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Chicken, onions, and peppers in a cast iron skillet with tortillas, cheese, and pico de gallo on the side

The BEST Chicken or Steak Fajitas

  • Author: Our Best Bites
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Refrigerator Time: 4-6 hours
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 4-6 hours


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

Suggestions FOR SERVING

sour cream
green onions
diced tomatoes, salsa, or pico de gallo
diced avocados or guacamole
black beans
shredded cheese


In a medium bowl, combine all marinade ingredients and whisk well. Reserve 3-4 tablespoons of marinade for later use.

Place meat in a Ziploc bag or shallow dish.  Place vegetables in another.

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. 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 How to Grill the Perfect 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, tented with foil, then slice the meat. Drizzle reserved marinade over finished meat and veggies and serve.

indoor instructions

Heat a large skillet or grill pan to medium heat. Cook the peppers and onions first and then remove from pan, covering loosely with foil.  Cook chicken or steak on each side until cooked through and remove from pan and allow to rest, tented with foil, for a few minutes before slicing. Drizzle reserved marinade over finished meat and veggies and serve.

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
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.