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Smoky grilled chicken, sizzling peppers and onions, and all the classic accompaniments – Whip up chicken fajitas at home that rival those from your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant!
Chicken fajitas are a popular Tex-Mex dish consisting of flavorful chicken strips served with sautéed onions and bell peppers. The chicken is typically marinated in a mixture of spices, such as chili powder, cumin, and paprika, along with lime and garlic, which adds flavor and helps tenderize the meat. The dish is accompanied by warm flour tortillas and various accompaniments like guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and shredded cheese. In restaurants, fajitas are presented on a sizzling cast iron plate for added flair. Although replicating that sizzling plate experience at home can be a tad risky, it’s possible to prepare homemade fajitas that are just as good, if not better! My fajitas are not only flavorful and customizable but also super easy to prepare, making them a great option for weeknight dinners or casual gatherings. As a bonus, leftovers taste great in salads, tacos, burritos, and more.
What you’ll need to make Chicken Fajitas
Chicken: You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins for this recipe. If using breasts, they need to be pounded to an even thickness before marinating. Tenderloins do not require pounding, making them a a great time-saver.
Spices: I use chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, and lime zest to flavor my chicken. Don’t be tempted to buy a fajita seasoning packet from the supermarket; they contain additives and aren’t nearly as tasty as what you can pull together quickly at home. If you’d like to add a little heat to your spice mixture, include a generous pinch of cayenne pepper.
Peppers: Bell peppers are standard, but if you’re a spicy food lover, try substituting some of the bell peppers for poblano or even jalapeño peppers.
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.)
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 alter the texture of boneless skinless chicken breasts, making them tough and leathery. The zest of the lime imparts lime flavor without changing the texture of the meat.
Mash all of the ingredients together.
Then add the chicken and marinate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
When you’re ready to grill, heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onions.
Cook over medium-high heat until they start to brown.
Deglaze the pan with a little water, scraping up the brown bits, and continue cooking until the vegetables are caramelized and tender.
When you’re ready to eat, preheat the grill to high. Grill the chicken, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
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. Be sure to warm your tortillas before serving; warming helps to make the tortillas softer and more pliable, and it also enhances their flavor.
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Smoky grilled chicken, sizzling peppers and onions, and all the classic accompaniments – Whip up chicken fajitas at home that rival those from your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant!
For the Chicken
- 1½ to 1¾ pounds chicken tenderloins or boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lime zest, from 2 limes
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¾ teaspoon oregano
- ¾ teaspoon ancho chili powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8-12 small soft flour tortillas
For the Peppers
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large red onion, sliced ¼" thick
- 2 bell peppers, sliced ¼" thick
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
Optional Accompaniments For Serving
- Sour cream
- Guacamole, store bought or homemade
- Salsa, store bought or homemade
- Shredded cheese
- Chopped cilantro
- (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 ½-inch thickness.
- 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.
- Clean the grill and preheat to high.
- 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 ¼ 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 ¼ 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.
- 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 ½-inch strips.
- 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.
- Note: The onion and pepper mixture can be made ahead of time and reheated in the microwave.
- 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.
The fajitas were amazing. I tripled the marinade and did 2lbs of chicken tenderloins, 2lbs of skirt steak, and 2lbs of shrimp. I marinated the chicken overnight, steak for ~8hours, and shrimp for an hour. Everyone loved it!
I don’t have a grill pan or a grill. Can I make these on stove top? I was going to sauté the onion/pepper mixture, remove from pan and then cook the chicken. Then combine everything. Would that work? Any suggestions? Thank you in advance!
Hi Sohnia, Not having those is not a problem. You can use the oven or the stove to cook them inside. If you use the oven, I’d place them on a broiling pan and broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for 5 minutes per side, or until chicken is done. If you use the stove (you’ll need to turn the oven on too), sear the chicken in an oven-proof sauté pan over high heat (for a min or two per side until browned) then finish it in a 350-degree oven for 5-10 minutes. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!
Thank you so much!
I have made this recipe several times to the delight of even the fussiest eaters. Easy, delicious, a home run!
