Best Chicken Fajitas

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How many of you get giddy over a sizzling platter of chicken fajitas, steak fajitas, pork fajitas or shrimp fajaitas at restaurant, so piping hot the waiter has to remind you not to touch the plate?! The juicy chicken, warm homemade tortillas, the hearty beans and rice, fresh pico de gallo, the cooling sour cream and creamy guacamole.  Ah, that’s the good stuff.

And now, I am equally as giddy to bring you restaurant delicious chicken fajitas into the the comfort of your own home! This Chicken Fajita recipe is one of my all time favorite dinners and you will be blown away at both how easy AND how delicious they are and strongly tempted to say adios to your favorite restaurant fajitas because these are just that good.

This Chicken Fajita recipe is bursting with the most flavorful chicken that’s beautifully charred on the outside and juicy on the inside.   I promise you will want to use this chicken for more than just fajitas.
You can prep your chicken and veggies in your slippers in the morning or late at night and devour them in the comfort of your own home without even changing your slippers or fighting the crowds. Serve your Chicken Fajitas with a stack of warm tortillas, guacamole, sour cream,  salsa and a side of rice/black beans and you might just have the most perfect Mexican meal ever. Not that’s the good stuff.

WHERE DO CHICKEN FAJITAS COME FROM?


Chicken steak or shrimp fajitas have to be one of my favorite Mexican foods and one of the most beloved Mexican foods, right alongside tortilla soup, carne

asada, carnitas, tacos, burritos and enchiladas so I was surprised to find that fajitas don’t come from Mexico at all!  Fajitas originated in Texas in the 1930s when vaqueros (Mexican cowboys) cooked skirt steak –  then throwaway butcher meat- over the campfire.  In fact, Fajita has its roots in Tex Mex –  the word faja is Spanish for “strip,” or “belt,” and “ita” means little describing the little strips of meat.  (Austin Chronicle)

It wasn’t until the 1980s that what we know as Steak and Chicken Fajitas served with sizzling onions and peppers alongside tortillas rice and beans were popularized by numerous restaurants in Texas.  Before that, fajitas as we know them, where relatively unknown (except as a cut of meat)  even in Mexican food rich states as California and Arizona!  Mind blown.

WHAT CHICKEN IS BEST FOR FAJITAS?

You have two options when it comes to what chicken you would like to use for this Chicken Fajita recipe, either chicken thighs or chicken breasts. In the end, I think it comes down to personal preference.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts:  are leaner than thighs but still emerge wonderfully juicy from the chicken fajita marinade and are traditionally used in Chicken Fajitas. 
  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs: are dark meat and therefore inherently juicier and more forgiving as far as cooking time.  It is hard to dry out chicken thighs, so they are always a winner.

HOW DO YOU CUT CHICKEN BREAST FOR FAJITAS?

You are going to want to use thin chicken breasts for this Chicken Fajitas recipe. You can either purchase chicken fillets or create your own by slicing 2 chicken breasts through the equator to create 4 thinner cuts. Once your chicken is cooked, cut the fillets into strips about 1/-2-inch thick or less. Slice the chicken against the grain in order to shorten the tough fibers.
serving best chicken fajitas with sliced seared chicken, bell peppers, and onions in a skillet

CHICKEN FAJITA MARINADE

The most effective way to infuse chicken with flavor and tenderize it at the same time is with a marinade.   Our dynamic Chicken Fajita Marinade also allows you to use leaner cuts of chicken like chicken breasts without the chicken drying out.  Of course, you are welcome to use chicken thighs if you prefer.

With a recipe as simple as these Chicken Fajitas –  when all we are doing is marinating chicken then cooking –  the marinade needs to be seasoned to perfection.  I give you as close to perfection as it comes with this Chicken Fajita Marinade.

The ingredient list is somewhat lengthy, but remember, all we are doing is dumping and stirring and each spice, each dash of citrus, each splash of liquid smoke works together to create an explosion of epic fiesta proportions.

