These marinated steak fajitas are easy to prepare and packed with juicy flavor. Featuring marinated and grilled skirt steak with charred peppers and onions, this sizzling steak fajita recipe will leave you feeling like you’re dinning at your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant!
Featured comment: BEST Fajitas EVER!!!! love the flavors and the dressing from the veggies we used as sauce on the fajitas. love this.” – Dawn
Updated: This post was originally published in August 2014. I made edits to the article below to include more information about making the best fajita marinade and skirt steak for fajitas at home.
Hello, friends! I hope you are ready for one of my favorite summer grilling recipes that’s a total crowd pleaser – fajitas. But not just any ole’ fajita, oh no. I’m talking about beautifully-flavorful fajitas with perfectly-tender marinated skirt steak and an array of colorful, charred veggies. *Chef’s kiss*
Psst! If you prefer chicken breast over steak, try this super-easy recipe for chicken fajita casserole!
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About this recipe for marinated steak fajitas
Flawlessly flavorful, juicy and tender, these steak fajitas feature tender mojo marinated and grilled skirt steak with charred peppers and onions stuffed into a warm tortilla. Top them with all your favorite Mexican toppings, like guacamole, sour cream, and fresh cilantro, these Mexican beef fajitas are beautifully tasty! For a fraction of the price and in just 30 minutes, you can have better than restaurant style grilled steak fajitas on your dinner table.
Why you’ll love this fajita marinade!
- Flavor! This skirt steak for fajitas is deliciously flavorful thanks to a seriously delicious, and also seriously simple citrusy marinade.
- Quick and Easy! You need just 15 minutes of hands-on preparation for this fajita recipe.
- Economical! Making the fajita marinade at home, along with the steak fajitas, costs a fraction of the price compared to ordering at a restaurant.
- Delicious! Soaked in an ultra-flavorful citrus mojo marinade, these beef skirt steak fajitas are bursting with juicy flavor.
- Totally Customizable! Serve your steak fajitas the traditional way – stuffed into a tortilla – or use it to make burritos, steak salads, taco bowls and more.
- Great for a Crowd! Set up a fajita or taco bar with all the fixings and toppings and let your guests help themselves. Fajitas are perfect for feeding a large group because guests can assemble their own and eat at their leisure.
Ingredients for skirt steak fajita
Making the best skirt steak marinade and fajitas at home requires simple, easy-to-find ingredients. Here’s what to grab:
- Garlic: Fresh is always best.
- Substitution: In a pinch you can use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder for each clove.
- Citrus: This fajita marinade uses a trifecta of fresh citrus juice – orange, lemon, and lime – which provides the best zesty flavor and beautifully tenderizes the steak.
- Cilantro: Fresh cilantro lends a pop of herbaceous flavor to the marinated steak fajitas.
- Substitution: If you aren’t a fan of cilantro, you can try swapping in parsley instead.
- Fajita Seasoning: This tex-mex seasoning blend provides a ton of flavor. I prefer homemade fajita spice (always), however, you can use store-bought. Just make sure to adjust the salt in this recipe depending upon if your blend contains salt or not.
- Salt and Pepper: Kosher salt and ground black pepper enhance all the flavors.
- Steak: You can use any cut of beef that’s suitable for high heat grilling. I typically use skirt steak or flank steak; however, sirloin, tenderloin and New York strip work too.
- Bell Peppers: Fresh bell peppers provide a touch of sweetness. Feel free to use any color you prefer. Just remember that green bell peppers are less sweet and more earthy than their red, orange, and yellow counterparts.
- Onion: A whole onion lends subtle allium bite. I typically use a yellow onion or red onion, depending what looks better at the grocery store, but you can use whatever onion variety you love to make a skirt steak fajita.
- Oil: You’ll need a neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola, for oiling the grates as well as grilling the steak and vegetables.
- Tortillas: If you want a handheld dinner experience, you’ll also want some flour tortillas or corn tortillas for stuffing the grilled fajita steak and veggies.
FAQs: skirt steak fajitas
Where do fajitas come from?
Most assume fajitas originated in Mexico; however, Fajitas actually come from Texas! The term ‘fajitas‘ is Spanish for little strips or belt of meat – “faja” is Spanish for “strip” and “ita” means “little“. The story of fajitas begins at the Rio Grande Valley in the 1930’s where Mexican cowboys (vaqueros) and ranch hands were often partially paid in lesser cuts of beef. They would use cook the beef open campfire, tucked them into tortillas, and enjoy them as a quick and filling meal.
It wasn’t until the 1980’s that sizzling steak fajitas were served as we know them now – with peppers, onions and a side of rice and/or beans. Traditional fajitas were popularized by numerous restaurants in Texas.
What’s the best cut of steak for fajitas?
A beef fajita is traditionally made with skirt steak or flank steak. However, you can make fajitas with any cut of beef suitable for grilling. For this fajita recipe I recommend using flank steak or flat iron steak, but skirt works too. Please note, you can also use a “better”cut of beef, such as New York strip or ribeye if your palate prefers (and your wallet allows).
