Air fryer chicken fajitas are made with thin strips of Mexican-seasoned chicken, slices of bell peppers, and red onion all done in under 25 minutes. Enjoy on a warm flour tortilla.
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I’m a big fan of tacos but tell me honestly, how often do you actually have all the ingredients for tacos already in your fridge or pantry? Whenever I want to save myself a trip to the grocery store, I make fajitas.
With just a few ingredients and a simple homemade spice mix, I can have the most delicious flavorful chicken fajitas on the table, in no time. Of course, with a little help from my trusty air fryer.
How to Make Chicken Fajitas in an Air Fryer
As you can see from my other recipes, I swap out the grill for my air fryer all the time. It is quicker than the grill and also healthier than the oven since it requires less oil to cook. Not to mention the easy cleanup afterwards!
To get that same smokey flavor that you would get on the grill, I go heavy on the spices. I might also leave the chicken in a little longer to get that nice char. The bell peppers, on the other hand, need to cook a little longer and go in before adding the chicken.
For the grill effect, it is important that you don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. You want enough air circulation for each piece of chicken and the bell peppers. That is why I like to split the cooking into two batches, but you also don’t have to cook in a single layer either.
Since I make sure every bit of chicken is well-coated with spices, it doesn’t need much time to marinate. But if you do have the time, I recommend leaving the marinated chicken in the fridge for a while. Anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours will help to intensify the flavor.
Spices for Chicken Fajitas
Sure, you can buy a pre-made mix of fajita seasoning or a jar of fajita sauce in the grocery store. I’ll be honest and admit that I have grabbed them, too.
But then I took a look at the back of those jars and seasoning packets. I noticed a couple of things.
- Most pre-made spice mixes contain too much salt
- Many have a long list of ingredients and preservatives that I cannot even pronounce
- The actual tastemakers are pretty common pantry spices
So, I set out to make my own dry seasonings for chicken fajitas that would satisfy the same craving. I tested it out on my family and I have never heard them ask for take-out fajitas since.
The dry rub for the chicken includes:
- Chili powder
- Brown sugar
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Cayenne pepper
I’d dare to bet that you already have at least 6 of those spices, if not all 8, in your kitchen cupboard. So why should you spend more money on a store-bought fajita spice mix?
Fajitas vs Tacos
They’re both deliciously filled tortillas, so what is the real difference between these tex-mex dishes? Let’s dive into it, shall we?
Originally, fajitas are made with grilled pieces of meat, specifically beef. It started as a way to make use of leftover meats or more inexpensive cuts of meat. With the right cooking method and spices, these low-budget dishes are just as satisfying.
Tacos, on the other hand, can be made with so much more than meat. Tacos can just as easily be made with beans or other vegetables as its main filling.
In fajitas, the meat is marinated to soften it up and then grilled along with vegetables, usually bell peppers. This is another key difference with tacos. While fajitas contain grilled veggies, tacos are usually filled with raw vegetables.
A final difference between these two popular dishes is how they are served. Tacos are more of a food that you have on-the-go. That is why they come already filled and folded, ready to bite into.
Traditionally, fajitas are not served assembled. Everything is placed on the table and everyone can make their own. This makes it much more of a sharing experience.
Make-your-own fajitas is also how I like to serve this air fryer chicken fajita recipe. We dig in together and have a little fun eating with our hands.
Other Variations of Air Fryer Fajitas
Since this is my chicken fajitas easy recipe, there are many ways to adapt it to your own specific dietary needs, taste or whatever you have left in the fridge.
When making chicken fajitas, I like to use chicken breast because it is a lean protein that cooks quickly. Feel free to use other cuts of chicken or other proteins. This air fryer fajita recipe works just as well with lean cuts of beef or pork.
You can also make this recipe even healthier and replace the meat with strips of tofu. We tried this as a vegan/vegetarian dish on Meatless Monday and it worked out great!
Keto and Low-Carb Fajitas
Are you keto or cutting out carbs? Then you probably want an alternative to the tortillas that I serve them with.
Low-carb tortillas are a quick swap for those on a keto diet but you might have to go to a specialty store to find it. The whole point of this recipe is to avoid an extra grocery run so you might not be looking forward to that.
In that case, cut out the tortilla completely. The chicken strips and bell peppers are so full of flavor that you don’t need it. Layer it over a leafy salad, a bowl of quinoa, or add more fiber to your diet with riced cauliflower.
Honestly, these air fryer chicken fajitas are always a hit in my house. I could serve these several days a week and no one would complain.
I hope that after trying this fajita recipe you are less inclined to order take-out. It is healthier, more affordable, and tastes just as good.
Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas
- 1 lb Chicken
- 2 Bell Peppers
- 1 Small Red Onion
- 2 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Cumin
- A sprinkle of Cayenne Pepper
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- Tortilla Shells
- Cut chicken into thin strips. Coat in oil and then toss with dry seasonings, set aside. Slice bell peppers and onion into thin strips.
- Spray air fryer basket with a light coat of oil. Add half of the bell peppers and onions and lightly spray with oil. Cook for 4 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Stir the vegetables and add half of the chicken to the air fryer basket. Cook for 4 minutes, stir, then cook for 4 more minutes. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining vegetables and chicken.
- Serve chicken and vegetables on warm tortillas with pico de gallo or guacemole.
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