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN CHICKEN FAJITA MARINADE?

  • olive oiluse quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
  • orange juice: freshly squeezed is best but you can use bottled orange juice if it is pure fleshly squeezed without any additives.
  • lime juiceyou will need the juice from about one lime.
  • soy sauceuse reduced sodium soy sauce so we can control the salt.
  • brown sugar: balances the tangy orange, lime juice and umami of the soy.
  • Dijon mustard: adds a hint of acid and tangy heat.
  • liquid smoke: adds a wonderful smokey flavor to the chicken as if it has been grilled on an outdoor barbecue over a hot flame.  It elevates these Chicken Fajitas to the best ever!
  • fajita seasonings: we make a homemade fajita seasoning blend with pantry friendly seasonings of chili powderground cumin, garlic powderonion powdersmoked paprika,chipotle chili powderdried oregano and pepper.

DO I HAVE TO ADD CHIPOTLE CHILI POWDER?

You are probably familiar with all of the chicken fajita marinade ingredients except perhaps chipotle chili powder and liquid smoke – but I recommend purchasing them both as they will (or should) become pantry staples.
Chipotle Chili powder is ground up dried chipotles and adds a smokey heat as opposed to just pure heat. It can be found in any grocery store along with the rest of the seasonings.  It is sometimes called chipotle chili pepper or chipotle chile powder. If you need to make these Chicken Fajitas NOW, then you can substitute the chipotle chili powder with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper is spicier, so that is why you’ll want use less.

DO I HAVE TO ADD LIQUID SMOKE?

Liquid smoke (it really is liquid smoke!), is worth seeking out. I use it in many of my recipes from Mexican Chicken to BBQ Brisket to these Chicken Fajitas. Liquid smoke is created by capturing smoke as it rises through a combustion chamber filled with wood chips to a condenser.  In the condenser, the smoke cools and forms a liquid, thus liquid smoke.  (thank you Wikipedia).  It is a very common ingredient and should be easy to find next to the barbecue sauces in your grocery store.

HOW DO I MAKE JUICY, TENDER CHICKEN FAJITAS?

The dynamite Chicken Fajita marinade transforms the chicken into a juicy, flavor bomb worthy of the title “best Chicken Fajitas.”  The marinade accomplishes three things:  1) tenderizes the chicken, 2) infuses it with flavor and 3) chemically changes its structure so it retains juices and actually becomes juicier.   I’ve outlined how the ingredients below adeptly accomplish this:
  • Citrus:  orange juice and lime juice tenderize the chicken by breaking down the tough connective tissue. They also infuse the chicken with bright floral tones characteristic of Chicken Fajitas that complement the earthy seasonings. 
  • Soy sauce:  enzymatically breaks down the proteins to further tenderize while also adding a rich depth of grounding flavor.
  • Seasonings: the homemade fajita seasoning mix penetrates the chicken inside and out and is the perfect, robust blend.
  • Oil:  is crucial as it spreads the oil-soluble flavors more evenly across the chicken and also promotes even browning when cooking.

CHICKEN FAJITA MARINADE TIPS

The Chicken Fajita marinade is SO easy – just whisking ingredients together – but here are some tips and tricks when it comes to marinating your chicken to maintain sanitary conditions and food safety:
  • What containers to use: For easy cleanup, use food-safe plastic bags during storage, and discard the bags after marinating. You may also use food grade plastic, stainless steel, or glass containers to marinate food.  If you marinate in a container instead of a plastic bag, cover the container during storage in the refrigerator.
  • Where to marinate: Always marinate chicken for a prolonged period of time in the refrigerator, never on the counter. You can marinate on the counter for 30 minutes to help bring the chicken to room temperature and cook evenly, but no longer.
  • Reusing marinade: Never reuse marinade used for raw chicken or meat unless you boil it first to destroy any harmful bacteria. Instead, we are going to reserve 2 tablespoons of the marinade to add to the vegetables later.
  • Cook it safely: Be sure to use a food thermometer and cook chicken to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
showing how to make chicken fajitas by searing chicken in a cast iron skillet

WHAT ARE THE BEST TORTILLAS FOR CHICKEN FAJITAS?

