These grilled steak fajitas cook up quickly after an overnight soak in a lime-cilantro marinade. Top them with a savory cream topping. Then fill a warm tortilla with roasted onions, peppers, and zucchini for a healthy but delicious meal.
Grilling steak fajitas is an easy technique that anyone can master, even a beginning cook.
Not only is cooking fajitas easy to learn, but it can lead to other delicious twists on the same recipe.
Some other options you might also enjoy when cooking fajitas are these:
- GRILLED VEGETABLE OR VEGAN FAJITAS: Roasted vegetable fajitas are perfect for when you want to lighten up or to serve your vegan friends.
- GRILLED SHRIMP FAJITAS: Swap out beef for shrimp fajitas. This option works great when time is short, as the shrimp fajitas cook up on a screaming hot grill in seconds.
- CHICKEN FAJITAS: For those who eat meat but prefer poultry, chicken fajitas are an excellent option. This technique allows you to transform chicken breasts from boring to savory.
Steak Fajitas Are Super Affordable
Many Americans love steak. That’s no surprise, as the United States is the largest beef-producing country, according to the USDA.
But the main reason why steak fajitas enjoy great popularity is a matter of simple economics.
Beef–especially steak–tends to be costlier than other proteins. These less expensive cuts can be tougher and less flavorful.
But making steak fajitas solves those problems! The thin cut is easy to cut and the marinade adds wonderful and complex flavor.
When you shop for beef to make grilled steak fajitas, look for these cuts:
- FLANK STEAK: The butcher cuts this meat from the lower chest, a lean and muscular area.
- SHOULDER STEAK: Butchers harvest this beef from the area between the steer’s shoulder and pectoral muscle.
- SKIRT STEAK: Many people confuse this meat with the flank cut. Both come from the chest area. However, the butcher cuts this meat from the upper chest. This meat is very flavorful but difficult to chew.
If you don’t see these in thin cuts in the meat case, ask your butcher for them. If you shop at a full-service grocer, they are usually happy to accommodate your request.
These beef choices cost as much as 30% to 40% less than more expensive cuts. Plus, you make this even more affordable because you “bulk up” the fajitas with seasonal, fresh, lower-cost vegetables.
Because they are so delicious (but still very affordable to make), steak fajitas are fun to serve when you entertain your friends and family.
The bright vegetables are beautiful to look at, so you’ll be proud to serve them.
Choosing Vegetables for Fajitas (Onions, Peppers, and Zucchini, Oh My)
When making grilled vegetable fajitas, choose your vegetables wisely. Grilling occurs at high heat, so you need vegetables that will hold up well to the heat.
It’s also helpful to combine vegetables to grill that cook at approximately the same pace. Or at least, cut the veggies into sizes that will help the cooking process.
Here’s an example.
For this article, I chose onions, peppers, and zucchinis. If I wanted to add carrots to that, I’d cut down the carrots to ensure they cooked quickly, as well.
Some of the best vegetables for grilling include the following:
- Bell peppers
- Hot peppers
- Brussels sprouts
These vegetables all have a stable structure that will not wither from the heat or turn bitter in flavor at high temperatures. So avoid greens, cabbage, or other delicate veggies.
Grilling Steak Fajitas
Successful grilling requires a basic understanding of how the cooking technique works and why it delivers such flavorful results.
Grilling is a dry cooking method, and you cook foods in a way similar to oven roasting.
Grill fuels include:
- Propane flame
- Wood-fired grills (wood chunks or pellets)
Many grilling enthusiasts believe that wood or charcoal creates the most complexity of flavor. But others prefer the ease of lighting a propane grill, a cleaner-burning fuel.
Ultimately, you can choose what you prefer.
During the grilling process, you put food on grates to cook over this direct heat. As the heat transfers to the food, the outside of the meat heats first, caramelizing and browning.
A delicious crust forms sealing the outer layer, thus locking in the good flavor. Then, the heat radiates to the internal parts of the food.
That’s where grilling gets tricky. You must cook the meat or vegetables to an appropriate internal temperature without overcooking it.
As the food cooks, it gets tempting to move it around, or worse, poke it with a fork. But you’ll get the best outcome by leaving it alone until it’s ready to flip it to the other side.
Before you serve any meats, you must cook it to the correct internal temperature.
Safe Internal Meat Cooking Temperatures
So what are the safest cooking temperatures?
The USDA recommends grilling steak or other meats to these temperatures:
- STEAK OR BEEF: 145°, with a 3 minute resting time
- PORK: 145°, with a 3 minute resting time
- CHICKEN, TURKEY, POULTRY: 165°
- FISH, SHELLFISH: 145°
- FRESH OR COOKED HAM: 145°, with a 3 minute resting time
Marinaded Steak Fajitas with Grilled Onions, Peppers, and Zucchini
- FOR THE FAJITAS:
- 1 pound of thin-cut shoulder skirt, or flank steak
- Soft flour tortillas
- 2 large onions sliced into rings
- 3 bell peppers seeded and cut into thin strips
- 2 medium-sized zucchini cut into small planks
- Cheese for topping
- One batch of cilantro lime marinade
- FOR THE CREAM TOPPING:
- 1/2 cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 teaspoon of crushed dried cilantro
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- The day before you grill steak fajitas, prepare one batch of cilantro lime marinade. Reserving 3 tablespoons for the vegetables, then pour the rest of the batch over the steaks. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Cut up the peppers, onions, and zucchini the morning that you’ll cook (if you prepare them too early, you will end up with lime-pickled veggies). Put them into a large zipper-top bag, put the reserved marinade into the bag, and massage gently to coat the veggies to coat them with the flavor.
- Make the cream topping: Place each of the cream topping ingredients into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk together, cover, and refrigerate.
- When you are ready to grill, preheat the grill to 400°. Place a grilling mat (to keep the vegetables from slipping through) on the grill grates.
- After heating, put the vegetables on the grill for five minutes; use tongs to flip the vegetables and prevent sticking and cook an additional two to three minutes.
- Remove the vegetables and place them in a large bowl. Use tongs to take off the grill mat.
- Put the steak onto the still-hot grill. These cook fast–maybe two to three minutes per side of steak.
- After the steak reaches 145° internal temperature, remove the meat to a cutting board. Let it rest for three minutes, then use a steak knife to cut them into steak fajitas.
- As you cut the steak, warm the tortillas on the grill. Fill the warm tortillas with the steak and veggies, top with cream topping and cheese. Enjoy!
A Modification to This Recipe: Crock Pot Steak Fajitas
Some people also like to take all these wonderful ingredients and make crockpot steak fajitas. Slow cooking offers a viable solution for healthy weeknight one-pot meals.
Although a slow cooker provides a moist cooking environment (unlike grilling) you ensure you choose vegetables that will withstand that very long cooking time. Otherwise, you might come home to disappointing results.
You can modify this recipe to make crockpot steak fajitas, but you will also add one fourteen-ounce can of canned beef stock to the pot. The amount of liquid in the cilantro lime marinade is insufficient for the slow cooker.
These savory, satisfying grilled steak fajitas are so easy to make, and they taste fantastic! You will love not only the big flavors but also enjoy creating new flavor combinations, using your favorite proteins (or vegetarian fajitas) and grilled vegetables. Let your imagination be your guide.