Here’s the wrinkle: I’ve signed up to bring dinner to a group home and would like to make a big tray of chicken fajitas. However, I need to cook it ahead of time and rewarm. What’s the best way to accomplish this without drying everything out? Also, do you have any recommendations for universally enjoyed accompaniments?
You are my cooking North Star!
Hi Nora, so glad you like the fajitas and the kind words! 🙂
I’d reheat the chicken, covered in foil, in a 325°F oven until hot. And regarding the sides, not sure if you’ve ever noticed it, but I have a feature on the website– for all main dishes, I suggest one or two sides that I think would pair nicely with them. To see what I’ve suggested, scroll down to the bottom of the recipe. Immediately under the recipe, you’ll see the dishes that I’ve suggested. (You’ll see, in this case, it’s guac, salsa, and a corn dish.) Hope that helps!
Excellent marinade! Lime juice does make chicken mealy and yucky. Am making for friends this weekend.
I’ve been making this chicken at least every other week for the last couple years. My kids never tire of it! Wondering if I could use this marinade for shrimp as well?
Glad you’ve been enjoying it! Yes, this marinade should work for shrimp as well. 🙂
My family and guests LOVE these fajitas but my son requested a steak version as well. Could you use the same marinade for beef and is so what cut of meat would you recommend?
Hi Debbie, so glad the fajitas were a hit! Yes, a steak version would also work nicely. I’d suggest flat iron steak. Please LMK how they turn out with steak! 🙂
As others have noted the flavors are spot on! My wife made Chicken Fajitas for our first meal together 30 years ago in NYC. I have cooked thousands of meals since that time but never Fajitas since this has always been a meal my wife cooks. I surprised her for Valentines Day with this dish and was even able to get the skillet to come out crackling hot! Looking forward to making these again and next time I will be making Once Upon a Chef Guacamole to boot. Thanks Jen for your outstanding sensibilities in the kitchen.
This chicken is now a go-to recipe of mine! I love the marinade, especially to make for chicken to go on a salad.
Excellent! The flavors are spot on.
I prefer to wipe off some of the thick marinade before grilling; I thought the flavors were a little strong when I grilled it with a lot of the marinade still on it. Sometimes I grill whole jalapenos along with the chicken, or add some to the bell peppers for some heat.
I’ve always loved fajitas for a busy weeknight, but these are flavor-packed and as good as anything I’ve had in a restaurant. Yum!! Easy go-to recipe!
Chicken fajitas used to be a meal I could only get by dining out but not anymore 🙂 This has been on my weekly rotation for a good year. It makes the whole family so happy! Just have to throw the marinade together before going to work and husband does the grilling. Excellent go-to recipe for easy weeknight meal!
Wow! These were incredible!! I made these along with your elote/Mexican corn and your margaritas this weekend!! The best Mexican meal I have ever made! My family kept raving about the meal! I make many of your recipes and they are always perfect! Thank you for elevating my cooking and techniques! You are a rock star at our house!!
Hi Jenn, Thinking about making this for a vacation. Could I make the chicken on the grill ahead of time and freeze it? Then, on vacation, thaw, and reheat?
Sure Jeannie, that would work. Enjoy your vacation!
Hi. I love this recipe. I’m looking for a way to make this during our camping trip next week.
Can I cook this chicken using a cast iron skillet after it is placed in the marinade? Can I cook the chicken in a foil packet with the vegetables? Thank you for your great recipes!
Hi Patty, I think either should work. Obviously, if you cook them in a foil packet they won’t brown on the outside like they would in the skillet. Hope you have fun camping!
I have two vegetarians in the family. What could be substituted for the chicken.
Hi Rose, I haven’t tried it, but you could replace the chicken with thickly sliced portobello mushrooms. Please LMK how they turn out if you try it!
Hi Jen! We love your recipes and especially like the chicken fajitas. In fact, we’re having a birthday gathering for my husband and would like to make this for our guests. I would really like to make this ahead of time and then just reheat it. In looking at your response to a similar question you say the peppers and the chicken can be reheated in a 325 oven. This sounds perfect, but how long does it take for the chicken to be heated this way and not overcooked? Also want to clarify that I should wait to slice the chicken until after I take it out of the oven? Thanks so much!
