The BEST Grilled Fajita Chicken

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The BEST fajita marinade for grilled chicken breasts or thighs. Serve grilled chicken with your favorite fajita toppings!

It’s no secret I LOVE grilled chicken. Luckily my kids and husband love it too, so we make it often at my house! My “all-purpose” chicken marinade has been loved by so many of you and I’m so thrilled it’s been such a hit! 🙂

So today, we’ve got another all-star fajita chicken marinade and if you love chicken fajitas you are going to go nuts for this recipe! This chicken marinade recipe yields the most flavorful chicken and pairs great with rice, quinoa, tortillas, etc. and all your favorite fajita toppings! I also include instructions for grilling up some peppers and onions which I highly recommend throwing on the grill alongside the chicken. While everything is cooking out on the grill you can throw together some cilantro-lime rice (our favorite accompaniment for this chicken!) or gather some toppings (avocado or guac, pico de gallo, beans, fresh lime, etc.)

One of the reasons I love grilled chicken dinners like this one is that the steps are broken apart and it really feels like the dinner doesn’t take much prep time at all. You make the marinade and prep the chicken hours before and so when it comes time to finish dinner all you’ve got to do is assemble the toppings and prepare whatever base you want for the meal (rice, quinoa, etc).

The chicken breasts (or chicken thighs) are tossed with several ingredients and set aside in the fridge to marinate for a few hours. Most recipes tend to get better the longer you marinate, but this one is an exception. I’ve tried all different kinds of marinating times and around 2-4 hours yields the best end product. The acid from the lemons begin to “cook” or dry out the chicken if it’s left to marinate for much longer. Thighs will hold up to marinating longer and thighs are often preferred for grilled chicken because the meat will dry out less than chicken breasts. That said, my boys do not like thighs and so we usually stick to breasts for a family dinner 🙂

If you are grilling your chicken, make sure to slice (or pound) your chicken breasts into very even pieces before marinating. That way they’ve soaked up all the delicious flavor from the marinade and are right ready to go on the grill AND to cook evenly. The other “secret” to adding tons of flavor is to baste the chicken as you grill (you’ll remove some of the marinade to then brush it on the chicken later). Be generous with brushing on the marinade for a huge punch of flavor.

Our favorite toppings for this Grilled Fajita Chicken:

  • Guacamole/Fresh Avocado
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Sour Cream (we use fat-free to keep these healthier!) OR this sauce!
  • Lots of fresh lime
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Black beans (I like the Fiesta beans Bush’s makes!)

Serve this Grilled Fajita Chicken with:

  • You can slice up the chicken and put it in tortillas
  • Serve it over cilantro lime rice/quinoa (recipe below)
  • Eat it as is!
  • Serve it over a salad with this dressing

Cilantro Lime Rice/Quinoa for the Fajita Chicken:

  • 1 cup quinoa or rice and 2 cups chicken stock, chicken broth, or water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large lime (2 tablespoons juice and 1 teaspoon zest)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring 2 cups of stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the butter and rice (or quinoa) and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice (or quinoa) is cooked through and tender. Stir in the lime juice, lime zest, cilantro, and salt + pepper to taste.

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The Best Grilled Fajita Chicken

5 from 7 votes
The BEST fajita marinade for grilled chicken breasts or thighs. Serve grilled chicken with your favorite fajita toppings!
Print Recipe

The Best Grilled Fajita Chicken

5 from 7 votes
The BEST fajita marinade for grilled chicken breasts or thighs. Serve grilled chicken with your favorite fajita toppings!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword fajita chicken
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinate 3 hours
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 262kcal
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, large breasts sliced in half, pounded to even thickness
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil separated
  • 1 large lemon (1/2 teaspoon zest, 2 tablespoons juice)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons EACH: dried leaf oregano (not ground oregano), seasoned salt, ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: ground chili powder, paprika, crushed red pepper
  • 2-3 large peppers (I like to do 1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow/orange)
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced into thick rings
  • Optional toppings: pre-made guacamole, low fat or fat free sour cream, 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed), fresh lime, fresh cilantro (or green onions)
  • Serve over/with: charred tortillas, cilantro lime rice/quinoa (recipe in note section)

Instructions

Chicken and Veggies

  • Start by preparing the chicken. Remove excess fat; if using breasts, slice breasts in half and pound halves to even thickness (helps grill evenly!) In a large ziplock bag add the prepared chicken. In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice, and the seasonings (1 and 1/2 teaspoons each of oregano, seasoned salt, ground cumin, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon each of chili powder, paprika, and red pepper flakes.) Whisk together until smooth. Remove 2 tablespoons of this mixture and set aside in the fridge. Pour the remaining mixture over the chicken and knead the mixture into the chicken. Place in the fridge for 2-4 hours (Don't marinate longer than 5 hours).
  • Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (about 450 degrees F.) Generously oil the grill (I drench a rolled-up paper towel in vegetable oil and, holding it with tongs, rub it over the grill grates. Don't skip this step.) Rub vegetable or olive oil over the peppers and onion rings. Sprinkle the peppers and onion lightly with salt and pepper. Place the veggies on one half of the grill. 
  • Remove chicken from marinade and discard remaining marinade. Grill the chicken (on the other half of the grill) turning once halfway through grilling, about 4-6 minutes per side (until the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees F.). Baste the chicken with the reserved 2 tablespoons of marinade as you grill and after flipping. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes so the juices can re-distribute. Thinly slice the breasts. As you baste the chicken, flip the veggies too. Remove the peppers and onions when charred to your liking (about 10 minutes, turning every 3-4 minutes)

Put it Together

  • Thinly slice the cooked chicken, slice the peppers and onion. Serve in tortillas or over rice/quinoa. (Prepare cilantro lime rice/quinoa if desired -- recipe in notes section).
  • Add your favorite toppings such as guacamole, sour cream, cilantro and/or green onions, lime juice, and/or black beans, etc.

Recipe Notes

Cilantro Lime Rice/Quinoa
  • 1 cup quinoa or rice and 2 cups chicken stock, chicken broth, or water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large lime (2 tablespoons juice and 1 teaspoon zest)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring 2 cups of stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the butter and rice (or quinoa) and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice (or quinoa) is cooked through and tender. Stir in the lime juice, lime zest, cilantro, and salt + pepper to taste.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 262kcal

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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13 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Yummy! I made your fajita recipe for our Fourth of July celebration, and they were a hit! I cooked the chicken and veggies inside since we don’t have a grill, but they still had great flavor from the marinade. Thanks for sharing.

  2. 5 stars
    Chelsea, thank you so much for this fajita recipe, I made it last night for dinner and it was outstanding! The flavours in the marinade are fantastic. I will be making this again soon!

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