Some words that come to mind to describe these easy Steak Fajitas are “amazing” “delicious” and “scrumptious!” And that’s just a few. They also happen to be fast. [They’re ready in 35 minutes flat!] Not to mention the fact that they are so flavorful, thanks to a simple spice blend that seasons both the beef and the sauteed peppers and onions.
I challenge you not to fall in love with these fajitas dear people. Spoiler alert: you will fall in love with them. It’s inevitable!
Before we get to the the details for making these, I just wanted to give a little background about what exactly Fajitas are.
What Are Fajitas?
Though we often think if Fajitas as Mexican, they are actually more of a Tex Mex invention stemming from the spanish word “faja” for belt, which refers to skirt steak, the traditional cut of beef used for Fajitas. According to my research, the first appearance of the word fajita didn’t appear in print until the ’70s, but their origin probably dates back as early as the 1930’s. That’s when Mexican workers on Texas ranch lands grilled the skirt steak (considered somewhat of a throw-away cut) to make fajitas. You can read more here.
My first experience eating fajitas was in the late eighties when my Grandpa took me and my sister to Juarez (just over the border from El Paso, Texas) to Julio’s Cafe. My Grandpa had grown up in El Paso, and Julio’s was his favorite restaurant on the Mexican side. Even though he wanted us to try the Chiles Rellenos, I ordered the fajitas. Thank goodness I did because they were unforgettably good! The meat was so flavorful, yet surprisingly, not chewy and the smoky taste of the peppers and onions, limey guacamole and warm tortillas was an unbeatable combination.
Ingredients You’ll Need For This Beef Steak Fajitas Recipe
Full measurements can be found below in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Fajita-size flour tortillas:
Purchasing Fajita Tortillas: Fajitas are typically made with flour tortillas (as opposed to corn tortillas) which are soft and pliable and not as easily broken as corn tortillas. Look for 6-inch tortillas to keep the calories in check.
Grain Free Substitutions: If you are on a grain free diet, you can absolutely sub in grain free tortillas, like these from Siete, just note that they’re more fragile and you may have to double up.
To Warm: Warm the tortillas up by wrapping them in foil and warming them in the oven. Or you can heat them in the microwave.
Instead of purchasing fajita seasoning, I opted for making my own blend. You can use a purchased blend if you like, just note this combo includes salt, so if yours doesn’t have salt in the ingredient list, you’ll want to add salt too. This blend is a combo of:
- Ancho Chile Powder, or Chili powder: Ancho chili powder is made from a moderately spicy dried and ground chile pepper. If you cannot find it, you can substitute chili powder (which is a blend of spices and chiles) or chimayo Hatch chile powder (which is more mild.)
- Coarse kosher salt: The coarse grains helps when sprinkling. Don’t sub in table salt 1 to 1. Read this first about why you can’t.
- Ground cumin and garlic powder: This adds a classic savory Tex Mex flavor.
I love Sirloin steak because it is affordable, lean and not too tough. If you don’t believe me, try this grilled sirloin steak recipe too.
Though typically fajitas are made with skirt steak, I find it is easier to get a tender bite of the fajitas when you use a more tender cut of beef.
Plus it is easier to cook in one fell swoop in the skillet. Skirt steak has such a large surface area you’d have to cook it in batches in the skillet.
Purchasing Sirloin Steak:
- When shopping for sirloin, it can be labeled as Top Sirloin or Top Sirloin Butt. Note this is not the same thing as Sirloin Tips.
- Look for a steak that’s about 1 inch thick so that it will cook at the correct rate and not be over cooked.
You’ll need cooking fat of some sort to make this recipe. I use Avocado oil because it is neutral and has a high smoke point. Feel free to sub in whatever neutral flavored cooking fat you prefer.
Bell peppers and Onions
I like to add color to this recipe by using red and yellow or orange peppers instead of green because I want to make these as colorful as possible. If you have a preference of one color pepper, use your favorite!
I also choose red onion for more color, but any color onion would taste just as good.
I cut these onions using the French Cut technique.
Colby Jack or Monterey Jack cheese
Though not necessary, I like to flavor and texture of melted soft and mild Colby Jack or Monterey Jack cheese with this recipe. If you are on a dairy free diet, or just want to save calories, feel free to skip it!
Guacamole and Pico de Gallo
To serve I recommend having a batch of guacamole on hand plus your favorite pico de gallo. You can purchase them or make them from scratch. If your store doesn’t have fresh Pico de Gallo you can substitute salsa. Aside: I made this salsa this summer and it is amazing!
How To Make This Steak Fajitas Recipe
This recipe only takes 35 minutes to make from start to finish, so make sure you read it through completely before you start. The steak cooks pretty quickly (only about 4 minutes per side.) And the veggies take about 8 minutes.
To make the most of your time, you can cut your peppers and onions in the six minutes while the steak cooks and shred the cheese while the veggies cook.
Make Seasoning Blend and Condiments
Before you start you’ll want to have your spice blend ready to go. If you are making your guac and pico de gallo from scratch make sure you do that before you start cooking the fajitas.
Heat The Tortillas
You’ll also want to get your tortillas ready too before you start.
Oven: If you’re going to heat them in the oven, wrap them in foil and pop them into the oven. No need to preheat it.
Microwave: To warm them in the microwave, wrap them in damp towels and then just before serving microwave them for 30 to 40 seconds.
Cast Iron Skillet
I recommend using a cast iron skillet for this recipe. They hold their heat well and cook evenly which means that your steak will be cooked evenly throughout. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, try using a heavy skillet and just keep an eye on the skillet. If it gets too hot and starts to smoke, you may have to adjust the heat.
