The BEST Chicken or Steak Fajitas

CATEGORIES: Grill, Latin, Other Dishes, Poultry, Sara

I know you’ve all been posed the question (and I have no idea where or when, but somehow I have had to answer it many times thus far in my relatively short life): “If you had to pick one thing to eat every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?” And while I would hate to be required to pick just one thing (since I can’t really live on chocolate alone, but certainly can’t live without it either…oh, the angst!) This meal would be one of my top contenders. I love fajitas that much. But not just any fajitas- they have to be good. Really good.  So toss out the store-bought seasoning packet and the 50 for $1 bag of tortillas. I’m going to show you a flavor-packed marinade that you can whip up in a flash.  And when you combine it with homemade tortillas and all the fixins, these will be the best chicken or steak fajitas you’ve ever eaten!

The secret really is in the marinade.  And my little trick is to reserve just a little of it to drizzle on at the very end for an extra punch of flavor.  You can use your choice of meat; boneless chicken breasts work great, as do chicken thighs or tenders. Steak is also awesome–flank steak and sirloin are both fantastic cuts for this recipe.  We often do both chicken and steak.  Grab whatever colors of peppers and onions you have around and grill them up.

I like to serve it on a big platter and let everyone serve themselves (but if you want to make sure everything is distributed evenly, you could also mix everything up on the platter.)

The best chicken or steak fajitas from Our Best Bites
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
the best chicken or steak fajitas from Our Best Bites

The BEST Chicken or Steak Fajitas

  • Author: kate jones


If you’ve only ever made fajitas with the store-bought seasoning packet, this homemade fajita marinade will knock your socks off. This is truly one of our favorite meals!




11 1/2 pounds chicken (boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs) or steak (sirloin or flank steak)
23 red, orange, and/or yellow bell peppers, halved (or use a few handfuls of baby peppers)
1 large onion, sliced into 1/2“-thick slices


1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
12 teaspoons liquid smoke (see note)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder or chipotle chili powder (chipotle chili powder will have heat and smoke)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder


Place meat in a Ziploc bag or shallow dish.  Place vegetables in another.  In a medium bowl, combine all marinade ingredients and whisk well.  Reserve 3-4 tablespoons of marinade for later use. 

With remaining marinade, add a splash to the vegetables (enough for a light coating) and the remaining to the meat.  Marinate for 4-6 hours and up to overnight.

grill instructions

Preheat outdoor grill (our preference) to medium heat. When the grill is hot, place everything on at the same time in a single layer when the grill is hot. Cook until desired doneness is reached, flipping once (about 7 minutes per side for chicken breasts, 3-4 minutes per side for chicken thighs, or see this tutorial for steak.) You may need to remove the vegetables before the meat is done–just transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil. When the meat is done, transfer to a plate and allow to stand for a few minutes, then slice the meat.

indoor instructions

Heat an indoor grill pan or large skillet to medium heat. If using a skillet, cook the peppers and onions first and then rem.  Cook chicken for a few minutes on each side until cooked through and remove from pan.  Cover with foil to keep warm.  Add vegetables and heat through.

Remove vegetables from cooking surface and slice.  Slice meat.  

serving instructions

 After you’ve sliced the meat, toss the meat and vegetables with reserved marinade and serve along side any or all of the following:

Flour Tortillas
Black Beans
Lime-Cilantro Rice
Pico de Gallo
Diced avocado
Sour Cream (sorry, we just buy that one!)
Shredded cheese or crumbled cotija cheese


*If you’re not familiar with liquid smoke, you can find it near the BBQ sauces.  Don’t make this without it! It’s definitely one of the key components. It makes things yummy and smoky and super flavorful. And if you’re wondering, it actually is real smoke in liquid form. Interesting, eh? Start with 1 teaspoon and add more if you’d like a smokier flavor. 



  1. Looks mucho bueno! The only other spanish I can think of is el bano, but that doesn’t have anything to do with this.

    I’ve never used liquid smoke as a marinade – I’ll have to try it! I used it a while back for a brisket recipe and remember reading the label and being puzzled about what is actually in it. Interesting stuff, but man it packs a flavor punch.

    My favorite secret spice for all things mexican is chipotle chili powder. Mmm, mmm good! It makes my mango salsa dance on the plate all by itself.

  2. Sara, those look awesome! YUM!

    If you don’t have a grill (or don’t want to grill), you can saute the veggies (preferably in a cast-iron skillet) with some of the marinade.

    Oh, and funny that you bring up the jalapenos–I don’t actually like them very much! I actually thought you liked them better than I did. I use them when I need to, but I don’t particularly like them.

  3. liquid smoke seems to give food that restaurant taste and smell, really hard to eat out after having this stuff…

  4. Eric, you cheated. And you even speak Spanish! lol.

    Kate, that’s funny. I never use Jalapeños, I just figured you did! Haha. Maybe I should take them out of the recipe then, cuz I never put them in there!

