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The History of the Quesadilla: How Did This Famous Mexican Pastry Come To Be?

America is a melting pot of races, where different people from lands far away live together as one nation, despite their several differences in thinking, attitudes, and personalities. With the diverse influences, history, and culture coexisting and intertwining together, the USA has become a country brimming with rich traditions and unique cuisines you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

There’s nothing like the favors of America! With the intertwining of culinary traditions from different countries, almost every dish you can find in every state introduces a world of flavors that’s unquestionably appetizing and absolutely unforgettable.

However, among the foods and flavors introduced by different races, Mexican cuisine has been among the most welcomed foods in America, translating traditional food into cookbooks, restaurants, and even grocery products.

The Influence of Mexican Food in American Cuisine

Mexico is rich in culinary history, food being an essential part of its culture and traditions. Its cuisine boasts a wide selection of dishes of all kinds, reflecting the diverse landscape and linking to cultures spanning thousands of years back.

Before Hispanics formed the largest minority group in the U.S. and its culture became a crucial aspect of the American food industry, Mexican food began to influence American culture during the last half of the 1900s. Towards the end of the 20th century, Mexican-inspired foods merged into the mainstream, found in every corner of the country.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the arrival of Mexican immigrants and the increase of Mexican American residents ushered in a food revolution! Tortillas, tacos, enchiladas, and salsas are only a few of the many foods now an integral part of American cuisine.

But aside from traditional foods gracing the palates of Americans over the years, American culture has also influenced Mexican food back, leading to the creation of beloved Americanized versions of dishes, such as burritos, chili, and, of course, quesadillas!

Where Did the Quesadilla Come From?

If there were a list of the best Mexican foods ever, quesadilla would undoubtedly be at the top of that list. No Mexican restaurant would be complete without a serving of quesadilla on their menu—that’s how much it’s regarded among food places across America.

But, how did quesadilla become this popular anyway?

Many believe that the quesadilla was introduced to the West by Spaniards, but it actually originated in the south-central regions of Mexico. The earliest form of quesadillas was described as an empanada, filled with ingredients and made to be portable.

The Evolution of the Quesadilla

Corn tortillas were already a popular dish among the Aztec people, their version stuffed with squash and pumpkin and baked in clay ovens, to be served as dessert. However, the quesadilla evolved from sweet to savory in 1521, when Spanish settlers brought cows, lambs, and sheep to New Spain.

Due to the introduction of meat and dairy products, the indigenous people added cheese to their corn tortillas, thus signifying the birth of the quesadilla we all know and love today.

As the quesadilla became more popular, it was adapted across different regions based on the availability of ingredients. Today, you’ll find countless variations of the quesadilla, depending on where you are!


What used to be strictly part of Mexican immigrant culture has become an irreplaceable dish in American cuisine! The fillings may vary for each Mexican restaurant you visit, but one fact remains unchanging—the love of quesadilla will continue to connect Americans all over the globe, just like the melted cheese meant to hold the fillings of a tortilla together.

Are you in the mood for the best Mexican food in Lincoln? Then, you’ve come to the right place! For 75 years, Nachos Mexican Grille & More has served thousands of families with passion and local fresh ingredients, satisfying taste buds across the Lincoln, New Hampshire area. Browse our menu to see the best authentic Mexican food we have to offer!

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