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“Quesadillas are to Mexicans as the grilled cheese is to the average American,” says Chef Olivia Hernandez, owner of Austin-based Hernandez Hospitality. While her favorite quesadilla is a corn tortilla filled with Oaxaca cheese, grilled onions, and squash blossoms, in its most basic form, a quesadilla simply requires any type of tortilla, your favorite cheese, and a suitable cooking surface.
Traditionally, quesadillas are made on a comal, a flat griddle used across Mexico and South America for cooking. Hernandez uses one at home, but when running her catering business, she has turned to electric versions in order to make the process quick and consistent.
If you like the idea of a dedicated appliance to churn out these cheesy delights (very helpful if you're cooking for a large family), read on to discover the best quesadilla makers.
Best Overall: George Foreman Electric Quesadilla Maker
Easy to use
Cleaning up is a breeze
Doesn't work with tortillas smaller than 10 inches
Since its 1994 debut, the George Foreman grill has proven to be a favorite appliance for indoor grilling and healthy cooking. So it makes sense that the brand’s quesadilla maker works similarly to its original best-selling product. This cheerful machine has a 10-inch cooking diameter with six deep pockets that allow for a generous amount of filling.
Using this model is very intuitive: You sandwich your filling of choice between two large “burrito-sized” flour tortillas, and press. This stacked tortilla cooking method is one of Hernandez’s favorite hacks. “You get a bigger surface area of cheese and tortilla,” she says. “This is harder to do on a flat grill because you have to melt the cheese enough to hold it together while flipping, but you run the risk of burning the bottom tortilla.” Since the heat comes from both sides at once, your quesadilla will be ready to eat in under five minutes.
The only downside to this quesadilla maker is that tortillas significantly smaller than 10 inches won’t reach the press and seal lines, and filling might come out of any unsealed edges. No worries, though—thanks to the nonstick George Tough coating, you can clean up any excess cheese and oil by wiping it down, and the entire unit won’t take up too much space when not in use since it stands on its side for storage.
Power: Electric | Tortilla Size: 10 inches+ | Cooking Surface: Nonstick | Plates: Fixed
Best Budget: Hamilton Beach Quesadilla Maker
Easy to clean
Only works with small tortillas
Hamilton Beach does a wonderful job with wallet-friendly kitchen appliances, and its quesadilla maker is another solid pick. It works very similarly to the George Foreman model, using two stacked flour tortillas to create six quesadilla wedges using lines that crimp the edges and create score marks. Designed to accommodate 6 or 8-inch tortillas (often called “taco-sized”), this is an ideal choice for making appetizers or kid-friendly portions.
The nonstick surface heats evenly, resulting in that crisp exterior that is crucial to a good flour quesadilla. Equipped with a preheat light to let you know when the machine is ready to use, you can have cantina-style finger food ready in about five minutes. Cleanup is simple thanks to the nonstick surface that wipes clean, and the unit stores upright to save space.
Power: Electric | Tortilla Size: 6 to 8 inches | Cooking Surface: Nonstick | Plates: Fixed
Best Multipurpose: George Foreman 2-Serving Classic Plate Electric Indoor Grill
Good for small spaces
Floating hinge is ideal for thicker quesadillas
Questionable long-term durability of nonstick coating
“The George Foreman grill makes the best quesadillas, and they look great as well,” says Hernandez. While her own older model is still going strong, this updated version comes in a compact size that is perfect for cooking for two. Simply fill your tortilla, fold it in half, and press the top down to cook quickly and evenly on both sides at once—no need to flip it over. The sloped grill will drain any excess oil into the removable drip tray (which is dishwasher-safe). Thanks to a floating hinge, this model is also great for accommodating thicker quesadillas stuffed with meat and cheese.
The George Tough nonstick coating is durable, easy to clean, and requires no butter or oil to keep it nonstick. And this small, lightweight appliance can be stored effortlessly on its side—easy to pull out when you need it and put away to save counter space.
