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Salvadorian Quesadilla Recipe

Salvadorian Quesadilla Recipe

Salvadorian Quesadilla or Quesadilla Salvadoreña is a sweet cheese pound cake popular in El Salvador. It has all the ingredients typically used to make cakes such as eggs, butter, flour and baking powder but also has cheese. The ingredients are simply mixed together, poured into a baking dish, sprinkled with sesame seeds and baked.

Ingredients and recipes can vary by region. Some call for wheat, maize or rice flour and the type of cheese used is up to personal taste. Amongst the more popular choices are parmesan, cotija, feta, queso fresco and queso duro blanco or hard cheeses. Traditional versions are made using the cheese queso fresco, a fresh farmers type of cheese. Some recipes also include sour cream.

One of the main ingredients of Quesadilla Salvadoreña is rice flour, giving this dessert the texture of a combination of a pound cake and a loaf of bread. It is often baked in a rectangular baking tray and can be topped with sesame seeds.

More modern variations of Quesadilla Salvadoreña may include flavorings such as lemon, vanilla, or orange extract.

While Quesadilla Salvadoreña shares its name with the Mexican Quesadilla, its recipe and appearance is very different.

Origin & Cultural Significance      

The origin of Quesadilla Salvadoreña is thought to come from quesada pasiega, a Spanish cheese pudding from the 15th century which was likely introduced to El Salvador and adapted over time.

The word quesadilla does not have a literal translation. The ‘quesa’ portion means cheese but the meaning of ‘dilla’ is disputed. A quesadilla is usually a tortilla flatbread, filled with cheese and sometimes other ingredients, folded over and cooked until the cheese has melted and holds everything together.

Salvadoran Quesadilla is slightly unusual – it does contain cheese, but rather than using bread, it begins as a batter. Unlike other quesadillas it is sweet, not savory. It is commonly eaten at breakfast time, as a snack with tea or coffee or as a dessert.

Quesadilla Salvadoreña is often served at local panaderías, or bakeries, traditionally baked on Sunday mornings.

A similar dish can be found in Brazil; the Brazilian Queijadinha is a cheesy coconut tart with a creamy, custard-like texture.

Quesadilla Salvadoreña Recipe

Quesadilla Salvadoreña Recipe

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Quesadilla Salvadoreña is a sweet cake made with rice flour and cheese from El Salvador, with a distinctive blend of sweet and savory flavors.


  • Unsalted butter, melted and cooled - 1 cup
  • All-purpose flour - 2 ½ cups
  • Baking powder - 1 tbsp
  • Kosher salt - ½ tsp
  • Eggs - 7
  • Sugar - 2 cups
  • Vanilla extract - ¾ tsp
  • Cotija cheese (finely grated) - 3 cups
  • Whole milk - 1 cup
  • Sesame seeds - ¼ cup


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Butter a rectangular baking dish or line a pan with parchment.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Separate eggs, placing yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and whites in a separate small bowl.
  5. Add sugar and vanilla to egg yolks and beat on medium-high speed until very pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  6. Reduce speed to medium, add cheese and beat just to combine.
  7. Reduce speed to low. Add milk in 3 additions, incorporating completely after each addition before adding more.
  8. Stream in the melted butter and beat until combined.
  9. Gradually add the dry ingredients and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape batter into a large bowl.
  10. Thoroughly clean and dry mixer bowl to remove any yolk fat.
  11. Combine egg whites and a pinch of salt in bowl.
  12. Using whisk attachment, beat, starting on medium-low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high, until tripled in volume and peaks form, about 2 minutes.
  13. Add half of the egg whites to batter and fold in with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain.
  14. Repeat with remaining egg whites.
  15. Scrape batter into prepared baking dish then sprinkle the sesame seeds over.
  16. Bake, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 24–28 minutes.
  17. Let cool slightly before running a spatula or knife along the sides to loosen the sides. Serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 648Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 217mgSodium: 777mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 1gSugar: 41gProtein: 16g

Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.

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