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The Best Chicken Fajitas (For Real)

No, really. These are the best chicken fajitas — citrusy with a hint of heat and they make the BEST leftovers! (Leftover fajita hash is pretty amazing.)

Bowls filled with finished sliced chicken fajita meat and grilled fajita vegetables ready to serve with sliced avocado.

I always get giddy when I make chicken fajitas. Both these chicken fajitas and my steak fajitas are the BOMB.

80% of my excitement is anticipating the leftovers. Grilled chicken fajita leftovers are the BEST — especially tossed in a large skillet with some eggs and hashbrowns. *drool*

Don’t get me wrong, I love eating fajitas in warm tortillas the day I cook them, but there’s something magical that happens when they reheat. I don’t know what it is, but I swear I could eat leftover fajitas for every meal until they’re gone.

The vegetables are marinated right along with the chicken, too. Easy peasy. You could even make these on a busy weeknight or for a date night in instead of going to a Mexican restaurant.

I’ve used a few fajita recipes over the years and fudged my own for a while, and then I went on a mission to make the BEST GRILLED CHICKEN FAJITAS. I like them a little citrusy, a little smoky, and a little spicy*.

*The “spicy” is usually hot sauce on top when I’m done because a couple of my weirdo children can’t handle the slightest amount of heat. Believe me, I’ve tried. They’re currently at the Pepper Jack Cheese Level of spicy food training. If you’d like to add cayenne or red pepper flakes to the chicken fajita marinade and give them some kick — I would totally support that.

A jar of chorizo spice blend to make fajita marinade.

And because I’m a weirdo, I can’t just go out and buy fajita seasoning. I needed to create my own blend. (Which, let’s be honest, is better anyway.)

How to make homemade fajita seasoning

I used my Copycat Chipotle Chorizo seasoning in place of fajita seasoning. It’s one of my favorite blends, and I’m happy to have another use for it! It’s a blend of a few different types of paprika along with a few other things you probably already have in your cupboard.

I love this seasoning because it’s different from other fajita seasoning which is mostly chili powder based.

This one has chili powder, too, but it uses three different kinds of paprika — sweet (the regular kind everyone has), smoked, and Hungarian or hot paprika (Which isn’t too hot. Not like cayenne pepper.)

So it gives it a different sort of flavor. It’s hard to describe, but once you try it, it may dethrone your taco seasoning.

Chicken fajita marinade -- chorizo seasoning, citrus juice, and lots of flavor!

Once you have the seasoning made (make a lot and keep it in a mason jar — it makes amazing taco meat!) the marinade comes together really quickly with just a few ingredients.

I even included this seasoning recipe in my newest cookbook, The Big Book of Paleo Pressure Cooking, and threw in a few recipes to use the seasoning! Like Instant Pot Buffalo Ranch Chicken Chowder, Turkey, Bacon, and Avocado Chili, and Chile-Lime Drumsticks with Braised Cabbage.

Anyway, back to the recipe…

Two plastic ziptop bags, one with chicken breasts, and the other with sliced onions and bell peppers. Everything is tossed in fajita marinade.

The marinade is my favorite part. It has some citrus and that smoky seasoning blend I mentioned. I also used a little oil, but don’t use olive oil because it isn’t heat-safe. Unless you use light olive oil.

One thing I love about this recipe is that the marinade is split between the meat and the chopped bell peppers and onions. One marinade for both.

What kind of chicken is good for chicken fajitas?

Just marinate the chicken breasts (chicken thighs work well here, too!) and cook it the next day. I use boneless, skinless chicken breast or skinless chicken thigh, usually.

I put the vegetables in a separate ziplock bag from the chicken because it takes longer for the vegetables to cook so I start those first. And it would be a pain to separate everything.

You can use green peppers or any other color of bell pepper you like. I like using red, yellow, and orange peppers.

A view from the grill -- chicken breasts with dark grill marks and a grill pan filled with pepper and onions.

Just prep these in the morning or the night before and you can go from zero to fajita in just a few minutes.

You could marinate these in a couple of shallow bowls or in a ziplock bags. I like the bags because I can flip everything around more easily to get everything coated in the marinade nicely. A large bowl is cool, too. Just so everything gets covered.

Then you throw everything on the grill grates. But make sure the grill is hot first.

Did you know your meat will have a lower chance of sticking to the grill if it’s super hot? Just throwing that out there.

This also applies to cooking with stainless cookware. Once you put your meat and vegetables on you, a medium-high heat setting will do to let the chicken cook.

View from the grill pan with caramelized onions and peppers.