Cooking The Steak
This recipe rocks because it doesn’t require a marinade for flavor, and that’s how it’s ready in only 35 minutes. Instead I used a spice blend. But Here’s the thing, the spices will burn if you have them on the steak the 7 to 9 minutes that the steak is cooking to medium-rare. (Ask me how I know! Waaah!) So to make sure the steak is seasoned, the spices are toasted and not raw tasting, and the steak is cooked to perfection, you’ll need to add the seasoning on when the steak is almost completely done cooking.
- Cook the steak on both sides until it is almost completely cooked.
- Sprinkle a rounded teaspoonful of the spice mix on one side and turn it over so that the spices hit the hot skillet and toast for about 30 seconds. The spices won’t burn, but they will come alive! Do the same thing to the second side of the steaks. (Save the remaining spice mix to season the peppers and onion.)
- Rest the steak while you cook the peppers. Since sirloin is very lean, you have to make sure to rest it for at least 5 or 10 minutes to let the muscle fibers to relax and the juices redistribute through the steak.
Clean The Skillet
After the steak comes out of the skillet, you’ll want to give it a quick rinse so that the remaining spices in the skillet don’t scorch. Wipe it dry and then set it back onto the heat.
Cook The Peppers and Onions
The last thing you’ll need to do is to cook the peppers and onion.
- Heat the oil first so that they can get a good sear.
- Stir them pretty often so they don’t burn.
- When they are almost done, season them with the spice mix.
- Add in water to prevent the spices from scorching and make that classic fajita steaming sizzle!
Slice The Steak Thinly
The first time I made this, I made the mistake of slicing the steak all the way across the steak. That resulted in really long strips of steak that were harder to eat in the tortilla.
Friends, let’s all benefit from my mistake and slice our steaks so that the fajitas are easier to eat.
To Cut The Steaks:
- Cut the steak from end to end so that you have two long thin pieces of steak about 1 1/2 inches wide.
- Then slice each of those into strips into pieces that are at most 1/4-inch thick (or preferably thinner) by 1 1/2 inches long.
- If this is confusing, watch my video or see the step-by-step photos to see what this looks like.
Steps To Make This Recipe
What To Serve With These Sirloin Steak Fajitas
- My simple Mexican Coleslaw is an easy breezy side dish you could make to go alongside these fajitas.
- For a classic cantina combo you could heat up some refried beans or serve Mexican black beans and rice.
- When I was doing the Whole30 last month, I made these fajitas exactly as above for the rest of my family. But for myself I made a Whole30 compliant Fajita bowl over warmed up Cauliflower Rice. It was delish and very satisfying.
- For a slightly tropical flair, instead of regular Pico De Gallo, you could make Pineapple Salsa using my Fruit Salsa recipe.
- My Texas family loves to serve Pinto Beans with any Tex Mex meal we share. These Southern Style Pinto Beans are a lot like the ones we make. Note: don’t be shy with the black pepper!
Thanks so much for reading! If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review below!Print
These quick and flavorful Steak Fajitas are simple to prepare and
12 fajita size flour or grain free tortillas
1 ½ teaspoon Ancho Chile Powder, or Chili powder
1 ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ¼ to 1 ½ pound sirloin steak, about 1 inch thick, patted dry
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons water
6 ounces shredded Colby Jack or Monterey Jack cheese, optional
1 cup purchased or homemade guacamole
1 cup purchased or homemade Pico de Gallo or salsa
- Heat Tortillas: Wrap tortillas in foil and set in the oven set at 300 degrees. Alternatively wrap them in damp paper towels and warm them just before serving in the microwave.
- Make Spice Mix: Meanwhile, Stir together Ancho Chile powder (or chili powder), cumin, salt and garlic powder in a small dish.
- Cook Steak: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat. When oil is shimmering and just starting to smoke add steak. Sear steak for 3 to 3 ½ minutes (depending on thickness) and then turn over. Cook the second side for 3 to 3 ½ minutes.
- Season The Steak: Sprinkle the top of the steak with 1 rounded teaspoon of the spice mixture then turn it so the spices sear on the hot pan until fragrant but not burnt, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat with the second side, using 1 more rounded teaspoon spice mix. Note: More detail below. [Reserve the remaining spice mix for the peppers and onions in step 5.] An instant read thermometer inserted into the steak will read 125 to 130 degrees F for medium-rare. Transfer to a large plate. Cover with foil to rest while vegetables cook.
- Cook Vegetables: Rinse and dry the skillet. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onion. Cook, stirring often, until the peppers and onions are softened and starting to brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in the remaining spice mix and cook 20 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons water and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
- To Serve: Slice the steak in half lengthwise into two long strips (about 1 ½-inches wide.) Cut the steak crosswise as finely as possible into thin strips. Add the steak and juices to the skillet and mix with the peppers and onions. Assemble fajitas in the warmed tortillas with steak, cheese (if using), guacamole and Pico de Gallo.
Questions about Seasoning The Steak? Here’s more detail:
- To season the steak, first cook it until almost just cooked to desired doneness. If your steak is 1 inch thick and your skillet is good and hot, then this will take three to three and a half minutes per side. If your steak is thinner or unevenly thick, err on the side of less time.
- Dust 1 rounded teaspoon of the spice mix over the top of the steak. Turn the steak over so that the spices sear into the steak against the hot skillet.
- Then add spices to the unseasoned side of steak (the one that’s facing up.) After about 30 seconds and the first side is seared, you can turn it over again to toast the spices on the second side.
- Remove the steak to a platter to rest.
- Serving Size: 2 fajitas
- Calories: 491
- Sugar: 3 g
- Fat: 21 g
- Saturated Fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 42 g
- Fiber: 8 g
- Protein: 36 g