Power: Electric | Tortilla Size: 9 inches max | Cooking Surface: Nonstick | Plates: Fixed
Runner-Up, Best Multipurpose: Betty Crocker Pizza Maker
Simple to clean
Can make items other than quesadillas
Must flip tortilla; doesn't touch top plate
While this isn’t technically a quesadilla maker either, it can certainly serve as one. The Betty Crocker Pizza Maker features a deep well that can fit up to a 12-inch tortilla—you can use it to make two giant folded quesadillas at once. The lid and well heat at the same time, so you get the cooking action from the top and bottom plates. The nonstick cooking surface delivers the right amount of crisping and is easy to clean with a simple wipe-down.
When you’re not using it to make quesadillas, you can cook a pizza, make nachos, frittatas, or bake cookies or flatbread—the options are endless. It's an easy option for those who prefer a multiuse kitchen appliance rather than a dedicated quesadilla maker.
Power: Electric | Tortilla Size: 12 inches max | Cooking Surface: Nonstick | Plates: Fixed
Best for Thick Quesadillas: Nostalgia Electrics Taco Tuesday Quesadilla Maker
Two latch positions allow for thicker quesadillas
Indicator light signals when unit is ready
Drip tray catches any overflow
Does not work well with tortillas smaller than 8 inches
If you’re the type who tends to overstuff your tortillas, then the Nostalgia Taco Tuesday Quesadilla Maker is for you. The 8-inch cooking surface has six generous wells and a two-position latch to accommodate both thick and thin quesadillas. With this model, the melted cheese will fuse the top and bottom tortilla together, but it does not seal the outside edge closed as securely as some other models. Wipe down the nonstick plates when you’re finished for easy cleaning—the drip tray underneath catches any cheese or oil overflow and can be removed and cleaned separately.
Two indicator lights tell you when the machine is powered on and when it is ready to use—the heated cooking surface will toast your tortillas to the ideal crispness within minutes. If you want a bigger version, there’s also a 10-inch option.
Power: Electric | Tortilla Size: Up to 8 inches | Cooking Surface: Nonstick | Plates: Fixed
Best High-End: Breville Sear & Press Grill
Reversible plates offer grill or griddle options
Can accommodate any size tortilla
Removable plates are easy to clean
For those who want a super high-quality option for quesadillas (and more), the Breville Sear & Press Grill is a fantastic option that is definitely worth its hefty price tag. This model features reversible ceramic grill and griddle plates, allowing you to use the smooth side for more traditional quesadillas or the grill side to achieve grill marks. Two sensors indicate when the grill is preheating and when it’s ready to cook (it has a max temperature of 450 degrees).
“We have used [machines like this one] to do events in buildings where no open fire is allowed,” says Hernandez. “It is super fast since it cooks both sides at once.” Because this machine adjusts to accommodate thicker items like burgers, you can confidently cook a quesadilla Suiza—a flour tortilla stuffed with meat, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and avocado, pressed to get that crispy exterior, just like you’d find at a bonafide taqueria.
With independent temperature controls for each plate, plus the ability to open flat to make a 240-square-inch griddle surface, you can also use it like a grill top and heat quesadillas as you would on a comal. Regardless of if you use it as a press or a flat grill, Hernandez advises warming up the tortillas a bit before filling and folding them to prevent cracking. The brushed stainless exterior is a beautiful match for other stainless appliances, and the grill/griddle plates are easy to clean—they can be hand-washed but are also dishwasher safe.
Power: Electric | Tortilla Size: 12 inches max | Cooking Surface: Ceramic nonstick | Plates: Removable/reversible
Best for the Grill: Outset Quesadilla Basket
Simple to use
Grilled quesadillas have wonderful smoky touch
Good for camping and barbecues
Need to monitor cooking carefully
Cleaning cheese off grates might be tedious
The only non-electric option on this list, this quesadilla basket by Outset is the perfect option for cooking in the great outdoors or at a backyard barbecue. Made of heavy-gauged chrome steel with a rosewood handle, this basket locks your quesadilla in place to heat over a grill or campfire. The 12-inch basket can hold a large-sized tortilla stuffed with cheese (and more).
