California Breakfast Quesadilla

California breakfast quesadillas from Kelly Senyei are a breakfast revelation. Why have Tater Tots on the side when you can mix them in with all the other delish ingredients—chorizo, avocado, eggs, Monterey Jack—and make early mornings surprisingly easy? Or brunch, if you’re a sleepyhead.

A California breakfast quesadilla, cut into eight wedges on a plate with a bottle of hot sauce on the side.

Adapted from Kelly Senyei | The Secret Ingredient Cookbook | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021

Breakfast burritos are a religion for this born-and-raised Southern California girl. My favorite fillings include chorizo, scrambled eggs, and Monterey Jack cheese, but the real reason anyone orders a traditional California breakfast burrito is for the extra-crispy potatoes tucked inside the tortilla. With this recipe, you can save yourself precious morning minutes by leaning on store-bought Tater Tots for the star filling and opting for a quesadilla instead of burritos—its wedges make for easy dipping in homemade salsa.–Kelly Senyei


Monterey Jack, like in this very recipe, is a fantastic choice for quesadillas because it’s melty and stretchy. You can also use mozzarella or a combination of both. If you’re in the mood for Mexican cheese for brekkie, go with Oaxaca or Chihuahua cheese. These have the same luxurious melt and stretch, which is why they’re the traditional choice in Mexico. Better yet? Use a mixture of any of these cheeses and find your quesadilla heaven.

California Breakfast Quesadilla

A California breakfast quesadilla, cut into eight wedges on a plate with a bottle of hot sauce on the side.
A kid-friendly quesadilla that uses Tater Tots, chorizo, eggs, and avocado for a filling and quick breakfast (or anytime you're hungry!) treat.

Prep 30 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 45 mins
2 servings
924 kcal
5 from 1 vote
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  • 1/4 pound uncooked chorizo casings removed
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup cooked store-bought or homemade tater tots
  • 1 small avocado peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 2 (10-inch) flour tortillas
  • Salsa for serving


  • In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the chorizo, breaking it apart with a spatula, until it's browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a plate, leaving all drippings in the skillet.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the butter to the drippings in the skillet.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, and pepper.
  • When the butter has melted, add the eggs to the skillet and allow them to cook undisturbed in a single layer, as if you were making an omelet. Use a spatula to lift up the edges of the egg, then tilt the skillet to allow any uncooked egg to run down under the cooked egg.
  • Once the egg is cooked through, sprinkle 1/3 cup cheese on top, then remove the skillet from the heat.
  • Arrange one tortilla on your work surface and slide the eggs into the center of the tortilla, creating an even layer.
  • Wipe out the skillet, then place the egg-topped tortilla in the skillet.
  • Top the eggs with the chorizo, tater tots, sliced avocado, and remaining 1/3 cup cheese, and top with the second tortilla.
  • Place the skillet over medium heat and cook the quesadilla, flipping once, until golden brown and slightly crisp, 2 to 4 minutes per side.

    TESTER TIP: Given the generous fillings inside this quesadilla, flipping it may be tricky. To make it easier, place a plate over the skillet, flip the quesadilla onto the plate and then slide it back into the skillet to brown the other side.

  • Slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board. Slice it into eight wedges and serve with salsa for dipping.
Print RecipeBuy the The Secret Ingredient Cookbook cookbook

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 924kcal (46%)Carbohydrates: 52g (17%)Protein: 37g (74%)Fat: 64g (98%)Saturated Fat: 23g (144%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 457mg (152%)Sodium: 1642mg (71%)Potassium: 901mg (26%)Fiber: 9g (38%)Sugar: 3g (3%)Vitamin A: 1467IU (29%)Vitamin C: 15mg (18%)Calcium: 410mg (41%)Iron: 5mg (28%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

California breakfast quesadilla—I don’t know which word caught my attention first, California, breakfast, or quesadilla, but put them all together and I knew I would love it. And I did. The combination of the ingredients was perfect just as is but while I was making it (and eating it) I couldn’t help but think of all the possibilities for this perfect breakfast quesadilla. You can add or change up the ingredients to meet your personal preference but it is perfect just as written.

I'd also like to point out that this would be fabulous for any meal of the day...not just breakfast. In an effort to save some time, I precooked my chorizo and grated my cheese the day before. I garnished my quesadilla with pico de gallo, sour cream, and sliced jalapenos. Yummilicious!

This will be a perfect summertime brunch entrée! All the goodness of a breakfast burrito, layered in a huge quesadilla. I mean huge! Usually, quesadillas are thin with minimal ingredients, well...this California breakfast quesadilla is thick and stuffed full of goodness. Overall, it was well-liked by my family, and with a few tweaks—to your taste—this is certain to be a crowd-pleaser.

Let’s talk about the construction. The instructions say to slide your egg onto the tortilla…I quickly realized that would be a disaster for me. [Read: My beautiful egg was slightly stuck in the middle of the skillet and the skillet was too large for my hands to maneuver all of that at one time.] No worries, I grabbed a dinner plate, placed the tortilla inside, and inverted it over my egg. One flip and I had the egg layer out of the skillet, and onto the tortilla sitting perfectly on the plate.

Now onto the other layers. It will be much easier to quickly wipe out your skillet, spray a little cooking spray then slide the egg and tortilla (right side up) back into the skillet. I lost a few chorizo crumbles off the side of my tortilla (and that’s when I thought of transferring the tortilla and egg back to the skillet prior to adding the next layers). It was less fuss and clean-up to complete the construction inside the skillet.

I came across mini tater tots in my grocery, which was better to layer on the quesadilla but I should have used more because no one really tasted the tots consistently. Next time I'll add more minis, use hash brown patties, or swap in an O’Brien-style potato hash with bell peppers.

The avocado was similar. We could taste the creamy texture but it wasn’t a pronounced star of the show. A slight mash and seasoning may also be a reasonable alteration (salt, pepper flakes, perhaps lime).

I let each side of my quesadilla brown a little more than 3 minutes per side because 2 minutes wasn’t long enough for the first side. With this being such a large and stuffed quesadilla it may be hard to flip up a bottom edge to see the degree of browning. I used the dinner plate here as well to flip the quesadilla from one side to the other without tearing the tortilla or losing the filling.

The wedges were so thick, that I just set out store-bought salsa, leftover tater tots, and another peeled avocado for condiments and sides.

Start to finish this took about an hour, so easily doable for even the busiest meals (even if you have to double/triple the recipe – 8 wedges per 10-inch quesadilla). If I were to double this, then I would probably pull out my griddle versus using a skillet to brown the quesadillas.

Originally published June 6, 2021


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