Fajita tacos are a favorite way to enjoy the sizzling flavor of fajitas, in an easy-to-serve taco using strip meat and vegetables and a few easy but important steps.
Fajita tacos are a fantastic way to enjoy the unique flavor of restaurant fajitas at home, as long as the recipe is followed precisely.
This recipe works for chicken, beef, or shrimp.
The cooking technique helps achieve the authentic fajita flavors, that can be piled onto corn or flour tortillas, and enjoyed with your favorite toppings.
What You'll Need
Meat- chicken or beef, cut into thin strips, or cleaned and deveined shrimp
Tortillas- for serving; corn or flour, fajita size or street size taco (corn recommended)
Vegetable oil- use standard vegetable or canola oil, or similar oil with a high smoke point
Bell peppers- any sweet bell pepper variety, cut into thin strips
Onions- sweet onions recommended, cut into thin strips, but can use white, yellow or red
A cast iron skillet- the way that vegetables caramelize and meat sears on cast iron are what makes these tacos taste like the fajitas they bring sizzling to your table at restaurants.
Pat the meat or shrimp with paper towels to absorb moisture, and add to a large bowl.
Add the spices, lime juice, salt and pepper, and half of the vegetable oil to the meat, and toss gently to coat. Set aside.
Heat a large, cast iron skillet on medium-high heat with the other half of the vegetable oil.
Add the strips of peppers and onions to the hot oil. Saute until the onions become translucent and the peppers begin to soften.
Use tongs or a spatula to remove the vegetables temporarily to a plate and set them aside.
Add the strips of beef, chicken, or shrimp in a single layer in the same hot pan. Let the strips sear for one minute without moving them until a nice, brown sear forms.
Add the peppers and onions back to the pan. Use a spatula to saute everything until the meat is fully browned, or the shrimp has turned fully pink and tails curled.
Turn off the heat and serve sizzling hot with warm, flour or corn tortillas.
Tips and Notes
- To warm tortillas:
- Warm a stack of tortillas in the microwave on high for 2 minutes until hot, then wrap in foil, or
- Wrap a stack of tortillas in foil, and warm in the oven on the lowest heat setting until ready to serve
- Don't allow the meat or shrimp to sit in the marinade for more than one hour, or it can chemically "cook" the meat and change the texture
- Be sure the skillet is completely hot before dropping in the vegetables and meat in, to ensure a good sear forms immediately
- If you don't have a cast iron skillet, use another variety but be extra careful to let the meat sear without moving it until a good crust develops on the strips for maximum flavor
- To reheat the fajitas, simply warm in the oven, covered or wrapped in foil at the lowest setting until heated through and serve with warm tortillas
If you tried these fajita tacos and would like to share how they compared to restaurant fajitas, you can let other readers know by leaving a rating.
- Cast iron skillet
- 2 pounds chicken, beef or shrimp cut into thin strips (shrimp should be whole, cleaned and deveined)
- 1 cup bell peppers any color, cut into thin strips
- 1 cup onion sweet, cut into thin strips
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 medium lime juice of
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper black, white, red pepper flake, or mix of depending on desired heat level
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
- 20 small corn or flour tortillas for serving
- Prepare the ingredients by slicing the meat into thin strips about 2 inches long and ¼ inch wide (shrimp should be cleaned and deveined but remain whole).
- Slice peppers and onions into similar 2 inch by ¼ inch strips.
- Pat chicken, beef or shrimp dry with paper towels to absorb any extra moisture, and add to a mixing bowl.
- To the meat (or shrimp), add the 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, the juice of 1 whole lime, salt and pepper, and 1 ½ tablespoons of vegetable oil. Toss gently to coat.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium high heat with the other half of the vegetable oil (1 ½ tablespoons).
- Once hot, add the sliced pepper and onion strips to the oil and saute for 2-3 minutes until the onions are translucent and the peppers soften.
- Use tongs or a spatula to remove the peppers and onions to a plate temporarily.
- To the same hot skillet, lay down the meat or shrimp in a single layer, without moving it so that it may develop a dark sear. This will take about 2-4 minutes.
- Once the protein has developed a thick brown sear, add the partially cooked peppers and onions that had been set aside back to the pan.
- Saute for an additional 2-3 minutes until the meat is fully browned (or shrimps are pink and tails curled).
- Turn off the heat and serve sizzling hot with warm tortillas right away.
- Add additional toppings as desired.
- Get tortillas warmed before the fajitas are done so that they may be served immediately hot and sizzling.
- Don't allow the meat/protein to sit in the lime and seasoning "marinade" for more than one hour, or it will denature the meat and chemically cook it, changing it's texture.
- Cast iron is the best type of skillet to get restaurant-style fajitas at home; also don't disturb or move the meat until a sear has formed or it will be a weak sear. This is especially important if you are unable to use cast iron skillet.
- Fajitas can be saved in the fridge and reheated in the oven or microwave on the lowest heat until warmed through and served again with warm tortillas.