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Smoky Steak Fajita Recipe

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home." She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated."

Favorite Steak Fajitas

Favorite Steak Fajitas

Restaurant-Style Beef Fajitas

When I was a child, fajitas were my favorite dish. For one thing, they were served on an impressive, sizzling platter. And for another, it was fun to stuff my favorite ingredients into the warm tortillas.

As an adult, I realize that fajitas are one of the more expensive meals sold at Mexican restaurants. But the ingredients are not too expensive and fajitas are easy to make at home. Buy organic skirt steak and you have a healthy, not-too-expensive meal that your family is sure to enjoy.

Fajitas are traditionally made of beef, not chicken, although the other variations can also be delicious. "Fajita", in Spanish, is the name for the inexpensive cut of beef traditionally used in this Tex-Mex dish.

Some fajita recipes call for marinating the peppers and onions before sauteeing them. That only leads to soggy vegetables. What you really want is to stir-fry the vegetables, leaving them crisp-tender and flavorful. Please see the section "How to Stir Fry Vegetables" at the end of this page for 5 simple steps to perfect vegetables.

This kitchen-tested recipe yields flavorful fajitas. The meat, marinated and grilled, is moist, smoky and chewy. The veggies are crisp tender, not soggy. Top everything with creamy sour cream, guacamole and fresh salsa and you have restaurant-quality fajitas that are easy to make at home.

As a final touch, we sprinkle Trader Joe´s lemon pepper over the peppers and onions. Since the lemon pepper comes in a grinder, the freshly ground spices are bursting with flavor. Try it! This is bound to become your go-to recipe for a delicious Tex-Mex experience at home.


Tips:


Steak Fajita Recipe

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

30 min

1 hour

Serves 4

Instructions

  1. To marinate the steaks: Heat ungreased skillet over medium heat. Add garlic cloves and peppers and turn occasionally, until both are softened and covered in black spots (5-10 minutes for the chiles; 10-15 minutes for the garlic cloves). Cool garlic and peel. Place chiles, garlic, 1/4 cup lime juice, 2 Tablespoons of oil and 2 teaspoons of salt in a blender container. Blend until smooth. The marinade should be very salty.
  2. Pour marinade over both sides of flank steak and allow to marinate for 2-8 hours.
  3. Heat grill to 400 F. Remove steak from the marinade and pat it dry. Place meat on the grill and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, until medium-rare to medium. Place on a plate and tent with foil.
  4. Brush both side of tortillas with vegetable oil. Place on grill, close lid and leave for about one minute. Open lid, flip tortillas and grill another minute, or until charred but still soft. Wrap tortillas in foil or a cotton kitchen towel to keep them warm.
  5. Stem, seed and slice bell & poblano peppers and onions. Sprinkle liberally with lemon pepper.
  6. Heat a large skillet on high heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Saute vegetables for several minutes, until charred but still crisp tender. If your skillet isn't large enough, you may need to saute vegetables in 2-3 batches. Be careful not to crowd them.
  7. Thinly slice the steak against the grain. This is an important detail for this tough cut of beef.
  8. To assemble fajitas: Layer meat, veggies, toppings and salsa over a grilled tortilla. Serve with a salad and ice cold margaritas or limeade. Enjoy!

Fajita Ingredients

  • 1.5 - 2 lb. skirt steak
  • 6 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, stemmed
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
  • 3 bell peppers, red, orange and yellow
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 2 medium white onions
  • salt & lemon pepper*, to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream, for topping
  • 1 cup guacamole, for topping
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (for topping)
  • 1 cup green or red salsa**, for topping
  • 12 yellow corn tortillas***

What to Buy

* We prefer Trader Joe's lemon pepper grinder for this recipe

** Try Rick Bayless's jarred green salsa or see tips section for links to homemade salsa recipes.

*** Mission yellow corn tortillas are are moist, flavorful and also gluten-free.

How to Grill Tortillas

Heat oven or grill to 400 F. Use a pastry brush to oil the tortillas or mist them with cooking spray. Place tortillas on grill. Bake or grill approximately one minute, or until edges begin to char. Turn tortillas and grill one minute on the other side or until crispy.

Stir fry peppers & onions on high heat

Stir fry peppers & onions on high heat

Mix up some guacamole

Mix up some guacamole

Scroll to Continue
Our assistant chef is slicing grilled flank steak against the grain

Our assistant chef is slicing grilled flank steak against the grain

Serve while still hot

Serve while still hot

Assemble the garnishes: guacamole, salsa, sour cream and cilantro

Assemble the garnishes: guacamole, salsa, sour cream and cilantro

Pour the margaritas

Pour the margaritas

It´s time to eat!

It´s time to eat!

