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What Are Steak Fajitas?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

Steak fajitas are a dish commonly prepared in Tex-Mex cooking that consists of steak, typically a flank or skirt steak, which is marinated then grilled and wrapped in a tortilla with grilled peppers and onions. This dish is quite easy to make, though it can require a bit of preparation time to properly create the marinade, marinate the meat prior to cooking, and then slice the peppers and onions. Steak fajitas are often served at restaurants and in home kitchens with the steak sliced thin and still hot and sizzling, often in a heated cast iron pan.

As a type of Tex-Mex cooking, steak fajitas build upon traditional Mexican ingredients and cooking methods, combined with Texan sensibility and culinary style. These fajitas typically begin with the proper selection of the steak. Either a skirt steak or a flank steak is commonly used, both of which come from the underside or belly area of a cow and can be quite tough if not properly prepared.

Steak fajitas.
Steak fajitas.

This steak is usually marinated for at least one hour, though overnight or 24-hour marinating is not uncommon. The marinade used for steak fajitas is typically quite simple, and often includes the juice of a lime, ground cumin, some chopped jalapenos, and cilantro. This is combined with the steak in a lidded container or bag and allowed to marinate, infusing the meat with flavor and beginning to break down the fibers of the steak slightly.

Steak fajitas may be served with guacamole.
Steak fajitas may be served with guacamole.

Steak fajitas are then prepared by cooking the steak. It should be removed from the marinade and any excess marinade on the steak should be wiped off, as it can prevent the steak from properly browning or producing char. The steak can then be cooked at high heat over a grill, under a broiler, or in a very hot pan. A cast iron pan or skillet with a little oil is often used for steak fajitas, and it is best to use peanut oil or other oil with a high smoke point, which does not include olive oil.

Steak fajitas are often made in cast iron pans.
Steak fajitas are often made in cast iron pans.

The steak should be allowed to rest after cooking, to ensure the juices remain in the meat after cutting, and onions and peppers should be cooked in the pan used to cook the fajitas. These should be cooked until soft and then removed from the pan. Flank and skirt steak should both be cut against the grain, to help combat the tough nature of the meat, and thin slices are typically best. The steak can then be placed back in the pan to heat through once more, and served with the peppers and onions. These are typically assembled together in tortillas to make steak fajitas, and often served with cheese, guacamole, salsa, or pico de gallo.

Discussion Comments


I love a lot of lime on my fajitas. I put it in when the meat and veggies are cooking, and then squeeze fresh lime juice on them when I put them together in the tortilla.

The other thing about fajitas is you don't even have to serve them with tortillas, if you're watching your carb intake, or serve them with the low carb tortillas, which are usually pretty tasty. I also like to add a de-seeded jalapeno in the veggie mix for a little kick of heat. I don't want too much, but if you de-seed the pepper, and cut all the ribs out, it cuts down on the heat considerably. It's usually just enough.


I really like steak fajitas. They're one of my favorite Tex-Mex dishes. They're so versatile; you can pretty much add whatever you want and call it fajitas. I like a veggie blend heavy on onions and tomatoes, and lighter on the sweet pepper, and I want the peppers cooked down until they're fairly soft. I also like a lot of lime and cilantro on my fajitas, and plenty of pico de gallo on the side.

The biggest effort is marinading the steak, and there are some really good bottled marinade mixes available that make it as easy as putting the steak in a zip top bag, pouring the marinade over it and sealing it up. No big deal.

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    • Steak fajitas.
      By: JJAVA
      Steak fajitas.
    • Steak fajitas may be served with guacamole.
      By: Stuart Monk
      Steak fajitas may be served with guacamole.
    • Steak fajitas are often made in cast iron pans.
      By: canadapanda
      Steak fajitas are often made in cast iron pans.