I am constantly getting messages asking what my favorite tortillas are.  And I’m glad you’re asking because quality tortillas make a HUGE difference between good fajitas and good tacos and the BEST fajitas and BEST tacos!
 
The following recommendations are not affiliates, just my affections:

CORN TORTILLAS

I love La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortillas. They are thicker, homemade tortillas that never break or tear even when charred and piled with toppings.  I find mine at Sprouts.  They come in 8 per package. They are definitely more expensive BUT less than dining out!
Be aware that this brand of corn tortillas is not gluten free as it does contain corn AND wheat.

FLOUR TORTILLAS

I am less picky when it comes to flour tortillas because most brand won’t crumble, unlike corn tortillas.  I like Guerro brand tortillas which is probably the easiest brand to find at your local grocery store.

HOW DO I MAKE EASY CHICKEN FAJITAS?

  1. Slice Chicken.  The Chicken Fajitas recipe starts by slicing 2 chicken breasts in half horizontally.  This ensures tender chicken that doesn’t dry out.
  2. Marinate  Chicken.  And then comes the magic.  The chicken is marinated in your homemade chicken fajita seasoning of chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, garlic, etc. swirled in a bath of lime juice, orange juice, soy sauce, and Dijon Mustard.  Marinate in the refrigerator 6 hours up to overnight (longer the better).
  3. Cook Chicken.  When ready to cook, let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes, this ensures even cooking.  Next, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, dab excess marinade off chicken (so it will sear) and add to skillet. Cook chicken undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, or until nicely browned (or blackened if you prefer) on one side. Turn chicken over, cover (this keeps the chicken moist), and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 2-4 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Rest Chicken.  Remove cooked chicken to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes before slicing across the grain into strips.  This resting time allows for moisture  to redistribute and reabsorb evenly throughout the chicken. If you slice your chicken without letting it rest, the juices will ooze out and you will be left with dry chicken.
  5. Cook Vegetables.  While the chicken is resting, add 1 tablespoon oil to the leftover juices in the skillet along with reserved 2 tablespoons marinade. The reserved marinade is a little trick that infuses the vegetables with loads of flavor (this is marinade that has never touched raw chicken).  Heat over medium high heat. Add onions and saute 1 minute. Add bell peppers and saute for 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Add sliced chicken and toss to coat.
  6. Assemble: Layer tortillas with Chicken Fajita mixture and desired toppings.

HOW TO GRILL CHICKEN FAJITAS

If you would like to grill your Chicken Fajitas instead of cook on the stove top, you’ll want to quarter the bell peppers and onions and toss in the reserved 2 tablespoons marinade before grilling. After grilling, slice the bell peppers and onions.
  • Prep: Grease and preheat grill to medium heat, 375 to 420°F. Drain chicken from the marinade and pat dry.
  • Grill:  Grill the boneless chicken breasts and thighs undisturbed for 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 165 degrees F when chicken is done.)

