For years I didn’t “get” fajitas. Go all the way to a restaurant so I can assemble my own food? No thanks. 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 the best chicken fajitas weekly for the past 6+ 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 its been all fajitas, all the time since then. How much do you love hearing and smelling those sizzling platters 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 actually a disaster! After mixing up a chili powder-heavy marinade then searing everything over high heat, the marinade burned and the resulting dish tasted nothing like the fajitas I was used to seeing arrive sizzling-hot at 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,) and the recipe I’m sharing today is spot. ON!!
Tips for Making The Best Chicken Fajitas
- No marinade needed. You DON’T need a marinade to make restaurant-style chicken fajitas! All you need to season the chicken and vegetables with is Homemade Seasoned Salt, cumin, fresh lemon juice (the key ingredient) and smoked paprika, which is optional.
- What to serve with them. Fajitas are typically served with flour tortillas, but since they aren’t gluten free, I eat mine with a side of Mexican Rice and a mountain of Lazy Girl’s Guacamole (mash 1 avocado with a squeeze of lime juice plus Homemade Seasoned Salt.) Easy Pinto Beans, Pico de Gallo, sour cream, and shredded lettuce are also great to serve with fajitas.
- Cooking tips. Use high heat and don’t overcrowd the pan when searing the chicken and vegetables, which will result in steamed vs seared ingredients. Work in batches and make sure the oil is super hot before cooking each batch.
- Cast iron is best. A large, cast iron pan is preferred for optimal searing and browning. Here’s the one I recommend >
- Meal prep. To save time, you can chop all the vegetables and/or chicken one or two days ahead of time. This is a great weekend meal prep meal.
A margarita is also highly recommended. ;) Alright, let’s get cooking!
How to Make This Recipe
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. Yum!
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, preferably cast iron 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.
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. I hope you love these easy, yummy, best chicken fajitas ever! Enjoy!
More Fajita-Inspired Faves
- Steak Fajitas
- Chicken Fajita Cheeseburgers
- Fajta Caesar Salad
- Vegetable Fajita Tostada Bowls
- Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
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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.