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Our Favorite Chicken Fajitas

Grab your cast iron skillet – these chicken fajitas are a one pan meal that are so good they’ll outshine your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant!

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I’m not saying that these chicken fajitas are the reason I married my husband… but I will say that every time he makes them, I’m reminded all over again of what a catch he is.

A cast iron skillet filled with chicken fajitas with tortillas and garnishes alongside.

Chicken fajitas were always my go-to dinner order whenever we’d go out to a Tex-Mex restaurant. Even as a kid, my mom and I would order a platter of sizzling hot fajitas and go to town making our own perfectly stuffed tortillas.

There’s just something about the perfect ratio of chicken to peppers and onions, piled atop a tortilla slathered with a healthy dose of sour cream that makes my heart sing.

But once a local restaurant started going downhill with their fajita quality, my husband made it his mission to perfect this dish for me.

And I couldn’t be more pleased with the results!

A cast iron skillet filled with chicken fajitas with tortillas and garnishes alongside.

Chicken Fajita Recipe Tips

A few fajita tips from my husband:

  • For timing purposes, I like to cut the onions while the skillet preheats, and then cut the peppers while the onions are cooking.
  • It’s worth the extra time to really caramelize the onions, but if you’re short on time, just put them in with the peppers.
  • You want the peppers to caramelize and blister while you’re cooking them – make sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet while you’re stirring to ensure even cooking without burning.
  • The acid from tomatoes can be rough on cast iron, so that’s why I add the tomato paste at the end.
  • Be sure to clean your cast iron skillet well! Ashley got The Ringer for me one Christmas and it’s a great tool for removing stuck on gunk from the bottom of the pan. We also use scrapers like these.

A plate of assembled chicken fajitas with margaritas in the background.

My additional tips would be to serve these up with some tortilla chips and homemade guacamole (the recipe for our current favorite is coming soon!) and a margarita or 3.

I also have been using whole milk plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for the past several years. It started because I’m the only person at home who can tolerate lactose, but yogurt is OK for everyone.

I got so used to it that I actually prefer it to sour cream for things like fajitas and tacos now. The contrast of the cool yogurt or sour cream to the piping hot fajita meat and veggies is one of the things I love most about this meal.

A cast iron skillet filled with chicken fajitas with tortillas and garnishes alongside.

How to Get Restaurant Quality Fajitas at Home

A few small things really make these fajitas taste like they came straight from a restaurant (and are even better, in my opinion!).

If at all possible, use a large cast iron skillet. The seasoning on the skillet and the way it retains heat and chars the ingredients isn’t something that’s easily done on a standard skillet. A wok would work, too, but cast iron is just perfect here. There are plenty of reasons to add a cast iron skillet to your kitchen arsenal, and fajitas are a prime example!

Close up of chicken fajitas in a cast iron skillet.

Take the time to really caramelize your onions. Many recipes claim to yield caramelized onions in like… 20 minutes. NOPE. This is a labor of love, mostly unattended, but it’ll take a good 45 minutes to an hour to really caramelize them well.

The flavor you get from caramelized onions is so much richer than rushing them, but if you’re short on time you can just add them in when you add the peppers to get a nice char.

If you want to get that nice smoking sizzle that restaurant fajitas are known for, add a little soy sauce right at the end and march ’em on out to the dinner table.

A cast iron skillet filled with chicken fajitas with tortillas and garnishes alongside.

These are seriously one of my all-time favorite dishes. We tend to alternate between chicken and steak fajitas, based on our mood and what type of meat is on sale.

The only problem with this recipe is that my family loves them so much that there isn’t often a ton of leftovers! These are absolutely delicious reheated for lunches, but my 6-year-old can sometimes take out 3 in one sitting.

He’s definitely mine!

Some of our favorite cast iron recipes:

Recipe for Our Favorite Chicken Fajitas

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A cast iron skillet filled with chicken fajitas with tortillas and garnishes alongside.

Our Favorite Chicken Fajitas

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Dino & Ashley Covelli
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: about 6 servings (2 fajitas per serving)
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex

Description

Grab your cast iron skillet – these chicken fajitas are a one pan meal that are so good they’ll outshine your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant!


