Steak Fajitas Recipe

Absolutely any night is the right night for a platter of sizzling Steak Fajitas. Pile up the tender mouth-watering beef into tortillas with peppers, onions, and a bunch of your favorite toppings. One bite, and you’ll remember why this Tex-Mex recipe is everybody’s favorite dinner.

Flank Steak Fajitas are easy to make with my homemade Fajita Seasoning, made from easy-to-find pantry ingredients. The seasoning works for chicken and shrimp, too, so you can have different homemade fajitas any night of the week. Round out your menu with a copycat recipe for Chipotle’s famous Cilantro Lime Rice, Corn Salsa, and maybe a giant pitcher of Agua de Jamaica to cool things down.

Steak fajitas in a white serving dish.
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Fajitas aren’t just for restaurants anymore! You can—and should—make them yourself, tonight, if possible. Because a) you deserve it. And b) it’s fantastically easy.

You can make fajitas on the stove, on a gas grill, or over the coals in the great out of doors. In this recipe, the steak is cooked whole and sliced into strips so it doesn’t overcook. After the meat marinates, you only need a few minutes to cook everything up.

Just make sure you’ve got enough tortillas, toppings, and guac. Because when eating is this fun, you’ll just want to keep doing it!

Making Steak Fajitas for two, or twenty hungry cowpokes? Just click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

The history of fajitas:

Tex-Mex at its finest! In the Texas borderlands, cattle ranchers and cowboys frequently ate fajitas (also known as “little belts”) made out if the trims and leftover bits of steak cuts after butchering. After a hard day’s work, I can’t imagine anything more delicious than eating steak cooked over open flames, under a starry sky.

You can also make fajitas with chicken, shrimp, or even just veggies.

Steak fajita ingredients in various bowls.

What kind of beef for fajitas?

The recipe calls for flank steak, but you can use rump or skirt steak, too. Flank steak is perfect if you love medium-rare or medium fajitas, because it has a lot of juicy, beefy flavor.

If you prefer more well-done beef fajitas, search out skirt steak, which has more fat and won’t dry out if cooked more thoroughly.

Because they're longer cuts of beef, the steaks are cut into pieces that can squeeze into a skillet, then sliced into strips after cooking.

How to make steak Fajita Seasoning:

I love this fajita seasoning for any kind of fajitas. It’s just a blend of chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and some salt and sugar. Make a jar to store in the pantry when you need it in a hurry, but I’ve measured out exactly wheat you need for this recipe, right here. Blend the ingredients up in a lidded glass jar or a small bowl.

Skip the store-bought packets and make your own homemade Fajita Seasoning! It's incredibly simple and can be mixed together in minutes (and you can reduce or omit the salt and the sugar if you want to). This versatile spice blend is great on fajitas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more! The best part: It lasts for ages, so go ahead and make a double batch. 

Best pan for making fajitas:

Cast iron! If you've got one, hooray! Drag it out. Cast iron is perfect for high-heat cooking. It’s great in the stove, in the oven, or on the grill. A hard anodized aluminum pan will do the trick too—professional kitchens use them a lot.

However, modern non-stick skillets just aren’t cut out for high temperature cooking. Not only can they warp in the heat, but the delicate surface of the pan can get damaged, too. Keep your good non-stick pans for eggs.

How to make Steak Fajitas:

  1. Super simple! Mix together the homemade Fajita Seasoning, lime juice, and chopped cilantro. Add the ingredients to a sturdy, zip-top plastic bag, or a glass baking dish. Then add the steak and mix to make sure the beef is completely coated in the marinade. Let the steak marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour.
    Steak being marinated in a Ziploc bag.
    If you want to marinate the steak ahead of time—say, in the morning—skip the lime juice, and coat the steak in just the cilantro and seasoning. Store it in the refrigerator while you're at work. Then add the lime juice thirty minutes before you plan on cooking. Otherwise, the acid in the lime juice can “cook” the beef if left too long.)
  2. After the steak is marinated, heat a skillet and some oil over medium-high heat on the stove. Next, add the steak and cook until crispy and browned on the bottom. Don’t move the steak around, no matter how tempted you might be! This should take 3 to 5 minutes. Then flip the steak and continue to cook until the new side is browned. If you have a thicker cut of meat, use tongs to flip and turn the meat so that all sides are browned.
    Steak searing in a black skillet.
  3. Once your steak is finished cooking, move it to a cutting board to rest for at least 5 minutes while you cook the onions and peppers. Keep the fat in the skillet. Then add the sliced peppers and onions and cook until tender.
    Sliced vegetables in a black skillet.
  4. While the peppers are doing their thing, slice the steaks into thin strips against the grain of the muscle fiber.
    Sliced steak on a wood cutting board.
  5. As soon as the onions and peppers are soft, add the strips of steak back to the skillet for easy serving.
    Steak and veggies in a black skillet.

Making steak fajitas on the grill:

Yee-haw! The beauty of cast iron is that you can plunk the pan right on the grate, just like the vaqueros used to do.

On the grill, you can cook the steak pieces whole. You can also cook the peppers in quarters and the onions in fat rings (so you don’t lose the veggies in the fire grates). Then you can slice and dice and add everything back to a sizzling skillet just before serving.

Or plunk a cast iron skillet or a grill basket right on the grate and cook the peppers and onions. You could also use skewers.

Keeping Steak Fajitas from being overdone:

It’s always a good idea to have a good instant-read thermometer close by. Pull your steak off the grill or out of the pan when:

  • 120-125 degrees for medium rare
  • 130-135 degrees for medium
  • 140 degrees for medium well

The meat will actually go up a few degrees while it rests, from a phenomenon called carryover cooking. Letting the meat rest is crucial to achieving juicy, perfectly cooked meat. If you cut the steak too soon, all the juices will flow out onto the cutting board and not into your mouth!

