Cheese Crisp

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

Crispy Cheese Crisp is perfect for dipping into a bowl of fresh homemade salsa, either green or red. Guacamole is also a crowd pleaser!

sliced baked cheese crisp topped with green chili

What is a cheese crisp?

The Arizona cheese crisp, also known as “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 traditional.

It’s basically a flat tortilla covered with piles of cheese. It is then baked in the oven until the cheese has melted and the tortilla has a perfectly crisp texture.

It is similar to a quesadilla, except that a quesadilla is folded over and pan fried until toasted and warm throughout.

ingredients for cheese crisp

ingredients tips

Best kind of cheese?

I used Colby Jack cheese for this recipe, but you can easily use other cheeses that melt well. You can use one cheese flavor or a combination of 2-3. I recommend shredding the cheese yourself as the prepackaged shredded cheese doesn’t melt as well. Here are a few more favorite cheeses you can try:

  • Oaxaca cheese
  • Chihuahua cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Pepper Jack cheese

Best kind of tortillas?

  • Large thin flour tortillas are used for this recipe. The thinner the better because they create the crispiest result. I like the uncooked Tortilla Land tortillas. Just be sure to cook them before making the cheese crisps.  If I’m buying pre cooked tortillas, then LaLa’s Traditional Style Flour Tortillas work well. Of course, homemade flour tortillas are our very favorite.
  • Since you’re the chef, you can customize them any way that you prefer. You can make them large or small. You can use whole wheat tortillas, low carb tortillas, corn tortillas, or spinach and herb tortillas.
ingredients for a cheese crisp

how to make cheese crisps

PREP. Preheat your oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle.

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.

CHEESE. Remove 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.

SERVE! Take out, cut up and enjoy warm. Repeat with additional cheese crisps.

Leftovers: Store leftover cheese crisps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can even freeze them in a Ziplock freezer bag for 1-2 months.

The best way to reheat them is in the oven. Place the cheese crisp on a cooling rack and then place the cooking 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.

Make it in the Air Fryer

  • First be sure that the tortilla will fit in your air fryer. If it’s too big, just 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. I suggest you air fry them at 350°F for only 2-3 minutes.
  • Check and add more time if needed.
Assembled cheese crisp ready for baking

dress it up

The cheese crisp is typically made with cheese only or with a bit of green chilies. However, this dish resembles a thin pizza and like pizza you can easily add some other toppings to change them up from time to time:

  • fresh corn
  • sliced olives
  • roasted red peppers
  • sliced jalapeno
  • grilled and thinly sliced chicken or steak
  • green onion
  • sprinkle on smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, black pepper
  • add a bit of heat with crushed red pepper flakes
  • top with avocado, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa
SLiced cheese crisp topped with green chili

what to serve it with

Since these chesee crisps are perfect for dipping, here are some of my favorite things to dip it in:

They also make a great appetizer for some of our other favorite Mexican entrees, like:

Sliced cheese crisp served with salsa

For more mexican dishes, try:

Cheese Crisp Recipe

5 from 3 votes
A Cheese Crisp is a crunchy open-face quesadilla that is an Arizona favorite!! They are quick, easy, and perfectly dippable.
Course Main Course, Snack
Cuisine American, Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 554 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 2 large burrito sized tortillas (at east 13inch diameter)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 1/4 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 a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 5-10 minutes or until the tortilla is toasted.
  • Remove 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.
  • Take out, cut up and enjoy warm. Repeat with additional cheese crisps.

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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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Comments:

  1. One of the quickest meals ever. Usually loved by everyone especially the little kids. Who doesn’t love cheese and tortillas?

  2. 5 stars
    I didn’t ever know the difference between a cheese crisp and quesadilla until now 🤦🏼‍♀️ Love the recipe. Half my kids like the green chilies the other half just like plain cheese.

  3. 5 stars
    Super loved it! This tasted so amazing! Thanks a lot for sharing this super easy to make cheese crisp recipe! Fam really loves it! Will surely have this again! Highly recommended!

  4. 5 stars
    We make cheese crisps all the time. It’s about the one thing I know my kids will eat! Love this recipe. It’s nice & crisp & so cheesy!