TIPS AND TRICK TO MAKE EASY CHICKEN FAJITAS

  • Quality tortillas.  Try and purchase QUALITY corn tortillas – you can taste the difference! I’ve discussed this in greater detail above.
  • Pound chicken to an even thickness.  This not only helps the chicken cook more evenly but tenderizes it as well.  If you don’t have a meat mallet, you can use the side of a can.  I place my chicken in the Ziploc bag I’m going to marinate it in for convenience.
  • Don’t over-marinate.  The Chicken Fajita marinade is highly acidic which means you don’t want to marinate the chicken as long as you would in a marinade without as much citrus.  Don’t marinate much longer than 18 hours or the muscle fibers can break down and become mushy.
  • Marinate long enough.  I recommend marinating the chicken for at least 6 hours.  This will infuse the chicken with TONS of flavor and optimal juiciness. 
  • Bring chicken to room temperature before cooking.  You always want to let any protein sit at room temperature before cooking in order for it to cook evenly so you aren’t left with an overcooked exterior and cold interior. This also relaxes the cold fibers for juicier results.
  • Use a cast iron skillet.  A cast iron skillet will give you the best sear for authentic tasting, Chicken Fajitas.  If you don’t own a cast iron skillet, make sure your pan is sizzling hot before you add your chicken.
  • Don’t overcook.  For the juiciest Chicken Fajitas, don’t overcook the chicken. Use a meat thermometer and cook just to 165 degrees F.  
  • Let chicken rest.  After the chicken is cooked, it is important to let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.  While the chicken cooks, the juices are forced away from the heat to the middle of the protein.  The resting time allows for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the breast.
  • Add something creamy.  You will want to add something creamy to the Chicken Fajitas to marry all of the textures together.  I love the Chipotle Lime Crema included in the recipe, but you can also use easy sour cream, Greek yogurt or avocado crema. 
  • Lime juice to taste.  Don’t forget the lime!  The lime brightens and enlivens the earthy fajita flavors.

DO I HAVE TO WARM TORTILLAS FOR CHICKEN FAJITAS?

I HIGHLY recommend warming your tortillas for the BEST Chicken Fajitas recipe.  Not only do warm tortillas become softer and the ideal non-jarring, melt-in-your mouth temperature, but the flavors are accentuated when warmed.  If you attempt to use room temperature or cold tortillas, you’ll find their temperature isn’t nearly as appetizing and they aren’t as pliable and soft.  Lower quality corn tortillas are also likely to break if not warmed.
You can easily warm your tortillas for these Chicken Fajitas in SECONDS using any of my below methods: open flame, skillet, microwave or oven, with the microwave being the quickest.

HOW TO WARM TORTILLAS:

  • Open Flame (gas stove or grill):  this method is how I achieve the smoky char you see on the tortillas and is best with FRESH/homemade tortillas as previously discussed.    I simply add the tortillas directly to the burner of my gas stove then flip with tongs once they are charred on one side.  You can also accomplish this on the grill as well.  If you are using lower quality corn tortillas, you will want to take special care not to over-char or they will become brittle and break.  You still want the tortillas soft and pliable. 
  • Skillet:  heat a skillet (or griddle if you have one) to medium high heat (do not grease).  Working with one tortilla at a time (more for a griddle), heat each side of the tortilla for approximately 20-30 seconds until warm and soft.  You are not looking for char marks with this method.
  • Microwave:  working with about 5 tortillas at a time, stack tortillas on a microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel.  Microwave for 20 seconds on high, then repeat at 10 second intervals if needed until warmed through.
  • Oven:  create separate stacks of about 5 tortillas each, then wrap each stack in foil.   Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through (you can bake all stacks at once).
Once your tortillas are warmed (with any method), keep them warm and pliable by stacking on a plate and covering with a slightly dampened, paper towel or clean towel.

CHICKEN FAJITA VARIATIONS

  • Versatile bell peppers.  You can use whatever combo of peppers you like.  You can even add more peppers if you prefer.
  • Add beans. Add warmed black beans or pinto beans directly to your tortillas before er piling on the chicken and bell peppers.
  • Add Veggies. You can add additional veggies or swap some of the bell peppers for veggies such as corn, zucchini, sweet potatoes, etc.
  • Corn Salsa.  I’m obsessed with sweet, smoky, crunchy, juicy corn salsa.  I’ve already used in my pork tacos and think it belongs on everything!  OR you can just serve it on the side with some chips.
  • Add pineapple or pineapple salsa.  Freshly chopped pineapple or grilled sweet and smoky pineapple salsa pair beautifully with Chicken Fajitas and add a delightfully juicy, sweet freshness.
  • Add Mexican French Fries.   Add Mexican French fries to the bottom of your tortilla like in California Burritos – because fries make everything better!
  • Shrimp Substitute.  You can substitute chicken for raw, deveined, shrimp.   The shrimp should only be marinated 30 minutes at room temperature and will only take 5 minutes or so to cook – just until opaque.
  • Spice it up.  The spice level as written should be perfect for most people but if you know you love spicy then feel free to add extra cayenne pepper or you can add hot sauce to taste to the assembled chicken fajitas.

