What Kind Of Beef For Fajitas

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What kind of beef for fajitas? It’s one of the best questions you can ask when you’re deciding how to cook fajitas. There are a number of ways to prepare fajitas, but rest assured (no pun intended!) it doesn’t matter which way you cook them in terms of the kind of meat that’s required.

 Tips for Homemade Steak Fajitas: Beef Steak Fajitas Recipe

Steak fajitas are a Tex-Mex favorite that are easy enough for a weeknight dinner, but still feel celebratory. Learn how to make the best-ever fajitas with a few kitchen tricks.

5 Tips for Making Great Fajitas at Home

Whether you’re making fajitas for the first time or looking to spice up a family favorite, there are a few things you can do to make your fajitas stand out.

  1. 1. Marinate the steak ahead of time. If you’re able to, marinating your steak ahead of time will make a big difference. Marinating allows the muscle fibers in the meat to soak up flavor before hitting the grill. Cut slits into the steak before marinating to allow the flavor to penetrate deeper into the meat.
  2. 2. Do not overcook the steak. Steak for fajitas should be cooked to rare or medium-rare for the best texture and flavor.
  3. 3. Slice thinly, against the grain. Cutting meat against the grain into thin strips shortens the muscle fibers, reducing the amount of work you have to do to chew them, and making even tough cuts taste tender.
  4. 4. Use fresh tortillas. Homemade flour tortillas will take your fajitas to the next level. If using store-bought flour tortillas, warm them on a griddle or over the flame of a gas burner, and keep the tortillas warm by wrapping them in a clean kitchen towel. Use corn tortillas for a gluten-free alternative.
  5. 5. Bring assembly to the dining table. Rather than assembling the fajitas in the kitchen, set out a toppings bar with grilled veggies, salsa, and cilantro so that everyone can choose their own toppings.

What Is the Best Cut of Beef to Use for Steak Fajitas?

You can use either skirt steak or flank steak for fajitas. Although the two cuts come from different parts of the cow, both skirt and flank steak soak up marinades well, cook quickly, and, when sliced thinly against the grain, taste tender and flavorful.

  • 1. The flank primal is located directly under the loin and forms part of the cow’s abdominal muscles. Cuts from the flank tend to be lean and very tough, but flavorful when properly cooked. A flank steak’s coarse texture is good for soaking up marinades. Flank steak is best grilled quickly over high heat and sliced thinly against the grain or stir-fried.
  • 2. Skirt steak is a thin, flavorful cut from the diaphragm, located between the abdomen and chest. There are two types of skirt steak—inside skirt and the darker, more mineral-flavored outside skirt. Both skirt steaks are popular for high-heat cooking such as grilling and should always be sliced against the grain.

Steak Fajitas Recipe

SERVES

4

PREP TIME

40 min

TOTAL TIME

1 hr 10 min

COOK TIME

30 min

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or ½ teaspoon ground chile powder)
  • 1 pound skirt or flank steak
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil or other vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, cored and sliced (one red bell pepper and one green bell pepper, if possible)
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 8 warm tortillas, to serve
  • 1 avocado, sliced (or guacamole), to serve
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, to serve
  • ½ cup salsa or pico de gallo, to serve
  • ½ cup sour cream, to serve
  1. 1In a small bowl, mix together cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Make a few shallow incisions at the surface of the steak in a crosshatch pattern. Rub the fajita seasoning all over the steak and place it in a freezer bag or baking dish.
  2. 2Whisk together lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, and 2 tablespoons olive oil and pour marinade into the bag with steak. Rub or shake to coat. Refrigerate steak for at least 30 minutes, and up to overnight.
  3. 3When ready to cook, heat the remaining two tablespoons oil in a large cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and jalapeño and cook until charred, about 5 more minutes.
  4. 4Heat a large skillet or grill over medium-high heat. Pat the steak dry with paper towels and sear steak in a dry skillet, about 2–5 minutes per side. Transfer steak to a large cutting board to rest for 5–10 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain.
  5. 5Serve steak with warm tortillas, grilled veggies, and top with avocado, cilantro, salsa, and sour cream.

