Chicken Fajitas with Marinade
Chicken Fajitas are a crowd-pleasing dinner recipe that’s equally perfect for busy weeknights as larger parties and get-togethers. We’ll make one marinade to marinate both the chicken and the vegetables. I also provide 3 different options for how to cook the fajitas.
Besides the fact that Chicken Fajitas as a dish is wildly delicious, I love how this meal is so customizable and friendly to all sorts of dietary preferences.
The flavors and textures are fresh and vibrant, and you get hearty helpings of protein and vegetables to make it a very complete meal. All with the ease of using the same marinade for both the meat and the fajita vegetables. I love this recipe!
In addition to flavoring the meat, the marinade makes for the most crazy juicy chicken ever. The breast is my favorite cut of chicken to eat, and in all the years I’ve been making these marinated chicken fajitas, it never turns out dry.
Tips for Best Results
Use the freshest ingredients – Most people don’t realize how quickly fresh produce loses its flavor as it sits in the fridge. Make sure the bell peppers in particular are crisp and fresh, and shop close to when you plan to prepare the meal.
Use thinner chicken breasts – Try not to use gigantic chicken breasts for this recipe, especially if you’re not cooking on the outdoor grill, otherwise it can take too long to cook through before the outside is too dark from the natural sugars in the citrus marinade. If needed, cut each breast in half through the middle (see how to do this in my Chicken Milanese post).
Grill for the best flavor (indoors or outdoors) – For the best chicken fajitas, you can’t beat the char on the peppers and onions for superior results. I’ve made this recipe both on an indoor grill (shown below) and an outdoor grill, and both are great options. However, I’ll show you how to make this on the stovetop if you don’t have a grill.
Even though it looks like there’s a lot going on with this dish, it’s actually really easy.
The only “real work” you’re doing is mixing together the marinade for the peppers, onions, and chicken breast, then later cooking it on the grill or stove (I cover the various cooking methods below).
Then it’s really easy to fill things in with the accompaniments, and make the table look really full and festive.
To make great chicken fajitas, you need to start with a simple marinade.
For mine, I use fresh orange juice, lime juice, oil (usually olive oil or avocado oil), soy sauce (you may substitute coconut aminos), salt, fajita seasoning, and lots of smashed garlic:
I use my homemade chicken fajita seasoning, which I love because it’s better quality than any pre-mixed packet I can buy at the store, and it’s really fragrant and flavorful. It has chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in it.
Also, make sure you are using freshly squeezed citrus juices here. It makes a big difference!
Mix the marinade ingredients together, then divide it between two bowls or plastic bags.
In one bag, add all the fajita vegetables, cut into thin strips. For maximum visual appeal, I like to do one red, one orange, and one yellow bell pepper, as well as one red onion, and one sweet yellow onion.
You may also add green bell pepper, but I don’t like the flavor as much as the red, yellow, and orange. If you want to make things spicy, you can also add jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced.
In the other bag, add boneless skinless chicken breasts:
For optimal grilling, each skinless chicken breast should ideally not be more than 6 ounces. Avoid the huge ones, which take too long to cook and can scorch on the outside.
You may also use chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat.
How Long to Marinate
I would consider 2 hours the minimum, though my sweet spot is 6-8 hours. I have accidentally let this go for as much as 24 hours, and it’s still fantastic. The vegetables still have good texture, and the meat’s texture holds up nicely as well.
Time to Cook!
Unless I’m cooking on the outdoor grill with lots of space, I grill the ingredients separately.
I think chicken fajitas are always best on a real outdoor grill, but most of the year I have to make it on this indoor grill (affiliate) because it’s too cold to be outside. My father-in-law got me the below grill for Christmas one year and it actually gives a shocking amount of that wonderful char grill flavor and caramelized brown bits. I recommend medium-high heat.
If you don’t have a grill of any kind, you can cook the meat in a large cast iron skillet. Make sure to get it smoking hot, to caramelize the exterior (further instructions are in the recipe box below).
I recommend you start cooking with the chicken, so the meat has time to rest after cooking.