When using lesser cuts of beef to make this skirt steak fajita recipe (like skirt or flank) please take care to cook it to medium-rare or medium (at most!) for the juiciest flavor and most tender texture.
Skirt steak vs flank steak
Flank steak and skirt steak are both popular cuts of meat to use in fajitas. While they are both thin, flavorful cuts of beef, they aren’t the same. Below are the major differences between the two:
- Skirt Steak is more intense in flavor; however, it’s also thinner and slightly more chewy in texture. I don’t recommend cooking skirt steak past medium-rare (130-135 degrees).
- Flank Steak is less intense in flavor; however, it’s wider and has a slightly more tender texture than skirt steak. I don’t recommend cooking flank steaks past medium (140-145 degrees).
Should I tenderize skirt steak for a fajita?
It’s not a requirement to tenderize skirt steak before making fajitas; however, tenderizing the beef with a marinade is recommended. Skirt steak is a tougher, chewier piece of meat; therefore, marinating the steak helps produce a more tender, flavorful beef fajita.
How to marinate steak for fajita recipes?
Marinating is a highly effective way to enhance the flavor and tenderize steak quickly before cooking or grilling fajitas. Also, soaking steaks in a marinade lends moisture to leaner cuts of beef, like skirt steak and flank steak, which results in juicy, succulent pieces of meat.
The process of quickly tenderizing steak is super easy to do at home. Here’s how you’ll use this skirt steak fajita marinade:
- Combine marinade: Add all the marinade ingredients to a large resealable bag. Next, add the skirt steak and seal the bag.
- Marinate: Place the bag of steak in the fridge and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.
- Remove steak from marinade and cook: Remove the skirt steak from the bag, discarding the marinade. Grill, oven-bake, or pan-cook to desired doneness and enjoy!
Do you cut skirt steak before or after cooking fajitas?
For the best juicy flavor, cook the skirt steak and let it rest for at least 2-3 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain and using to make a fajita.
Tips for grilling skirt steak for fajitas
To ensure your skirt steak fajita turns out to juicy, tender perfection, follow the simple tips for grilling steak below:
- Room Temperature: Make sure you let your steak come to room temperature before cooking it. This helps the steak cook evenly and prevents it from becoming tough and dry.
- Dry Steaks: Make sure you pat both sides of the steak dry before grilling and preparing this skirt steak fajita recipe. Moisture will prevent those beautiful char marks from forming on the outside of the steaks.
- Hot Grill or Pan: You need your grill, grill pan, or skillet to be HOT to sear the outside of the steak and lock in all the juices.
- Cook to Medium-Rare: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. Do not cook skirt steak past medium-rare and flank steak past medium.
- Rest Steaks: Let the steaks rest for a few minutes before you slicing and serving it. Resting gives the juices a chance to redistribute throughout the steak, which makes it more tender.
- Slice Against the Grain: After the steak rests, use a sharp Chef’s knife or slicer to thinly cut the steak against the grain.
Serving fajitas with skirt steak
Homemade skirt steak fajitas eat like a meal. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative in the kitchen and make the fajitas with steak YOUR WAY! Below are some delicious topping options, as well as popular veggie side dishes, to serve with your steak fajitas on the grill:
Popular toppings for skirt steak fajitas
Any and all of your favorite Mexican and Tex-Mex condiments taste great with this skirt steak fajita recipe. Below are some of the most common toppings for a steak fajita:
- Pico de Gallo (onions and tomatoes)
- Non-Traditional Salsas: Tomatillo Salsa, Mango Salsa Jalapeno, Pomegranate Salsa with Cucumbers
- Queso Cheese
- Pickled Red Onions
- Guacamole or Avocado
- Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
- Shredded Cheeses
- Mojo Sauce (amazing for dipping!)
Veggies to serve with skirt steak for fajitas
If I’m ditching the tortilla and serving this marinated fajita steak over greens as a salad, or over rice as a bowl, I’ll add any or all of the following to my meal:
- Onions and Peppers (included in this fajita recipe below!) (or you can make these perfectly sautéed peppers and onions instead.)
- Tomatoes – Marinated Tomatoes or Tomato Salad
- Mushrooms – (Mushrooms in a Marinade, Sauteed Button Mushrooms, or Oven Mushrooms)
- Corn (grill corn on the cob, roasted corn salsa, or corn tomato salad with avocado)
- Beans (Black Beans, Pinto Beans, or Refried Beans)
- Grains (Rice, Mexican Cauliflower Rice, or Quinoa)
- Cabbage and Slaws (Mexican Corn Slaw or Sweet Coleslaw Recipes)
Steak fajita bar ideas
The possibilities for a DIY fajitas bar is pretty endless. Below are some ideas to get your started:
- For protein: Marinate and grill some chicken, pork, shrimp, fish, tofu, or of course this skirt steak – whatever proteins your heart desires. Next, slice it into strips or dice it into chunks. Then, arrange the meat, chicken, seafood, or vegan option on a cast iron platter or in a cast iron skillet for an authentic feel. Alternatively, serving platters, food warmers and slow cookers (if you want to keep items warm) work great too for allowing your guests to help themselves. I suggest providing tongs, as opposed to spoons or large forks, for more ease of serving.\
- Grill or Saute Veggies: Bell peppers of multiple colors, onions (yellow, red, & green scallions), and mushrooms… the sky is the limit. Just be sure to slice large vegetables into strips proportional to your proteins.
