This chicken fajita marinade is a blend of olive oil, lime juice and spices, all mixed together to form the perfect flavoring for zesty fajitas. You can also use this marinade to make Mexican style chicken for burritos, nachos, tacos and more!
Mexican food is favorite in my house, every week I find myself making steak tacos, chicken enchiladas or chicken fajitas. This fajita marinade takes just 5 minutes to put together and always gets rave reviews.
I have been making this chicken fajita marinade for many years – it’s my absolute favorite way to add flavor to plain old chicken breasts! This is the best method of enjoying restaurant style fajitas in the comfort of your own home.
How do you make chicken fajita marinade?
This marinade is a mixture of olive oil, lime juice, minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and onion powder. Whisk all of the ingredients together and you’ve got a simple yet flavorful marinade. Add chicken to the marinade, and let it sit in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes. Cook your chicken as desired, along with peppers and onions, and you’ll have delicious fajitas to enjoy!
Tips for the perfect marinade
- Be sure to use freshly squeezed lime juice.
- I use a mild chili powder, so I add 2 tablespoons to my marinade. If you’re using a chili powder that packs some heat, you may want to cut it back to 1 tablespoon.
- Smoked paprika can be found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores and adds so much great flavor.
- This recipe makes enough marinade to coat about 1 pound of chicken.
- You can use chicken breasts, chicken thighs or chicken tenders in this marinade. I typically use chicken breasts that are cut into strips.
- This marinade can be made up to 2 days before you plan to use it.
How long can you marinate chicken?
This chicken should soak in the marinade for a minimum of 30 minutes, and a maximum of 8 hours. The marinade contains a large amount of lime juice, and the acid in the juice can change the texture of the chicken if it soaks for an extended period of time.
Chicken fajita marinade variations
While I typically make this marinade as written, sometimes I add other ingredients to the mix depending on what I have on hand.
- Herbs: Feel free to add a handful of fresh herbs such as chopped cilantro leaves or sliced green onion.
- Spice: If you prefer a spicy marinade, add some hot sauce or minced canned chipotle peppers to taste.
- Citrus: While lime juice is a classic pairing with Mexican food, you can add some lemon or orange juice to the mix for a different flavor.
- Protein: This marinade also works with other types of protein such as shrimp, flank steak or pork tenderloin.
You can’t go wrong with a good marinade! Whether you choose to grill, pan sear or bake your fajitas, the results will be perfect each and every time.
More Mexican food favorites
Chicken Fajita Marinade Video
Chicken Fajita Marinade
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1-2 tablespoons chili powder depending on the heat level of your chili powder. I use a mild chili powder so I do the full 2 tablespoons.
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Place the olive oil, lime juice, water, sugar, kosher salt, cumin, garlic, smoked paprika, onion powder, chili powder and pepper in a bowl.
- Stir to combine.
- Add 1 pound of sliced chicken, 1 1/2 cups sliced bell peppers and 1/2 cup sliced onions to the bowl and toss to coat.
- Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.