This chicken fajita marinade recipe combines olive oil, lime juice, and spices to create the perfect flavoring for zesty fajitas.
This marinade can also be used to make Mexican-style chicken for burritos, nachos, tacos, and other dishes.
Mexican food is a family favorite in my house; every week, I make steak tacos, chicken enchiladas, or chicken fajitas.
This fajita marinade takes only 5 minutes to make and is always a hit.
For many years, I’ve been making this chicken fajita marinade – it’s my absolute favorite way to flavor plain old chicken breasts!
This is the most convenient way to enjoy restaurant-style fajitas in the comfort of your own home.
HOW DO YOU MAKE CHICKEN FAJITA MARINADE RECIPE?
The marinade contains olive oil, lime juice, minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and onion powder. Whisk together all of the ingredients to make a simple yet flavorful marinade.
Place the chicken in the marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Cook your chicken according to your preference, along with the peppers and onions, and you’ll have delicious fajitas to enjoy!
TIPS FOR THE PERFECT MARINADE
- Make use of freshly squeezed lime juice.
- I use a mild chili powder in my marinade, so I add 2 tablespoons. If you’re using a spicy chili powder, you might want to reduce the amount to 1 tablespoon.
- Smoked paprika can be found in the spice aisle of most supermarkets and adds a lot of flavor.
- This recipe yields enough marinade for 1 pound of chicken.
- In this marinade, you can use chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or chicken tenders. I usually use chicken breasts cut into strips.
- This marinade can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN FAJITAS FROM SCRATCH
- Use a cast iron skillet or a heavy-bottomed skillet. Cast iron skillets conduct heat the best, resulting in a good sear even with juices present. Use your heaviest bottomed pan if you don’t have a cast iron skillet.
- To make the marinade, combine the fajita spice mix with the oil and lime juice. Mix in 1/4 cup canola or olive oil and the juice of 1 lime to the fajita seasoning. As the chicken rests, the acid from the lime juice, combined with the kosher salt, tenderizes it.
- Separately marinate and cook the chicken and vegetables. I prefer my chicken fully cooked and my vegetables crisp, so cooking them in separate batches ensures I get the best of both worlds.
- Cut the chicken breasts into approximately 1-inch cubes. Toss 1/4′′ thick slices with 2/3 of the fajita spice mix marinade. Make sure the chicken is completely coated with the seasoning, then set aside for 15 to 30 minutes to rest.
- Cook the vegetables after coating them with 1/3 of the fajita spice mix marinade. The chicken has more time to mingle with and absorb the marinade while the vegetables cook. Cook the vegetables for a few minutes, or until the onion begins to soften, then transfer to a plate or bowl.
HOW LONG CAN YOU MARINATE CHICKEN?
This chicken should soak in the marinade for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours.
The marinade contains a lot of lime juice, and the acid in the juice can change the texture of the chicken if you soak it for a long time.
HOW TO MEAL PREP CHICKEN FAJITAS
This meal is ideal for meal prep and can be refrigerated for up to two days before cooking.
- Combine the spice blend and marinade.
- Prepare the chicken and vegetables separately, then combine them with the marinade in separate freezer bags or containers.
- Make the condiments and dressings ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator.
- When you’re ready to cook, gather your ingredients and fixings, then get to work!
DO YOU NEED A CAST IRON SKILLET?
When it comes to searing the chicken, a cast iron skillet is ideal. It gives it a nice char and brings out the flavors of the seasoning.
To avoid sticking, make sure your cast iron is properly seasoned. If you don’t have a cast iron pan, a stainless steel pan will suffice.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR CHICKEN FAJITAS
While chicken fajitas are delicious on their own, the addition of toppings can make or break the dish.
Fajitas are a fun way to serve customizable options for your family or a large party, from a dollop of sour cream to cheese or avocado slices! Pico de gallo and guacamole are two of my favorite toppings.
And if you have leftover chicken fajitas, don’t limit yourself to just wrapping them in tortillas. For a lighter option, make lettuce wraps with butter lettuce.
You can also combine them with some leafy greens, black beans, sweet corn, and avocado to make an easy fajita salad.
CHICKEN FAJITA MARINADE VARIATIONS
While I usually make this marinade exactly as written, I occasionally add other ingredients to the mix based on what I have on hand.
- Herbs: Add a handful of fresh herbs, such as chopped cilantro leaves or sliced green onion, if desired.
- Add some hot sauce or minced canned chipotle peppers to taste if you prefer a spicy marinade.
- Citrus: While lime juice is a traditional pairing with Mexican food, you can experiment with lemon or orange juice for a different flavor.
- Protein: This marinade can also be used on shrimp, flank steak, or pork tenderloin.
Frequently Asked Questions
You only need chicken, bell pepper, onion, lime juice, and spices, as well as tortillas and your favorite toppings. It’s ridiculously simple.
The term “fajita” refers to the type of meat traditionally used in the dish’s preparation—carne asada, or skirt steak. This tough cut of meat is grilled, sliced against the grain, and served with grilled vegetables and flour or corn tortillas on the side.
To make cubes of chicken breast, start by slicing the breast into large slices slightly against the grain. Then, crosswise cut each of the wider strips into cubes. If you want to make smaller cubes, cut each of the wider strips in half lengthwise, then cut the resulting strips crosswise.
Fajita is a Tex-Mex, Texan-Mexican American, or Tejano term for small strips of meat cut from the beef skirt, which is the most commonly used cut for fajitas.
inspired by: https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/chicken-fajita-marinade/