  5. Jesse, you *totally* get points! haha

    Hey, you could totally still make this and do tons of good veggies. Do you like tofu? I bet you could use the marinade on that too. It would still be awesome.

  6. Jessie, you could totally do vegetarian fajitas! 🙂 What about using portabello mushrooms instead of the chicken?

  7. P.S. (Hola!) lol…

    If you LIKE seafood, you can do shrimp, which is what I do when I make fajitas and it’s the bomb. Now it will be even MORE bomb because I have the marinade recipe! My hubby loves loves loves fajitas. So gracias!

  8. Hmmm. In the words of Dora’s Backpack: “Yum yum yum, delicioso!” (

    Seriously though, this is THE BEST fajita marinade ever. I love the liquid smoke and chili powder flavors so much, I usually increase them!

  9. You guys have totally inspired me to make these tonight! And bless you for saying you’ll follow up with a tortilla recipe! –Nobody should have to eat those tasteless cardboard things, also known as store bought tortillas! I could totally leave out the jalapenos but Jer would cause an uprising.

  10. Hey, no Portuguese! 😉

    Isn’t it sad that I took 2 years of very intense Spanish in college and I can’t think of a single thing to say? La Dama del Alba. Queso. Mi hijo me hace loco.

  11. Um Sara, I would like to see a post on how to make your own liquid smoke. Please arrange that. (Alton Brown did it… certainly you can too.) And, oh yeah… Olé for fajitas!

  12. These look so yummy! I can’t wait to try them. I am getting into the ground turkey scene and I want to try meatloaf and I need a good recipe and I knew you guys are bound to have one! Any Suggestions? Oh, and el trabajo? That is about all I know. Isn’t that the bathroom?

  13. Awesome! I love this recipe…I don’t always like liquid smoke, but in this and baked beans, delish!

    I only recently started eating chicken, and have always made this sans meat, and never even missed it. But I agree with Carly, it is FANTASTIC with shrimps, too.

    oh, and I can’t wait for the tortilla recipes!

  14. Que Pasa? (That’s the best I can think of right now. I have a question about this Aloha Shoya soy sauce. I know Kate mentioned that she has Sara send it to her, what makes it so great? And where to you find it. I use soy sauce a ton, but usually just buy Kikoman from Costco.

  15. Lo mismo me pasó con unas quesadillas que yo siempre comía en un restaurant. Yo juraba que eran de pollo, ya que tenían un nombre que sonaba a pollo. “Por dios que te gusta el pato” me dijo una amiga una vez. “Yo nunca he comido pato” contesté segura.

    That means you should make duck fajitas, not chicken. 😀

    Ok, I copied that from some random Spanish blog but I know it talks about food and poultry so it fits better than the people who posted about going to the bathroom.

    And Kate: Mis hijos me hacen loco tambien. Cada dia. Y yo lei La Dama del Alba a la Universidad tambien.

  16. Hey, Robyn! Aloha Shoyu is so good! It’s a little milder and sweeter and less salty and “brewy” than regular soy sauce. I just did a huge event and used regular soy sauce instead and the smell of it was almost overwhelming. I think Aloha Shoyu is just more flavorful. I could always get it at Walmart, the Orem Walmart in particular (if you’re in Utah County). Give it a shot and let us know what you think! 🙂

  17. Eric:
    That totally isn’t Spanish! You need help.

    I love your website. I haven’t tried this before, but the flank steak was mas or menos tan perfecto! Me encantan los merinades.

    Also, Sara, I found this website through a friend’s blog, but then my sister Emily told me it was your site. What a small world. Congrats on the new hijo.

  18. those look amazing! And your photography is beautiful. I think photographing food is difficult. I see a lot of people try and it just looks gross. So, good job on the fajitas, and good job on the photography. I am going to make these this week for sure.

    Muy bien


  19. Hey Sara, it’s Brittany (Becca’s roommate) these look so good! I totally agree that your photography skills are pretty impressive. I have the hardest time taking pictures of things like food so close up. The focus is always just a little off, you know? What is a macro setting? Does it help with that?

  20. Brit- hey! Yes, the macro setting helps a TON for getting good close-up shots of food. On regular ol’ point-and-shoot cameras, it’s the little icon that looks like a tulip. A lot of people don’t realize what that is. It’s for taking pictures at a pretty close distance, and if you try to take food pics with a normal setting, chances are they’ll be a bit blurry. So try playing around with that setting and I bet you’ll be able to get crystal clear shots. Try also pushing down the photo button half-way first to make sure it’s focusing and when it does, then take the picture. You’ll get the best results somewhere with lots of natural light, but not direct sunlight. (That just reflects and either washes out the food, or makes it look greasy). So that’s my totally NON profesh advice, lol. I don’t have a fancy camera, but I manage to get pretty decent shots so maybe those tips will help you too!

