Beef Steak Fajitas

Classic Tex Mex fajitas recipe, made with strips of skirt steak, onions and bell peppers, and served sizzling hot with fresh tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.

  • Prep time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb of flank steak, skirt steak or carne asada
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced with the grain, not against the grain as one would normally slice an onion. Slice first in half, and then slice off sections a half inch wide at widest point.
  • 2-3 bell peppers of various colors, stemmed, seeded, de-ribbed, sliced lengthwise into strips
  • Salt

Marinade:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 fresh Jalapeño pepper, seeded, ribs removed, finely chopped (be careful not to touch your eyes or anywhere near your eyes after handling a Jalapeño pepper!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, including stems

Method

1 Mix all marinade ingredients. Coat the steak with the marinade and let it sit at room temperature for an hour, or longer in the fridge. Before you cook the meat, wipe off most of the marinade and sprinkle the steak with salt.

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2 Set a large cast iron pan or griddle over high heat and let this heat up for 1-2 minutes. Add the tablespoon of oil to the pan and let this heat up for 1 minute. Add the steak, frying on each side for 3 minutes, or to desired doneness. 3 minutes per side will yield approximately medium rare doneness for an average cut of flank steak. Carne asada and skirt steak will need less time. If the pan starts to smoke too much, reduce the heat to medium-high. You want the steak browned, not burned. Remove from pan and let sit, tented with foil, for 5 minutes.

3 Cook the vegetables while the meat is resting. Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary, then add the onions and bell peppers. Let these sear for 1 minute before stirring, then stir every 90 seconds or so as the veggies sear. Cook for 5-6 minutes total.

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4 Slice the meat against the grain into thin slices. If you slice the meat at an angle, you will be able to get your slices pretty thin. These cuts of steak are flavorful but can be a little tough, so thin slices will really help make it easier to eat.

5 Serve immediately with shredded cheese, salsa, shredded iceberg lettuce, sour cream, guacamole and warm flour tortillas. (Hint for warming tortillas - put in microwave over a paper towel for 20 seconds on high heat.)

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Comments

  • Charley

    Tried this tonight, followed the recipe it turned out great! Only thing I will tweek next time is the amount of lime juice, it was a little too much but still delicious!

  • Katy

    Just tried this recipe tonight and it was my first time cooking with flank steak; it turned out amazing! I added cayenne and paprika to the onions and peppers while they cooked, which really brought out all the flavors.

  • Michael W.

    My vegetables consisted of sliced Onions,Bell Peppers, Tomatillos. The marinade for the veggies:
    1/4 Cup Olive Oil
    2 1/2 Tblsp Lemon or Lime juice
    2 Tblsp Worcestershire Sauce
    1 1/2 Tsp Cumin
    1 Tsp Salt
    1/2 Tsp each Ground Sage,Oregano
    1/2 Tsp Black pepper
    1 Garlic Clove minced

    This tastes best if the veggies are grilled over charcoal in a grill basket. I use soaked Mesquite wood chips on the coals to enhance the flavor. I also grill the Marinaded Skirt Steak. Try it you’ll like it!! Delicious!!

  • Amanda

    Did anyone not marinate the peppers and onions? I am confused if they should be marinated with the steak, because that is what I have always done. Thanks

  • Chrissy

    I made this recipe yesterday and it was really tasty. I appreciated the tip of how to cut the meat correctly so it was not tough. We are so used to cooking our red meat on the grill that we were surprised at how good it ended up being. The marinade recipe is really the best part and the meat retains the flavor so well. Thanks so much for this recipe!!

  • Janice

    I wrap my tortillas in a wet t-towel.
    This steams them and keeps them soft and pliable for folding.

  • Kristen Kennedy

    This was a big hit at my house. The biggest surprise was my husband, who will not eat guacamole, topping everything with this version. Delicious!

  • Artemis

    Elise, do you think I could use Tabasco sauce or chili powder instead of Jalapeño peppers? If so, how much should I use?
    I live in Greece, so finding Jalapeño peppers here is a bit of a pain.

