Chicken Fajitas

With Steak and Shrimp Variations

chicken fajitas in the skillet

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 12 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 32 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
616 Calories
17g Fat
79g Carbs
36g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 616
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 64mg 21%
Sodium 814mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 79g 29%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 36g
Vitamin C 30mg 149%
Calcium 85mg 7%
Iron 6mg 33%
Potassium 497mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These easy chicken fajitas are a classic combination of seasoned chicken strips, onions, and peppers. The homemade fajita seasoning flavors the chicken and pepper mixture perfectly, and prep takes less than 15 minutes. You'll likely have most of the fajita seasonings in your pantry, and if you don't, they're all easy to find. Or you might choose to use a ready-made packet of fajita seasoning instead.

The word fajita didn't appear in print until the 1970s, but the dish dates back to the early 1900s. Mexican vaqueros working in Texas probably made the first fajitas with grilled skirt steak. Still, the dish didn't gain popularity until 1969, when Austin meat manager Sonny Falcon served them at his concession stand in Kyle, Texas. Later that same year, fajitas were introduced by Otilia Garza on the menu of his Round-Up Restaurant in Pharr, Texas. The restaurant's fajitas were served on the signature sizzling platter with flour tortillas, cheese, and various condiments. As fajitas gained popularity, several variations popped up, including versions featuring chicken, shrimp, and vegetables.

Serve the fajitas with warm tortillas and your favorite toppings. Guacamole, sour cream, cheese, sliced green onions, tomato salsa, and cilantro are excellent choices. Make the fajitas a complete, well-balanced meal with hot cooked rice and refried beans on the side, or keep it light and simple with a tossed green salad.

Ingredients

For the Fajita Seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Fajitas and Assembly

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced

  • 3 medium bell peppers, multicolored, sliced into thin strips

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 6 to 8 6-inch flour tortillas, warm, for serving

  • Guacamole, sour cream, cheese, salsa, cilantro, or lime wedges, optional, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix to blend thoroughly.

  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

  4. Coat the chicken breasts thoroughly with the seasoning mixture and arrange them in the hot skillet. Cook the chicken for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side, or until cooked through, at least 165 F on an instant-read thermometer.

  5. Remove the chicken breasts to a plate and set them aside. Add the sliced onions and pepper strips to the skillet. Cook the vegetables, frequently stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until just tender.

  6. Slice the chicken across the grain into strips—add the chicken strips back to the skillet and heat through.

  7. Drizzle the fajitas with lime juice and serve with warm tortillas and garnishes.

Recipe Variations

  • To make the fajitas with beef, slice 1 pound of sirloin or skirt steak into 1/4-inch strips and toss with the seasoning. Follow the recipe instructions, cooking the beef strips for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until done as desired.
  • To make the fajitas with shrimp, toss 1 pound of large shrimp with the seasoning. Follow the recipe instructions, cooking the shrimp for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until opaque and pink.
  • For vegetarian fajitas, replace the chicken with sliced portobello mushrooms and add black beans or pinto beans just before serving. Heat through, drizzle with the lime juice, and serve the fajitas in warm tortillas.
  • If you don't have the various seasonings on hand, season the chicken with about 2 1/2 tablespoons of ready-made fajita seasoning.

How to Serve Fajitas

Make-Ahead Tips

  • Combine the spice mixture up to several days in advance; cover and store the mixture in a cool, dark place until it's time to make the fajitas.
  • Slice the bell peppers and onions the day before and store them in a covered container in the refrigerator until it's time to cook them.

How to Store Leftover Chicken Fajitas

  • If you have leftover fajitas, transfer them to a shallow covered container and refrigerate them within 2 hours—eat them within 4 days.
  • You may freeze fajita filling for longer storage. Put the fajitas in an airtight freezer container or zip-close freezer bag and freeze them for 3 to 4 months.
  • Reheat fajitas in a lightly oiled skillet on the stovetop until hot.

Can you eat fajitas without tortillas?

Instead of serving fajitas with tortillas, serve them on greens for a tasty salad, or simply serve them over rice with your favorite toppings.

What is the difference between a taco and fajita?

A taco is a tortilla filled with meat or another protein along with toppings, while fajita refers to the meat—originally skirt steak—and the tortillas and garnishes are served on the side.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Thought JR-D Food for. History of fajitas is short, flavor is not. Corvallis Gazette Times.

  2. Wood VB, Fri., March 4, 2005. Fajita history.