Top with your favorites. Start with the cheesy tortilla and add your favorite toppings.
Flour tortillas, shredded cheese, and green chili set out on a counter.

Few Ingredients

  • Tortillas – Large thin flour tortillas are used for this recipe. The thinner the better because they create the crispiest result.
    • If using Tortilla Land tortillas, be sure to cook first.
    • For pre-cooked tortillas, LaLa’s Traditional Style Flour Tortillas work well.
    • Homemade Flour Tortillas are our very favorite.
    • Alternative tortillas like gluten-free or cauliflower tortillas may take longer to crisp up.
  • shredded cheese – Any cheese that melts well can be used. I used Colby Jack cheese for this recipe but any of your favorites will work like Oaxaca cheese, Chihuahua cheese, Mozzarella cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, Cheddar cheese, or Pepper Jack cheese.
  • butter
  • diced green chiles
Spreading butter on a flour tortilla.

How to Make a Cheese Crisp

  1. PREP. Preheat your oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle.
  2. TORTILLA. Butter the tortilla making sure to cover the entire surface and place a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 5-10 minutes or until the tortilla is toasted.
  3. CHEESE. Remove the tortilla from the oven and sprinkle with ¾ cup cheese and diced green chiles. Return to oven and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
  4. SERVE! Take out, cut up, and enjoy warm. Repeat with additional cheese crisps. Make them plain or spice them up with green chilis.

Air Fryer Directions

  • Be sure that the tortilla will fit in your air fryer. If it’s too big, cut it into thirds or quarters.
  • Lightly mist one side of the tortilla with cooking spray.
  • Place the cheese and other toppings on the other side of the tortilla. Because these are thin they will cook fairly quickly. Air fry at 350°F for only 2-3 minutes.
  • Check and add more time if needed.
Cheese and green chili on a flour tortilla.

Topping + Serving Tips

Sliced cheese crisp topped with green chili.

Storing Tips

  • STORE. Store leftover cheese crisps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
  • FREEZE. Place in a Ziploc freezer bag for 1-2 months.
  • To reheat. Place the cheese crisp on a cooling rack and then place the cooling rack onto a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake them until warm and crisp. You can also use the microwave, but it takes away the crispiness of the dish.
Sliced cheese crisp served with salsa and fresh lime.

For More Mexican Recipes:

5 from 34 votes

Cheese Crisp

By: Lil’ Luna
A cheese crisp is a crunchy open-face quesadilla that is an Arizona favorite!! They are quick, easy, and perfectly dippable.
Servings: 2
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 large burrito-sized tortillas, (at east 13inch diameter)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • ¼ cup diced green chiles

Instructions 

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle.
  • Butter the tortilla making sure to cover the entire surface and place it on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 5-10 minutes or until the tortilla is toasted.
  • Remove it from the oven and sprinkle with ¾ cup cheese and diced green chiles. Return to oven and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
  • Take out, cut up, and enjoy warm. Repeat with additional cheese crisps.

Video

Notes

STORE. Store leftover cheese crisps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
FREEZE. Place in a Ziploc freezer bag for 1-2 months.
To reheat. Place the cheese crisp on a cooling rack and then place the cooling rack onto a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake them until warm and crisp. You can also use the microwave, but it takes away the crispiness of the dish.

Nutrition

Calories: 554kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 52g, Saturated Fat: 31g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 146mg, Sodium: 740mg, Potassium: 128mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1593IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 615mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: American, Mexican
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Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lilluna, so we can see what you’re creating in the kitchen!

About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating




33 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    oh, my, gosh! these are the best things to make when my friends and I want a little snack! thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe

  2. 5 stars
    Ingredients I kept on hand and easy to put together when I family and friends shows up. My guest Loves this delicious Mexican appetizer.

  3. 5 stars
    Love this really simple recipe using ingredients I almost always have on hand. Used chopped jal Instead of the chiles. Sour cream was also a great accompaniment.