The Best Steak Fajitas
The absolute BEST Steak Fajitas you’ve ever had! This is my take on the Tex-Mex steak fajitas. Marinated for hours in lime juice, garlic, and cumin — so good you’ll never use another recipe again!
And I’m not just saying that because steak fajitas NEED guacamole. I’m saying it because you need these homemade fajitas. And I actually can’t believe it took me this long to make them for us. I mean, beef fajitas are a classic, and quite possibly the most delicious thing we’ve eaten around here. Hands down. Like EVER. So it’s totally my food blogging responsibility to bring these to you right now because they couldn’t possibly taste better than they do right now.
These fajitas were gobbled up quicker than anything I’ve ever made before – that’s saying a lot because I feel like I’m ALWAYS cooking. And these make A LOT, enough to feed 4-5 people! We enjoyed them in tortillas the first day and turned them into Chipotle-style fajitas bowls for lunch the next day, and we still had some leftovers! And nope, I’m not even complaining about them. I’ll definitely be making these over and over again on repeat.
Watch how to make the best steak fajitas video (57 sec.):
You’ve probably made steak fajitas with store-bought fajitas seasoning a million times before. But I’m kind of reinventing this a little because my recipe is less focused on spices and more focused on overall ingredients that marinate, tenderize, and flavor the fajita meat. Because no one likes fajitas that are bland. What’s the point in that?
But this marinade! Oh my Lanta! It is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before. I was never convinced you could make restaurant-style steak fajitas at home and make them taste better, but this totally does it. They are absolutely are the BEST steak fajitas of your life. The ingredients are simple and straight forward. Also, this isn’t a Harry Potter potions class – you don’t need anything super fancy to make the best fajitas of your life. There is one ingredient in particular that I use that isn’t a typical ingredient one sees in a fajita recipe but give it a try, I promise you, it’s a GAME CHANGER.
I like to use a colorful array of veggies for my fajitas.
You can do with the regular red and green peppers if you’d like, but I love the color and the flavor that yellow and orange peppers add to this recipe. I’m one of those people that eat with my eyes first. I also like to add in a BIG poblano pepper. Remove all the ribs and seeds, so the spice is gone. We just want the nice smokiness of the poblano sizzled with the onions and bell peppers — the flavor is out of this world. I can’t believe I had been making fajitas without poblanos for so long before this. I almost feel like I cheated myself out of the best fajitas.
And the secret ingredient in my steak fajitas is…
Okay, let’s do a quick walkthrough on the ingredients and how you’re going to make the marinade for the fajitas. Without any further suspense let me share with you the ONE ingredient that makes my steak fajitas better than the rest — PINEAPPLE JUICE. Um, yup. You read that right. Pineapple juice, the stuff that comes in a small/large cans in the juice aisle. I use the stuff that is 100% juice with no additional sugars added.
If you’re wondering what the function of pineapple juice is for fajitas, allow me to explain. Store-bought fajita seasonings usually contain enzymes that help tenderize the meat. So to mimic that same tenderization without any weird ingredients, we use pineapple juice. There are people that argue that fresh pineapple juice (that hasn’t been heated) works best. But honestly, for our recipe, canned pineapple juice works just fine! No need to grab a fresh pineapple and make fresh juice, unless you’d like to that is.
What else do you need to make the best steak fajitas:
The other ingredients are simple! A little lime juice, some Worcestershire sauce (this is Tex-Mex style fajitas after all!), garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, a little olive oil, chopped cilantro, and a little salt and pepper. That is it! No cornstarch or sugar or a million other ingredients. These are simple, flavorful steak fajitas that shine on their own. You don’t need to put a million ingredients in them to taste good.
How to make the best steak fajitas:
Now the instructions – combine the ingredients for the marinade and let marinate. It’s that simple. I like to let fajita meat marinate for at least 4 hours and ideally sometimes, overnight. The longer you let them sit, the tastier they are.
