Chicken Fajita Marinade

This Chicken Fajita Marinade only takes a few minutes to throw together! Make this simple marinade with fresh citrus juices and the perfect combination of seasonings. Flavorful chicken fajitas are just around the corner!

Grilled chicken breasts, with one sliced, placed on a wooden cutting board. A bowl of shredded cheese and cooked vegetables are visible in the background.
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Chicken Fajita Marinade Recipe

Mexican food has a special place in my heart, and I have loved perfecting my recipes for it over the years. After so many attempts at making chicken fajitas at home, I realized that marinating the chicken was the key to success.

This easy recipe produces the best fajita marinade ever! The orange juice and lime juice helps tenderize the chicken and all of the spices gives it lots of flavor.

While I typically use this recipe for delicious chicken fajitas, you can marinate steak fajitas in it too. You can use chicken thighs for dark meat or lean chicken breasts for a lower fat content.

Marinating meat before you grill it locks in flavor and helps keep the meat juicy and tender. It's the easiest technique to make fajitas that are restaurant quality!

I've got a wonderful grilled shrimp marinade recipe that I use to make shrimp fajitas too. My marinades are some of my favorite go-to recipes. If it's not shrimp or fajitas, I'm making lemon chicken marinade for a tangy and flavorful grilled chicken dish!

Raw chicken thighs marinating in a glass bowl next to sliced onions, peppers, lime halves, a grater, and tortillas on a table.

Why You'll Love this Recipe

This is the best chicken fajita marinade and it's so incredibly easy to make. I'll never turn down flavorful fajitas, especially when the marinade is so simple:

  • Homemade marinade for this easy chicken fajitas recipe always produces juicy chicken every time!
  • This simple marinade is far better than anything you can buy in stores and has fresher ingredients.
  • You can make chicken fajita marinade ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you need it.
A dish of grilled chicken slices mixed with bell peppers and onions in a black square pan, surrounded by bowls of guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese, and tortilla on a light-colored table.

Ingredients

Before you go to the grocery store, check this ingredient list so you know what you'll need to grab to make the best chicken fajitas:

Overhead view of small bowls with different ingredients including lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, spices, and seasoning powders on a light surface. Two lime halves are also present.
  • avocado oil or olive oil
  • orange juice
  • lime juice
  • lime zest
  • salt
  • dried oregano
  • garlic powder
  • ground cumin
  • chili powder
  • paprika
A white plate holds five tacos with lime wedges. Surrounding the plate are bowls of salsa, shredded cheese, guacamole, refried beans, sour cream, tortilla chips, and rice. Some shredded cheese is scattered.

Substitutions and Variations

You can use lemon juice and and lemon zest in place of fresh lime juice and lime zest. The flavor will be different, but it will still give it the nice tang the acidic ingredient is supposed to!

Give these fajitas a little kick by adding red pepper or a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the marinade.

Bell peppers and onions are my favorite fajita veggies, but you could also use sliced jalapeño peppers for more flavor and some extra spice!

Top view of ingredients for a dish including sliced red, yellow, and green bell peppers, onions, raw chicken thighs, various spices, lime, and liquids in small bowls on a light-colored surface.

How to Make Chicken Fajita Marinade

Follow these step-by-step instructions to make a zesty fajita marinade and then marinate the chicken perfectly:

Whisk together all of the ingredients for this easy chicken fajita marinade in small bowl or glass measuring cup. You can also place ingredients into a mason jar and shake well.

Image of meal preparation showing a bowl of sliced colorful vegetables, a bowl of raw chicken, a bowl of seasoning, lime halves, a grater, and tortillas on a cutting board.
Raw chicken thighs marinating in a glass bowl next to sliced onions, peppers, lime halves, a grater, and tortillas on a table.

Place chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts into a plastic bag or large bowl. Then slice up red bell pepper, green bell peppers, and onions and place them into the bag or bowl of chicken.

A glass bowl contains marinated chicken pieces, sliced onions, and mixed bell peppers, alongside a whisk in a bowl and a plate with a partially visible lime and a grater on a light-colored surface.

Pour the easy marinade over the chicken and vegetables and allow it marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Hot Tip: The longer your chicken marinates, the more flavor it will have! However, do not let your chicken marinate more than 24 hours or the acidity of all of the citrus juices can start to break down the meat and effect the texture of the chicken.

Essential grilling tools

Truthfully, you don’t need more than a good pair of tongs and a grill that works. Whether it’s charcoal, pellet or gas is up to you.

