Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner. Who is pumped about a three day weekend?  This weekend probably means something a little bit different for everyone.  For a whole lot of people in our area, this means race weekend. For us, it means it’s almost our wedding anniversary (hooray!)  It also means we stay as far away from downtown and all race-related hoopla as possible.  Oh, and it means grilling…obviously.

This version of grilled chicken fajitas is probably my favorite grilling recipe of all time. It’s what we use each spring to kick off grilling season (except this year, we cheated on it with barbecued chicken – shhh, don’t tell.)  It isn’t new to the blog, but it definitely deserved to be rescued from the archives.  If you are looking for something beyond the usual hamburgers and hot dogs, or are looking to extend the Cinco de Mayo celebration a bit longer, make these. You won’t be sorry.

The chicken is marinated briefly with a mixture including lime juice and Worcestershire sauce, and then cooked on the grill with the onions and peppers.  The combination of marinating and grilling is key to tender, flavorful chicken here.  I highly recommend warming your tortillas on the grill as well.  It might be tempting to skip that step but it only takes a couple of extra minutes and is so worth it.  Don’t forget to reserve a bit of the marinade before use to toss with the grilled veggies once they are finished cooking.  I am an expert at forgetting this step.  Don’t worry though – even if you forget, they are still fantastic.

Stay tuned for Thursday – I’ve got a meatless grilling recipe coming your way!


  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 6 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, ribbed and diced
  • 1½ tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp. pepper
  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied (6 halves total), about 1½ lbs.
  • 1 large red onion (about 14 oz.), sliced into ½-inch thick slices, rings not separated
  • 2 large bell peppers (about 10 oz. each), stemmed, quartered and seeded
  • 8-12 (6-inch) flour tortillas


  • 01

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 4 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, jalapeño, cilantro, salt and pepper.  Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade; set aside.  Place the chicken breast halves in the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Brush both sides of the onion rounds and peppers with the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

  • 02

    Meanwhile, using a large chimney starter, ignite 6 quarts of charcoal briquettes and burn until the coals are fully ignited, about 20 minutes.  Empty the coals into the grill, spreading them in a single layer.  Place an additional 20 unlit coals over the lit coals on one side of the grill to create a tw0-level fire.  Place the grill grate over the coals and allow to heat for 5 minutes.  Scrape the grate clean with a grill brush.  (For a gas grill, light all burners to high, cover and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes.  Leave one burner on high and turn the rest down to medium.)

  • 03

    Remove the chicken breast halves from the marinade and transfer to the hotter side of the grill; discard the left over marinade.  Place the onion rounds and peppers on the cooler side of the grill.  Cook the chicken until it is well browned, 3-4 minutes.  Using tongs, flip the chicken and continue grilling until it is no longer pink inside (or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 160˚ F.)  Meanwhile, cook onions and peppers until spottily charred and crisp-tender, about 8-12 minutes, turning once or twice as needed.  When the chicken and vegetables are done, transfer them to a large plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

  • 04

    In 2 or 3 batches, transfer the tortillas in a single layer to the now empty grill on the cooler side.  Cook until warm and lightly browned, about 20 seconds per side.  When the tortillas are done, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel or foil.

  • 05

    Separate the onions into rings and place them in a medium bowl.  Slice the bell peppers lengthwise into ¼-inch strips and add them to the bowl with the onions.  Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved unused marinade and toss well to combine.  Slice the chicken into ¼-inch strips and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of reserved marinade in another bowl.  Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a large platter with the warmed tortillas and serve.

  • It looks great!

  • haven’t had this in ages….and now I am so making this tonight. those peppers and sourcream convinced me.

  • I like the idea of marinating the chicken in lime before cooking it. Sounds delicious!

  • I love chicken fajitas, but I admit that the chicken part has always been a bit lacking. Thanks for the encouragement to spice it up! These seem easy and delicious. Can’t wait to try them, and, of course, add that margarita to go with.

  • We had chicken fajitas last week! They were delicious :) Like you I grilled mine over charcoal, WOW they were so good!! Seeing your photos makes me want them all over again :)

  • Gosh, aren’t these great? I absolutely love them.