I made these indoors on a large cast iron skillet. You can grill the meat out on the grill in the summertime if you’d like. I know we definitely will once it stops raining here EVERY SINGLE DAY and once we purchase a grill. In the meantime, the cast iron skillet is making them just perfectly. ?? I use one large skillet to sear the meat, and while the meat is resting, I add in another tablespoon of oil and allow the veggies to sauté. I love the little bits of the charred marinade to coat the peppers and onions. If you don’t want that, use a separate skillet to make the veggies. Make sure to season them with a hint of salt and pepper.
Be prepared to make this meal on a weekly rotation, served both inside warm homemade flour tortillas and over a bed of cilantro lime rice.
Make it a Sunday tradition, because I have a feeling that this recipe is going to get ten thumbs up.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Cheesy Steak Quesadillas
- Homemade Carne Asada
- The Best Chicken Fajitas
- Shrimp Enchiladas in Poblano Cream Sauce
- Crispy Cheesy Chicken Taquitos
The BEST Steak Fajitas
The absolute BEST Steak Fajitas you've ever had! This is my take on the tex-mex steak fajitas. Marinated for hours in lime juice, garlic, and cumin -- so good you'll never use another recipe again!
- ⅓ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup pineapple juice (no sugar added)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin AND chili powder (or more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon EACH: kosher salt AND smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon EACH: black pepper AND red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 ½ - 2 pounds skirt or flank steak
- 1 tablespoon oil (high heat)
- 2 medium white onions, sliced
- 1 large poblano, ribs and seeds removed then sliced
- 2-3 bell peppers, thinly sliced (any color you please!)
- guacamole, salsa, cilantro leaves, salsa verde, sour cream, black beans, rice, tortillas, cilantro-lime rice, sautéed corn, tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheese, etc.
- STEAK MARINADE: Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a large shallow bowl. Give it a taste and check for seasonings, adjust to preference. Coat the steak with the marinade and let sit covered in the refrigerator for at least 2-4 hours and ideally overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minute prior to cooking.
- Set a large cast iron skillet or pan over high heat and let heat up for a couple of minutes. Add the steak to the pan and fry on each side for about 3-5 minutes or longer if you'd like it more done. Feel for desired firmness. The 3 minutes/side will yield a medium rare doneness. If the pan becomes too hot, reduce the heat to medium high. Remove the steak from the pan and allow to rest for several minutes tented with a piece of foil. Slice the meat against the grain into thin slices. I like to do so on an angle so the meat slices are tender and thin.
- FAJITA VEGGIES: Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan over high heat, add in the onions, poblano, and bell peppers. Let the veggies begin to sizzle and toss as necessary, cook for a total of 2-3 minutes or longer if you prefer them softer, season with a pinch of salt and pepper. If your pan is small, cook the veggies in a few batches so they don't steam.
- ASSEMBLY: Serve them in tortillas or on rice bowls topped with your favorite toppings!
Looks awesome! Just wondering, do you marinate the veggies as well?
I didn’t Kim, but you can if you’d like!
Can you use this marinade for chicken as well?
Sure can! But I wouldn’t marinate for more than 2-3 hours.
I marinated chicken overnight and it was great.
A wonderful blend of ingredients and you were right the family would be asking for more. I used chicken only because beef is far too expensive. I tried the recipe on a Tuesday and it fed us two days. My son was to have a friend over on the weekend and guess what … he wanted that for supper! With the left over I made a Fajita Pizza. Wow now there is something to try! Thank you 🙂
I made this for myself and the guy I’m dating, and we were both blown away! I had another fajita recipe that I thought was good, but this one is awesome. My guy actually said he was full, but he didn’t want to stop eating because it was so good! Haha! I didn’t change a thing, and this is definitely a keeper. Found it on Pinterest. Thank you so much!!
About how long can you leave the meat in the marinade?
I’d say 14 hours max.
Could I freeze the marinated meat for a later time?
