Our Go-To Chile-Lime Skillet Chicken Fajitas

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These sizzlin’ Skillet Chicken Fajitas are a go-to weeknight dinner! Thinly sliced chicken soaks up a zesty spiced chicken fajita marinade then cooks in a skillet with strips of bell pepper & onion until sizzling, charred, & tender. This super versatile chicken fajita recipe is great stuffed into tortillas, burritos, or in a rice bowl with beans & all of your other favorite fajita night fixings. A totally feel-good, veggie-loaded meal ready in 30 minutes or less!
Finished chicken fajitas fill a white cast iron skillet with fajita veggies. The finished dish is garnished with chopped cilantro and a few lime wedges for serving. The skillet sits atop a white textured surface surrounded by two margaritas in amber glassware, a small bowl of guacamole, a small bowl of cotija cheese, a plate of corn tortillas, a small bowl filled with corn tortilla chips, lime wedges, and a blue linen napkin.

Fast, Flavorful, & Simple Sizzling Chicken Fajitas – the PERFECT Weeknight Meal!

Fajitas (of any kind!) are one of my all-time favorite Mexican-inspired meals. They’re super quick to make, loaded with veggies, & incredibly versatile – all the best things for weeknight cooking.

These skillet chicken fajitas are my tried & true fajita recipe (you may recognize them from PWWB burrito night!). There are 2 key factors that keep us coming back to this recipe time & time again. The first is a seriously flavorful chicken fajita marinade made with zesty lime & loads of fragrant spices & the second is the use of a cast iron skillet. I have a SERIOUS preference for prepping chicken fajitas in a skillet (vs on a sheet pan). The combination of heavy cast iron & high heat results in irresistible charred caramelization that’s impossible to achieve on a sheet pan!

This chicken fajita recipe comes together in 30 minutes or less & it’s a totally feel-good dinner. It’s our go-to because the fajitas have a perfect balance of spiced, bright, & sweet flavor with a beautiful char & classic fajita sizzle. Fajita night is a frequent occasion at our house & I think you’ll love this quick & healthy weeknight recipe too!

Skillet Chicken Fajita Recipe Highlights

You’re going to LOVE this easy chicken fajitas recipe because it’s…

  • MEGA FLAVORFUL. A spicy, bright, & sweet chicken fajita marinade soaks the chicken with tons of flavor while the cast-iron pan adds an irresistible charred caramelization. SO good!
  • A 30-MINUTE DINNER. This is such an easy chicken fajita recipe! Chop some veggies, quickly marinate the chicken, & sizzle everything together for a simple dinner in 30 minutes or less.
  • TOTALLY VERSATILE. Serve your skillet chicken fajitas as tacos, burritos, or burrito bowls with your choice of toppings. You can even use the fajita marinade with any other protein if you prefer. Fajita night is all about whatever you love most.

It’s a go-to for a reason! ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make these Skillet Chicken Fajitas, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!

Key Ingredients for Easy Chicken Fajitas

This recipe calls for a handful of fresh ingredients & a few pantry staple spices.

Skillet chicken fajita ingredients arranged on a creamy white textured surface: boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, limes, olive oil, agave nectar, ancho chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, bell pepper, red onion, kosher salt, and ground black pepper.

Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

For an epic chicken fajita night at home, you’ll need…

  • Chicken – I prefer using extra-juicy chicken thighs for maximum flavor, but you can use chicken breasts or other proteins like steak or shrimp if you prefer. The chile-lime fajita marinade will work well no matter what protein you choose! If you’d like a meatless fajita recipe, check out these veggie fajitas burrito bowls for some inspiration.
  • Chicken fajita marinade – This bright & spicy-sweet marinade gets a ton of flavor from fresh lime juice, olive oil, & agave nectar mixed with a blend of ancho chile powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, & garlic powder.
  • Veggies – Classic chicken fajitas use a blend of red or yellow onion & any color bell pepper, but feel free to mix it up! Mushrooms, tomatoes, &/or jalapenos also work great!
  • For serving – We love to serve our skillet chicken fajitas in corn tortillas with smashed avocado or guacamole, queso fresco, salsa, shredded cheese, fresh cilantro, & some extra lime wedges.

The Key to Fajita Night: a Flavorful Chicken Fajita Marinade

This chile-lime chicken fajita marinade is one of the key elements that makes this recipe so special. It’s been tested over & over to ensure it has the perfect balance of flavor. First, a handful of staple spices create a big bold punch of flavor. Next, the lime juice brightens & tenderizes the chicken. & finally the addition of agave balances everything with a hint of sweetness that helps the fajitas brown as soon as they hit the skillet. Seriously perfection!