Toast one side over the fire then flip to toast the other side—your quesadilla will have a touch of smoky flame-broiled flavor that you can’t replicate on the stove. You can also use this to grill vegetables, toast pita bread, or heat up plain tortillas when you’re also barbecuing meats for tacos. A great tool to take camping.
Power: None | Tortilla Size: Up to 12 inches | Cooking Surface: Steel wire mesh | Plates: None
Our top pick is the George Foreman Electric Quesadilla Maker (view at Amazon) thanks to its ease of use and reliable performance. If you have a little extra room in your budget, we also like the Breville Sear & Press (view at Sur La Table) because of its versatility and near-restaurant quality results.
What To Look For When Buying a Quesadilla Maker
Most dedicated quesadilla makers come in either an 8-inch or 10-inch model, sized to accommodate the two most common flour tortilla sizes. Those with heartier appetites or larger families can opt for the 10-inch size to churn out bigger quesadillas. If you prefer making snack-size portions (useful for kid-friendly servings or appetizers), go for the smaller size.
Electric-powered quesadilla makers and grills typically feature nonstick coating for an easy release of your finished quesadilla. Note that these coatings are not impervious to damage, so avoid using sharp utensils or abrasive scrubbers to keep the coating intact. As with most nonstick coated surfaces, it will eventually show some wear and might need replacing a few years down the line.
A quesadilla maker certainly doesn't have to break the bank. You can find a quality electric machine for under $40, but as with many kitchen appliances, you get what you pay for. If you see lots of quesadilla-making in your future, you may want to select one in a higher price range that will easily withstand daily use.
How do you use a quesadilla maker?
For quesadilla-specific machines, use the stack method: Lay one tortilla on the heated cooking surface, add your cheese and any other ingredients, and then place another tortilla on top. Close the lid and the machine will heat both sides of the quesadilla at the same time, melting the cheese and fusing the tortillas together. Many machines will also feature lines that help to crimp the edges and created score marks so you know where to cut them.
Multifunctional cookers, like the Cuisinart Griddler, can utilize the fold method: Warm your tortilla to make it more pliable, add cheese and fold it in half, and then lay it on the warm cooking surface. Close the lid/press so it toasts the tortilla and melts the cheese at the same time.
How do you clean a quesadilla maker?
Since many of the quesadilla makers and grills feature a nonstick surface, they're pretty easy to clean. Wait until the machine is cool, and then wipe off any food debris with a clean towel. If your machine features removable plates, remove any stuck-on bits by gently scrubbing with soap and water. Even if your plates are dishwasher safe, you may want to hand wash them to preserve the life of the nonstick coating.
What else can you make with a quesadilla maker?
Despite its seemingly singular function, a quesadilla maker can be used to cook many other items thanks to its heated cooking surface. Try making omelets, pressing French toast, or pouring pancake batter into the wells for easy breakfast options.
What kind of tortillas should I use for quesadillas?
Flour and corn tortillas work best. Popular gluten-free options made from cassava flour, coconut flour, etc., are often too dry and don’t have the right texture for a good quesadilla. While flour tortillas are great for party food, Hernandez is partial to corn due to the earthier flavor and structural integrity.
How much cheese should I be using?
While you might be inclined to load up on cheese, Hernandez suggests less than 1.5 ounces of cheese on a regular-size corn tortilla and about 2.5 to 3 ounces on a larger flour tortilla for the perfect ratio.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The author of this piece, Bernadette Machard de Gramont, specializes in global food and wine content. She interviewed Austin-based chef Olivia Hernandez for this piece, who was born in Mexico and raised in Los Angeles. Hernandez grew up around her mother’s mobile catering business before receiving her formal culinary training. She went on to become the executive chef at El Cid in Silverlake, and today she continues to run her own catering business, Hernandez Hospitality, where giant flour tortilla quesadillas served with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream are still one of her favorite party foods.