Hi Judy, So glad you like the recipes! I’d guesstimate that the chicken will need about 15 or so minutes to heat up (but I’m not 100 percent sure so give yourself some breathing room). And, yes, I’d wait to slice them after reheating. Hope your husband has a great birthday!
Thanks so much for the response. The 15 minute guesstimate was spot on! This worked perfectly, and the only thing I had to worry about once the party started was to make sure the margarita pitcher was full. Of course, we used your recipe and had 3 pitchers of margaritas mixed and in the fridge before the party! Also made the restaurant style salsa, salsa verde, Mexican rice, and black bean and corn salad with honey vinaigrette. Everything was a hit and you now have a few more fans! Everyone loved your recipes!
So glad – thanks for the follow-up! 🙂
It sounds like I am not the only one making entire spreads with Jenn’s recipes. I will try this Tex Mex feast next. Judy, you should try a Mediterranean spread with Jenn’s chicken kabobs, rice with dried fruit, whipped feta dip and Israeli cucumber feta salad!
I followed the recipe precisely, using chicken tenders, but unfortunately didn’t find the outcome quite as delicious as other recipes from Jenn’s site.
Superb recipe and has become a family regular.
My late teen boys find this easy enough to follow and they cook the chicken in a wok and slice on a board with all the trimmings for a personal feast!
Jen, this and many of your recipes have been such a hit in our house. My boys are learning fast, enjoying cooking and are nearing catering independence before heading off and back to uni in Sept. If they eat out, they often say, it’s not as delicious as yours Mum! I do remind them it’s not mine but my favourite recipe source, “the American Lady”.
LOL – ❤️
Great flavor! Didn’t read ahead so only marinated for 2-3hrs, still amazing! Try it on the grill too, delicious!
This was, by far, the best chicken fajitas I have ever had! I’ve made it twice already and It’s become one of our favorite dinners. When my kids come over for dinner they always ask for me to make these. Thank you !!
Hands down the best chicken fajitas ever!! The chicken is to die for – I will be using that marinade a lot!!! My only complaint is I wanted more peppers so will double that next time… once again – you have knocked it out of the park!
Thank you for the recipe! I have made several of your recipes and most of them have been great. In this recipe though I would rather dirty a bowl than add more plastic to a landfill or ocean somewhere. Thanks for thinking of the environment.
I don’t know what else I can add to the wonderful reviews except to say we had these fajitas tonight, and they’re the best I have ever tasted! The recipe was easy to follow as is. I also made your “restaurant-style” salsa and your guacamole. Perfection! I can’t wait for all this to be over to be able to entertain again; perfect for game night!
This was fantastic and easy. Will never do a fajita kit again.
These were so quick and easy! When I sat down to eat I felt like I had ordered from a restaurant. It was delish! I’m definitely sharing this recipe with friends.
Excellent combination of flavours. So cold outside, I cut the chicken into strips and sautéed in a pan. Turned out perfectly.
The chicken is fantastic. Do not skip the marinating step. The meal comes together quickly. I often increase the veggies because they always come out great. The leftovers are yummy the next day too.
Best fajitas ever! My family asks for these fajitas all of the time and so my husband is “forced” to cook on the grill in the cold winter temps. 🙂 I’ve even made the chicken and served it as an entree. Amazing!!
These fajitas have great flavor! The first time I told my kids I was making fajitas for dinner they didn’t want them, then I served them and they licked the pan!! These have become a family favorite.
I cooked the chicken in a skillet and not on the grill. The chicken turned out dry because I overcooked it, but the vegetables were so yummy because of the sugar/water cooking technique. I usually have cherry tomatoes on hand so I throw them in the mix instead of a red pepper. Would you provide some directions for cooking the chicken on the stovetop?
Hi Carmen, Do you have a grill pan?
I have made these several times and always receive rave reviews. They are easy to prep ahead of time which is key when I’m entertaining. The flavors are perfect and the pepper/onion combination are amazing. I prep these ahead of time as well which is very helpful. Your recipes are always so easy to follow and I can honestly say I have never made one recipe that I didn’t care for!