How to Stir Fry

Stir Fry Tips

  • Use a deep stainless steel or cast iron skillet. Do not use a non-stick skillet.
  • Slice peppers and onions in even slices.
  • Dry vegetables thoroughly.
  • Wait until skillet is hot enough to skittle a drop of water across the surface. Then add oil and veggies.
  • Do not overcrowd the pan. Sauté vegetables in batches, if necessary.

Comments

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on September 18, 2020:

Good hub you wrote here. Good pictures and easy to follow instructions.

moonlake from America on June 03, 2014:

Love fajita and these look delicious. Great photos and instructions. Voted up

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 02, 2014:

Bethperry, I'm glad you and your hubby are going to try this out!

Beth Perry from Tennesee on May 02, 2014:

Oh no, I read this too close to dinner time, and now you have me salivating! This fajita recipe does sound delicious; will have to share with hubby - I think he'd like to try it out.

Voted up and thanks for sharing!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 08, 2014:

GetitScene, I understand what you say about meat. I hope to get out some meatless recipes soon!

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on April 08, 2014:

5 stars! I rarely eat meat anymore but this recipe sounds delicious.

tabbykern on March 21, 2014:

Looks absolutely delicious I can't wait to try this recipe!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 18, 2014:

PeggyW, I hope spring is truly on its way and you and your family can soon enjoy these delicious grilled fajitas. Thank you for your comment.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2014:

I don't think that I was using Pinterest when I first read this recipe. Will be pinning it now! With spring and summertime coming, we will be grilling more and this is such a good sounding recipe for the steak fajitas.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 17, 2014:

Thank you for coming by, Eddy.

Eiddwen from Wales on March 17, 2014:

A wonderful recipe for me to save and thank you for sharing.

Eddy.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 17, 2014:

Rebeccamealey, thanks for your comment. I hope you have a good week!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on March 17, 2014:

These fajitas look great, and I like your tip on using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 13, 2014:

That's a good question, Just Ask Susan. Skirt steak is the diaphragm muscle. Ask your butcher for the inner part, attached to the rib cage. Although it's not extremely tender, it is very flavorful and the marinade will tenderize it some. I hope you can try it soon!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on March 13, 2014:

I love making and eating fajita's. Your recipe calls for skirt steak and I'm not sure what the cut of beef would be called here in Canada.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 13, 2014:

You're welcome Bk42author.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 13, 2014:

Denise Handlon, it's so nice to hear from you! Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Brenda Thornlow from New York on March 13, 2014:

This sounds so good! Thanks for sharing!

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on March 12, 2014:

Tantalizing recipe, Vespa. I found your explanation of the word, 'fajita' interesting, too. The photos are very clear, colorful and helpful. Thanks for another great recipe. :) Up and across with a 5 star rating. Great job! (now I am hungry for a fajita...)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 28, 2014:

VVanNess, I made these fajitas last time we were visiting Phoenix. We bought the skirt steak at Sprouts and it really was delicious! I hope you can try it sometime, even though the meat isn't as delicious as in Texas. : )

Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on February 27, 2014:

Yum! I wish they sold skirt steaks out here in Arizona like they did in Texas. We've had to do our best to make do with the pieces of meat they do sell. These sound amazing! Great job!!

mylindaelliott from Louisiana on February 09, 2014:

Oh my, it all looks so delicious. I'm hungry again.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 03, 2014:

CraftytotheCore, these are delicious with homemade tortillas! Enjoy!

CraftytotheCore on February 03, 2014:

These look delicious! I make homemade corn tortillas that would be decadent with this recipe! I've always been a fan of fajitas.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 30, 2014:

IndieJoe, it's so nice to hear from you! Yes, the assistant is really the key to tender fajitas. Now if I could just get him to share his margarita recipe! : )

IndieJoe on January 30, 2014:

Vespa, You've done it again! These fajitas look better than any restaurant that I've been to recently. KUDOs to your assistant for knowing that the steak should be cut cross grain. The margarita's look amazingly delicious too! Voted up.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 27, 2014:

PeggyW, thanks for all your support! This is one of my husband's favorite meals and I enjoy preparing it as well. I hope you have a good week.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 27, 2014:

I love eating this type of meal. Your recipe sounds like a winner! You always do a great job with your photos and interlinking of other recipes.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 27, 2014:

Vacation Trip, thank you for your comment.

Susan from India on January 26, 2014:

Wow... That looks so yummy. Wonderful hub with great pics.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 25, 2014:

Thanks DeborahNeyens!

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on January 24, 2014:

There is something about a sizzling platter of fajitas, isn't there? Your photos are fantastic.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 23, 2014:

Thanks for your comment ChitrangadaSharan.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 23, 2014:

This looks very interesting and tempting!

