Best Authentic Steak Fajitas

The BEST authentic steak fajitas that offer all the flavors and textures of your favorite Tex-Mex dishes.

two steak fajitas on a white plate

I’ve shared so many times how taco Tuesday is taken very seriously in our home.

Our weekly taco bar is a family favorite and one reason I love it so much is that everyone can customize their tacos exactly as they like.

Even though we often gobble our Tex-Mex and leave nothing on our plates, there are occasions where we have leftover taco meat and I make delicious dishes the next day with it!

If you are wanting to elevate your taco Tuesday, grab some steak and whip up these delicious authentic fajitas!

My entire family hangs around the kitchen while they cook up asking “how much longer” until suppertime.

If you have any leftover meat, layer it on taco chips the next day and melt some cheese for some steak nachos!

steak cooking on a cast iron skillet

Why You’ll Love This Fajita Recipe

  • So customizable! Cook up a large skillet of beef fajitas, serve with an assortment of toppings and add ins, and each member of the family can fill their tortillas to fit their taste.
  • Simple ingredients. The best recipes let the ingredients shine. All you need is a side of steak, some peppers, an onion, and a handful of spices.
  • Easy weekday dinner. Most of the time is spent slicing meat and vegetables, and all of that can be done earlier in the day or even the day ahead. The actual cook time doesn’t take long at all!
  • Fast cleanup. Since this is a one-pot meal, give the cast iron skillet a scrub, and you’re done.
steak sliced into thin slices on a cutting board

What Cuts Of Meat Are Best For Fajitas

Since fajitas use so few ingredients, it’s important to choose the best beef cut for this particular recipe.

  • Skirt Steak – Fajitas are traditionally made with skirt steak. This steak is cut from the area around the cow’s diaphragm, and is typically lean and tough. But, it’s also flavorful and soaks up marinades with ease! Don’t trim off too much of the fat, and enjoy the marbling!
  • Flank Steak – Flank steak is another popular fajita cut. Found in the cow’s abdominal region, it also is lean and tough. With less marbling than skirt steak, this cut can be a bit tougher to chew and does best with some extra tenderizing.
  • Sirloin Steak – If you don’t have a skirt or flank steak available, a sirloin steak works just fine. Be sure to slice your sirloin as thinly as possible, as it will already by thicker than both skirt and flank steaks.

What if I don’t have steak for steak fajitas?

You can also adapt this delicious steak fajita recipe to make some juicy chicken fajitas. Both chicken breasts and chicken thighs will work to make wonderful fajitas de pollo.

ingredients for steak fajitas on a kitchen counter

Ingredients You Need To Make Fajitas

  • Steak – The most popular cuts for beef fajitas are flank and skirt steaks.
  • Bell Peppers – Use all of the colors! Red, yellow, orange, green – they all taste great. Red bell peppers are sweeter and will slightly caramelize, while green peppers keep more of their crunch and are slightly bitter. You’ll need 4 peppers.
  • Onion – Just one, sliced thinly. White onions are more traditionally used in fajitas, although yellow onions will work as well. Red onions are sweeter, but don’t retain their flavor as well when cooked down. If you have kiddos who don’t love onion, try chopping your onion finely and cooking it that way.
  • Fajita Seasoning – You can’t beat a good homemade fajita seasoning. I share my recipe down below! If you don’t have all of the spices on hand, the premade store bought packages work fine as well.
  • Cooking Oil – You’ll need something in your skillet to sear your steak and saute your vegetables. Olive oil is popular, but remember that you’ll be using high heat.
  • Tortillas – I like flour tortillas because they tend to hold together better when rolled up, but a good corn tortilla will work, too!
steak sauteing in a cast iron skillet

Steps For Making Fajitas

  1. Regardless of what cut of meat you choose, your first step is to cut it into half inch wide strips, and sear them in a hot skillet. They won’t take long to cook, and will continue to cook after you remove them from the pan. The nice char will help them retain their juices while they rest.
  2. After you’ve removed your thin strips of meat, add a tablespoon of oil or butter to a skillet on lower heat, and saute your sliced vegetables. Saute them to the softness you prefer.
  3. Warm flour tortillas, either in a microwave or by tossing on a griddle or hot skillet for a couple seconds on each side.
  4. Serve your delicious steak fajitas while they are sizzling hot!
bell peppers and onions sliced on a cutting board

Ways You Can Make Authentic Fajitas

There are two main ways to make homemade fajitas.