Ingredients

For Fajitas:

  • 1 tablespoon Fajita seasoning (we like Penzeys)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 bell peppers, seeded and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce (optional)*

For Serving:

  • Flour tortillas, warmed
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Combine fajita seasoning and water in gallon-sized ziptop bag and set aside.
  2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and trim off any large pieces of fat. Cut meat against the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices and add to the bag of seasoning. Add olive oil and lime juice and seal bag, squeezing out as much air as you can. Transfer to refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.
  3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot (this takes a few minutes), add peanut oil and turn to coat bottom of the skillet. Add onions and break them up w a wooden spoon. Lower heat to medium-low and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Constantly stir until it stops sizzling.
  4. When the pan cools down, add butter. Stir every 10 min or so until caramelized, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer to a bowl, scraping out all the browned bits and cover. DO NOT CLEAN THE PAN.
  5. Return skillet to medium-high heat. Pan should be smoking.
  6. Drain the marinade from the bag of chicken and put the meat in the hot skillet. Spread over the bottom of the pan using metal tongs, cooking until browned and the chicken is cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Once browned, place into the bowl with onions and cover.
  7. Add peppers to pan and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring constantly. When they start to stick to the bottom of the pan, lower the heat to medium and stir in garlic.
  8. Add onions and meat back into the skillet, then add tomato paste, turn off heat and stir in until well combined. At this point, you can pour in soy sauce to get that sizzling sound and smoke for when you bring it to the table.
  9. Serve fajitas with warmed flour tortillas, Greek yogurt, and lime wedges alongside.

Notes

If using larger chicken breasts, cut them in half horizontally or pound them to make thinner pieces of chicken to work with.

Feel free to use any pre-made fajita seasoning blend that you like, or make your own!

If you don’t have time to caramelize onions, put them in with the peppers.

(*) optional: use gluten-free

Keywords: Tex-Mex, chicken fajitas, cast iron

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24 Comments

  • Gloria

    You can never go wrong with a fun and delicious chicken dish for dinner. Our family loves Mexican. Tacos and fajitas happen a lot around here. I know this would be a crowd pleaser for sure.

  • Gina

    What an amazing post thank you so much and to your husband for the amazing tips the cast iron has always intimidated me but I know that it would bring out the most flavor and thank you again for the tips on the caramelized onions I always thought that they could be done in 20 minutes and that was long enough 45 minutes to an hour geez LOL but you right it is worth the wait again thank you for the recipe and in-depth post!

    • Ashley

      I’m so glad this post was helpful for you, Gina! And YES – the caramelized onions take quite a while, and you can do it without going that far with them, but the flavor pay off is HUGE if you’re able to wait it out. Recipes that say that you can properly caramelize onions in like 20 minutes drive me batty! Hope you enjoy the fajitas 🙂

  • Whitney Bond

    It’s the worst when you go to a Mexican restaurant and order something other than fajitas and then smell someone else’s walking by! These look like a wonderful way to make my house smell that amazing! Thanks for the tip about caramelizing the onions, for the perfect flavors!

    • Ashley

      Ha – right?! It’s like total order envy. Though with this recipe, I’m spoiled with awesome fajitas at home, so I often order other dishes when I’m at a Mexican restaurant now.

  • Amanda Mason

    Excellent tips for these fajitas!! I agree – caramelizing the onions is so worth the time!! I love how you wrote this to say, “make restaurant quality fajitas at home”…I’m so sold on that! I love fajitas at the Mexican restaurant but if I can make them at home…even better! And we all know…anything made in a cast iron skillet is delish!

    • Ashley

      I hope you love these as much (if not more!) than the ones you get out at a restaurant! Years ago, I would have never thought I could make fajitas this good at home, but shoutout to my hubby for his dedication to the cause 😉

  • Kitty

    My hubby is a HUGE fajita fan. But I don’t make them at home much. I’m gonna try this because we also love Penzeys!!!! I could eat a shoe covered in their spices!!! hahaha

  • Heather

    Cast iron pans are definitely the way to go and great tip about carmelizing the onions .. beautiful recipe and what a happy, healthy dish to serve.

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