WHAT CAN I PREP AHEAD?

These Chicken Fajitas can be prepped ahead so when it comes time to cook, it’s just 10 minutes to dinner.
  • Marinade: Whisk all the marinade ingredients together and either store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or proceed to marinate your chicken.
  • Vegetables: Slice your bell peppers and onions and store in an an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
  • Toppings: pico de gallo and guacamole are common toppings for Chicken Fajitas. Pico de gallo and guacamole can be made the morning you plan on serving the fajitas.

HOW LONG DO CHICKEN FAJITAS LAST IN THE FRIDGE?

  • chicken: store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • pico de gallo:  is best consumed the same day it is made as the tomatoes will continue to release juices BUT it can be stored for up to three days.
  • guacamole:  can be stored for 2-3 days. The top layer will begin to oxidize and turn brown upon storage but this doesn’t mean the guacamole has gone bad, but it can be unappetizing.  To store guacamole, store in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the guacamole.  This will help decrease the speed at which the avocados brown due to oxidation.   

HOW TO REHEAT CHICKEN FAJITAS

  • Microwave:  transfer chicken and bell peppers to a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 60 seconds then at 20 second intervals as needed.
  • Skillet: warm chicken in a skillet on the stove top over medium heat, stirring often until warmed through.
  • Oven: Transfer chicken and bell peppers to a baking sheet and reheat at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or just until warmed through.

CAN I FREEZE CHICKEN FAJITAS?

Yes, you may freeze either the chicken after it is cooked or the chicken when it is added to the chicken fajita marinade. I do not recommend freezing the bell peppers as they will become mushy when defrosted.
  • Freeze Marinating Chicken: Add chicken to the marinade in a freezer bag, squeeze out excess air, label and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight then use immediately.
  • Chicken: After you have cooked the chicken, let it cool completely then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.
up close of chicken fajitas with sliced chicken, sliced bell peppers and sliced onions in cast iron skillet

WHAT TOPPINGS GO WITH CHICKEN FAJITAS?

My favorite toppings for steak or chicken fajitas has always been my Homemade Salsa or salsa verde and sour cream.  The cool refreshing creaminess against the dynamic sizzling chicken and veggies is a must in my book.

With this creamy topper in mind, I took sour cream and infused it with fresh cilantro, lime, chipotle powder and a splash of mayo for an added depth of creaminess and I call it Chipotle Lime Crema. 

 This Crema is totally optional but is totally worth making and takes seconds to whip up.  Kind of like the seconds it will take you and your family to devour these Skillet Chicken Fajitas.
You are welcome to skip the Chipotle Crema and top it with your favs of:
  • Sour Cream:  Adds delightful tangy creaminess.   If you are trying to save some calories, you may the substitute the sour cream with plain Greek yogurt.  Although not authentic, it gets the job done and you don’t have to feel guilty about piling it on.
  • Avocado Crema: is my addiction and my preference over chopped avocados or guacamole.  Avocado crema is a marriage of avocados, sour cream and lime juice, is wonderfully silky, tangy and just takes minutes in your blender.  The luscious, refreshing tanginess cuts through and compliments the robust, smoky flavors.
  • Guacamole:  use your favorite recipe or the recipe I share with my Street Tacos recipe or you can even use store bought.
  • Avocados: chopped or sliced avocados are the easiest avocado option and add a wonderful creaminess.
  • Pico de gallo:  is fresh tomato salsa that adds a vibrant, punchy freshness.  You can use my homemade pico de de gallo recipe or store bought. You can make the pico de gallo ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.  Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • Cheese: Cotija or queso fresco.  Cotija is found with the specialty cheeses and is delightfully salty.  It is often called the “Mexican Parmesan.”
  • Lime:  use lime wedges to add freshly squeezed lime juice if additional tanginess is desired.
  • Cilantro:  if you skip the pico de gallo, you can load on fresh cilantro and tomatoes instead.
  • Jalapenos: you can also amp up the heat with chopped or sliced jalapenos or hot sauce.   
  • Pickle onions:  I can’t believe I haven’t shared a recipe for this yet, but I love pickled onions on fajitas! Tangy, punchy fantastic.
  • Salsas: so many to choose from!  Store bought salsa is always an easy topping or get fancy with my homemade restaurant salsa,  salsa verde, black bean corn salsa, avocado salsa, charred corn salsa, mango salsa, or pineapple salsa.

