Grilled Chicken Fajitas

Tested & Perfected Recipes

These smoky chicken fajitas will rival those from your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant.

When I think of fajitas, what comes to mind is that sizzling, smoking-hot cast iron skillet from my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant. It’s hard (and, honestly, a little dangerous) to replicate that at home, but it’s possible to make fajitas that are just as good, if not better. I marinate and grill the chicken for a smoky, charred flavor, and then I sauté the onions and peppers on the stovetop until they caramelize and sweeten.

The ingredient looks long but don’t let that deter you. These fajitas are easy to make and you can do all of the prep ahead of time, so all that’s left to do at dinnertime is grill the chicken. Plus, they’re fun — perfect for getting the whole family sharing everything at the table.

What you’ll need to make chicken fajitas

chicken fajitas ingredients

How to make chicken fajitas

To begin, pound the chicken breasts to an even 1/2-inch thickness. This both tenderizes the chicken and ensures that it cooks evenly. (Note: If using chicken tenderloins, you can skip this step.)

pounding the chicken breasts

Next, make the marinade by combining the oil, garlic, lime zest, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and salt right in a Ziplock bag (no dirty bowls!). Note that I don’t use lime juice in the marinade. I find that acidic ingredients change the texture of boneless skinless chicken breasts, making them tough and leathery. The zest of the lime imparts lime flavor without altering the texture of the meat.

chicken fajitas marinade ingredients in bowl

Mash all of the ingredients together.

chicken fajitas marinade

Then add the chicken and marinate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

chicken marinading in bowl

When you’re ready to grill, heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onions.

peppers and onions in the skilletCook over medium-high heat until they start to brown.

browning peppers and onions

Deglaze the pan with a little water, scraping up the brown bits, and continue cooking until the vegetables are caramelized and tender.

cooked peppers and onions for chicken fajitas

When you’re ready to eat, preheat the grill to high. Grill the chicken, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

grilled chicken

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and slice into strips. Arrange the chicken and peppers on a platter and set out with all the fixins, like guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese, sour cream and cilantro. Enjoy!

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Grilled Chicken Fajitas

These smoky chicken fajitas will rival those from your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant.

Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes, plus 8-24 hours to marinade

Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 pounds chicken tenderloins or boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest, from 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8-12 small soft flour tortillas

For the Peppers

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large red onion, sliced 1/4" thick
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced 1/4" thick
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Optional Accompaniments For Serving

  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole, store bought or homemade
  • Salsa, store bought or homemade
  • Shredded cheese
  • Chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. (Skip this step if using chicken tenderloins.) One at a time, place the chicken breasts in a sealable plastic bag and, using a meat mallet, pound to an even 1/2-inch thickness.
  2. Open a 1 gallon zip-lock bag and place in a medium bowl. Add the oil, garlic, lime zest, cumin, oregano, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika and salt into the bag. Mash the outside of the bag with your hands to blend the marinade together. Add the tenderloins or pounded chicken breasts and seal shut, releasing any air in the bag. Using your hands, massage the marinade into meat until evenly coated. Place the bag back in the bowl and place in the refrigerator (the bowl protects against leakage); let the chicken marinate at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
  3. Clean the grill and preheat to high.
  4. While the grill heats, cook the peppers. Heat the oil in a large skillet (preferably not non-stick) over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions, peppers, salt, and sugar; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to brown and a brown film forms around edges of the bottom of the pan, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan; scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any browned bits. Continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, until the water is evaporated and the pan starts to brown again; add 1/4 cup more water and cook a few minutes more, until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Season to taste with more salt and sugar if necessary. Set aside.
  5. Oil the grates on the grill. Grill the chicken, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcook. Let the chicken cool slightly, then transfer to a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch strips.
  6. Arrange the chicken and peppers on a serving platter. To warm the tortillas: stack 4-6 tortillas on a plate and cover them with a damp paper towel, then microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Serve with the chicken, peppers and optional accompaniments.
  7. Note: The onion and pepper mixture can be made ahead of time and reheated in the microwave.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 fajita (not including optional accompaniments)
  • Calories: 243
  • Fat: 11g
  • Saturated fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 15g
  • Sodium: 567mg
  • Cholesterol: 36mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Absolutely delicious my new favorite fajitas. Thanks!

    • — Carrie on December 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was the first time I’ve made fajitas at home and they turned out great! My kids had thirds!!! I appreciate your detailed instructions and photos with your recipes.

    • — Michelle on November 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • If I am using steak, can/should I use the lime juice instead of zest to break down the fibers?

    • — Stephanie on October 9, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Stephanie, It’s fine to include lime juice if you’re using steak, but not really necessary. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 11, 2020
      • Reply
  • Made these for visiting family. Put the chicken in the marinade the night before family was due to arrive, but due to travel issues, they arrived too late for dinner, so the chicken actually sat in the marinade for 48 hours. They were incredible! In fact, the next morning after dinner, my 12 year old great nephew was overheard telling a friend about the awesome chicken fajitas he had for dinner the night before. Congrats on impressing a 12 year old! I served the salsa verde and the restaurant style salsa with these and they were also a huge hit. In fact, my niece took all the recipes to serve to her inlaws when they visit next month.

    • — Judy on September 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • Oh my goodness! Hands down THE BEST fajitas we’ve ever had. I made 1.5x the marinade and used some for some shrimp as well as the chicken. All of it was a hit with my husband, two teen boys and me. Can’t wait to make it again!

    • — Stacie on September 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • Would you marinate the vegetables also?

    • — Michelle Krouner on August 27, 2020
    • Reply
    • No, it’s not necessary. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 27, 2020
      • Reply
  • Jenn Segal has done it again!!!! This is one of the best meals I have ever made. I had it for lunch 3 days in a row. Thank you Jenn!
    I have a question: do you think this recipe will pair well with seafood like shrimps or cod fish?

    • — Oyinda on August 25, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you liked them! Sure, I think shrimp or other seafood would also work well in this. While it’s different, I also have a fish taco recipe you may want to check out.

      • — Jenn on August 26, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thanks for responding Jenn.

        • — Oyinda on August 27, 2020
        • Reply
  • These fajitas are so delicious! I have made them 5 times over the past few months. They are quick and easy to make, and the perfect weeknight go-to meal. I have also made just the chicken portion of the recipe to have on hand for salads or sandwiches.

    • — Mary on August 18, 2020
    • Reply

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