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 with Chipotle Lime Crema is great for crowds and to create your very own fajita/topping bar!
Chicken Fajita Recipe
How many of you get giddy over a sizzling platter of chicken fajitas, steak 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 or Steak 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.
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?
- 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 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika,
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
You are probably familiar with all of the chicken fajita marinade ingredients except perhaps chipotle chili powder and liquid smoke. Chipotle Chili powder is ground up dried chipotles and 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.
Liquid smoke adds a wonderful smokey flavor to the chicken as if it has ben grilled on an outdoor barbecue over a hot flame. Liquid Smoke can be found next next to the barbecue sauces at your grocery store.
How Do I Make Easy Chicken Fajitas?
- Slice Chicken. The Chicken Fajitas recipe starts by slicing 2 chicken breasts in half horizontally. This ensures tender chicken that doesn’t dry out.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Assemble: Layer tortillas with Chicken Fajita mixture and desired toppings.
TIPS AND TRICK TO MAKE EASY CHICKEN FAJITAS
- Prep Ahead. Along with marinating your chicken, you can slice all your bell peppers and onions in advance so all that’s left to do is cook for 10 minutes or so.
- 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.
- Bell peppers. You can use whatever combo of peppers you like. You can even add more peppers if you prefer.
- 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.
- Pineapple. Try adding pineapple to you fajitas – it adds a delightful, juicy freshness.
- 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.
- Lime. Don’t forget the lime! The lime brightens and enlivens the earthy fajita flavors.
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:
- salsa verde
- pico de gallo
- sour cream
- hot sauce
What Sides Should I serve with Chicken Fajitas?
For Sides, I love either Mexican Rice or Cilantro Lime Rice, Grilled Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette or Southwest Salad and either Perfect Fruit Salad with Honey Citrus Dressing or Pina Colada Fruit Salad. And of course we need Churros for dessert!
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.
Looking for More Fajita Recipes?
- One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta
- Salsa Verde Honey Lime Pork Fajtas
- One Pot Chicken Fajita and Rice Soup
- Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas
- Chipotle Honey Lime Chicken Fajita Chicken Bowls
- Sheet Pan Fajita Salmon with Cilantro Lime Butter
- Fajita Chicken Wraps with Creamy Avocado Dip
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