    Yes, you could easily use Tabasco in the marinade instead of jalapeños. Just add to taste. You probably don’t need much. ~Elise

  • david

    Great recipe! I hate the package mix… it never tastes good no matter what the brand. I altered just a bit. I used thin round tip and grilled it on the BBQ for about 4 min a side to seal in the juices. The marinade stuck to the meat like glue. While letting it stand for about 30 min, I cooked the onion/bell pepper, added the meat just to get it hot! wow!

  • daniel

    This is great but I used boneless ribeye and added cumin and diced green chiles at the end of the vegetables, it added a little spice. Great recipe. Thank You

  • Andrew

    I made this awesome dish tonight. It was a little difficult finding flank steak for some reason but it certainly made the dish. I added black beans to the finished fajita for a little extra taste and I used Jalapeno and spinach flavored wraps as well. Spanish rice was our side dish. Wonderful combination. I encourage everyone to try this dish.

  • jessica

    This was my first try grilling steak for fajitas! Thank you for the easy marinade and step by step instructions. I was able to marinade the meat for about 7 hours and it was tasty, but I bet it would have been better overnight. I grilled my steak on an electric grill and cooked it much longer than your recipe, per our personal preference. After I let the steak rest, I sliced it and put each piece back on for a minute so it wasn’t too red. We also grilled the tortillas for a minute or 2 and they were perfect! Thank you so much! I can’t wait to make this again!

  • Sally

    Well, in direct contrast to Rev…the other day my daughter told me she wanted fajitas for dinner. I’ve never made them before, but googled and your recipe was the first one that came up. I made them almost exactly as your recipe. The only difference was that I added some chili powder to the marinade. I used both beef (skirt steak) and chicken breast.

    After dinner the entire family told me that this could be added to my regular rotation of dinners. That’s a great compliment!

  • Rev

    I would say that I had high hopes for this recipe at the start. . . at the end . . . well, let’s just say my taste buds and those earlier hopes did not agree. Granted, one’s taste is purely subjective, but to my taste buds (and those of my wife) the only flavor present in the beef (I used a flat iron steak) was that of lime. . . everything else was simply over-powered. The “nose” of the marinade (cilantro, garlic, cumin, et al) and the flavor of the finished product simply did not agree. My rule in the kitchen is this: I always try a recipe “as written” the first time. If there seems to be some merit for another attempt, but with adaptation, I will do so. This one calls for such adaptation.

  • Shannon

    I made this last night with chicken instead of steak. Chicken will absorb the marinade faster than steak, so it requires a lot less prep time!

    I also used one lemon and one lime in the marinade, and I added some cayenne pepper. Results? Delicious! I used a wok to get it done quickly and nothing was lost in translation. The chicken tasted like citrus with a hint of spice.

    I can’t wait to make this again with steak! Although, I wouldn’t even have a problem with it if it was all veggie. Yum yum!

  • bee

    Made this!

    Forgot a lime so used lemonade.

    Thank you for this recipe! It was very easy to follow and read, even for a not so good chef like me.

  • Kristin

    These fajitas were amazing! We had no steak on hand, but did have 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which we cut up into 1″ chunks, and marinated for several hours. Then we cooked them for 5-6 minutes in the cast iron skillet. Also don’t forget the pepper & onions–they are extremely yummy! Thanks Elise!

  • Matt

    I made this – well, used this technique – for dinner. Instead of marinading my own skirt or flank steak, I bought a pre-marinated piece of Carne Asada Authentica (sirloin steak) and used the above-described method. Quick, easy, flavorful.

    In any case, with more planning, I look forward to trying your marinade recipe!

  • Jamie

    For the hot peppers-if you do burn yourself with them, then poor Maalox on the burn (but, of course, not in your eyes!). I burned myself so badly I had to call poison control and this was their recommendation. While it did not solve the problem entirely, it did help a great deal.

  • kristine

    Do you think this recipe would taste good using chicken?

    Yes, chicken fajitas are terrific. ~Elise

  • Mrs. Booth

    I made these for the super bowl on Sunday and they were a success! I used a cilantro base instead of the cilantro but it came out really good.

