In the Kitchen

In Queso You Don’t Want Tacos, Make Fajitas

Homemade fajitas: The endlessly adaptable, totally creative crowd pleaser that is very hard to dislike, even a little bit. It’s one of the simplest ways to entertain a large group with diverse taste preferences, and, in the summer, it’s a great way to make use of your grill for something other than burgers and corn. Here, we’ve included our unbeatable steak fajita recipe, along with a bevy of toppings perfect for customization. Hate steak? Swap in chicken. Not into flour tortillas? Skip that part. Seriously, you can’t hate on the fiery fajita.

Base Steak Fajita Recipe

2 red bell peppers
4 limes
4 cloves garlic
2 red onions
2 tablespoons preferred hot sauce, plus more as desired for drizzling
2 teaspoons cumin
4 steaks

Rinse all produce. Halve bell pepper lengthwise, discarding seeds and stem, then cut lengthwise into .25-inch strips. Halve limes. Using the flat side of your knife, gently crush garlic cloves for marinade. Peel onions, halve, and thinly slice 3 halves; save remainder for another recipe (guac time, baby).

In a large, shallow bowl or resealable plastic bag, stir together cumin, juice of 2 limes, crushed garlic cloves, half of hot sauce, and 1 tablespoon for marinade. Add bell peppers and sliced onions to marinade. Pat steak dry with paper towel and add to marinade, turning to coat, then set aside for at least 10 minutes at room temperature.

Heat a grill or pan to medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon canola oil. When oil is just smoking, add marinated onion and bell peppers and season with .5 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Cook, stirring or flipping, until tender and charred, 5–7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Remove steaks from marinade, allowing excess to drip off, and season all over with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Add to grill and cook until charred and medium rare, 2-3 minutes per side. If using a pan, add 2 teaspoons olive oil to pan and, once shimmering, add steaks and sear until browned and medium rare, 3–5 minutes per side. Allow steak to rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice against the grain.

Note: In this recipe, we’re flavoring the steak with garlic, hot sauce, cumin, and lime juice, but there are many other spices to include in your marinade, such as ancho chile powder, red pepper flakes, chipotle powder, dried oregano, or sweet paprika. Feel free to mix and match these for extra-flavorful steak.

The (not so secret) sauce

When it comes to fajitas, the sauce is where it really comes together. Use one, or use a little bit of everything. You really can’t go wrong. Here are some of our go-to’s:


This classic Mexican dip is simply fantastic slathered on fajitas. Feel free to customize the amount of jalapeño based on your spice preferences, and please make extra for chips—you’re gonna want it.

Lime crema

Cooling and tangy, lime crema is excellent drizzled over pretty much everything, but especially fajitas.

2 ounces mayonnaise (swap in sour cream or Greek yogurt if you prefer)
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, whisk or stir all ingredients to combine.


This bright and bold salsa is a great topping for fajitas, and you’ll want to remember it for future chip-eating moments.

Add some beans

We like our fajitas jam-packed with veggies for extra heartiness. Sliced romaine lettuce is a favorite, along with the peppers and onions (see original recipe above), but may we suggest black beans as well? Refried beans are a classic, but we’re big fans of the slightly firmer black bean, especially when sautéed with a little bit of onion.

1/2 red onion, diced
1 15 ounce can black beans
1/2 lime

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add red onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softening and beginning to turn translucent. Then, add black beans and a squeeze of lime juice and stir to combine. Season with .25 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired.

Tortilla time

Welcome to your final customization point. Corn or flour, it’s your choice. We do recommend heating them up before serving, though, which can be done in a pan (heat a nonstick over medium-high heat, once hot, add tortillas in a single layer and toast until warmed through, about 30 seconds per side) or in the oven (stack tortillas in foil and heat for 5-10 minutes in a 400°oven).

Serve fajitas with lime slices and a heaping bowl of cotija cheese!

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