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

How to marinate skillet chicken fajitas. ⇢ To make the chicken fajita marinade, simply mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add thinly sliced chicken into the marinade & toss to coat each piece well. Since it’s thinly sliced, the chicken soaks up the fajita marinade quickly for maximum flavor – you can take care of this right at dinnertime!

Suggested marinating time. ⇢ You don’t need to marinate too long – the 5-10 minutes it takes to slice the fajita veggies, heat up the skillet, & gather your fajita fixings is plenty of time. If you’d like to prep ahead, you can also marinate the chicken for up to 12 hours but no more. You don’t want to let the chicken marinate too long since the acidity of the lime juice will impact its texture.

How to Make Chicken Fajitas in a Skillet (in 30 Minutes or Less!)

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

1

Cook the chicken. Heat up your favorite heavy-bottomed skillet to cook the marinated chicken fajitas. It’s best to work in batches to ensure that the chicken has enough space to get nice & browned. Once browned & cooked through, transfer the chicken to a plate. Tip! ⇢ ALWAYS use a heavy-bottomed pan, such as cast iron, to cook these skillet chicken fajitas. A good cast iron skillet retains heat well, which helps the chicken get an irresistible charred caramelization that adds a ton of flavor to the fajitas.

2

Cook the fajita veggies. Add sliced bell pepper & onion (or any other fajita veggies you love) to the same skillet used to cook the chicken. The vegetables take on some of the chicken fajita flavor left in the skillet from when the chicken was cooking – it’s so good! Be sure to season the veggies with garlic powder, salt, & pepper then cook until slightly softened. The goal is for the veggies to be tender yet crisp.

3

Bring it all together. Add the chicken back into the skillet with the veggies, tossing everything to combine. Chicken fajitas tip! ⇢ Finish the skillet with a squeeze of fresh lime juice to brighten all the flavors back up. All that’s left to do is serve & enjoy!

* Easy Fajitas Variations

We love chicken fajitas, though you can easily make steak fajitas or shrimp fajitas by swapping in your protein of choice. Similarly, skip the meat & double down on veggies for epic vegetarian fajitas. Use more bell peppers & onions, or add in whatever veggies you love, like mushrooms, chile peppers, or tomatoes.

A close up shot of finished chicken fajitas fill a white cast iron skillet with fajita veggies. The finished dish is garnished with chopped cilantro and a few lime wedges for serving. The skillet sits atop a white textured surface surrounded by a margarita in amber colored glass, a small bowl of guacamole, a small bowl of cotija cheese, a small bowl filled with corn tortilla chips, lime wedges, and a blue linen napkin.

Chicken Fajita Recipe Prep Tips!

These skillet chicken fajitas come together really quickly, but you can make them even easier by doing a little bit of meal prep in advance. Getting all the chopping & mixing out of the way will help you make dinner in a flash!

  • Wash & slice the bell pepper & onion (or any other fajitas veggies you’ve chosen) & store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Thinly slice the chicken thighs & store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Prepare the chicken fajita marinade & store in a jar for up to 5 days. Once it’s dinnertime, give it a shake & pour it over the chicken. Easy!

Be sure to refer to the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance!

A white ceramic plate is topped with four prepared chicken fajita tacos garnished with cojita cheese and chopped cilantro. A small ceramic bowl of guacamole also rests atop the plate as well as a few lime wedges. The plate sits atop a white textured surface and is surrounded by a margarita in amber glass, a small bowl of cotija cheese, a plate of corn tortillas, a small bowl filled with corn tortilla chips, lime wedges, a blue linen napkin, and the skillet of chicken fajitas.

Skillet Chicken Fajitas Serving Suggestions

Versatility is one of the best things about this skillet chicken fajitas recipe. Even if you make fajitas once a week, you can enjoy them in a new way every time! Some of my favorite ways to serve chicken fajitas are stuffed in a burrito, piled on a rice bowl with beans, or nestled in lettuce cups alongside rice & beans.