  • Alicia

    I made these last night and they were a HUGE hit with my husband. I used skirt steak and marinated it for a little over an hour and you could taste the lime and cilantro in the steak after they were cooked. My husband said they tasted as good as any top mexican restaurants fajitas. So I’m sure he will be requesting them quite often. I never knew cooking fajitas were so easy. Thanks for an easy and great tasting recipe.

  • Pademelon

    Thanks a ton Elise! We make a lot of Mexican (or Tex-Mex) food. We’ve moved from Southern California to Australia so it’s good for impressing our friends and we love it. Last night it was my turn to cook so I made these steak fajitas and some spanish rice (your recipe which I adapted for my rice cooker). The verdict from my husband (the chef from SoCal), “The absolute best Mexican food I’ve had since we landed in Australia. Maybe before that. That is a perfect fajita and the rice is extraordinary!” We’ve been here 2.5 years and he actually worked in a restaurant for a while as head chef adding a Mexican menu so that’s QUITE the compliment. I’ll leave the spanish rice adaptation in the comments over there.

  • Aaron

    Cilantro is a chameleon herb. It takes on and enhances the flavor of whatever it is cooked with. I suggest cilantro for most every dish I create and have not had a complaint yet! This was a great recipe as it was one of the few things I did not know how to make from scratch. Great way to impress a date without too much effort.

    Hi Aaron, I too love cilantro. Though just so you know, for some people it actually tastes like soap. So it isn’t for everyone. ~Elise

  • Sean

    This was amazing with a tri-tip cut from costco. Mmmmmm

    I omitted the cilantro simply because I forgot to pick it up from the store prior to making this dish…

    Does anyone think it would make a dramatic difference if I added it next time? (They were delicious w/o the cilantro)

  • Maria

    Muy muy delicioso!! Gracias!

  • Becker

    I love this recipe! I did make one change, I add beer to the marinade and the meat comes out perfect! I’ve also tried this using top sirloin steak and it was amazing!

    A++!

  • Jennifer from So. Cal.

    This is a great recipe! I added gaucamole and home made salsa for a great surprise meal for the family the other night! Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Try adding tomatillos to the marinade; the acidity in them helps tenderize the meat.

  • Cathy B

    I’ve never made fajitas before and am going to try them. Can I heat the tortillas on an electric griddle? If so, should they be dampened?

    Yes, you can heat them on an electric griddle. If you are using flour tortillas, all you have to do is heat them. If you are using packaged corn tortillas, you may want to soften them too with some butter or oil. ~Elise

  • Clive

    Tried this today with some nice flank from Costco. Omitted the jalapeno in deference to our 3 yr old grand daughter. Marinated overnight. Intended to BBQ the meat but weather didn’t cooperate so cooked to 145′ on a heavy preheated aluminium griddle in the oven. It was med rare just like the pic, very tender and tasty. I just love flank and tri-tip roasts for the flavour. We also cooked some chicken breasts with a dry mexican rub – for variety. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Lisa B

    I’m making these right now!! The marinade smells soooooo good. I too sliced my steak up first and am only marinading for about 15 minutes. Thanks for this recipe. Beautiful and delicious!

  • Randy

    Heating tortillas in the microwave is far from authentic. As one writer stated, just heat them in a hot pan for a few seconds on each side (spray with Pam very lightly first). It brings out the flavor and softens them just right. Also, corn tortillas are far better for you than flour, not to mention having some flavor. Secondly, the onions and peppers are more of a gringo adapation. Fajitas, pico de gallo, refried beans, chopped tomatoes, etc are tasty and less likely to upset your stomach.

    Hi Randy, what you are describing sounds more to me like carne asada tacos. Fajitas are TexMex, not Mexican, and are typically served with onions, green peppers, and flour tortillas, though some prefer corn tortillas to flour. Flour tortillas are best warmed up over a griddle, you get better browning that way, but you can easily heat them in a microwave too. As for using PAM to heat up corn tortillas, to each her own. I use butter if I heat them on the stove, and heat them on both sides until they are getting some air pockets. Or I use nothing at all if I’ve just made them from scratch and they’re still warm.