Steak fajitas in a white serving dish.

 

How to eat Steak Fajitas:

  1. Grab a warm tortilla and load it up with peppers, onions, and that beautiful steak you just cooked.
  2. Then throw on the toppings: shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, whatever you like.
  3. Fold the tortilla over and take a bite. Heaven, right?

How do you warm tortillas?

Follow this method for both corn and flour tortillas.

  1. Heat a dry skillet over medium or medium-high heat (depending on how closely you will be watching the tortillas).
  2. Add tortillas in a single layer (no overlap) and heat until softened on one side (1-2 minutes).
  3. Flip and heat on the other side for another minute or so. Repeat with more tortillas.
  4. Wrap warmed tortillas in a towel or foil until serving time.

Or, you can warm them right on the coals—it only takes 30 seconds or so—or grill them over an open flame on the stove, flipping them with tongs.

Chicken and steak fajitas on two serving platters.

The best Steak Fajitas toppings:

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Cheese or sour cream (or Mexican crema, if you can find it)
  • Diced avocado or guacamole
  • Pickled jalapeños or shallots
  • Corn salsa
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Minced white onion & cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges

Perfect sides for sizzling fajitas:

Steak Fajitas Recipe

Absolutely any night is the right night for a platter of sizzling Steak Fajitas. Pile up the tender mouth-watering beef into tortillas with peppers, onions, and a bunch of your favorite toppings. One bite, and you’ll remember why this Tex-Mex recipe is everybody’s favorite dinner.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword steak
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 443kcal

For the fajita seasoning:

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or less to taste
  • salt

For the marinade:

  • 2 pounds flank steak trimmed and slice lengthwise (with grain) into 4 equal pieces
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice from 2 limes

For the fajitas:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 large bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, or green) cut into strips for stove method (see notes for grill method)
  • 1 large red onion halved and thinly sliced for stove method (see notes for grill method)
  • flour tortillas or corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
  • avocados sliced, for serving
  • fresh cilantro minced, for serving
  • sour cream for serving
  • Mexican rice for serving

To make the seasoning:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together chili powder, cumin, paprika, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste (I like 1 teaspoon).

To make the marinade:

  • To a large zipper-top plastic bag, add steak, cilantro, lime juice, and fajita seasoning. Mash until steak is evenly coated. Marinate at least 30 minutes (room temperature) or up to 1 hour (refrigerated).

To cook the steak fajitas on the stove:

  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add steak and cook, without moving, until crispy and browned on one side, about 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the second side, about 3 to 5 minutes longer.
  • Using tongs, stand each piece on a cut side and cook, turning as necessary, until all cut sides are browned and until meat registers 120 to 125 degrees (for medium rare) or 130 to 135 degrees (for medium), 3 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer steak to a cutting board and rest for 5 minutes before cutting into strips (do not discard fat in skillet). Slice steak pieces thin against grain.
  • Meanwhile, to the skillet with the fat over medium-high heat, add bell peppers and onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Push peppers and onions to one side and add sliced steak back to skillet for serving.
  • Serve with tortillas, avocado, cilantro, and sour cream (or your favorite toppings).

To cook steak fajitas on a gas grill:

  • Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
  • Clean and oil cooking grate. Place steak pieces on grill and cook, covered, until well-browned on first side, 4 to 7 minutes. Flip steak and continue to cook until meat registers 120 to 125 degrees (for medium rare) or 130 to 135 degrees (for medium), 3 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer steak to a cutting board and rest for 5 minutes before cutting into strips. Slice steak pieces thin against grain.
  • Meanwhile, place onion rounds and bell pepper quarters (skin side down) over all medium burners. Cook until tender and charred on both sides, 8 to 12 minutes, flipping every 3 minutes. Transfer to cutting board with steak. Separate onions into rings and slice bell peppers into 1/4-inch strips. 
  • Arrange sliced steak and veggies on a platter and serve with tortillas, avocado, cilantro, and sour cream (or your favorite toppings).

To cook steak fajitas on a charcoal grill:

  • Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter mounded with charcoal briquettes (7 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
  • Clean and oil cooking grate. Place steak pieces on hotter side of grill and cook until well-browned on first side, 4 to 7 minutes. Flip steak and continue to cook until meat registers 120 to 125 degrees (for medium rare) or 130 to 135 degrees (for medium), 3 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer steak to a cutting board and rest for 5 minutes before cutting into strips. Slice steak pieces thin against grain.
  • Meanwhile, place onion rounds and bell pepper quarters (skin side down) on hotter side of grill. Cook until tender and charred on both sides, 8 to 12 minutes, flipping every 3 minutes. Transfer to cutting board with steak. Separate onions into rings and slice bell peppers into 1/4-inch strips. 
  • Arrange sliced steak and veggies on a platter and serve with tortillas, avocado, cilantro, and sour cream (or your favorite toppings).

Recipe Notes

How to cook fajita veggies on grill:
  1. Peel red onion and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Do not separate rings.
  2. Quarter, stem, and seed bell peppers.
  3. While steak rests, place onion rounds and bell pepper quarters (skin side down) on hotter side of grill (for charcoal) or over all medium burners (for gas grill).
  4. Cook until tender and charred on both sides, 8 to 12 minutes, flipping every 3 minutes. Transfer to cutting board with steak. 
  5. Separate onions into rings and slice bell peppers into 1/4-inch strips. 

Nutrition

Calories: 443kcal

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