You’re just a simple marinade away from having hot and delicious homemade chicken fajitas tonight. Use this Chicken Fajita Marinade recipe to create perfectly juicy, flavorful, well-seasoned chicken that you can serve as traditional fajitas or in several other ways. Here, we also provide suggested marinating times and four ways to cook fajita marinated chicken.
A simple marinade for chicken Fajitas
If you love fajitas, then let’s get you some fajitas! Start with this easy marinade that uses a base of oil, lime juice, and our quick homemade taco seasoning. The hardest thing to do will be to decide whether you’re going to serve your flavorful fajita marinated chicken in the traditional way, bowl style, or over baked potatoes. All options are full on flavor and couldn’t be easier!
ingredients for chicken Fajitas marinade
Here are the ingredients you need to get those homemade fajitas started!
- Chicken – use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs, or legs
- Oil – we suggest avocado oil or olive oil
- Lime – you’ll use the juice of 1 lime (or about 2 tablespoons)
- Taco seasoning – make a quick batch of our Homemade Taco Seasoning (which is simple, Whole30 friendly, lower in sodium, and doesn’t contain any yucky fillers); you can also sub in a purchased taco seasoning. To make your own taco seasoning, gather chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, paprika, sea salt, and cayenne pepper
See the recipe card below for ingredient amounts and complete nutrition analysis of a serving of marinated skinless chicken breast, including calories, carbohydrates, cholesterol, protein, fiber, sodium, and more.
how to make marinade for Chicken Fajitas
You can have this fajita chicken marinade ready to go in less than 5 mins, and get your poultry soaking away in its flavor bath.
- Place the chicken in a heavy-duty zip-top bag, a reusable silicone bag, a large bowl, or a freezer bag or another freezer-safe container.
- Combine all of the fajita chicken marinade ingredients in a bowl; whisk together and pour over the chicken. Make sure the chicken is immersed in the marinade and then just let it soak. Read below for our recommended marinating times.
how long should I marinate Fajita chicken?
You can marinate chicken in the refrigerator or in the freezer. Here are the two basic methods:
- How long to marinate chicken in the refrigerator: When the chicken is covered with the marinade, whether in a bowl or a bag, place it in the refrigerator. Marinate the chicken for a minimum of 4 hrs to allow the acid to tenderize the chicken and the flavors to penetrate the meat. On the long end, you can safely leave the marinated chicken in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, covered or sealed in the bag, before cooking. We recommend that you turn the bag over every 12-24 hours (or toss the chicken, if it’s in a bowl).
- How long to marinate chicken in the freezer: You can also prep this chicken marinade and place the whole thing (bag, chicken, and marinade) in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just be sure to squeeze as much air out of the bag before sealing it. When it comes time to thaw the marinated chicken, take it out of the freezer and let it sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours before cooking.
4 ways to cook marinated Fajita chicken
After your chicken has been marinating in this delicious fajita chicken marinade, there are several different ways you can cook it. Here are our suggestions:
- Oven baking: Preheat the oven to 375℉. Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the juices. Place the chicken in a baking dish or on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake the fajita marinated chicken until the juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink in the middle, 15-20 minutes. Make sure the thickest part of the chicken registers 165℉ on an instant-read thermometer.
- Oven broiling: Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the juices. Position the top oven rack 8 inches below your oven’s broiler element. Preheat the oven broiler to medium-high. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet or in a cast iron pan. Broil on each side, turning once, until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle, 3-5 minutes per side. Make sure the thickest part of the chicken registers 165℉ on an instant-read thermometer. If the chicken is cooking too quickly, move the pan to a lower oven rack. Note: When broiling chicken, you’ll have the best results if the chicken is an even thickness.
- On the grill (and kebab style): Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the juices. Grill whole marinated chicken breasts, thighs, and legs until the chicken is cooked through. For breasts, grill about 8-10 minutes, 7-8 minutes for thighs, and 5-6 minutes for chicken legs. To make kebabs, cut the fajita marinated chicken into 1-inch chunks and thread onto skewers. Grill until the chicken pieces are cooked through, turning often, about 8 minutes total.
- Sauté on the stovetop: Place a cast iron skillet or another large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon cooking fat of choice (such as avocado oil, ghee, olive oil, etc.). Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the juices. Place the chicken in the skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until the chicken is lightly browned. Place a lid on the pan, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook an additional 8-10 minutes or until juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Make sure the thickest part of the chicken registers 165℉ on an instant-read thermometer. For juicy chicken or if your pan runs hot, add a few tablespoons of water to the skillet before covering with the lid if desired.
Ways to serve Marinated Chicken Fajitas
We love to serve this fajita marinated chicken in these ways:
Traditional fajitas: serve thin strips of this fajita-marinated chicken hot off the grill, stovetop, or oven with all of the traditional fajita fixins’, including corn tortillas or flour tortillas, sautéed sliced onions and bell peppers, black beans, lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole, jalapeño, salsa, and/or cilantro
Loaded potato fajitas: give loaded baked potatoes a flavor twist by serving this marinated fajita chicken over top of baked russet potatoes or sweet potatoes. Gently slice and fluff the potato filling, then top with the fajita chicken and all your favorite fajita toppings for a satisfying, veggie-loaded meal
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, thighs, or legs*
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon purchased or Homemade Taco Seasoning**
- Place chicken in a large bowl, zip-top plastic bag (or a freezer-safe container, if you plan to freeze the chicken).
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, and taco seasoning.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken, cover bowl or close bag. Gently toss or massage to coat the chicken pieces evenly.
- Marinate the covered chicken in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 2-3 days before cooking. Or, to freeze, remove as much air from the freezer-safe container as possible, and freeze the chicken in the marinade for up to 2 months.
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* If using chicken legs, increase to 1 1/2 lbs.
**For an easy, real-food, and Whole30 taco seasoning, we recommend making our Homemade Taco Seasoning
- Serving Size: 4 oz marinated chicken breast
- Calories: 128
- Fat: 4 g
- (Sat Fat: 1 g)
- Sodium: 233 mg
- Carbohydrate: 0 g
- (Fiber: 0 g
- Sugar: 0 g)
- Protein: 23 g
- Cholesterol: 66 mg
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