The BEST Chicken Fajitas are incredibly simple with no marinating step. Just chop then sizzle. Tastes just like a restaurant’s version!
For years I didn’t “get” fajitas. Go all the way to a restaurant so I can assemble my own food? Not into it. Furthermore they’re filled with bell peppers which up until last year I couldn’t even look at in the grocery store. Thankfully, I’ve seen the light (and the fact that you can order your own fajita skillets on Amazon – can you even handle it?!) and have been making them weekly for the past six+ months!
My journey to loving fajitas is not an interesting one so I’ll spare you the details (the CliffsNotes version is that I once tried Ben’s at our favorite Mexican restaurant and loved them. HA!) Anyway, that was about 2 years ago and I haven’t consulted a menu since. All fajitas, all da time. How much do you love hearing and smelling fajitas before they even arrive at your table?
The first time I attempted to whip them up at home though, was a different story. It was a disaster, in fact! No knocks on the recipe I tried – I don’t even remember where it came from – but after having to mix up a chili powder-heavy marinade then wait while the chicken soaked, sear everything over high heat which caused said marinade to burn, the resulting dish tasted nothing like the fajitas I was used to seeing arrive sizzling-hot from our go-to restaurant. I went back to the drawing board (or rather, Ben and his talented palate made their best guess as to what made our restaurant’s version so delicious,) gave it a go at home, and it was spot. ON.
You won’t believe how simple this recipe is. Chopped vegetables, chicken, homemade seasoned salt, cumin, and fresh lemon juice (the key ingredient!) combine to make the most craveable and BEST chicken fajitas you will ever taste. So easy to make at home, jam-packed with fresh vegetables, and just as good as a restaurant’s.
As you know, fajitas are typically served with flour tortillas (they’re actually defined in Tex-Mex cuisine as strips of meat served taco-style in a tortilla,) but since they aren’t gluten-free, I eat mine with a side of rice and a mountain of fresh guacamole. Check out my “recipes” for the two sides below. If you’re gluten-free you could absolutely use GF corn tortillas, but I’ve gotten used to eating them “naked” and there’s no other way for me now!
Start by chopping up all the vegetables. You’ll need 2 bell peppers, any color, 1 sweet onion, and 8oz mushrooms, all sliced thin. Tomatoes are usually included in my favorite restaurant’s fajitas, but I swapped them for mushrooms because tomatoes can easily turn to mush when seared at such high heat and because, mushrooms. :)
Time saving tip: Chop all the vegetables one or two days ahead of time to get this dish on the table even faster. This would be a great Sunday afternoon meal prep activity.
Next, thinly slice 1lb chicken breasts. I usually slice each chicken breast in half width wise then thinly slice each half. If you’re slicing ahead of time, cover and refrigerate the chicken, but if you’re ready to start cooking, season with homemade seasoned salt, a dash of cumin, and a dash of smoked paprika then mix to coat.
Time to get cooking! In a very large, heavy-bottomed skillet heat 1-1/2 Tablespoons high heat cooking oil until it just starts to smoke. I used almond oil but you could use grapeseed or vegetable oil – whatever you have on hand. Add 1/3 of the vegetables then season with homemade seasoned salt, a dash of cumin, and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice. This combination is fresh, lively, and CRAZY DELICIOUS!!!
Let the vegetables sit in the skillet until the bottoms have seared, then mix and continue to saute until they’re crisp-tender, and then remove to a plate. Continue with the other 2/3 of the vegetables, searing them in oil and seasoning with the seasoned salt, cumin, and lemon juice.
(Psst: since this recipe makes enough for 4-5 people, I use a big skillet vs the individual fajita skillets which are best for 1-2 servings.)
Last step is to heat 1-1/2 Tablespoons oil in the skillet then add the seasoned chicken. Add a drizzle of lemon juice then saute until the chicken is just cooked through, 3-4 minutes.
Add all the vegetables back into the skillet to heat through, then the fajitas are done! So easy, right?
Scoop the chicken and vegetables onto plates then serve with rice, a mountain of fresh guacamole, and/or tortillas, and then dig in!
The BEST Chicken Fajitas
The BEST Chicken Fajitas are incredibly simple with no marinating step. Just chop then sizzle. Tastes just like a restaurant's version!
- 1lb chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
- 2 bell peppers, any color, thinly sliced
- 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 8oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 6 Tablespoons high-heat cooking oil (almond, grapeseed, vegetable, etc.)
- 1 lemon
- Gluten-Free Seasoned Salt (see notes for recipe)
- Smoked paprika (optional)
- Season chicken strips with seasoned salt and a pinch of both cumin and smoked paprika then mix and set aside. Add vegetables to a large bowl then toss with your hands to mix.
- Heat 1-1/2 Tablespoons oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. When it begins to smoke, add a third of the vegetables then season with seasoned salt, a sprinkle of cumin, and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice (1-2 teaspoons - not too much!) Let vegetables sit undisturbed until seared on the bottom then continue to saute, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes, turning heat down if they begin to burn. Remove vegetables to a plate. Repeat searing vegetables in two more batches, each in 1-1/2 Tablespoons oil, adding seasonings and lemon juice to each batch.
- Heat remaining 1-1/2 Tablespoons oil in skillet then add chicken, drizzle over a little lemon juice, then saute until cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Add vegetables back into skillet then toss to heat through. Divide fajita mixture between plates then serve.
- Click here for the Gluten-Free Homemade Seasoned Salt recipe >
- Chop vegetables and chicken a couple days ahead to save time.
- Serve fajitas with rice, gluten-free tortillas, and/or guacamole.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
The Mexican Rice I like to serve my fajitas with is super easy. I usually cook 1 cup long grain white rice in 1 cup chicken broth + 1/2 cup salsa until tender. My guacamole recipe is just ripe avocados mashed with lime juice and seasoned salt. Obsessed! Hope you enjoy!