I have not tried something like this before. But will definitely prepare now.

Well presented and well illustrated with helpful pictures. Thanks for sharing the details!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 22, 2014:

Anglnwu, I'd love to have you for dinner! Thanks for the votes and comment.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 22, 2014:

JoGoldsmith11, I'm glad thus gave you an idea for dinner. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

anglnwu on January 22, 2014:

Fajitas is one of my favorite and I always order that in the restaurant. Yours look so yummy, can I come over? Rated up across.

Jo_Goldsmith11 on January 22, 2014:

I love guacamole on this kind of food. This is so cool! I think I need to stop by more often to help with ideas on what to fix for dinner. I have always enjoyed fajitas, and sometimes, I will change off and use chicken instead of the traditional meat, steak. ect. Shared, tweeted and up! :-)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 22, 2014:

You're welcome, RTalloni!

RTalloni on January 22, 2014:

This fajita recipe really does sound like it is bursting with flavor! Thanks much for sharing it with us.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 21, 2014:

Trusouldj, thanks for coming by.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 21, 2014:

Deborah-Diane, this is one of our favorite Tex-Mex recipes.

LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on January 21, 2014:

ok ... now i'm hungry. thanks a lot. :)

Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on January 21, 2014:

We used to live in Texas and loved Fajitas. Your recipe sounds wonderful!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 21, 2014:

DDE, I'm glad you enjoyed reading about these fajitas and hope you can try them someday!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 21, 2014:

AliciaC, thank you for the kind words. We enjoy good food and love to share it with others! I hope you have a good week.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 21, 2014:

Smoky Steak Fajita Recipe is a unique recipe and looks so tasty with such lovely photos and the procedure is explained to the point it makes the hub even more interesting.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 20, 2014:

These fajitas sound and look so flavorful, vespawoolf! I appreciate not only your lovely recipes but also the extra tips that you include in your recipe hubs. The hubs are very useful and the photos are great!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 20, 2014:

GlimmerTwinFan, I'm glad you're going to try these fajitas. Of course, this is our go-to recipe and I hope it becomes yours, too. Enjoy and thank you for coming by.

Claudia Porter on January 20, 2014:

We love love love fajitas and are always looking for a good recipe. Am definitely saving this one. I like the addition of the lime juice. Another wonderful recipe vespawoolf!.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 20, 2014:

Lindacee, I'm glad you're going to make these tasty fajitas! The margaritas make it one of our favorite meals. Enjoy!

Linda Chechar from Arizona on January 20, 2014:

I love that you test all of your recipes. That's the "seal of approval" as far as I'm concerned! I will definitely give this fajita recipe a try--and will revisit your Margarita Hub for something refreshing to wash them down! Voted up, awesome and interesting! :)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 20, 2014:

Thelma Alberts, thanks for the comment, vote and pin!

Thelma Alberts from Germany on January 20, 2014:

OMG! My mouth watered while looking at the photos. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Bookmark for later use. Voted up and pinned.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 19, 2014:

Suzanne Day, I'm glad you've decided to make these homemade fajitas! We enjoy them every chance we get. Thanks so much for the votes.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 19, 2014:

FlourishAnyway, I hope your husband enjoys the fajitas. Since you don't eat beef, I think you would enjoy them just as much with the grilled tortillas, veggies, guacamole and salsa! Thanks so much for the votes and pin,

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on January 19, 2014:

The delicious fajita photo made me click and read your wonderful recipe. I have no idea how to make fajitas, but your recipe has cured me of that! I look forward to giving it a try soon. Rated and voted awesome ;)

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 19, 2014:

Although I don't eat beef, this gorgeous hub nearly makes me rethink it! My husband eats it, however, and might just be getting this if he is good. The margaritas look good, too. Voted up ++ and pinning.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 19, 2014:

Jackie Lynnley, you gave me a laugh! Thanks for checking out the guacamole recipe. It's our favorite way to make it...enjoy!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 19, 2014:

pandula77, thank you for taking the time to comment.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on January 19, 2014:

Well, like a relative, I'm baaaaack, lol. Checked out your guacamole and discovered you are the one to teach me to use good ol'diced tomato, so guess it can't get no better, having been your recipe!

Dr Pandula from Norway on January 19, 2014:

A delicious hub! Thanks for sharing and the pictures are lovely.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 19, 2014:

Jackie Lynnley, I always enjoy your enthusiastic comments. I wish we were kin, too, and then I would have you over for these delicious fajitas. : ) Thanks for being the first one to drop by.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on January 19, 2014:

Oh, yum, I wish we were kin! lol I will fix this for sure and I am off to see your guacamole recipe, I make it and it is good but I will bet yours is better! Up and share

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