Want to make the best chicken fajitas at home tonight? Use this quick and easy chicken fajita marinade and make it happen!
You can even use this marinade for basting grilled or baked chicken, veggies, skewers, even other proteins like seafood and beef!
20-minutes is all it takes to infuse your chicken with the classic flavors of the restaurant-style recipe!
You’re probably here for fajitas, so I’m going to give you all the tips I know to make the best chicken fajitas that are tender, juicy, and delicious at home.
Chicken Fajita Marinade Ingredients
This fajita marinade adds to the chicken and veggies with fresh lime juice, paprika, and chili spices. Here’s everything you need to make it:
- Olive oil: a good marinade always needs some form of fat, such as oil.
- Fresh lime juice: acids are quickly absorbed by the meat, adding a lot of flavor.
- Salt: helps to break down the chicken protein, so it absorbs the spices easily.
- Dried oregano: if you have Mexican oregano, even better!
- Cumin powder: for extra flavor!
- Garlic powder: minced garlic clove also works.
- Chili powder: a mild spicy touch for this marinade.
- Paprika: regular or smoked paprika.
- Crushed red pepper flakes: add a hint of heat!
Serve with: Roasted Peppers and Onions
How to Make Fajita Marinade
This is a super easy marinade that comes together in less than a minute. Grab a bowl, a whisk, and those marinade ingredients because we are about to make this:
- To a medium bowl or zip bag, add the olive oil, lime juice, and seasonings. Whisk until incorporated.
- Add the chicken, turn to coat the chicken with the marinade, cover with plastic wrap or seal the zip bag. Let it marinate for 20 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the bag and cook the chicken with peppers and onions following your favorite fajita recipe.
How easy is that?! You can even watch how this recipe comes together in the video below:
How Long to Marinate Chicken for Fajitas
When it comes to fajita marinade, the chicken should marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes and no more than 24 hours. After a day, the lime juice will begin “cooking” the meat and make it tough.
Using citrus juices such as lime or lemon in marinades is effective because the acids enter the meat quickly, giving more flavor in a shorter amount of time than soy-based marinades. This recipe and my Lemon Chicken Marinade prove it and are often used to cook chicken fast.
Prepping Your Marinated Chicken for Fajitas
To make perfect chicken fajitas, I start with butterflying the chicken breasts; this ensures that every slice will be the same thickness and cook faster without drying out.
Next, you’ll slice the chicken halves into thin strips, making sure to go against the grain, which is the real secret behind tender pieces of cooked meat.
After your marinade, you can easily cook your chicken and get tasty fajitas like these!
Quick Chicken Fajita Marinade
For 1.5lbs to 2lbs chicken:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 2 pounds chicken breasts, or thighs
- In a medium bowl or in a zip bag, combine the olive oil with lime juice, salt, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, and red pepper flakes.
- Add the chicken to the marinade bowl or zip bag, toss to coat all the pieces with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap or zip the bag closed and refrigerate it for 20 minutes to marinate.
- Once it's ready, remove the chicken from the bag onto your skillet and cook chicken according to the recipe. Discard the marinade left in the bag.