When the chicken is cooked through to an internal temperature of 165F, it’s time to grill the peppers and onions:
When the weather is nice, I cook the fajita vegetables fully on the outdoor grill, but indoors I give it a good char on the electric grill, and finish it in a skillet to soften further:
How to Serve
Once the chicken has rested, slice it as desired and serve your delicious chicken fajitas on a platter (or in the same skillet you cooked with), with your desired accompaniments.
Warm tortillas, whether flour tortillas or corn tortillas, are a must. I also love having cilantro, avocado or fresh Guacamole, pico de gallo, fresh lime, and thinly sliced red radish.
My husband also loves adding dairy, and shredded Mexican cheese and sour cream are perfect for that. Sometimes I’ll add a side of Mexican Rice and Mexican Corn Salad to the meal, if I’m really going all out.
You can serve it family-style in a big skillet, or you can serve with condiment cups and individual servings on plates, like this:
It’s all personal preference, and this is a great opportunity to customize with all of your favorite toppings and pairings. Enjoy!
For more Mexican and Tex-Mex dinner ideas, I love Carnitas, this Tex-Mex Chicken Casserole, Steak Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing, and Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Beef. Enjoy!
Recipe FAQ and Tips
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
For the most convenience, I recommend microwaving in 30 second intervals until warmed through. However, you can also warm in a 300F oven for about 10 minutes, or over medium heat on the stove for 5-8 minutes, until heated through.
Yes, store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. To thaw, leave in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Absolutely! This is really nice for steak fajitas (skirt steak is fantastic), as well as shrimp fajitas. However, do not marinate the shrimp for longer than 30 minutes.
Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
Chicken Fajitas (with Marinade)
For the Marinade:
- 1/2 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed, about 1 large orange)
- 1/4 cup lime juice (freshly squeezed, 1-2 limes)
- 3 tbsp oil (any neutral oil, but I like avocado or olive)
- 2 tbsp fajita seasoning
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
- 5 cloves garlic smashed
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt
For the Chicken Fajitas:
- 2 to 3* lbs chicken breast (boneless, skinless)
- 3 large bell peppers sliced into strips
- 2 large onions sliced (red or yellow onion)
- flour tortillas
- mexican rice
- sliced radish
- lime wedges
- sour cream
- shredded mexican cheese
- Mix together all marinade ingredients, then divide evenly between two plastic bags or bowls.
- Place the chicken in one bag, and the sliced peppers and onions in the other. Transfer to the refrigerator and marinate for at least 2 hours, and up to 24. I find the sweet spot is 6-8 hours.
- For cooking, the best option is an outdoor grill, the second best is an indoor grill, and the next best is a cast-iron skillet on the stove. Pick your desired option below.
- OUTDOOR GRILL: I like using a charcoal grill when cooking outside, and usually cook the chicken for about 10 minutes to get it at an internal temperature of 165F (time will vary depending on heat of grill and size of the breasts). To keep the peppers and onions from falling through, you will likely need to put them in a wire basket. I find they are crisp-tender when cooked for about 12-15 minutes.
- INDOOR GRILL: The nice thing about an indoor grill is it gives the food a nice char and flavor, however you don't get the hot heat through the surrounding air like you do with a real grill, so you may need to supplement with other types of heat. I sear the chicken until caramelized on both sides, about 4-5 minutes on each side, but if the meat starts to get too dark and isn't cooked through, finish cooking in the oven to get it to 165F. With the vegetables, I often will start it on the indoor grill to char, then soften it further in a skillet on the stove. After grilling, it usually only needs about 5 minutes in the skillet.
- CAST-IRON SKILLET ON STOVE: Sear the chicken over medium high heat for about 5 minutes on each side, until caramelized and cook through to 165F. If the meat gets too dark on the outsides before cooking through to the middle, you may finish cooking in the oven. Cook the peppers and onions in the skillet, about 10 minutes total, over medium high heat, until crisp-tender and slightly softened.
- Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes after cooking, then slice and serve with the peppers, onions, and accompaniments.
- My favorite way to eat the chicken fajitas is to tear off small pieces of flour tortilla, then wrap up all the ingredients to be enjoyed in small bites. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
4 Comments on “Chicken Fajitas with Marinade”
SO GOOD! And healthy too. A bit of work to prep everything but delicious.
What brand is the grill u use?
There’s a link in the post, it’s a Zojirushi
Looks so good, never ate fajitas, so how to eat one, with a fork or roll up in a tortilla?