Make mini chicken quesadillas with your child for a fun and easy toddler-friendly recipe. Perfect snack or lunch for kids!
This recipe first appeared on my food blog Babaganosh: Mini Chicken Quesadillas.
Mini chicken quesadillas are the perfect recipe to make with toddlers because they're easy to put together. I also include some tips for how to make this activity a success... because we all know cooking with toddlers can get so messy!
This is the perfect first recipe to try making with your toddler because it is not too messy, is super quick to put together so they won't lose interest, and they can really get hands-on with it!
Why you should cook with your toddler
Cooking with toddlers has many benefits! Here is why you should cook with your toddler:
- Cooking with toddlers is a great way for them to be involved in the foods they eat
- Cooking is a great life skill for toddlers to learn. My son is so proud when he knows he is helping! (Here are 22 life skills for toddlers that we are trying to teach our son)
- Getting involved with cooking hands-on is a great sensory activity, allowing toddlers to touch foods they might not always eat at the table in a "safe space" without the pressure to eat
- It teaches fine motor skills, especially if your kids can help you put together quesadillas, or use a toddler-safe knife to dice ingredients (this is the knife our son uses, and it actually cuts veggies and seems safe so far!)
- It is a great way to have your toddler in the kitchen with you while you cook so you can keep an eye on him on her
- Cooking together is a great way to spend time together
Mini quesadillas for mini hands
I love using small taco and fajita tortillas to make quesadillas with my son. The ~5-8 inch tortillas are perfect for little hands. Since the tortillas are smaller, they don't have to be cut into thirds and don't fall apart like traditional huge quesadillas.
It's a perfect serving size for toddlers.
I usually try to find the softest wheat tortillas for my son because he doesn't do great with bread textures. Of course, if your child is gluten-free, then look for gluten-free corn tortillas. Or if your child is less picky and doesn't have gluten allergies, you can opt for whole wheat tortillas for a little more nutrition.
Making quesadillas with toddlers
Quesadillas are a GREAT recipe to make with toddlers! Most quesadillas are easy to assemble and toddlers can certainly help place all the ingredients on the tortilla.
You can also personalize the quesadillas with different ingredients for everyone, which is great for picky eater toddlers. If your toddler doesn't eat chicken, skip it! If they don't love cheese, then only add a tiny bit to hold all the fillings together... or just skip the cheese! Just heat up a tortilla with some chicken in it and call it a quesadilla.
Talk to your child about what you are doing, what ingredients you need, and how to put the quesadilla together. Then when you're eating the quesadillas, talk about it all again to reinforce what they learned, so next time your child can lead the way. This will help him or her feel independent and confident in the kitchen, which means they'll keep wanting to learn to cook with you.
Work on the motor skills as your child opens the package of quesadillas, opens the zip-lock cheese packaging, shreds the chicken.
Sensory play! Get your child to touch all the ingredients and place them on the tortilla.
Safety first! Of course, you should be the one to actually cook the quesadilla. Make sure to keep your child away from the how skillet and stove, and allow the quesadilla to cool down before you let your child touch it.
I often use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes from the tortilla, since my son is a picky eater and doesn't always eat bread textures. Cookie cutters are my #1 go-to trick to getting my son to eat sandwiches, pancakes, and quesadillas. (By the way, here are other ways to get a picky toddler to eat).
Exposure to veggies
If you have a picky eater toddler like I do, he or she might not eat veggies. Putting some fresh tomato salsa or fresh guacamole next to the quesadilla is a great way to expose your toddler to veggies in a low-pressure way. They don't HAVE to dip the quesadilla, but it's there in case they decide they want to eat some veggies.
Here is a blog post I wrote about food chaining and how to get your child to eat tomatoes.
And here is a blog post about how I got my toddler to eat his first vegetable.
Looking for more toddler-friendly recipes?
- Ham egg and cheese breakfast pockets
- Kid-friendly chicken noodle vegetable soup
- Kid friendly Instant Pot recipes for picky eaters
- Mini broccoli quesadillas
- Tuna nuggets
- Easy tuna salad
- Mashed potato nuggets
- Hawaiian chicken salad with pineapple
- 13 Hidden vegetable recipes for toddlers
- 11 Hidden-vegetable toddler-friendly breakfast recipes
- Homemade Jello with fresh fruit and juice - another great recipe to make with toddlers and a great sensory activity! MUCH healthier than store-bought jello mix
- Vegetable soup for picky eaters
- Monster popcorn
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- 2 small tortillas (wheat, whole wheat, or gluten-free)
- ¼ - ½ cup shredded cooked chicken (to taste)
- ¼ cup - ⅓ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or cheddar, or other meltable cheese of your choice)
- Have your child help with this: Arrange the shredded chicken and cheese on each quesadilla. Fold in half.
- Have an adult do this: Place both quesadillas on a pre-heated 9-inch skillet over medium-low heat and cover with a lid. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Carefully flip each quesadilla and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side, uncovered, or until golden brown and the cheese melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes before letting your child handle the quesadillas.
You can try to sneak in a few leaves of baby spinach into these if you don't have a super picky toddler
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 221Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 337mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 10g
The nutritional information provided is just an estimate and will vary based on the actual ingredients you use. If you are tracking nutrition for yourself or your child, check with a nutritionist, dietitian, or pediatrician about whether this recipe is right for you or your child.