  • Cast Iron Skillet – Fajitas are traditionally made in a large cast iron skillet, sizzling hot. Cast iron sears the cuts of steak to a delicious crust, trapping juiciness and flavor inside each bite. If cast iron intimidates you, read my post on cooking with cast iron so you can have the best steak in town!
  • Sheet Pan – Not everyone is a cast iron fan, though. Thankfully, you can achieve a similar result using a sheet pan! It’s easy as pie to toss thin slices of steak and vegetables on a sheet pan and pop them into a hot oven. The single pan clean-up routine is hard to beat!
  • Grill – Using a grill to sear your steak and roast your vegetables make take extra time, but the smokiness of grilled meat and charred bits of peppers add a nice flavor to your fajitas.
two steak fajitas on a white plate

How Do You Make Fajita Meat Tender?

One of the hallmarks of fajitas is the oh-so-tender texture of the meat. Skirt and flank steaks are typically tougher meats, so how is that tenderness achieved? With a few of these tips!

  • Cut Against The Grain – Skirt and flank steaks have very defined muscle fibers. Slicing across them rather than alongside them, otherwise known as “cutting against the grain”, breaks those fibers up and helps the steak slice almost melt in your mouth
  • Using Meat Tenderizer Seasoning – A meat tenderizer seasoning contains bromelain. This enzyme works to break down the protein bonds, making tender mouthfuls of steak without needing to beat it with a mallet.
  • Make A Marinade – You can use fajita seasoning simply by mixing it with some oil and covering your steak strips in it before searing. However, you’ll boost the tenderness of your meat if you use the seasoning as a marinade, and let the spices and oils soak into the muscle fibers of your steak overnight.
  • Add An Acid – When you’re working up your marinade, add an acid to your oil of choice to help break down the connective tissue. You can use lemon juice, lime juice, or orange juice. A splash of soy sauce will also help to break down those connective fibers.
two steak fajitas on a white plate

Homemade Fajita Seasoning

A fajita is only as good as it’s seasoning. My homemade fajita seasoning recipe combines a multitude of flavors into a delicious balance of spice and earthiness. Mix up a large bowl of it and have some already on hand for the next time fajitas are on the meal plan!

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch 
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon meat tenderizer
taco tuesday taco bar use up extra taco meat

Add Ins For Authentic Fajitas

The steak and vegetables are just the jumping off point. There’s no end to what you can add to your steak fajita!

  • Limes and Lime Juice – One last squeeze of tenderizing acid, and just enough sour to cut through the spice.
  • Guacamole or Avocado Slices – A quintessentially Mexican flavor.
  • Sour Cream – Particularly helpful to tone down spiciness…
  • Hot Sauce – …but why tone down the spice when you can amp it up instead?
  • Shredded Cheese – Try colby jack, manchego, queso fresco, or good old cheddar.
  • Salsa – How hot or chunky is all up to personal preference.
  • Pico de Gallo – A great way to add a mild kick and tomato flavor.
  • Tomato Paste – Tomatoes tend to fall apart if you sauté them, but adding some tomato paste while you cook the peppers and onions gives a lovely flavor.

Authentic Steak Fajita Recipe

authentic fajitas on a white plate with bell peppers

Authentic Steak Fajitas

Liz Quick
The BEST authentic steak fajitas that offer all the flavors and textures of your favorite Tex-Mex dishes.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Marinate Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 5 people
Calories 100 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 cast iron skillet

Ingredients
  

  • pounds skirt steak or flank steak
  • 4 large bell peppers, red, yellow, and orange
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayene
  • 1 teaspoon meat tenderizer

Instructions
 

  • Slice meat against the grain 1/2 inch slices.
  • Toss the sliced steak in a ziplock with all of the seasonings. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  • Slice the onion and bell peppers and keep in a bowl until you're ready to cook your fajitas.
  • 30 minutes prior to eating, preheat your cast iron skillet to medium-high heat.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to your pan and sear your meat. Try to let it fully cook on one side (2-3 minutes) before flipping so you get nice flavor.
  • Remove your meat to a dish and sauté your veggies in the juices. Add another tablespoon of oil, if needed.
  • Cook your onions and peppers (sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste) until they are tender, but not mushy.
  • Add in the meat to get the fajita fillings married and to warm the meat.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

Serve with:
  • limes
  • guacamole
  • shredded cheese
  • fresh tomatoes
  • shredded lettuce
  • pico de gallo
Keyword authentic fajitas

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