But fajita night fun really peaks with the toppings. Half the joy of making skillet chicken fajitas is choosing whatever add-ins you love most! Some of our favorite fajita fixings…

  • Avocado – Sliced or smashed avocado is an easy way to add a little something extra to chicken fajitas. If you have some extra time, whip up a batch of best-ever guacamole.
  • Cheese – We love a pinch of queso fresco in chicken fajitas, but you can also shred up another cheese, like pepper jack or colby jack.
  • Cashew crema – This vegan crema adds a creaminess that’s the perfect dairy-free alternative to sour cream or crema Mexicana. It’s SO simple to make!
  • Salsa – Crack open your favorite jarred salsa or whip up a quick pico de gallo if you have fresh tomatoes on hand!
  • Quick pickled red onions – Tangy pickled red onions add an extra zip of flavor to your chicken fajita burritos or burrito bowls. As a bonus, they’re seriously quick AF to make!
  • Fresh cilantro & lime wedges – Finely chop a bunch of cilantro & squeeze a wedge of lime to top off the chicken fajitas with an extra punch of fresh flavor.
A macro close up shot of a white ceramic plate with four prepared chicken fajita tacos arranged on top. The tacos are garnished with cojita cheese and chopped cilantro and a small ceramic bowl of guacamole also rests atop the plate along with a few lime wedges. The plate sits atop a white textured surface next to a small bowl of cotija cheese.

I can’t wait for you to try these Skillet Chicken Fajitas! They’re seriously quick, seriously flavorful, & seriously satisfying – a go-to for good reason! If you do give them a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!

Love easy weeknight Mexican-inspired meals? You’re in the right place! 🙌🏼 Be sure to try Chicken al Pastor, Crispy Chicken Carnitas, Sheet Pan Pollo Verde, or our favorite Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos next. ♡ Happy cooking!

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Finished chicken fajitas fill a white cast iron skillet with fajita veggies. The finished dish is garnished with chopped cilantro and a few lime wedges for serving. The skillet sits atop a white textured surface surrounded by two margaritas in amber glassware, a small bowl of guacamole, a small bowl of cotija cheese, a plate of corn tortillas, a small bowl filled with corn tortilla chips, lime wedges, and a blue linen napkin.

Chile-Lime Skillet Chicken Fajitas

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Tacos, Burritos & Enchiladas Recipes
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican & Tex-Mex, American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

These sizzlin’ Skillet Chicken Fajitas are a go-to weeknight dinner! Thinly sliced chicken soaks up a zesty spiced chicken fajita marinade then cooks in a skillet with strips of bell pepper & onion until sizzling, charred, & tender. This super versatile chicken fajita recipe is great stuffed into tortillas, burritos, or in a rice bowl with beans & all of your other favorite fajita night fixings. A totally feel-good, veggie-loaded meal ready in 30 minutes or less!


Ingredients

Scale

go-to chicken fajitas marinade:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, thinly sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch strips (see Recipe Notes)
  • 2 large, juicy limes, juiced (about scant 1/4 cup juice)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar (can sub honey or brown sugar)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season

for cooking the fajitas & assembly: 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large, juicy lime, juiced
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
  • for serving, as desired: corn tortillas, smashed avocado or guacamole, queso fresco or cheese of choice, salsa of choice, freshly chopped cilantro, lime wedges, etc.Skillet chicken fajita ingredients arranged on a creamy white textured surface: boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, limes, olive oil, agave nectar, ancho chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, bell pepper, red onion, kosher salt, and ground black pepper.

Instructions

  1. Marinate the chicken: To a medium bowl, add the thinly sliced chicken, lime juice, olive oil, agave nectar, ancho chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, & garlic powder. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Stir to combine well, ensuring all pieces of the chicken are coated in the fajitas marinade. Set aside to marinate for 10-15 minutes while you slice the fajitas veggies or prepare fajitas fixings, or cover & marinate up to 12 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Cook the chicken: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot & shimmering, add half of the marinated chicken from Step 1. Working in batches helps ensure the chicken gets gloriously browned & charred as it cooks. Arrange the chicken in a uniform layer across the bottom of the skillet to promote even browning. Cook 5-6 minutes, flipping halfway through until the chicken is cooked through & begins to brown. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate or bowl & set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken – there should be no need to add extra oil between batches.How to make skillet chicken fajitas, step 2: Cook the chicken. Chili lime marinated thinly sliced chicken is cooked inside of a white cast iron skillet. The skillet sits atop a white textured surface surrounded by discarded lime halves, a small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt, and a blue linen napkin.
  3. Cook the fajitas veggies: To the same skillet used to cook the chicken, add the sliced bell pepper & onion. Season with garlic powder, a heaping 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, & ground black pepper as desired. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened slightly, about 4-5 minutes – the veggies should be tender-crisp. Squeeze the remaining lime juice over the fajitas veggies & toss to combine. Remove the skillet from the heat.How to make skillet chicken fajitas, step 2: Cook the fajita veggies. Cooked thinly sliced bell peppers and onion seasoned with garlic powder, kosher salt, and ground black pepper rest inside of a white cast iron skillet. The skillet sits atop a white textured surface surrounded by discarded lime halves, a small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt, and a blue linen napkin.
  4. Serve the chicken fajitas: Add the chicken back into the skillet, tossing to combine it with the fajitas veggies well, then serve immediately as desired. We love serving these chicken fajitas in tortillas with a little smashed avocado & salsa of choice. It’s also great stuffed in a burrito, served on a burrito bowl with rice & beans, or served in lettuce cups alongside rice & beans. Enjoy!A white ceramic plate is topped with four prepared chicken fajita tacos garnished with cojita cheese and chopped cilantro. A small ceramic bowl of guacamole also rests atop the plate as well as a few lime wedges. The plate sits atop a white textured surface and is surrounded a small bowl of cotija cheese, a plate of corn tortillas, loose chopped cilantro, a blue linen napkin, and the skillet of chicken fajitas.