WHAT SIDES SHOULD I SERVE WITH CHICKEN FAJITAS?

  • Chips and salsa.  Every Mexican recipe needs chips and salsa!  Up your salsa game with homemade salsa, grilled corn salsa, pineapple salsa, mango salsa, or avocado corn salsa. 
  • Rice: is a must-have side for any Mexican recipe.  We love serving these Chicken Fajitas with cilantro lime rice, Mexican rice, or avocado rice.  You can also serve with quinoa, or low carb cauliflower rice.
  • Salads: salad is always a win and a great way to stretch your Chicken Fajitas if you’re serving a crowd.  These fajitas pair well with: southwest salad, corn salad, or southwest orzo salad.
  • Veggies:  I HIGHLY encourage you to go with authentic elote (Mexican Grilled Street Corn)  – you will not regret it!  Other alternatives include grilled corn on the cob, baked asparagus, roasted broccoli, roasted potatoes, roasted cauliflower.
  • Fruit:  you can keep it simple and serve this Chicken Fajita recipe with watermelon or grapes or any of these fabulous options: pina colada fruit salad, fruit salad with honey lime vinaigrette, grape salad, summer fruit salad or caramelized grilled pineapple.
  • Carbs: add some green chiles and or/ jalapenos to my sweet cornbread recipe and watch it disappear (one of my all-time favorite recipes I bring to everything!) or my corn casserole is always a hit.  
 
a hand holding a chicken fajita with sliced chicken, bell peppers, onions, avocados, cilantro and sour cream

HOW SHOULD I SERVE CHICKEN FAJITAS?

You can serve Chicken Fajitas in tortillas or get fun and flirty with all these chicken fajita serving options so it’s a different palate pleasing experience every time!
  • Chicken Fajitas: Serve the chicken, onions and peppers wrapped in a warm tortilla with sour cream, salsa, guacamole and fresh lime,
  • Chicken Fajita Tacos:  Layer hard tortillas shells (like this recipe) with cheese and melt.  Top with black or pinto beans, crockpot fajita chicken and chopped lettuce.  Top with pico de gallo, fresh guacamole, salsa, cotija cheese, sour cream and hot sauce.
  • Chicken Fajita Salad: Toss the chicken, onion, and bell peppers with some lettuce, fresh corn, and black beans and drizzle with Tomatillo Avocado Ranch or Cilantro Lime Dressing.  This fajita salad would also be delicious with pepitas or sunflower seeds and cotija and pepper jack cheese.
  • Chicken Fajita Quesadilla: sandwich the chicken and veggies in tortillas and smother with cheese and bake, grill or melt cheese on the stove.  Serve with a healthy dose of sour cream, salsa verde and guacamole.
  • Chicken Fajita Burritos: Wrap the chicken and veggies in a large tortilla along with Cilantro Lime Rice, black beans, lettuce, sour cream and guacamole.
  • Chicken Fajita Wet Burritos:  Fill as above except omit lettuce then follow my instructions for Wet Burritos.
  • Chicken Fajita Burrito Bowl: Pile the chicken and bell peppers on a bed of rice with black beans, lettuce and tortilla chips with condiments of choice or Tomatillo Avocado Ranch.
  • Chicken Fajita Nachos:  Pile thick restaurant style tortilla chips with cheese and beans and bake.  Top with fajita chicken pork and desired toppings such as pico de gallo, sour cream, and fresh guacamole.