  21. Sara, there are a couple of things you left out about why your pictures turn out so great. I have been at your house while you have been photographing for the blog and boy have my little model hands gotten tired! How could you not end up with at least one good shot when you take so many pictures from so many different angles? Sometimes it helps (thank goodness for digital cameras)to get a bunch of different angles and shots then decide which one is best later. You never know what they are going to look like when you open them up on the computer! (Shh… don’t tell anyone. That is my secret for photographing kids, too!)

  22. Totally agree that Eric’s is not spanish. Well I can see where you’re going with it…

    Mia mulher, desculpe por no ter lido teu post…la verdad e que normalmiente solo miro para las fotos.

    Mi mujer, disculpa por no haber leido tu post. La verdad es que normalmente solo miro para las fotos.

  23. okay, I will totally defend and explain my husband here, lol. We speak fluent Portuguese, which is very similar to Spanish. He’s got some Portuguese spelling in there, lol. But that’s pretty darn good for someone who has never taken a Spanish class in his life! I think it’s harder to write in any language, but he *speaks* great Spanish in person! He translates for Spanish speaking patients every day and heck, we’ve been to Mexico together and he rolls with the Latinos just fine. *They* all understand him! Just had to throw that out there! haha

  24. Stupid late question here: If you run out of limes can you add in lemon juice to the marinade?!

    I’m exited, my meat is marinating right now but I wanted to ask that question for the future.

  25. sure Carly. Obviously lime juice is going to be better, but if you were desperate and just had lemon, I’d throw a little in there, just for the tang. Maybe a little less though, so it’s not too strong.

  26. I don’t see cumin in the recipe although it is listed in the ingredients–it is possible that I just can’t read…can you tell me how much to use? (guessing 1/2 tsp?)

  27. Renae, haha I never noticed that. You know what? There isn’t cumin in the recipe, I’m sure I just grabbed it for that picture out of habit because I use cumin so much! It would definitely be good in there though, so if you feel like adding it throw some in 🙂

  28. increible! sabroso! okay, so I MUST ask. . . where on earth do you find your Aloha soy sauce? I noticed (blog stalking for some time–btw, you girls are amazing!) that sara you are in the boise id area. me too! I am DYING for the Aloha since our Hawaii trip last year. ?? and thank you so so so much for your blog. my fav!

  29. this is the first time i've tried these! my recipe is pretty similar, but doesn't pack quite as much heat… delicious as usual and my husband loved them!

  30. I LOVE these!!! they have been a HUGE summer staple this year – add some pico, guac, and cilantro-lime dressing and i'm in heaven Ü

  31. I LOVE these!!! they have been a HUGE summer staple this year – add some pico, guac, and cilantro-lime dressing and i'm in heaven Ü

  32. Thanks a lot, Sara! I DVRed the Next FoodNetwork Star and haven't seen the last two episodes!! I guess I'll pretend I didn't see your spoiler. *sigh* I'm sure you and/or Kate will be on that show someday…

  33. Sarah- my rule of thumb is that if it's something that I'm going to cook veggies and meat together at the same time in the same pan, then I marinate them together, but if I'm cooking them separately, like here, then I do it separately. I guess I just don't like the thought of my veggies soaking in the meat juice.

  34. I made these last night for dinner with homemade pico de gallo. They were a huge hit! I wasn't able to make it to the market to get liquid smoke but they were still tasty without it. It gave the chicken/veggies a nice subtle flavour.

  35. This recipe was great!!! I also made the homemade tortillas, and doubled the recipe. With remaining half of the dough I made empanadas stuffed with apple pie filling and basted the top with egg and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon and baked. Our meal tonight was outstanding. Thanks yummy recipe lady!

  36. These were amazing! Love, love, love the marinade! We made steak fajitas with your homemade tortillas and loved every bite!

  37. We made these tonight. Super yummo! We don't particularly like peppers so we cut up some zucchini and yellow squash and sateed those in some of the marinate.
    This is definitely a keeper. Thanks for the tasty recipe.

  38. ok, the food looks awesome, but what I really love… is the hint about clicking the roller ball to open in a new tab! My co-worker thanks you as well! Now back to the food

  39. Bueno…les voy a dar una leccion en Espanol!!! Primeramenta…nos otros le llamamos aracherra!!! I have had these all my life, and they are even better with corn tortillas, guacamole (which is smashed avacado and jalapenos!! We don’t add tomatoes or onions, its preference) We ususally don’t even marinate. We we grill them, we use maybe garlic, salt & pepper…And we always have homemade salsa on hand. They used to be the cheapest cut in the grocery, until they became very popular…Desfrute de su Cinco de Mayo!!! Es una celebracion muy especial para nosotros…mucho amor, y gracias por todoas sus recetas tan deliciosas…

  40. These sound great! I have the meat and veggies marinating as I type, and I have to admit I’m a bit nervous about the spiciness of the fajitas. The marinade was SUPER spicy. I’m assuming that a lot of that heat will be lost once they’re cooked. How spicy are they once cooked?