This has become our favourite go-to chicken fajita recipe. So delicious and everyone loves them. Super easy to make and the sugar added to the bell peppers gives a wonderful caramelized glaze.
I’ve made this recipe several times and always comes out excellent. I was pressed for time on an occasion and resorted to a package of fajita seasoning mix and boy my kids could tell the difference. They stated the liked the other recipe, which is this one! I find it helpful to use a non-stick frying pan to brown and carmelize things – much for difficult with a non-stick pan. Works great for this recipe as you are adding water to the pan after browning the vegetables.
This recipe is a keeper and the only one I will ever use for chicken fajitas.
Another great weeknight meal for my new favorite website/chef. It’s a great way to prepare chicken, kid and adult friendly. Quick, easy delicious. One other aside comment. I’ve had questions about some of Jenna recipes in the past and I was so taken with her quick and kind resounds to each. Not a service available in most website❤️
As with most of your recipes it was a big hit with everyone! Kids loved making their own and the adults savored the delicious flavors. Enjoyed the hint of heat. Served with your recipe of Mexican rice and guacamole.
5 STAR DELICIOUSNESS!!
THIS WAS SO EASY ANF FUN TO MAKE, MY STEP DAUGHTER AND I TOOK OVER THE KITCHEN, AND VOILA! WE ALL FEASTED ON THIS RELATIVELY ESSY TO MAKE AND IMPRESSIVE MEAL!!
This is one of my (many) go -to recipes on the website. I use the recipes on this website almost daily and I always. One back to this because it’s so easy and everyone loves it. The vegetables are my favorite aspect of this dish and I usually double the amount. Oftentimes, when we feel like a vegetarian option, I make the vegetables alone, with a side of rice and black beans. Delicious.
My family loves these fajitas! I’ve made them several times now, and I do make a couple of adjustments: I like to make a double batch of the marinade, split it between two large ziploc bags, and fill one bag with the sliced onions and peppers, and the other with sliced chicken breasts. Additionally, I go ahead and add the fresh lime juice to the marinade along with the zest, and shorten the marinating time to 3-4 hours. This is a delicious and easy dinner– very kid friendly as well.
SO. GOOD. These taste exactly like what you get in a restaurant and are so easy to make! The smoked paprika is the ingredient that really gives them that restaurant smell and taste. I made in my kitchen using a cast iron pan, and I used chicken tenders, so I skipped the pounding. I served with Jenn’s Restaurant Salsa — both with chips before the meal and some people used as a sauce in their fajitas. This is now in my permanent rotation!
Oh my!!! Such delicious fajitas and easy to make! Thank you Jenn for this recipe. They are the best! Better than the ones in the restaurant. My family just loved them! Thank you for helping me be better with cooking : )
There is a reason this recipe has so many 5 star ratings. I would add my rating to that list. I tried it for the first time last summer and just loved the flavor of the marinade for the chicken. My family came over and we had a wonderful lunch—then I sent the leftovers home with my son and he and his family had a wonderful dinner–the same day. It was a hit with everyone.
These fajitas are amazing! They are delicious and so easy to make. Thanks for another great recipe Jenn!
This Chicken Fajita recipe is the absolute best. the flavours are amazing.
It has become one of our household favourites. Have shared with friends
and family who love it also.
Absolutely delicious my new favorite fajitas. Thanks!
These fajitas were absolutely delicious! I used skinless boneless chicken breasts and flattened them as directed – the seasoning is spot on and I marinated them for 24 hrs., grilling them 3min. per side on my gas grill. The vegetables were delicious as well…who knew that a little salt and sugar would make such a difference! This recipe is a keeper!
Is there any way to make this as a casserole?
So glad you enjoyed them! I can’t really think of a way to make them into a casserole though — sorry!
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.
If I am using steak, can/should I use the lime juice instead of zest to break down the fibers?
Hi Stephanie, It’s fine to include lime juice if you’re using steak, but not really necessary. Hope you enjoy!
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.
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!
Would you marinate the vegetables also?
No, it’s not necessary. Hope you enjoy!
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?
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.
Thanks for responding Jenn.
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.