One thing — If you grill a lot, I HIGHLY recommend getting a grill skillet. I LOVE mine. My mom gave it to me several years ago — it’s a stainless one from Williams-Sonoma, and it has a detachable handle. I didn’t see it on their website, but I found a similar grill skillet on Amazon.

If you don’t have a grill skillet, use a cast iron skillet right on your grill!

Sliced chicken fajita meat with a bowl of fajita veggies with fresh lime wedges ready to serve!

When that internal temperature has reached 160ish, this thinly sliced, juicy chicken breast will make your dreams come true.

I like to squirt some fresh lime juice over the top after I cut it. You could add more when you add the chicken to a flour tortilla, a corn tortilla, or to a salad.

You can customize this to fit any lifestyle you like!

How to Adapt Chicken Fajitas to a Special Diet

If you’re eating gluten/grain-free, Paleo, or Whole30, just serve everything over a pile of Romaine lettuce with a drizzle of spiced-up Paleo Ranch Dressing. (That’s what I do.) No, I don’t have a recipe for the spiced up ranch, but I usually add some salsa verde, hot sauce, lime/cilantro/avocado, or some Sweet Potato Fry Seasoning — that last one was better than I expected!

If you’re eating keto and you don’t want a big salad, try making my Keto Tortillas (hint: they’re mostly made of cheese) a few hours ahead of time.

If you just love fajitas and you’re all about tortillas — go to town. Heck, wrap them up in warm flour tortillas and throw some sour cream on top. Oh, and pico de gallo.

Tips for Making Chicken Fajitas

  • Using a plastic ziptop bag makes marinating easier because more of the marinade comes in contact with the meat. And marinate it for at least 4 hours. 12-18 hours is even better.
  • If you’re strapped for time or just have a hard time planning ahead (I get it), you can marinate everything at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Just slice the chicken into thinner breasts (butterflied, like cutting them open like a book) on a cutting board. That way more of the marinade gets on the surface of the meat and they’ll even grill faster.
  • Make sure your grilling surface is really hot. And using a grill skillet makes it SUPER easy.
  • Speaking of meat, you can also use this fajita marinade for skirt steak fajitas or pork. Or just the vegetables. (I know I repeat myself, but those fajita vegetables are just the best ever.)
  • Make a double batch for THE BEST LEFTOVERS EVER. Chop the meat and vegetables and add them to a breakfast hash. Or make this Leftover Chicken Fajita Soup!


If you make this recipe, be sure to post it to social media and tag me at @perrysplate or #perrysplate so I can send you some love!

The Best Chicken Fajitas

The Best Chicken Fajitas

Yield: Serves 6-8
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

No, really. These are the best chicken fajitas -- citrusy with a hint of heat and they make the BEST leftovers! (Leftover fajita hash is pretty amazing.)

Ingredients

For the marinade:

For the fajitas:

  • 2 medium sweet onions
  • 3 bell peppers (any colors)
  • 2 1/2 - 3 pounds chicken breasts or thighs
  • Lettuce leaves or tortillas for wrapping
  • Sliced avocados/guacamole, pico de gallo, hot sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, put the zest and juice from ONE lime and the juice from the orange. Add the rest of the marinade ingredients and mix well. Set aside.
  2. Peel and half the onions; slice them into 1/4-inch strips. Slice the bell peppers into strips, too. Place the onions and peppers in a container or a zip-top bag. Pour half of the marinade on the vegetables and toss them around to coat them evenly.
  3. Place the chicken in another container or zip-top bag. Pour the other half of the marinade over the chicken and toss it to coat evenly. Chill the chicken & vegetables for at least 2 hours, up to 18 hours.
  4. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  5. Grill the chicken, flipping once or twice, until cooked through and the juices are running clear. If you have a grill skillet, cook the onions and peppers in batches, flipping them often, until cooked through and golden brown and charred in spots. (If you don't have a grill skillet, see notes for alternatives.)
  6. Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes and then slice it thinly. Cut the remaining two limes into wedges. Serve the grilled chicken & vegetables in lettuce leaves (or tortillas) with fixings and lime wedges.

Notes

Nat's Notes:

  1. If your chicken breasts are thick, consider butterflying them or slicing them horizontally to create thinner breasts.
  2. If you don't have a grill skillet, you can also cook the vegetables under an oven broiler for 10-15 minutes or in a large skillet over high heat for 10-15 minutes.
  3. You can also use steak or shrimp instead of chicken! If you use shrimp, don't marinate it for more than 2 hours.
  4. If you can, make a double batch of these, then use the leftovers in my Leftover Chicken Fajita Soup! You'll thank me.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 509Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 169mgSodium 861mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 5gSugar 9gProtein 60g

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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