- Then lay out some tortillas, at the beginning of the fajita bar of course, along with plates and silverware.
- Finish it up with a choice of condiments at the end of the bar. Sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, mango salsa (really good on fish or shrimp fajitas), queso, hot sauce, different types of shredded or crumbled cheeses, black beans, corn, cilantro, lime wedges… use your imagination here. Your guests can never have too many options!
- I recommend you label everything on small cards so your party patrons know exactly what everything is. There’s nothing worse than making your guests feel awkward.
- And, don’t forget the basket of chips, beer, wine and margaritas!
Storing marinated fajitas
Allow any leftover marinated fajitas steak and vegetable fajitas to cool completely to room temperature. Then, transfer the fajitas to an airtight storage container or resealable bag. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
To reheat fajita skirt steak and veggies, warm them in a skillet or the microwave until hot throughout.
The great thing about a skirt steak fajita party? It allows the host – YOU – to actually enjoy your own party! There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the kitchen watching all the fun. Don’t do that to yourself! Instead, marinate some skirt steak, host a fajita party, kick back, relax, and eat some delicious fajitas. Just don’t forget the pitcher of margaritas! Until next time, friends, cheers, friends! And happy labor day!
More tex-mex recipes!
- Mexican Taco Hummus
- Texas Chili No Beans Recipe
- Slow Cooker Beef Fajita Soup
- Tex-Mex Charred Corn and Bacon Pizza
- Fajita Chicken Casserole
Recipes for steak!
- Barbacoa Recipe
- Steak Stir Fry with Zucchini
- Eye of Round Roast Beef
- Easy Chimichurri Sauce with Steak
- Steak in Slow Cooker
- Low Slow, PERFECTLY Cooked Steak
How to make marinated skirt steak fajita recipe at home👇
Skirt Steak Fajitas
- 1 gallon-size resealable bag or large bowl
- 1 Cast-Iron Skillet OR Grill Pan
- 6-8 Cloves Garlic – peeled & grated or minced
- 12 ounces Fresh Orange Juice
- 2 ounce EACH: Fresh Lime Juice & Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro - chopped, plus more for garnish
- 2 TBS Fajita Seasoning - plus more for veggies (SEE NOTES)
- Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds Skirt Steak (substitution: flank, flat iron, or rump steak)
- Marinate Beef: In a gallon-size resealable bag or large bowl, add the garlic, OJ, lime juice, lemon juice, cilantro, and fajita spice. Season with 3/4 teaspoon of salt and a heaping 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Remove and reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade to use as sauce for serving sauce. Next, add the steak to the bag, and press to remove all excess air and seal the bag. From the outside of the bag, use your hands to massage the marinade into the beef, making sure the steak is well seasoned all over. Transfer the bag to the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 30 minutes or 24 hours.
- Bring Steak to Room Temperature: 30 minutes before cooking, remove the bag of marinated beef from the refrigerator and place it on the counter. Let it come to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, Heat Grill or Skillet: When you are ready to cook the steak, heat the grill, a grill pan, or a large cast iron skillet over high heat (450-degrees Fahrenheit)and oil the grates if applicable.
- Prep Steak: Remove the steak from the marinade, discarding the marinade, and pat the steak completely dry. Season both sides of the steak generously with salt and pepper.
- Cook Steak: Once the grill or pan is hot, add the marinated steak and sear for 3-5 minutes total, flipping steak over half-way through cooking, or until the steak reaches your desired degree of doneness. (Note: The exact cooking time will depend upon the size/thickness of your steak and your desired doneness. I cook mine for 3 minutes total and I like my steak mid-rare.)
- Rest Steak: Remove steak from the skillet or grill and transfer to a clean work surface. Let rest for at least 3 minutes. Note: While steaks are resting, continue on with the recipe.)
- Cook Veggies: Place the peppers and onions into a large bowl. Drizzle with a tablespoon of oil and season with fajita spice, if using. Toss to coat. Reduce heat to medium-high and add the veggies to a grill basket or place them directly onto the hot grill pan. Cook, flipping/stirring a couple times, for 4-6 minutes, or until slightly charred all over. Remove the veggies from heat.
- Thinly Slice Skirt Steak: Use a sharp knife to thinly slice the marinated and grilled steak against the grain.
- Assemble and Serve Fajitas: Divide the fajita steak and veggies among warm tortillas. Garnish with your favorite Mexican toppings and serve with reserved sauce on side. Enjoy immediately!
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Chipotle Chili Powder
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