Meatless Monday Challenge

Crispy Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Quesadilla

on December 29, 2020
last updated April 12, 2023
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This Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Quesadilla is a fresh take on the humble sweet potato, combining its natural sweetness with Tex-Mex spices to create an oh-so-cheesy, balanced-in-flavor bite.
Overhead shot of sweet potato quesadilla with knife

Do you need to mix up your quesadilla game? This Crispy Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Quesadilla is the perfect way to bring new life to those gorgeous spuds and spice up your TexMex night!

We take Mexican food very seriously in my house. It’s on heavy rotation throughout the week, and we religiously follow Taco Tuesday.

And after loading up on sweet potatoes for my Maple Sweet Potato Casserole on Thanksgiving, I was stuck wondering how I would incorporate these orange beauties into my family’s meals for the week.

This Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Quesadilla fits the bill and has been on our lunch and dinner menus ever since.

Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Quesadilla Tips & Tricks

All Delicious Things Come to Those Who Wait

The star of this Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Quesadilla dish is—you guessed it—the sweet potato! So the success of your lunch hangs on getting the taters just right!

Don’t rush the boiling of your sweet potatoes. Your aim is to transform them into a light and fluffy puree, and even with the best of blenders, this can only be achieved with a little bit of patience.

Usually, if I peel my sweet potatoes and cut them into small chunks, I can get them fully cooked in boiling water after about 15 minutes. But sometimes they can be stubborn lil’ spuds.

Make sure they’re truly cooked through before draining them and adding them to your blender.

The best way to check if they are ready is to take a fork and poke your biggest chunk of potato. If it easily pierces right through, your are good to go! If you’re feeling some resistance, let them cook a little longer.

Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Quesadilla - Portrait

Dry Those Eyes, Then Caramelize

Slicing onions are so worth the tears! Once you peel and chop your onion, simmer it in a little bit of butter until it starts to caramelize. You should be able to achieve beautifully caramelized onions over medium heat in about 10 minutes, but be careful not to burn them!

The caramelized onions will go straight into your golden brown tortillas. Burning the onions will make your quesadilla too bitter.

Gadgets and Gizmos a Plenty

I like to throw my cooked sweet potatoes, onions, milk, cream cheese, and spices into a blender, but you can easily use an immersion blender, or food processor.

You can also choose to just use a potato smasher or hand mixer to get your potatoes fluffy.

Both options are delicious, but I find that pureeing your potato lends a smoother texture throughout your quesadilla.

Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Quesadilla - Close Up

Load Her Up

Time for the fun part: the Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Quesadilla assembly! Start by laying your tortilla out flat on a clean surface. Cover one half of the tortilla with your puree, then add your caramelized onions and black beans and top it with about 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.

Now take the half that is not covered in deliciousness, and fold it over the filled half to form a quesadilla.

When assembling your quesadilla, you want to achieve that perfect balance of filling and flavorful while avoiding an exploding mess. That being said, you may not use up all of your puree and all of your black beans to make two quesadillas.

To put it simply, don’t overstuff it. It will be hard to flip and even harder to eat.

Green tip: Did you know that of the billions of pounds of food wasted annually, it is estimated that 50% of it happens in our homes. It’s always best to avoid food waste as much as you can! Any leftover sweet potato or black bean puree will last 3-5 days. You’re sure to crave another quesadilla by then!

Getting That Coveted Golden Brown Finish

The key is to get your pan hot first. Set a medium-sized nonstick frying pan or cast-iron skillet on your stove over medium heat and give it about 3 minutes to warm up. I use this cast-iron pizza pan and it works beautifully!

Then lay your quesadilla directly on the hot pan—no need for any grease. Wait a good 3 minutes before using your spatula to lift your quesadilla and check underneath.

If you see crispy, golden brown perfection, you’re ready to flip! It doesn’t take long to go from nice ‘n crisp to burnt, so keep a close eye.

Once you flip, if you notice your tortillas are browning fast, but your cheese is not melting, cover your pan to trap some heat—this will encourage the cheese to start becoming the ooey-gooey delight it was meant to be!

I recommend frying up one quesadilla at a time, so your can get your timing just right.

Hot ‘N Ready

Once your quesadillas are ready, serve them hot and melty. A pizza cutter will slice through them perfectly! These Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Quesadillas are absolutely dynamite on their own, but I also like to eat them with some Creamy Guacamole or spicy salsa.

overhead shot of sweet potato quesadilla with guacamole on top

Why You Should Make This Sweet Potato Quesadilla

  • It’s balanced. The perfect combination of both sweet and spicy.
  • It’s hearty. Between the potatoes and black beans, it will keep you full and energized.
  • It’s crispy. Pan-fried perfection.
  • It’s loaded with complex flavor. The spice and cheese blend makes this so incredibly tasty!

If you enjoyed this Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Quesadilla and want more Mexican-inspired dishes, try these Fresh Fish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa, and this Lentil Taco Meat Alternative.

overhead view of a sweet potato quesadilla divided into 3 triangles with a dollop of guacamole

Crispy Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Quesadilla

5 from 1 vote
Marley Goldin
This Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Quesadilla is a fresh take on the humble sweet potato, combining its natural sweetness with Tex-Mex spices to create an oh-so-cheesy, balanced-in-flavor bite.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 quesadillas



  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 XL flour tortillas


  • Peel and cut your sweet potato into small chunks, about 2 inches in diameter
  • Boil sweet potatoes in 10 cups of hot water until tender—about 15 minutes. You'll know your potato is ready because you will be able to easily pierce it with a fork.
  • Slice your onions and cook them in a pan with 1 tablespoon of butter until caramelized.
  • Meanwhile, drain and rinse your black beans and set aside.
  • Once sweet potatoes are tender, throw them in a blender or food processor with the remaining butter, milk, cream cheese, cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper to form a puree.
  • Lay your tortilla flat on a clean surface and spread your puree over half. Top with caramelized onions, strained black beans, and about 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.
  • Fold your tortilla in half so that the filling is covered. Place a medium-sized nonstick fry pan on your stove over medium heat.
  • Once your pan is hot, place your quesadilla directly on to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes until the tortilla is golden brown.
  • Flip and cook for another 3 minutes until both sides are crispy and the cheese is melted.
  • Repeat steps 5 & 6 with your second tortilla. Serve hot on its own or with or salsa!

Pro Tips

  • Don’t rush the boiling of your sweet potato. Once it is nice and soft, your blender will easily break it down into a silky smooth puree.
  • Resist the urge to season the black beans. The sweet potatoes have a lot of flavors and between that and the cheese, your quesadilla will be extra tasty even with the black beans left as is.
  • If your sweet potatoes are already cooked (as in leftovers from a sweet potato casserole, etc.), just skip step 1.
  • For more recipes using delicious spuds, check out this list of Easy Sweet Potato Recipes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Diet Vegetarian
Keyword 30 Minutes or Less, Sweet Potato Quesadilla
Did you make this recipe?Let me know by leaving a recipe rating below, or by tagging @marleysmenu on Instagram.


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