Salvadoran Quesadilla Recipe

I took an “international cooking class” in high school and for some part of it I talked to my abuela and got her recipe for quesadilla. Quesadilla Salvadoreña is like, sweet cheese poundcake? It’s a unique flavour and delicious as hell. I won’t do the recipe blog thing and super front-load this with chat, so let me just say teenage me wrote the recipe like crap and I had to reconstruct it from an overly simplified, ultra mid-century and Americanised version. I think that it’s a little lighter than quesadilla I’ve encountered other places, but it tastes right and that’s what matters.

Obligatory photo of ingredients before recipe

Salvadoran Quesadilla

Makes two 8 x 4 x 2 ½ in loaf pans


  • 2 egg
  • one stick/half cup salted butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1½ cup Bisquick
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup Parmesan shredded finely (I used ¼ cup Sarvecchio, ¼ cup Sole Gran Queso, because they’re nutty and round flavoured)
  • ½ cup crema Mexicana


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F while you put things together
  2. Cream butter and sugar in large bowl
  3. Add eggs to butter and sugar, mix until fluffy
  4. Mix baking powder into Bisquick
  5. Add Bisquick-baking powder to bowl while, about 1/3 at a time
  6. Add Parmesan to bowl, mix well
  7. Add crema to bowl, mix well
  8. Split batter between two 8 x 4 x 2 ½ loaf pans, filling them about halfway
  9. Bake for 40 minutes at 350°F
  10. Check for doneness and bake another 5 minutes until done, repeat as needed
  11. Quesadilla is done when it has a deep golden crust and inserted toothpick comes out clean
  12. Let cool a bit and serve, sprinkle with sesame seeds as delicious garnish


And here’s the chat bit. Yes, Bisquick, weird, right? But when you go looking for recipes, a lot use Bisquick, though rice flour is also suggested. My abuela said Bisquick and it works for me. Here’s the problem, I normally don’t cook with regular flour, I cook with almond flour and hoo boy did I forget that regular flour rises? It rises a lot.

Quesadilla overflowing pan

There were some other things not perfect on the first try tidying up this recipe anyway, and it was still delicious, so no real loss. Plus, it was eaten completely before I got home from work and errands the next day, so more needed to be made anyway! Please enjoy the horrorshow of notes I took while baking.

Scribbled recipe notes

As a Latinx person who was not given more than scraps of their family’s culture, small things like this (or, how when visiting a friend we can just walk to the tienda and buy quesadilla) are invaluable. I’ve carried the typed up, high school recipe with me since I moved out but never made it in the decade and a half since I did for a class, despite it being delicious. This year, for varying reasons, I’ve worked to reclaim things that were denied me or that I thought I wasn’t worthy of.

Ha, to think my subconscious told me I wasn’t worthy of a recipe my own father’s mother gave me! But, by the time I was around, my abuela never cooked anything I could point to as distinctly Salvadoran. She’d make tamales and send them with my dad, but I never ate them. I think my folks let them freezer burn until they could justify throwing them away. Assimilation is a hell of a drug.

Also published on Medium.