Homemade fajita seasoning blend to make the very best chicken, beef, shrimp, and vegetable fajitas at home. This easy spice blend is packed with flavor and made with spices you likely have at home.
While it's tempting to buy pre-packaged fajita seasoning, it's just as easy and healthier to make your own at home. You avoid preservatives, added ingredients, added sugar, and get total control of the taste. This is a great staple to have in your spice cabinet along with this homemade taco seasoning.
Want to really impress the family and guests on fajita night? Break out your own homemade fajita mix seasoning! Making your own seasoning is simple, reduces added ingredients that you can’t spell, is significantly more cost effective, and impresses your guests since everything is made from scratch.
This bold fajita mix will liven up your fajita dinner and allow you to throw your own personal flavor into the mix. Fajitas can be an intimidating meal to take on, but when you have the right seasoning you are off to a great start.
The other thing I love about this fajita seasoning mix is that it is super versatile. While the obvious use is for fajitas, it also makes the best spice rub for grilled meats, makes amazing grilled or roasted vegetables, can be added to soups and stews, and even tastes good sprinkled on fresh popcorn.
How to make fajita spice blend?
A store-bought fajita mix will contain a lot of the same ingredients as this recipe, but also some added ones that are concerning. Depending on the brand these include; corn maltodextrin, corn syrup solids, modified corn starch, and caramel color. That's why I like to make my own and control the ingredients. Here's what I include in my fajita mix:
- Chili powder: This adds a mild spiciness to the seasoning blend and also adds some smokiness. Most chili powder is fairly mild in terms of spice level so this won't make anything too spicy. For a spicier option, you can use a spicier chili powder like ancho chili powder or some of the hot chili powders on the market.
- Ground cumin: This adds smokiness to the spice blend.
- Paprika: This brings the traditional color to the spice blend and also adds a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. You can use sweet or smoked paprika, but I prefer traditional sweet paprika.
- Garlic and onion powder: These aromatics add tons of flavor to the spice blend and also helps to mellow out the smokiness and spice.
- Salt and pepper: Any good spice blend needs some salt and pepper to balance the flavors.
- Additional options: Some people also like to add red pepper flakes or cayenne for a spicier fajita spice mix. You also may see some sugar in some blends to add a touch of sweetness. Other options include oregano or coriander. Lastly, some people include cornstarch but I find it isn't needed.
How much fajita seasoning per pound?
The amount of fajita seasoning you use depends on personal preference, but, as a general rule using 1 tablespoon per pound of meat provides a great balance of meat to fajita spices.
With this recipe making approximately 6 tablespoons, you will find that it lasts longer than the premade packet which is only good for one use, and you will have plenty of fajita spices to make more fajitas later. And trust me, you will want to make more! I also like to include extra fajita seasoning on the veggies so they have plenty of flavor as well.
Tips and Tricks
- Purchase a cute and convenient spice container to put your homemade spices in. Use labels to name the spice mixture and make sure to include the date of when it was made and any instructions about how to use it.
- Allow the meat to marinate with the spices prior to cooking for extra flavor. To do this you can add a little lemon or lime juice to make it moist and able to be rubbed easier. Olive oil also works but will add some extra calories. My preferred method is using a combination of lime juice and the spice rub.
- When mixing spices, it is easiest to place them all into a bowl and use a whisk to mix. This will help it to incorporate more evenly.
How to Make Fajitas
Now that you have some fajita seasoning, you will probably want to make fajitas. Here is a quick traditional recipe that can be made with any type of protein you like. Adjust the cooking time depending on what protein you are using.
- Grab a pound of chicken breast, chicken thighs, steak, or shrimp. Cut the protein into thin strips, unless you are using shrimp. Add the juice of 1 lime and 1 tablespoon of fajita seasoning. Let everything marinate and rest for at least 10 minutes.
- Chop one onion and 1-2 bell peppers. Toss with another tablespoon of fajita seasoning.
- Option 1: Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the vegetables and cook for 5-7 minutes until just tender-crisp. Set on the side and add the meat to the pan. Cook for 3-6 minutes, depending on the protein and the thickness of the meat. Add the peppers and onions back to the pan and serve.
- Option 2: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread out the protein, peppers, and onions on the baking sheet. Cook for 8-12 minutes, depending on the protein until it is cooked through.
Suggested Sides for Fajitas
When making fajitas, many people like to stick to the classics and serve it alongside rice, beans, and tortillas. Each person’s fajita eating style is different, but these three items are staples for many. However, I like to create a fajita bar and let people pile on as many toppings as they choose. That almost always includes guacamole, sour cream or Greek yogurt, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, cilantro, and limes. I also always include lettuce wraps and chopped lettuce for anyone looking for a low carb option.
A Little History
Did you know that fajitas are not a Texan dish? While they were developed in Texas, they were first cooked by Mexican ranch hands in Texas. So, credit goes to Mexico for this delicious dish. They would kill a steer and be given the least wanted portion of meat, known as skirt steak. Since this part of the beef comes from the diaphragm area of the cow and is long like a belt it began being referred to as “faja” by the Mexican ranchers that developed the recipe, which means belt in Spanish.
Fajitas have come a long way since the 1930’s. They are no longer considered a cheap meal for ranch hands, but a popular meal item at any Mexican restaurants. They come out on steaming plates ready for you, or you and a friend if you get fajitas for two, to enjoy!
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When you are ready to use it, you will need about one tablespoon of seasoning for every pound of protein. It can also be used for roasted or grilled vegetables, as a spice rub on grilled meats, sprinkled on homemade popcorn or tortilla chips, or added to ground meat for a twist on traditional taco meat.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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