  • Joe

    My wife and I are on the South Beach Diet (phase 1) which restricts quite a bit of goodies including tortillas. We saw this recipe and scratched our collective heads to figure how we could get around the SB restrictions…well, we used slightly wilted iceberg lettuce leafs as faux tortillas (use your imagination). Just fill um, roll them up…and munch out. We used reduced fat chesse and sour cream, not what the original vaqueros would do, but we ovoided a ticket from the South Beach Diet police (my cardiologist!). I think it is fair to assume that shreaded lettuce was omitted as a topping. We also used a cut called “flat iron steak”…mmm.

  • ALLIE

    As for the tortillas, I turn a gas burner on low and lay the tortilla on the grate over it just long enough to brown it. This works great and then the tortillas aren’t crumbling on the edge.

  • Domestic Goddess

    When chopping chilies or peppers the burn will stay on your hands after washing, and your hands will still be dangerous hours later. SO when handeling chilies or peppers it’s best to coat your hands in cooking oil. This prevents the spice from clinging to your skin and nails. After you wash off the oil your safe to touch your skin without any burn. ^_^ As for tortillas flour or corn put them in a plastic bag (not sealed shut) and microwave for 15-20 seconds. you can do one or 20 at a time.You may have to put them in twice when you heat up more. For flour tortillas you may need to place a paper towel between the plastic and the outer tortillas so they dont get soggy. FYI any plastic bag that doesn’t melt easy will do even the ones from groceries.

    Note from Elise: Because of the chemical outgassing of plastic when heated, it is highly recommended never to use plastic in a microwave unless it has been cleared for use in the microwave. So microwave-safe labeled plastic wrap is fine, but regular plastic bags from the grocer? Not a great idea.

  • Kristina

    I am a GOOF in the kitchen, and I made this 1.2.3! So easy and tasty! I added tequila like the above commenters said…amazing! I served it with Spanish rice. So good!

  • Dave

    First time making fajitas, this recipe was a complete success. :-) Thanks a bunch. Tip: I skipped the initial “browning” step, choosing to cut the meat first, marinade, then cook at all at once. The cut meat soaked up the marinade nicely.

  • weather

    Fajitas and tequila – sounds good. Will try to add some next time I make this dish. Thanks!

  • Hawk

    I almost always put tequila in my fajitas. The alcohol helps tenderize the meat, and it goes perfect with the lime. If the flavor gets too crazy-musky, ketchup will even it out (ketchup is underrated!)

    I tend to use an affordable white tequila like Sauza Blanco… it’s good enough to drink, cheap enough that it won’t make you shy about tossing in a measure or two.

  • Alice

    Is the cilantro essential in the marinade? I really don’t like cilantro, and would prefer to leave it out.

  • Elise

    Regarding microwaving, we microwave the tortillas for only 20 seconds each, and then only one at at time. They never ever ever get dried out. In fact, if you don’t put a paper towel under them, they’ll be a little damp. We also will heat the tortillas directly on the hot burner (electric!) on medium high heat. On my old stove which was gas, I would just heat the tortillas directly over the flame, flipping them every couple seconds. This will get them toasty, but not particularly flexible. Depends on what you like.

  • Anonymous

    I love fajitas, and I’ve tried various recipes before, this one looks delicious, I think I’ll have to try it!

    I dunno about you, but whenever I nuke my tortillas, after a few minutes, the edges seem to get hard and brittle, even if I dampen the towel covering them. I like to heat them in a frying pan, just turn the heat to medium high, place the tortilla in the pan and heat for 30 seconds or so on each side. They get almost impossibly flexible.

  • Anonymous

    Have made this twice since it was posted on Cinco de Mayo and can’t get enough! Perfect with the guac. recipe too!

  • Shaun

    I find that sprinkling a little water on the tortillas before putting them in the microwave helps keep them soft and flexible enough to be stuffed full of these delicious ingredients.

  • Sheeijan

    I made this the other night. This was awesome! Very easy, it’s got be pretty low in fat and stuff (flank steak is considered a very lean cut of meat, right?), and just plain tastes good. I put low-fat shredded cheese only on top of mine, and just wolfed it down. Wonderful recipe!