  • Mmm, that marinade sounds fantastic! :-)

  • How delicious! I cannot wait to try this (and I PROMISE I will!!!!) Fajitas are one of my favorite restaurant menu items as well, and we almost never make them at home, though I cannot think of a good reason why. Thanks a billion.

  • These look great! We cook fajitas all the time because they’re so healthy and delicious and often use paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, and black pepper to season chicken or shrimp – no oil necessary!

  • I love fajitas. A friend of mine has a fajita maker and they taste delicious in that. With the marinated and grilled chicken, that would taste fantastic.

  • i absolutely love your blog!! it’s so informative and the recipes are to die for. :D

  • Making these tomorrow night for Cinco de Mayo! Can I let the chicken marinate overnight?

  • Annie

    It’s not recommended. The citric acid in juices from lemons, limes, etc. will break down the proteins in the chicken leading to a less than optimal texture (sort of “pre-cooking” the chicken).

  • Ariana from Chicago

    Thanks for this, it will be our first grill of the year. Can we also do flank or skirt steak with this marinade? We love both for fajitas

  • Annie

    Ariana, I would think so but I haven’t tried it. I’m not much of a meat eater.

  • I am more of a steak fajita kind of guy but chicken fajitas are great too! I have perfected my steak fajita but will have to give this recipe a try on chicken, since I haven’t found a favorite one for chicken. Thanks for posting.

  • Mary

    This was a great Cinco de Mayo dinner! My family loved it!

  • Melissa

    The marinade was amazing! I wrapped my chicken in thick cut bacon after I browned both sides on the grill. It really gave it a great flavor!

  • Jessie

    These were the hit of our Cinco de Mayo fest along with Beer Margaritas. Just curious though, is there any reason why you only marinade the chicken for 15 minutes?

  • Annie

    Read my response to a similar comment above. Basically, the citric acid affects the texture of the meat.

  • I made these for Cinco de Mayo for my family and they were amazing. I changed it up a bit and made them into fajita quesidillas. I also marinated the vegies in a different bag. These were a keeper!

  • This sounds great we love Chicken Fajita’s this is a nice twist love the marinade!

  • fieryirishangel0403

    My husband and I love fajitas but I’ve never tried making them at home – I have no idea why! This sounds like a great recipe to try. Thanks for sharing!

  • Pretty much everything on here looks amazing! I can’t wait to try the recipes!

  • Ashley

    This recipe is amazing. I’ve made it twice already. The only change I made was soy sauce in place of the Worcestershire sauce. Thanks for sharing!

  • Heather

    I made this tonight only I fried the chicken strips in an electric frying pan as hot as I could to get a nice carmelization on them. I’m out of propane for my bbq. This marinade is excellent! Soooo tasty. Next time I’m for sure using the bbq.

  • Tricia

    OH MY GOD!! These fajitas were the best I’ve ever had. I make good ones, but the grilled flavor and the marinade were amazing. Thanks for the recipe!!

  • Carla

    I’m drooling over the thought of eating these.

  • Gail

    These look amazing, love fajatas, can’t wait to try them.

  • Nikki

    My husband and I made these for dinner last night. Very yummy! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Christine

    Delicious! I loved these – Thank you for the recipe! I realized at the last minute that we didn’t have tortillas so we used greek-style pitas and called them ‘Chicken Pitillas’!

  • this grilled chicken is awesome! I paired it with brown pita bread, grilled onions and tahina sauce! Fantastic!

  • I made this recently and it was delicious! The marinade is perfect! Thanks, Annie!

  • Hi Annie! I am a recent follower of yours and tried your fajita marinade on steak this evening. My husband loved it! We’ll definitely be adding it to the menu. Thanks!

  • Kristy

    Calling this chicken a “miracle” is an understatement. I was looking for a fajita recipe online and narrowed it down to two. Having other success with your recipes, I went with this one and was not disappointed! My husband and I ate it all–everything was absolutely delicious. I could have eaten the chicken by itself and been perfectly happy–it was that good.

  • Sue

    Annie- that stovetop recipe has nothing on this one! it’s so much better than the other CI recipe!

  • This. Chicken. Is. Amazing. We just had it with some margaritas and I am pretty sure I’m going to need to eat it tomorrow and the next day and the next day. SO GOOD!!!

  • This is my go-to fajita marinade recipe now. It really is fantastic. I’ve tried it both on steak and on chicken and much preferred on chicken.