Hi Karla! I haven’t tried freezing the marinated steak before but I think it should be fine. I would freeze it immediately after combining the ingredients (skipping the marinating time completely). And just thaw it in the refrigerator for 12-14 hours prior to cooking!
Did you try marinating and freezing ahead?
I have marinated and frozen and had amazing results!
2 questions- Could you cook the steak on a charcoal grill instead of a cast iron skillet? Wasn’t sure if that’d change the flavor or dry it out since the marinade will drip off the meat. Can you taste the pineapple from the juice after it’s cooked? My husband loathes the taste of pineapple but I want to see if I can use it without him knowing lol
Hi Tristen! Yes, you can certainly cook it on a charcoal grill — in fact, it might even be better that way! You’ll just have to keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t overcook. We really couldn’t taste the pineapple after cooking. It just kinda enhances all the other flavors and leaves the meat super tender. It won’t be sweet or smell like pineapple or anything like that. Hope you get away with it! 😉
What is the marinade supposed to taste like before cooking? Mine is sort of bitter and I’m wondering did I do something wrong or does that cook out of it?
From what I remember, I think it was a little bitter. Probably because of the cumin. But rest assured, it’ll taste great once you cook the fajitas 🙂
Okay, thank you!! Can’t wait to see how it turns out
will the cilantro from the marinade burn in the cast iron skillet when cooking the steak??
I didn’t really have a problem with it, but if you’re worried Denise, you can simply add a handful of cilantro (without chopping it) into the container with the steak and the marinade. That way you still get that cilantro flavor!
So thankful to have found this recipe! I made an adapted version with buffalo skirt steak and it turned out amazing.
Is this spicy? Sadly, my kids can’t handle even mild heat. Can I omit the chili and red pepper flakes without compromising taste? Thanks
We didn’t find it to be spicy for our taste. You can still make this recipe without the chili powder/pepper flakes, it’ll still be BIG on flavor! 🙂
This is a keeper! Simple ingredients and great results. The only mistake I made was not giving the steak enough time to marinate. I only had one hour, but the flavor was still there. Will make this again and pass it on to my friends.
Stupid question – I want to buy a cast iron skillet –is there a size/brand you would recommend? Thanks 🙂
Hi Taz! If you navigate over to the shop menu (at the top of page) you’ll find a link to the cast iron skillet I have and love 🙂
Marzia, I made this for my family tonight and it was DELICIOUS!! I marinaded the flank steak before i left for work, grilled it, added a little of the marinade to the pan with the veggies and served in tortillas. You are correct, the marinade is perfection!! This is definitely on my “make over and over” list, thank you!!
Can you substitute the pineapple juice with apple juice?
Hi Kristie, apple juice will work it terms of flavor but it won’t help tenderize the meat. The pineapple juice actually plays a two part roll in this recipe.
I subbed with OJ! Since they are very similar profiles and acidity
I am going to make this tonight. I am going to use sirloin steak so how long would you suggest to marinade it for?
Also, how much marinade should I use to cook steaks in or do I just remove the steaks from the marinade and then cook them without any extra. How much marinade should I use to cook the veggies in?
I’d marinate sirloin for roughly the same time (2-4 hours at least). I removed the steak from the marinade when cooking so that it has a nice sear on the outside. Also, I didn’t add any marinade to the veggies, just cooked them in the same pan to pick up all the flavory bits left behind by the steak. You can let them sit in the steak marinade while the steak cooks or just drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of the marinade over the veggies (while cooking) if you want them to have that same flavor. Hope you enjoy it! 🙂
Thank you so much. I am sure this will be absolutely delicious.
I used your marinade and loved it, but instead of cooking it on the stovetop I just threw everything in my cast iron skillet and put it right in the oven. Cook at 400° for 16 minutes, stirring once halfway through and you’ve got perfectly done fajitas!
I am liking the idea of this oven method…did you slice the meat before or after cooking?
