I love fajitas and have often made them using one or other of the recipe kits available at the supermarket. But I got to wondering if it wouldn’t be just as easy, tastier and maybe a little healthier to make my own simple spice mix for the chicken. A little tinkering in the kitchen later and the answer is a resounding yes! These Homemade Chicken Fajitas are healthy, super tasty and really no less easy than their meal kit cousins.
Aren’t fajitas great? They take about 5 minutes to prep and less than 10 minutes to cook and yet somehow feel quite decadent! It’s the sort of meal we make for a midweek treat and we love to make them when we go on holiday. But, even though I make almost all of my meals from scratch, I’ve never thought to make the fajitas from scratch – I’ve always used meal kit.
Now, the fajita meal kits you can get from the supermarket are a lovely quick convenience meal, but I got to thinking one day – surely I could make my own? I mean, how hard can it be? So I read the ingredients on some of my favourite meal kits and got tinkering away in the kitchen. I wanted to create a blend which tastes delicious but which doesn’t use every spice in my cupboard and I think I’ve finally cracked it!
My spice blend is a very simple one, featuring easy to get hold of herbs and spices (cumin, cayenne pepper and oregano), plus some garlic and the juice of a lime, which adds a delicious freshness and zing to the chicken and works so well with the fresh coriander I sprinkle on at the end. I only use 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, which is just enough to give a gentle hum of heat – perfect for my kids, but feel free to add in extra cayenne pepper, or even some fresh chillies if you like things hot!!
The chicken is marinated in the spice blend while the peppers and onions are gently softening. I then throw the chicken and all of the marinade into the pan and turn the heat up high to brown the chicken and char the veg.
I serve the pan sizzling on the table with lots of warm tortilla wraps, my homemade 5 minute guacamole, sour cream and some grated cheddar for everyone to make up their own fajitas – my kids absolutely love doing this and think it’s great fun. (Though obviously do be careful with hot pans around little ones!) You could also make up a super quick salsa from finely chopped tomatoes, red onions, chillies and coriander, plus salt, pepper and lime juice – super easy and super tasty.
If you are going to make up your own guacamole and/or salsa, my top tip would be to make these up first and pop them in the fridge, then get on with the fajitas – otherwise you end up juggling too many things at once. Either that or employ a sous chef – get your husband/wife/partner/older kids to whip up the extras whilst you focus in the main event!
Wine wise, I find fajitas a bit of a conundrum – I would normally go with a white for chicken, but because of all those spicy charred flavours, actually a rosé or even a red works surprisingly well. Go for either a Chilean or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, which I think works really well with the zingy zesty lime and fresh coriander flavours, or try a French or Spanish Grenache-based rosé or red, which goes well with those smoky, spicy, charred flavours and the sweet peppers.
Quick tip: if you are cooking this for more than 4 (or you only have little frying pans), you may find it easier to cook the chicken and veg separately and combine at the end – if the frying pan is too crammed full you may find you end up poaching/steaming/stewing the chicken and veg rather than frying it and you won’t end up with those lovely charred flavours, just a soupy soggy mess!
- 12 flour or corn tortilla wraps (I use Old El Paso)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like things hot!)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
- 2 large chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 3 peppers (I like to use a mix of colours), sliced into strips
- Olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped finely
- Your choice of guacamole / sour cream / salsa / grated cheese / extra limes & coriander / tortilla chips to serve - any or all of them!
- If you are making your own guacamole or salsa, make these first and refrigerate until needed – or ask someone else to make these for you while you get on with the fajitas.
- Preheat your oven to 200C.
- Remove the tortilla wraps from the packet and wrap in foil.
- Mix together the cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, lime juice and crushed garlic in a large bowl.
- Slice the chicken into thin strips and place in the marinade. Toss the chicken to thoroughly coat in the marinade and set aside for 5 minutes (or put in the fridge and marinate for longer if you prefer).
- Use the time while the chicken is marinating to slice the onions and peppers.
- When the oven has heated up, put the tortilla wraps in the oven for 8 minutes until warmed through. After 8 minutes remove from the oven but keep wrapped in foil until needed.
- Fry the onions and peppers in a little olive oil on a low heat for 5 minutes until softened but not brown. Turn up the heat and add the chicken and marinade and fry for about 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and browned and the veg is slightly charred.
- To check if the chicken is cooked all the way through, choose the thickest piece of chicken and cut it in half – if it is completely white with no pink, it is cooked. And if the thickest piece is cooked, so should all the thinners ones!
- Sprinkle the chicken with the chopped coriander and serve in the pan on the table, together with the warm tortilla wraps and whatever extras you have chosen for people to make up their own fajitas. Enjoy!
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