EASY STEAK FAJITAS

Steak fajitas made with sirloin are so flavorful and surprisingly easy to make.

You don’t have to serve them in tortillas! They’re very good by themselves or in lettuce wraps.

Steak fajitas served in a cast-iron skillet.

I adore Mexican food. The flavors are so bold! If I absolutely had to choose my favorite cuisines, I suspect Mexican and Indian would be right up there competing for the top spot. I love boldly seasoned dishes.

If you too enjoy intense flavors, these fajitas won’t disappoint. The spice mix I use is amazing. It’s so wonderfully flavorful! Plus, this is such an easy recipe. It’s ready fast, so it’s perfect for a weeknight dinner.

INGREDIENTS

The list of ingredients for making steak fajitas is simple. Yes, you need quite a few spices. But the flavor is well worth it!

The exact measurements of the ingredients you’ll need are listed in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview:

Seasoning mix: Salt and pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes.

Bell peppers: It’s fun to use different colors, and it makes the dish so pretty.

Onion: Thinly sliced. You can use either yellow onion or white onion.

Top sirloin steak: Sometimes I buy the pre-sliced strips sold in trays at the supermarket. But it’s easy to slice it yourself. See the detailed discussion below about what meat to use.

Oil: Since we’re engaging in high-heat cooking here, it’s a good idea to use an oil with a high smoke point such as avocado oil.

INSTRUCTIONS

Making steak fajitas at home is easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:

Your first step is to mix the spices together in a small bowl. You can actually do as I do in the video and mix them in two separate bowls. Half will season the veggies and the other half will season the meat.

Cook the vegetables with half the spices until tender, then remove them to a plate.

In the same skillet, cook the beef strips with the remaining spices, then add the vegetables back and cook everything together until heated through.

A photo collage showing the steps for making homemade steak fajitas.

EXPERT TIP

You can make life easy – as I do in the video below – by using a package of frozen sliced bell peppers. They do add extra liquid to the dish, but I haven’t found that to be an issue.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What cut of steak is best for fajitas?

Traditionally you would use skirt steak. Flank steak is another option. However, both of these cuts are tough, so they’re best when marinated prior to cooking.

To make this a truly quick and easy recipe, I prefer to use top sirloin, which is tender enough to allow me to cook it without marinating it first.

How do you make the meat tender?

Marinating the steak helps to tenderize it. But if you use top sirloin strips, which are more tender than bottom sirloin, you can actually skip the marinade.

Simply season the beef and the vegetables well, saute them quickly, and the fajitas will turn out just as delicious and flavorful as if you’ve made the dish with marinated beef.

If you’re willing to use beef tenderloin in this recipe, it will turn out even more tender. But it’s obviously an expensive cut of beef, and most would feel it’s better served as steak.

Do you cut fajita meat before cooking?

I do. Pre-slicing the meat allows the seasoning to coat it well, resulting in a highly flavorful dish. It also allows for faster cooking time.

How to Make the Best Fajitas

How to make the ultimate, tastiest fajitas with steak, chicken, and shrimp. Our versatile and flavorful seasoning works on everything. Use our recipe to make chicken, steak, or a combination, and it’s easy!

A skillet of the Best Fajitas with Chicken, Steak, Shrimp and Veggies

Whenever we order fajitas, we always order the combination. Seeing a big sizzling plate of chicken, steak, and shrimp come to the table doesn’t get much better. We love it so much that we were determined to replicate it at home. I know cooking three proteins for dinner seems like a lot, but it’s not as difficult as you may think. With our clever recipe, you can get these on the table in no time.

How to Make Fajitas

We’ve shared fajitas on Inspired Taste before. Thanks to a garlic citrus marinade, these easy chicken fajitas are juicy and ultra-flavorful.

Fajitas cook quickly. Because of the quick cooking time, we’re okay with taking a bit of time to marinate the meat.

We don’t use a wet marinade and instead use a simple spice rub. Our homemade chili powder inspired our fajita seasoning mix. In it, we mix ancho chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and smoked paprika. It’s strong in flavor and works beautifully with chicken, steak, and even shrimp.