I absolutely love this recipe. The marinade is delicious! I have a two burner electric stove that works not so good. So it toke forever to cook. Especially for the amount I have to make for my family size. I was wondering if you have made this in the crockpot before?
Happy to hear you loved it! Haven’t tried in the the crockpot before, but I’d love to hear how it goes if you decide to Ariana! Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂
My husband couldn’t stop raving about these fahitas bought a very thin sliced ribeye steak and it was the bomb !!! Very easy and super sonic delicious ?
Made both chicken and beef (sirloin from Costco) and marinated each in a separate bag for 7 hours and cooked all in cast iron skillets, best fajitas I have ever had. I will only make this recipe from now on.
I would like to try this recipe for a family that I am making a meal for, but one of the family members has an allergy or some health issue with pineapple. Can you recommend another juice or acid to use in the marinade instead that will not compromise the flavor?
Orange juice would be a good alternative. You may want to let the meat marinate for at least 6 hours though (pineapple tenderizes the meat so it can be used as quickly as 2 hours, orange juice won’t do that). Hope everyone enjoys it! 🙂
Made these for dinner tonight. Could possibly be the best fajitas I have ever eaten. Store did not have flank or skirt steak, so. I used sirloin steak. Did not have pineapple juice so I used orange juice. I let it marinate overnight (it really marinated for about 20 hours) and during the day. Was not spicy and husband loved them. Will make these again. Yummy!!!!! Thanks for the recipe.
Absolutely, hands down, the BEST fajitas I have ever made. I used skirt steak and marinated for about 5 or so hours. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender. Beautiful clean flavors. My only regret was that my supermarket was out of poblanos, but there will most definitely be a next time, so I’m anxious to see how the poblanos peppers are in this recipe. As the meat was resting, I cooked the veggies in the same skillet and splashed some of the marinade in for flavor. Even the picky 4 year old ate some, and the fiancee went back for seconds. Thank you for a DELICIOUS recipe.
Does the 3 tablespoons of olive oil go in with the other ingredients to make the marinade or is it just 1 tablespoon for the marinade, 1 for the steak and 1 for the veggies?
It’s listed separately. So you’ll need the 3 tablespoons for the marinade portion and the last tablespoon (listed under ‘fajitas’) is for the veggies. If you feel the steak will stick to the skillet, you can add a small drizzle before cooking it.
My san antonio college labmate had me over one weekend and got to see a large family version. Using canned pineapples chunks liquid and canned grapefruit juice. Drained Pineapples where used in a sheet pan version of upside down cake. Beef started afternoon Saturday, drained then dry spices added Sunday before Mass, after Church grilled at nearby park.
I’ve got the steak marinating and the veggies prepped. I couldn’t find poblanos at my grocery store so I subbed a couple of Anaheim peppers hoping it won’t be too spicy. I haven’t cooked with much except bell peppers and jalapenos, so we’ll see!
I’m excited to try this recipe and the steak is marinating now. I bought the pre-cut sirloin from the store. Will that change the cooking time since they are already sliced? Thanks!
Hi Emy! Yes, pre-cut sirloin will have a different cooking time than the whole skirt or flank steak. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for me to say how long it’ll take as I’ve only tested the recipe as written. I’d just monitor for doneness (to preference) after the first 2-3 minutes.
DELICIOUS! Just the right amount of spice. And I used the same cast iron skillet (which still had some of the marinade flavor) to heat the flour tortillas.
Hi! I don’t have low sugar or sugar free pineapple juice. Will just regular work?
Regular juice will work!
Made this tonight and it was a hit with my family! Even my husband who can be picky about recipes that I find. I marinated the meat over night and it was so good!!! I used flank steak and grilled it. The flavor was incredible! For those who worried about spice, this was not spicy at all. I eased up a bit on the red pepper flakes and didn’t have cumin, but other than that I followed the recipe. I did use fresh lime juice as well. This is definitely a keeper!!