ARE CHICKEN FAJITAS HEALTHY?

The chicken in Chicken Fajitas is very healthy.  It is a lean protein which means it doesn’t have very much fat which can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and even lose weight all while helping to sustain your muscles.  Chicken is also full of calcium and phosphorous which helps strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of arthritis.

Bell peppers are an excellent addition to a healthy diet.  They are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, especially vitamin C and over 30 different types of carotenoids. Researchers have found carotenoids improve eye health, and ward off eye disease as well as prevent certain types of cancers.  Bell peppers are also full of vitamin C.  1 cup of sliced red bell peppers gives you 157% of your daily vitamin C content, which is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It’s also involved in many body functions, including formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.

To keep Chicken Fajitas healthy, top them with healthy toppings such as substituting Greek Yogurt for sour cream.
 

WANT TO TRY THIS CHICKEN FAJITA RECIPE?

Skillet Chicken Fajitas
Chicken Fajitas to rival any restaurant with the best chicken fajita marinade that does all the work! These Chicken Fajitas can be on your table in less than 15 minutes after marinating - perfect for all those busy nights!  They are a delicious, satisfy dinner that tastes better than any restaurant at a fraction of the cost.  These easy Chicken Fajitas are bursting with juicy marinated chicken, charred bell peppers and onions all wrapped in a warm tortilla and piled with your favorite toppings OR you can make chicken fajita salads, chicken fajita burritos, chicken fajita burrito bowls, etc.    This Chicken Fajita Recipe is great for crowds and to create your very own fajita/topping bar!
 CourseMain Course
 CuisineMexican
 Prep Time15 minutes
 Cook Time10 minutes
 Servings
 -12 fajitas
INGREDIENTS
 
  • 2 large chicken breasts sliced horizontally to create 4 fillets (1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 bell peppers, thinly sliced (any mix of colors)
  • 8-12 flour tortillas
Chicken Fajita Marinade
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tsp EACH garlic pwdr, onion pwdr, salt
  • 1/2 tsp EACH smoked paprika, chipotle chili pwdr, dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
Chipotle Lime Crema (optional)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tablespoons lime juice, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro, finely chopped
Filling/Topping Ideas
  • cheese
  • Guacamole/chopped avocados
  • Recipe Avocado Crema (my FAV!)
  • salsa
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • black beans
  • cilantro
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
easy Skillet Chicken Fajitas - these are the BEST chicken fajitas! the marinade is seriously the best I've ever tried - better than any restaurant! My family LOVES these this filling so much we also use it for filling in burritos, enchiladas and salads!
 
 
INSTRUCTIONS
 
  1. MARINADE: In a large freezer bag, whisk together all of the Chicken Fajita Marinade ingredients. Remove 2 tablespoons to use later for vegetables. Add chicken to freezer bag and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 6 hours up to overnight (longer the better).
  2. CHIPOTLE LIME CREMA (optional): Whisk together all of the ingredients. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.
  3. CHICKEN: When ready to cook, let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, dab excess marinade off chicken and add to skillet. Cook chicken undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, or until nicely browned (or blackened if you prefer) on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 2-4 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes before slicing across the grain into strips.
  4. VEGETABLES: Meanwhile, Add 1 tablespoon oil to the leftover juices in the skillet along with reserved 2 tablespoons marinade. Heat over medium high heat. Add onions and saute 1 minute. Add bell peppers and saute for 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add sliced chicken and toss to coat.
  5. ASSEMBLE: Layer tortillas with Chicken Fajita mixture and desired toppings. Top with Chipotle Lime Crema.
RECIPE NOTES
*Total time does not including maintaining as this will vary between individuals

