Trader Joe’s Southwest Style Chicken Quesadillas

Last Updated on November 8, 2023

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No one quite knows exactly how the quesadilla came to be. We know it has some origin in Spanish colonial Mexico. Whether it was imported by the Spanish or had roots with the Aztecs or one of the other indigenous people, we’re not sure.

What we do know is that the quesadilla is, today, a signature Mexican dish that is popular throughout North and Central America. There are no shortage of fun things you can stuff in between those two tortillas, ranging from the ever-simple cheese to a dizzying array of meats and spices. My own family makes tasty shrimp quesadillas, for instance.

If you don’t want to make quesadillas or pay for a restaurant one, grocers often sell them as heat-and-serve items. Trader Joe’s, Aldi’s distant cousin, stocks such a quesadilla, which is what led me to grab a box to try out.

Trader Joe's Southwest Style Chicken Quesadillas

Trader Joe’s Southwest Style Chicken Quesadillas can be found in the store’s frozen section. The 12-ounce box contains two quesadillas in plastic wrap and currently costs $4.49. That comes out to 37 cents an ounce or about $2.25 a quesadilla.

Each quesadilla has 410 calories, 19 grams of fat (24% of your daily recommended value), 11 grams of saturated fat (55% DV), 55 milligrams of cholesterol (18% DV), 440 milligrams of sodium (19% DV), 36 grams of carbohydrates (13% DV), and 23 grams of protein. They also contain three allergens: milk, soy, and wheat.

Trader Joe's Southwest Style Chicken Quesadillas

Nutrition information and ingredients. (Click to enlarge.)

The instructions offer three options: microwave, stovetop, or oven.

For the microwave, remove all packaging. Then, wrap the individual quesadilla in a damp paper towel and place on a microwave-safe dish. Then heat at 50% power for 2 minutes and continue to heat at 1-minute intervals until heated through to 165 degrees. Let sit for 1 minute before serving.

For the stove top, remove all packing. Next, preheat the skillet on medium low heat, adding the quesadilla and covering with a lid. Flip every 3 to 4 minutes until crispy on the outside and cheese is melted in the middle — about 15 minutes, or until heated through to 165 degrees. Brush with butter or oil and let cool 3 minutes before serving.

For the conventional oven, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove all packaging and wrap the individual quesadillas in foil. Place on a baking sheet on the center rack of the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway, or until heated through to 165 degrees. Let cool 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

We tend to make our quesadillas on the skillet, so I decided to do the same with these. I cooked it about 13 minutes and brushed it with oil at the end as instructed.

Trader Joe's Southwest Style Chicken Quesadillas

We thought these were … okay. The flavors seemed more subdued compared to what we’re used to in a quesadilla. We would expect a more seasoned tenor, and instead this feels more flat. It’s not totally lacking in flavor, but we’ve had enough quesadillas, both at home and at restaurants, to count on more. There isn’t much depth here.

The Verdict:

Trader Joe’s frozen quesadillas are a processed food, and unfortunately they end up tasting like a processed food. There isn’t as much flavor as we might have hoped for, even compared to other frozen foods, and that left us a little disappointed. They’re not bad, exactly, but we can’t say they’re great, either. While TJ’s sells some good stuff, this falls more in the middling forgettable category.

About Joshua

Joshua is the Co-founder of Aldi Reviewer. He is also a writer and novelist. You can learn more about him at

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