Notes

  • Ingredient Notes:
    • Chicken thighs vs chicken breasts: I prefer using boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this chicken fajitas recipe since they’re flavorful & stay really nice & juicy through cooking. In my experience, chicken breasts dry out – especially if you’re after beautifully browned & charred chicken fajitas – but you can use them if you prefer. If so, try cutting the chicken into more bite-sized pieces vs thin strips, which should help prevent drying to some extent. Adjust cook times as necessary to ensure the chicken is cooked through.
    • Alternate proteins: The reason this is our go-to fajitas recipe is that it’s a great base recipe for other proteins as well. We most often make chicken fajitas, though you can easily make steak fajitas or shrimp fajitas by swapping in your protein of choice. Use the same marinade & adjust cook times as needed. If you’d like a meatless fajitas recipe, check out our popular Veggie Burrito Bowls with Green Rice.
    • Ancho chili powder: Ancho chiles are dried poblano peppers with nice mild-medium heat & great flavor. Ancho chili (chile) powder is just that – a powder of finely ground ancho chile peppers. I love Simply Organic Ancho Chili Powder, which is certified organic & has wonderful flavor – I keep it stocked in my spice rack at all times, as it’s great for adding extra flavor & mild heat to Mexican-inspired dishes. If you do not have ancho chile powder on hand, you can substitute with “chili powder” for this particular recipe. Standard “chili powder” here in the U.S. is most often a blend of ground chiles & spices like oregano, cumin, & garlic – so it’s not a perfect substitute for pure chile powders all the time, but all of these flavors work well in this chicken fajitas recipe.
  • Storage & Reheating: Store leftover chicken fajitas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through, then serve as desired.
  • 10-15 Minute Meal Prep: Nearly all of the active prep work for this chicken fajitas recipe comes from prepping the chicken & fajita veggies. Prep them in advance to cut down on active prep required at dinnertime – it takes 10-15 minutes, tops:
    • Thinly slice the chicken & fajita veggies according to the Ingredients List, above. Store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (10 minutes active prep)
    • Prepare the chicken fajitas marinade according to Step 1 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The day you’d like to make chicken fajitas for dinner, all you have to do is toss the chicken into the marinade – easy! Marinate for at least 10-15 minutes at room temperature or marinate in the refrigerator (covered) for up 12 to hours. (5 minutes active prep)

Keywords: easy chicken fajitas, chicken fajitas recipe, chile-lime skillet fajitas

Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by KJ & Company, Kate Poskochil

A macro close up shot of a white ceramic plate with four prepared chicken fajita tacos arranged on top. The tacos are garnished with cojita cheese and chopped cilantro and a small ceramic bowl of guacamole also rests atop the plate along with a few lime wedges. The plate sits atop a white textured surface next to a small bowl of cotija cheese.

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Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 7.31.22
    Arok McGee said:

    Love the flavors, but I’ve done this twice now and had a devil of a time NOT burning the sugar in the marinade. I can’t seem to get the chicken to brown without getting burned clumps and having to rinse skillet off and restart….

    • 8.2.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Arok! So sorry to hear that you’re experiencing this & would love to help troubleshoot! Could you share what type of pan you are using? When we developed & tested the recipe, we found a heavy cast iron pan yields the perfect level of charred caramelization.

  2. 5.3.22
    Jasmine said:

    Is anyone else having trouble printing recipes from PWWB? When I click the print button on the recipe a new window opens just as it always has. When I click the print button at the top of the recipe there nothing happens. That’s new.

    • 5.3.22

      Hey Jasmine! I’m so sorry to hear that! I’m not experiencing the same issue (I just printed this recipe to double check), so you could try to clear your cache & that might help re-set your browser.

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