How to Make Meat or Veggie Fajitas with Restaurant-Quality Sizzle

Learn how to make fajitas from scratch with our homemade seasoning and marinade recipes, plus tips on how to make fajitas in the oven or on the grill.

There's something about the sizzle of fresh-cooked fajitas that makes dinnertime much more exciting. But you don't have to wait for your next trip to your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant to enjoy them. With just a few simple steps, learn how to make fajitas at home so you can serve them whenever you want. You can learn to make your own fajita seasoning so they taste authentic, and the trick behind how to make fajitas sizzle (hint: it's all in the type of pan you use!). Start with a basic, easy fajita recipe, then customize it any way you want by using steak, beef, chicken, or turkey. Onions, tomatoes, and red and green sweet peppers also make a classic filling.

How to Make Fajita Seasoning

If you want to speed up the process, using a packaged fajita spice mix is a quick and easy trick to get dinner underway. However, you can also make your own fajita seasoning and store it in the pantry for whenever you're making a quick plate of fajitas. To make a batch, just combine 1½ teaspoons ground cumin, ½ teaspoon oregano, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder, and ⅛ teaspoon onion powder. Combine spices in a small bowl and mix well.

How to Marinate Fajitas

If you want to put a new twist on fajitas, try marinating them before cooking. To make the marinade, combine ½ cup clear Italian salad dressing, ½ cup salsa, 1 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro, and ¼ teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce. Marinate pork or beef in this mixture in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours.

Step 1: Season Meat

If using beef, partially freezing it ahead of time will make slicing easier. For steak fajitas, trim fat from meat and thinly slice steak across the grain into bite-size strips. Marinate if desired. Sprinkle chicken, beef, pork, or turkey with 2 teaspoons of fajita seasoning, then cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Step 2: How to Make Fajita Veggies

Wrap tortillas tightly in foil and bake at 350ºF until heated through (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, in a 12-inch cast iron skillet heat 1 tablespoon cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, and 1 teaspoon fajita seasoning. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove onion mixture from skillet.

Step 3: How to Make Fajitas on the Stove

Add 1 tablespoon oil and the meat to skillet. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until desired doneness for steak. If using chicken or turkey, cook until strips are no longer pink. Drain well. Return onion mixture to skillet and stir in chopped tomatoes. Cook and stir for 1 minute or until heated through. Remove skillet from heat and stir in lime juice.

Step 4: Fill and Serve Fajitas

Fill warm tortillas with fajita meat and vegetables. If desired, top with guacamole, salsa, and sour cream. Roll up tortillas and serve with lime wedges.

Flank Steak Fajita Burritos
Andy Lyons

How to Make Fajitas

The signature sizzle you hear when your fajitas are being brought to your table at a restaurant may be due to a few factors. First, restaurants often serve fajitas in the cast iron skillet they were cooked in, which allows them to keep sizzling as they arrive at your table (because they're finishing cooking). If you want to hear the sizzle at home, make sure you use cast iron, and make sure the skillet is super hot before adding the meat. Restaurants also might add a little extra oil to the skillet just before serving, which also creates a sizzling sound as the oil heats up.

How to Make Fajitas in the Oven

When you cook fajitas in the oven, you might not hear the same sizzle, but you can get the same flavor. Instead of baking, broil the fajitas; it'll have a similar effect as cooking in a skillet or on the grill. To learn how to make chicken fajitas in the oven, marinate or season as desired. Preheat the broiler, then place the chicken, peppers, and onion on a baking sheet. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 15 to 18 minutes or until the chicken is done, turning once. The veggies should also be charred.

How to Make Fajitas on the Grill

Grilling fajitas is similar to skillet-cooking them, but the meat and veggies will also have beautiful grill marks and a hint of smoky flavor. To grill fajitas, brush the veggies and meat with oil and season as desired. Grill the veggies directly on the rack, covered, over medium heat for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly charred. Add the meat to the grill, then cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until it reaches your desired doneness. Just before serving, grill the tortillas for 20 to 30 seconds.

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