HOW TO WARM OR CHAR TORTILLAS 

I HIGHLY recommend warming the tortillas first using any of the following methods:
  • Open Flame (gas stove or grill): add the tortillas directly to the burner of your gas stove then flip with tongs once they are charred on one side.  You can also accomplish this on the grill as well.  If you are using lower quality tortillas, you will want to take special care not to over-char or they will become brittle and break.  You still want the tortillas soft and pliable. 
  • Skillet:  heat a skillet (or griddle if you have one) to medium high heat (do not grease).  Working with one tortilla at a time (more for a griddle), heat each side of the tortilla for approximately 20-30 seconds until warm and soft.  You are not looking for char marks with this method.
  • Microwave:  working with about 5 tortillas at a time, stack tortillas on a microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel.  Microwave for 20 seconds on high, then repeat at 10 second intervals if needed until warmed through.
  • Oven:  create separate stacks of about 5 tortillas each, then wrap each stack in foil.   Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through (you can bake all stacks at once).

HOW TO KEEP TORTILLAS WARM

Once your tortillas are warmed (with any method), keep them warm and pliable by stacking on a plate and covering with a slightly dampened, paper towel or kitchen towel.

TIPS AND TRICKS 

  • Quality tortillas.  Try and purchaser QUALITY corn tortillas – you can taste the difference! I’ve discussed this in greater detail above.
  • Pound chicken to an even thickness.  This not only helps the chicken cook more evenly but tenderizes it as well.  If you don’t have a meat mallet, you can use the side of a can.  I place my chicken in the Ziploc bag I’m going to marinate it in for convenience.
  • Don’t over-marinate.  The Chicken Fajita marinade is highly acidic which means you don’t want to marinate the chicken as long as you would in a marinade without as much citrus.  Don’t marinate much longer than 18 hours or the muscle fibers can break down and become mushy.
  • Marinate long enough.  I recommend marinating the chicken for at least 6 hours.  This will infuse the chicken with TONS of flavor and optimal juiciness. 
  • Bring chicken to room temperature before cooking.  You always want to let any protein sit at room temperature before cooking in order for it to cook evenly so you aren’t left with an overcooked exterior and cold interior. This also relaxes the cold fibers for juicier results.
  • Use a cast iron skillet.  A cast iron skillet will give you the best sear for authentic tasting, Chicken Fajitas.  If you don't own a cast iron skillet, make sure your pan is sizzling hot before you add your chicken.
  • Don’t overcook.  For the juiciest Chicken Fajitas, don’t overcook the chicken. Use a meat thermometer and cook just to 165 degrees F.  
  • Let chicken rest.  After the chicken is cooked, it is important to let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.  While the chicken cooks, the juices are forced away from the heat to the middle of the protein.  The resting time allows for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the breast.
  • Add something creamy.  You will want to add something creamy to the Chicken Fajitas to marry all of the textures together.  I love the Chipotle Lime Crema included in the recipe, but you can also use easy sour cream, Greek yogurt or avocado crema. 
  • Lime juice to taste.  Don’t forget the lime!  The lime brightens and enlivens the earthy fajita flavors.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT 

  • Storage: store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Microwave:  transfer chicken and bell peppers to a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 60 seconds then at 20 second intervals as needed.
  • Skillet: warm chicken in a skillet on the stove top over medium heat, stirring often until warmed through.
  • Oven: Transfer chicken and bell peppers to a baking sheet and reheat at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or just until warmed through.

CAN I FREEZE CHICKEN FAJITAS?

Yes, you may freeze either the chicken after it is cooked or the chicken when it is added to the chicken fajita marinade. I do not recommend freezing the bell peppers as they will become mushy when defrosted.
  • Freeze Marinating Chicken: Add chicken to the marinade in a freezer bag, squeeze out excess air, label and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight then use immediately.
  • Chicken: After you have cooked the chicken, let it cool completely then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.