Seasoning the Ingredients for fajitas

For the steak fajitas, we use flank or skirt steak. They cook quickly but can be a bit tough. To get around this, rub the steak with fajita seasoning and salt in advance.

By adding the salt 30 minutes before cooking, it has a chance to improve the flavor and texture of the meat. As a result, the steak tastes terrific, and it’s extra tender.

We use the same seasoning for the chicken, which turns into a flavorful crust after cooking. The same goes for the shrimp. Merely dust the shrimp with fajita seasoning before cooking.

When it comes to cooking, start with chicken. It takes the longest. You can use chicken breast (like we do) or chicken thighs. For the juiciest chicken, we use our go-to method for cooking chicken breast. Brown one side of the chicken in a pan, flip it, turn the heat down to low, and cover with a lid.

Cooking the chicken over low heat with the lid helps to keep the chicken moist and tender inside. We do this for juicy pork chops, too! Next, transfer the cooked chicken to a plate and cover with foil while preparing the steak and shrimp.

Use the same pan you used to cook the chicken in to cook the steak. Strip steak or flank steak is straightforward to cook. Cook it on both sides until brown on the outside and slightly pink on the inside.

We cook our steak to medium, which means an internal thermometer will read close to 135 degrees F. Transfer the steak to the plate with chicken and cover with foil to rest.

Steak, Chicken, and Shrimp fajitas cooked and ready to serve.

Now it’s time for the veggies and shrimp. Both cook quickly. Start with the vegetables. Sliced onions and peppers are a must. Just throw them into the same pan and cook until they begin to soften.

As the veggies cook, you’ll notice that they release some moisture, which mixes with the flavor stuck on the bottom of the pan leftover from cooking the chicken and steak.

Just as the peppers and onions finish, move them to one side of the pan and add the shrimp. Cook the shrimp until the shrimp are firm and opaque throughout.

For the last step, we enhance the sauce in the pan with some extra liquid. Here’s where you can have some fun. If you have some in the house, adding a splash of tequila or a light beer works wonders. Otherwise, use a splash of chicken stock.

Steak fajitas

To serve, slice the steak and chicken, then add to the pan with shrimp and vegetables. Adding the sliced chicken and steak directly into the skillet will reheat them. Then all you need to do is enjoy it!

Grab your favorite fajita toppings — we always have avocado or fresh guacamole, one or more salsas like pico de gallo or tomatillo salsa, and some lettuce, sour cream, and cheese.

We highly recommend homemade flour tortillas! Here’s how we make them — there’s even a video to guide you through the easy recipe.

How to Make the Best Fajitas

  • PREP 30mins
  • COOK 35mins
  • TOTAL 1hr 5mins

Fajitas cook quickly, so taking a bit of time to season steak, chicken, or shrimp with our simple fajita seasoning is a good idea. Use our recipe as a guide; you can make all three proteins or choose one. Use 2 ½ pounds of protein for six people. Even though it is only the two of us, we still make the whole batch. The leftovers are fabulous.

Serves 6 when served with sides

YOU WILL NEED

FOR THE FAJITAS

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Salt and fajita seasoning, recipe below

1 pound flank or strip steak

1 pound chicken breast (2 medium)

1/2 pound shrimp, deveined with tails left on

1 pound bell peppers or poblano peppers, sliced (3 medium)

1 large onion, sliced into half moons

1 tablespoon minced garlic, about 3 cloves

3 tablespoons tequila, light beer or chicken stock

2 limesFAJITA SEASONING

1 ½ teaspoons ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprikaWHAT TO SERVE WITH FAJITAS

Warm tortillas, try homemade flour tortillas

Beans and rice

Avocado or homemade guacamole

Sour cream

Fresh tomato, pico de gallo or roasted tomato salsa

Shredded lettuce

Shredded cheese or crumbled queso fresco

DIRECTIONS

  • PREPARE SEASONING
  • COOK CHICKEN
  • COOK STEAK
  • COOK VEGETABLES AND SHRIMP
  • TO FINISH

ADAM AND JOANNE’S TIPS

  • We use all of the spice seasoning, but if you have some leftover, store it in a resealable container or plastic bag for next time.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.

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