    1. They’re not really spicy at all Jennifer! Did you measure everything right? You must have used chipotle powder- that’s the only thing in there that adds heat. Don’t worry, it’s a marinade, so a lot of those spices will stay right in the liquid when you take out the chicken.

  41. So, just ate these for dinner aaaaaaaannnnnndddd……….. they were FANTASTIC! I was really worried about the amount of cayenne, so I only put in about 1/4 tsp. They turned out perfect. A little bit of kick but not too spicy (however, I am kind of a wuss when it comes to spice). I’ve been looking for a good fajita recipe forever, glad I finally found it!

  42. I just have to say, this is a fantastic recipe. I’ve made it several times just for my family. I’m making it tomorrow for dinner guests and can’t wait to see what they think too (I’m sure they’ll think it’s fantastic also!). Every recipe I’ve made from this blog has turned out wonderfully.

  43. Oh wow, this marinade makes me love fajitas even more. We tried it last night, and it was oh so good. Thanks so much.

  44. I’m making these for company tonight. It’s all currently marinating in the fridge. That marinade smells SOOO good! I’m using red and yellow bell peppers, anaheim and banana peppers and onions. I’m doing both steak and chicken. I can’t wait!!!

  45. I made these last night!!! I left out the soy sauce because I didn’t have any, but they were absolutely delicious!!!

  46. I just used this marinade to simmer my chicken in for enchiladas tonight. That marinade is to die for and I will be making fajitas with it very soon!

  47. Hey do you need to refrigerate the liquid smoke? I did not see on it anywhere that you do but just wanted to double check with someone who uses it. Thanks

  48. This is probably the recipe that I have made the most from this blog. We love them! I have only made them with chicken and wanted to try it with steak but I was wondering what kind you would use? Flank?

  49. I am glad you ladies have started giving credit to the source, even when you adapt a recipe. This recipe, with a couple of minor changes, is one I have found on another site and it was posted 8 months before yours. Would you consider going back to older recipes and adding sources? I have found that as being a great way of finding new recipe sites….when I find a recipe I like and can go back to the source.

    1. Meg, we have both been using this recipe for years before we posted it here on our blog. It’s a well known recipe that has since been found in many, many places. I originally got this recipe from a family member, and Kate got it from a friend and we both have adapted it over the years to suit our tastes, as written here. We’ve shared it with lots of people before it was ever on our blog so I’m sure in many cases, people have found it through us! We are always very considerate to post sources when they apply and to properly credit others.

  50. These were great! we made them a year ago and didn’t really love them (not sure how I messed that up…) so we tried them again and they were fabulous! I think I added double the garlic, and was more liberal with the chipotle and cayenne-so yes, they were spicy. Fabulous!!! Thanks!

  51. I have been making these for a while and I LOVE and crave them. Chicken is yummy, but recently I made them with some carne asada steak . . . hello. Barely legal. But now I have a question. For years I have been using liquid smoke to make bbq sauces, and have always bought Wrights. The ingredients there are water and hickory smoke concentrate. However, last time I went to the store all they had was Colgin liquid smoke, ingredients there are water, natural smoke flavor, vinegar, molasses, caramel color, and salt. Which sounds closer to what you use? I have loved Wrights and am skeptical of this new one, but if you’ve been using something like Colgins all along, I’m sure I can’t kill the recipe . . . Probably can’t anyway, just wondering.

  52. Oh my gosh,these make the best Fajitas. I made them the other night for dinner and my husband and son in law loved them. They requested them for their fathers day meal this Sunday. YUMMY! You have the best recipes, thanks for sharing!

  53. So these are a staple now in meal planning. I actually crockpot the recipe with chicken breasts while at church and come home to a quick meal. We sauté the veggies and make guacamole and eat in about 20 minutes. Thanks for the awesome recipe.

  54. I made these this weekend, they are so good! I need to marinate longer next time because I didn’t start prepping until an hour before but even with just that the flavor was good-I can’t wait to see how much better they are with longer! The leftover chicken has been great on salads for quick lunches.

  55. The homemade tortillas seem like they would put this over the top! Curious what brand or tortillas you go for if homemade isn’t happening though? I always love to hear what people’s *preferred* brand of things is… Every time I buy tortillas I wonder if there’s a better tasting version! I do love the raw tortilla land ones from costco though. So good!

    1. pre-made raw tortillas are definitely my favorite, but if those aren’t happening, my favorite brand is La Tortilla Factory. Hope that helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.