When To Cook Quesadillas Over Medium Vs. High Heat

A gooey, cheesy quesadilla is typically deemed one of the more straightforward Mexican dishes. Traditionally, it only requires a flour tortilla, melty cheese, and the occasional meat tossed in. Part of why it's also a favorite among so many is because of how easy it is to customize to your personal preferences with options like shredded chicken, seasoned beef, black beans, and caramelized onions. However, the technique of searing it in a skillet until melted and slightly toasty is actually a bit daunting to master. 

Getting the right texture outcome for a quesadilla truly takes patience. When you're hungry, it's understandable to want to crank the heat as high as possible, but this often yields a burnt tortilla with a room-temperature cheese filling. But what if we told you that high heat is okay in certain circumstances? It all just depends on which kitchen appliance you have. To get perfect quesadillas use high heat on a gas stove and medium heat on an electric stovetop. 

How to use high heat and medium heat techniques, depending on your stovetop

If you're working with a gas stove, high heat is the way to go. This may seem surprising considering gas stovetops consist of an open flame, seemingly heating your pan quicker and making it aggressively hotter. However, this type of stove yields more control with little to zero residual heat. That means, when the burner is off, the pan is cooling much quicker. Furthermore, the open flame allows for even cooking with both the exterior and interior of the dish cooking at a similar rate. This is not so much the case with electric stovetops.

When cooking your quesadilla in a skillet over an electric stovetop, it's best to crank the heat to medium and no hotter. This is because an electric burner transfers heat through electromagnetic coils and straight onto anything consisting of metal. This basically means that heat is transferred quicker and more intensely towards your cookware, which is made of metal, cooking food much faster. In addition, once the burner is turned off, there is residual heat that will continue to cook the food, risking a burnt quesadilla. Because you want your tortilla to heat up slowly so that the cheese gets a chance to melt, medium heat is where it's at if you're cooking with an electric stovetop.