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Whenever we’re craving something cheesy and delicious in a hurry, I turn to these effortless sincronizadas! This is a simple twist on a quesadilla recipe that brings together ham, melty cheese, and refried beans between two crispy flour tortillas.
This recipe for cheese and ham-filled homemade sincronizadas is incredibly kid friendly and one of my easiest family dinner ideas. They come together in minutes and you can pair these quesadilla-like tortillas with all your favorite taco toppings.
A bite of a crispy Mexican sincronizada is just a mouthful of deliciousness. They’re filled with a simple combo of salty ham and melted cheese, along with homemade refried beans sandwiched between golden, pan-fried flour tortillas. And while I say simple, these hot toasted numbers are exploding with flavor.
Why You’ll Love this Sincronizadas Recipe
- Quick & easy. Sincronizadas come together in minutes. You’ll go from prep to meal time in 15 minutes.
- Filling. Thanks to the meat, beans and cheese this simple recipe is super satisfying.
- Flexible. You can add all sorts of toppings to customize your sincronizada. Sour cream, guacamole and salsa are my favorites.
- Delicious. What’s not to love about crisp flour tortillas stuffed with melty cheese, refried beans and tender ham?
What Are Sincronizadas?
Sincronizadas are a traditional Mexican dish made from flour tortillas typically layered with cheese, ham, and veggies.
Based on that description, you might be thinking “so, it’s basically a quesadilla?” And it’s true that they’re similar, but not quite the same. There are some subtle differences in the art of the sincronizada:
- Sincronizadas are stacked, not folded. Quesadillas typically involve folding a tortilla over fillings and then frying. Sincronizadas are more of a tortilla sandwich, made with two flour tortillas stacked with the filling in between. (Although, to make things even more confusing, you can also make quesadillas and mulitas like this.)
- A sincronizada recipe will almost always use flour tortillas. Whereas you can use either flour or corn tortillas for quesadillas.
- Sincronizadas are filled with more than just cheese. While a quesadilla doesn’t require any fillings apart from cheese to qualify as a quesadilla, a sincronizada recipe specifically includes ham and cheese. You can, of course, add in any other ingredients you’d like, such as the refried beans in this recipe.
Despite their differences, more often than not, a sincronizada is viewed as a double-stacked quesadilla and it’s a sort of po-tay-to vs. po-tah-to situation. There’s really no right or wrong way to enjoy delicious homestyle Mexican cooking (just take a look at my over-the-top mulitas recipe!). My family’s sincronizadas are a fast and delicious dinner that you can have on the table in 20 minutes or less.
This is a simple recipe that comes together with only 6 ingredients. Meanwhile it packs in loads of flavor, perfect for a hearty and quick weeknight dinner. Below is an overview of what you’ll need to make these homemade sincronizadas, with the full details available in the recipe card.
- Flour tortillas – Make sure you’re buying true, authentic flour tortillas and not the kind made from a corn/flour/whole wheat mix. If you know how to make them yourself, all the better!
- Ham – I use slices of thick-cut ham for my recipe. You could also layer deli ham or use leftover cooked ham if you’d like.
- Refried beans – I love making these sincronizadas using my homemade recipe for frijoles refritos (Mexican refried beans). You can use refried beans from a can, too, if you prefer.
- Cheese – A traditional sincronizada recipe calls for Oaxaca cheese, however, a nice cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack also works perfectly.
- Olive oil – Or another mild oil, like canola or avocado oil, for brushing the tortillas. Oil gets the outsides nice and crispy.
- Guacamole, salsa and sour cream – For serving.
How to Make Sincronizadas
Sincronizadas are quick to assemble and fry up fast and easy on a griddle or in a skillet. If you’re using a smallish skillet, I suggest working in batches. You can heat your oven on low and place the finished sincronizadas inside to keep warm while you cook the others. Either way, they’re going to turn out delicious!
Let’s get started on this simple and tasty, 3-step Mexican night favorite.
- Assemble the tortillas. Lay out three tortillas and smear about a half cup of refried beans over each. Next, place the ham slices over the beans.
- Add the cheese. Move the assembled tortillas ham-side-up to a preheated skillet or griddle. Sprinkle some cheese over each tortilla, and then place a second tortilla over top and brush with olive oil. Let the first side cook.
- Cook. After a few minutes, flip the sincronizadas over to cook the next side. Once both sides are golden and crispy, remove your sincronizadas from the pan and allow them to cool for a bit. Finally, slice the crispy filled tortillas into wedges and serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, or any of your preferred toppings. See some of our favorite ways to enjoy these in the serving suggestions later on!
Tips for Success
Here are some observations I’ve picked up while making these sincronizadas at home:
- Keep an eye on the tortillas while they cook. Flour tortillas are notorious for toasting up quicker than expected in a hot pan. To avoid an overly crispy or burnt tortilla, keep a close watch while your sincronizadas are cooking, and check the level of brownness frequently.
- No ingredients are off-limits. Like many other Mexican or Tex-Mex recipes, these sincronizadas leave tons of room for customization and variations. Throw in some sautéed veggies, extra cheese, or even shredded meat. If you love a spicy kick, go ahead and add hot sauce or sliced jalapeños. You can also garnish these pan-fried quesadillas with cilantro, lime wedges, and more. I’ve included a few recommendations in the next section, but there’s really no reason to hold back!
How to Store and Reheat Extras
Leftover sincronizadas will keep fresh when stored airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days. I recommend storing them in a glass container with a lid, to preserve the flavor. To reheat, simply pop the sincronizadas back into a skillet for a minute or two to crisp them up again. If you’re in a hurry, you can also warm them up in the microwave in bursts.
If you’re looking to keep your leftovers for longer, sincronizadas can be frozen. Store them in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 2-3 months, and reheat from frozen.
More Mexican Recipes to Try
- 6 flour tortillas, 6 inch
- 6 slices of thick-cut ham
- 1 ½ cups refried beans
- 1 ½ – 2 cups Oaxaca cheese, or Monterey Jack, or cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, for brushing the tortillas (may need more)
- Guacamole, salsa, and sour cream for serving
- Assemble the tortillas. Lay 3 tortillas out on a cutting board and cover each one with about 1/2 cup of refried beans. Divide the ham slices among the tortillas.
- Cook. Warm about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium in a large skillet or on a griddle. Place the 3 tortillas you added the beans and ham to, ham side up. Divide the cheese among the tortillas, then top each one with another tortilla. With a pastry brush, add a bit of olive oil to the tops of the tortillas. With a large spatula, flip over the sincronizadas after a few minutes to brown the other side.
- Serve. The sincronizadas are done when they are light golden and crispy on both sides. Remove from the pan and let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving with guacamole, sour cream and salsa.
- If you have a small skillet you may need to cook your sincronizadas in batches. If that is the case, place an oven-safe plate in your oven and heat it to 200F. Place the cooked sincronizadas on the plate to keep warm in between batches.