Grilled Chicken Fajitas

It’s a bit strange that I’ve never posted a chicken fajita recipe before considering just how much I love them.  They are almost always my choice when dining at a Mexican restaurant.  We also make them at home quite frequently, but the kind we used to make was sort of a cheater version that wasn’t even remotely authentic or very similar to the restaurant variety.  The moment I saw this recipe, I knew it was going to blow our old method away.

The chicken is marinated briefly with a mixture including lime juice and Worcestershire sauce, and then cooked on the grill with the onions and peppers.  The combination of marinating and grilling made the chicken amazingly delicious.  In fact, I think Ben’s exact words were, “This chicken is a miracle,” but that might have been the margaritas talking ;).  Even the tortillas themselves are warmed on the grill, giving them nice grill marks and a little extra flavor.  The whole meal was also excellent as leftovers.  I’m already thinking about pulling out the grill in winter to make these because I don’t think I can go for months at a time without them.  In case you’re looking for a way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, look no further!  I can’t wait to have them again.

Grilled Chicken Fajitas
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1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
6 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1½ tsp. brown sugar
1 jalapeño, seeded, ribbed and diced
1½ tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
1 tsp. salt
¾ tsp. pepper
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied (6 halves total), about 1½ lbs.
1 large red onion (about 14 oz.), sliced into ½-inch thick slices, rings not separated
2 large bell peppers (about 10 oz. each), stemmed, quartered and seeded
8-12 (6-inch) flour tortillas

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 4 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, jalapeño, cilantro, salt and pepper.  Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade; set aside.  Place the chicken breast halves in the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Brush both sides of the onion rounds and peppers with the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, using a large chimney starter, ignite 6 quarts of charcoal briquettes and burn until the coals are fully ignited, about 20 minutes.  Empty the coals into the grill, spreading them in a single layer.  Place an additional 20 unlit coals over the lit coals on one side of the grill to create a tw0-level fire.  Place the grill grate over the coals and allow to heat for 5 minutes.  Scrape the grate clean with a grill brush.  (For a gas grill, light all burners to high, cover and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes.  Leave one burner on high and turn the rest down to medium.)

Remove the chicken breast halves from the marinade and transfer to the hotter side of the grill; discard the left over marinade.  Place the onion rounds and peppers on the cooler side of the grill.  Cook the chicken until it is well browned, 3-4 minutes.  Using tongs, flip the chicken and continue grilling until it is no longer pink inside (or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 160˚ F.)  Meanwhile, cook onions and peppers until spottily charred and crisp-tender, about 8-12 minutes, turning once or twice as needed.  When the chicken and vegetables are done, transfer them to a large plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

In 2 or 3 batches, transfer the tortillas in a single layer to the now empty grill on the cooler side.  Cook until warm and lightly browned, about 20 seconds per side.  When the tortillas are done, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel or foil.

Separate the onions into rings and place them in a medium bowl.  Slice the bell peppers lengthwise into ¼-inch strips and add them to the bowl with the onions.  Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved unused marinade and toss well to combine.  Slice the chicken into ¼-inch strips and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of reserved marinade in another bowl.  Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a large platter with the warmed tortillas and serve.

Source: adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, originally from Cook’s Illustrated

33 Responses

  1. It looks great!

  2. haven’t had this in ages….and now I am so making this tonight. those peppers and sourcream convinced me.

  3. I like the idea of marinating the chicken in lime before cooking it. Sounds delicious!

  4. I love chicken fajitas, but I admit that the chicken part has always been a bit lacking. Thanks for the encouragement to spice it up! These seem easy and delicious. Can’t wait to try them, and, of course, add that margarita to go with.

  5. We had chicken fajitas last week! They were delicious 🙂 Like you I grilled mine over charcoal, WOW they were so good!! Seeing your photos makes me want them all over again 🙂

  6. Gosh, aren’t these great? I absolutely love them.

  7. Mmm, that marinade sounds fantastic! 🙂

  8. How delicious! I cannot wait to try this (and I PROMISE I will!!!!) Fajitas are one of my favorite restaurant menu items as well, and we almost never make them at home, though I cannot think of a good reason why. Thanks a billion.

  9. These look great! We cook fajitas all the time because they’re so healthy and delicious and often use paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, and black pepper to season chicken or shrimp – no oil necessary!

  10. I love fajitas. A friend of mine has a fajita maker and they taste delicious in that. With the marinated and grilled chicken, that would taste fantastic.

  11. i absolutely love your blog!! it’s so informative and the recipes are to die for. 😀

  12. Making these tomorrow night for Cinco de Mayo! Can I let the chicken marinate overnight?

    • It’s not recommended. The citric acid in juices from lemons, limes, etc. will break down the proteins in the chicken leading to a less than optimal texture (sort of “pre-cooking” the chicken).

  13. Thanks for this, it will be our first grill of the year. Can we also do flank or skirt steak with this marinade? We love both for fajitas

  14. I am more of a steak fajita kind of guy but chicken fajitas are great too! I have perfected my steak fajita but will have to give this recipe a try on chicken, since I haven’t found a favorite one for chicken. Thanks for posting.

  15. This was a great Cinco de Mayo dinner! My family loved it!

  16. The marinade was amazing! I wrapped my chicken in thick cut bacon after I browned both sides on the grill. It really gave it a great flavor!

  17. These were the hit of our Cinco de Mayo fest along with Beer Margaritas. Just curious though, is there any reason why you only marinade the chicken for 15 minutes?

    • Read my response to a similar comment above. Basically, the citric acid affects the texture of the meat.

  18. I made these for Cinco de Mayo for my family and they were amazing. I changed it up a bit and made them into fajita quesidillas. I also marinated the vegies in a different bag. These were a keeper!

  19. This sounds great we love Chicken Fajita’s this is a nice twist love the marinade!

  20. My husband and I love fajitas but I’ve never tried making them at home – I have no idea why! This sounds like a great recipe to try. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Pretty much everything on here looks amazing! I can’t wait to try the recipes!

    • This recipe is amazing. I’ve made it twice already. The only change I made was soy sauce in place of the Worcestershire sauce. Thanks for sharing!

  22. I made this tonight only I fried the chicken strips in an electric frying pan as hot as I could to get a nice carmelization on them. I’m out of propane for my bbq. This marinade is excellent! Soooo tasty. Next time I’m for sure using the bbq.

  23. OH MY GOD!! These fajitas were the best I’ve ever had. I make good ones, but the grilled flavor and the marinade were amazing. Thanks for the recipe!!

  24. I’m drooling over the thought of eating these.

  25. These look amazing, love fajatas, can’t wait to try them.

  26. My husband and I made these for dinner last night. Very yummy! Thanks for the recipe.

  27. Delicious! I loved these – Thank you for the recipe! I realized at the last minute that we didn’t have tortillas so we used greek-style pitas and called them ‘Chicken Pitillas’!

  28. this grilled chicken is awesome! I paired it with brown pita bread, grilled onions and tahina sauce! Fantastic!

  29. I made this recently and it was delicious! The marinade is perfect! Thanks, Annie!

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