However, if you’re willing to invest in a few tools, you’re setting yourself up for grilling success. Here’s what I recommend:

How to Cook Marinated Chicken Fajitas

Preheat your grill to a medium-high heat, and once preheated clean the grates with a grill brush.

Then, spray the grill grates with grill spray or use half an onion to prevent food from sticking.

A skillet with cooked chicken breast and sliced bell peppers and onions. Surrounding it are bowls of salsa, sour cream, guacamole, shredded cheese, lime, and a plate of tortillas.

Using tongs, remove the marinated chicken from the bag and place it onto the prepared grill. Let the chicken cook for 7-8 minutes and then flip. Continue cooking until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165° Fahrenheit.

Remove the chicken and allow it to rest for 5-6 minutes. Then, slice the chicken on a cutting board into thin slices and serve on tortillas with fajita veggies and your favorite toppings.

How to Store Leftover Chicken Fajita Marinade

Store leftover fajita chicken marinade in a mason jar or cup with an airtight lid. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week. Give the marinade a good shake to incorporate the ingredients before using.

It is also important that you only store reserved marinade that has NOT touched raw chicken. Any marinade that is leftover from the chicken must be discarded.

A hand squeezes lime juice over a plate of tacos filled with grilled meat, bell peppers, and melted cheese. In the background, there are dishes of guacamole, salsa, and more tacos.

What to Serve with Marinated Chicken Fajitas

After perfectly marinating and cooking your grilled chicken fajitas, serve them on flour tortillas or corn tortillas. Don't forget all of your favorite fajita toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, pico de gallo, salsa, and even an extra squeeze of lime juice. Warm tortillas before building the fajita for best results!

Side dishes like traditional Mexican rice and refried beans are perfect to go alongside fajitas. Corn and tomato salad and grilled zucchini and squash would also pair wonderfully with fresh chicken fajitas.

You can also serve this best chicken fajita recipe over rice as a fajita bowl, or lettuce as a fajita salad. Cauliflower rice is also a great way to make a low-carb meal, or your can grab some low-carb tortillas!

Check out my post on what to eat with fajitas for more ideas to serve with this easy chicken fajita recipe!

A plate with three fajitas filled with sliced bell peppers and onions, served with a side of white rice, refried beans, tortilla chips, salsa, and avocado slices.

Tips for Success

Check out these few simple tips so that your chicken fajita marinade turns out delicious every single time:

  • Squeeze fresh orange juice to give this citrus marinade an extra fresh flavor. Bottled orange juice will work, but fresh orange juice has a much better flavor.
  • Use an instant read thermometer so that you can quickly get an accurate read on the internal temperature of your chicken.
  • You can cook the peppers and onions on the grill alongside the chicken. Just use a grill basket or aluminum foil to hold the strips. You can also leave the veggies cut in halves to cook directly on the grill. Instead of grilling, you can broil the veggies on low in the oven while you are grilling.

FAQ

What temperature should I grill chicken fajitas?

375°F (190°C) to 400°F (20°C) is the perfect temperature range to grill fajitas. Use an infrared thermometer to read the temp before adding the chicken to the grill grates.

Can I cook marinated chicken fajitas without a grill?

Yes! Use a big skillet on the stove top and cook the chicken to a safe internal temperature. For best results, use a large cast iron skillet or other heavy skillet! Additionally, you can use a rimmed baking sheet in the oven. Slice the chicken before adding it to the pan and cook at 425°F (220°C) for about 20 minutes.

A plate with four tacos topped with cheese and lime wedges, accompanied by bowls of shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, tortilla chips, and a bowl of cooked peppers and chicken.

More Chicken and Marinade Recipes

Did you make this recipe?

If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

Grilled chicken breasts, with one sliced, placed on a wooden cutting board. A bowl of shredded cheese and cooked vegetables are visible in the background.

Chicken Fajita Marinade

Homemade chicken fajita marinade makes the best fajitas ever. You'll love this super simple recipe!
5 from 46 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cup marinade
Author: Madison Wetherill

Ingredients

  • ½ cup avocado or olive oil
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup lime juice freshly squeezed from 4 limes
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 pounds chicken

Instructions

  • Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl or measuring glass, or add to a mason jar and shake well.
  • Pour the marinade over chicken and veggies and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat grill and clean the grill grates.
  • Place marinated chicken onto the grill and cook for 7-8 minutes on either side until it reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Nutrition

Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 484mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

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