    Additionally, for those that have asked, I’ve had great luck marinating this for a much longer time than the recipe suggests. I’ve never had an issue with poor meat texture either. But maybe I’ve just been lucky. :)

    Thanks for the recipe.

  • Kellyn

    Made these as tofu fajitas – turned out great! Thanks, Annie!

  • Katie

    These fajitas are awesome – better than any restaurant fajitas we’ve had. The maridane is so so good. This is a staple in our house now – we have it usually once a week (with Annie’s Mexican rice) and black beans. Thanks for another awesome reciep, Annie!

  • Amy

    Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe! I am still learning to use a grill and could not resist trying this one out. These fajitas turned out perfect and I cannot wait to make them again. :)

  • Kat

    Finally got around to making these last night… They were a hit! My husband and his family always make their fajitas with barbecue sauce (wait, say what? Yeah….), which I tried once to make sure I wasn’t being closed minded…. But it wasn’t for me. For Cinco, his brother and his family came over. I bought enough meat for them to do their way and for me to do these. No surprise, mine were gone by the end of the night, as were the margaritas. ;)

  • Celine

    These have been on my to-make list for quite a while, and I never noticed that they were from Cook’s Illustrated. I recently invested in the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook, and when browsing through I saw that they had created the recipe! Needless to say, I knew I needed to try them immediately. We had them last night, and I really think that this dish is one of the best chicken dishes I’ve ever made. I was very impressed that something as simple as a fajita could be so good. Shame on me for not trying them sooner!

  • Helena

    These are so good. I’m making them for about the fourth time tonight, though using a griddle pan as the weather is not exactly conducive to grilling!

  • arenda

    This is one of our favourite summer meals, Annie! We’ve made it so often, and it tastes amazing every time! :)

  • Dee

    This recipe is fantastic!!!! It’s definitely in our “rotation”. The home made tortillas are especially the icing on the cake though!! Thank you for sharing this again!!

  • I love fajitas in the summertime, they taste just like home to me. <3

  • Shari

    These were very good and took no time to make, homemade tortillas are awesome as well.

  • Krysten

    This is my go-to fajita recipe, been making it for a long time now! Everytime I do, someone asks for the recipe. Love these! I was excited to see you post about it again. :)

  • Kat Moore

    Just made these for Cinco!! So yums!

  • Alicia J.

    I love this recipe! It might be my favorite one from your site! Always delicious and I love the short marinade time for the chicken.

  • I am seriously craving these big time! Love this recipe.

  • toolie oolie

    it’s like we have espn or something! i was just scouring your blog for a chicken fajita recipe on cinco de mayo. can’t wait to try it out! xo

  • Even if it’s unconventional, I say celebrate however you like! I mean, I doubt I’ll be eating anything grilled or patriotic this weekend, but it’s the spirit that counts. Plus I love extending Cinco de Mayo. Wish it could last all year!

  • Sarah B

    Your chicken fajitas are one of my favorite recipes EVER! I make this in bulk for at the beach and with the leftover chicken, I make quesadillas for happy hour. Everyone raves about this recipe!!!!!

  • Lauren Ochoa

    I got to the grill portion of this recipe and realized I was out of gas in my grill so I just cranked the oven up to 500 degrees and threw everything on a cookie sheet and cooked it for about 20 minutes. It came out great, although I have no doubt that the grilled version would have blown it away. It’s amazing how well the marinade works in that short period of time, I’m guessing it’s the acid in the lime juice that makes it work so fast? Can’t wait to refuel my grill so I can make it correctly.

  • arenda

    This is one of my favourite Annie’s Eats recipes! We eat this all the time. I’m just as bad at forgetting to reserve some marinade for the veggies! :)

  • Tara

    Another HUGE hit from Annie’s Eats! We have made this all summer and cannot get enough of it. Neither can our friends who we’ve made it for! Fresh and flavorful. I love that everything goes on the grill- makes clean up very easy. Drizzling the reserved marinate on the veggies is key.
    Thank you!!

  • Emma

    I’ve made this twice in the past few weeks! It turned out perfectly, and I especially love how quickly and casually it comes together. I couldn’t resist adding some spices to the marinade, though. In case anyone is interested, I added 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne. I enjoyed the addition, and will continue to use it in the future.