This simple steak fajita marinade is made with a homemade fajita seasoning, olive oil, garlic, and zesty lime juice for the best marinade. The results are tender juicy strips of steak exploding with flavor!
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Easy Steak Marinade
This recipes uses just a few ingredients and within a few hours, works its magic and provides you with an unforgettable taste experience. Plus it’s so quick and easy, you don’t even need to cut your flank or skirt steak if you don’t want to. You can just toss it in the bowl in one piece and cut it later.
The citrus breaks down the meat which tenderizes it, and having it marinate for at least an hour gives this skirt steak fajita marinade time to permeate its incredible flavors. Once the meat has finished marinating, you can decide if you want to grill it whole or cut it against the grain to use as a filling for steak fajitas, quesadillas, or steak tacos. You can also use it on grilled chicken.
Making a fun, flavorful dinner doesn’t need to be complicated. Celebrate bold flavors in simple ways your whole family will love!
Ingredients in Steak Fajita Marinade
For tender juicy steak results with only a little effort of mixing together this easy steak fajita marinade recipe, it’s a very small investment of time with a major return in the best tasting steak fajitas.
- Olive oil: This coats the meat in a good fat that provides moisture and helps lock in the flavor.
- Lime juice: This acidic fruit not only provides flavor but helps break down muscle tissue in the meat leading to tender results.
- Minced garlic: Adds additional flavor.
- Fajita seasoning: I used my fajita seasoning that contains chili powder, cumin, salt, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder but a store bought one could be used instead. Add some cayenne pepper if you like a little heat!
What Type of Steak is Best for Fajitas?
When biting into a fajita, or any piece of steak, the last thing you want is stringy, hard-to-chew meat. Both skirt steak and grilled flank steak are great choices, as they both are fibrous.
Flank steak is a bit leaner and has fibers running down the length of the steak, whereas skirt steak muscle fibers run perpendicular. As long as you cut against the grain, and marinate for longer than an hour and don’t overcook – you’ll end up with very tender meat!
How Long Should I Marinate Steak Fajitas?
You want to marinate at least an hour or two but more if possible. Up to 8 hours or even overnight in the fridge is ideal. The longer the flavors have to penetrate, the more immense the taste.
I would not go longer than that though as the texture of meat might begin to break down due to the citric acid.
- Citrus swap. Omit the lime juice and use orange juice or lemon juice instead. You could also use a combination!
- Liquid smoke. Just a drop of liquid smoke goes a long way. Add a bit if you like a smoky BBQ flavor.
- For a sweet note. Pour in a bit of pineapple juice. Canned, frozen, or fresh all work great.
- Fresh herbs: Add some fresh chopped cilantro for another layer of flavor.
- Different protein. This marinade recipe is great for steak and chicken, but will also give an abundance of flavor to shrimp and pork. Think about all of the different types of fajitas you could enjoy with this one simple marinade!
- Make a sauce. Once the marinade has made contact with raw meat it is no longer safe to consume. This doesn’t mean you need to throw it out, however. Boil it on the stovetop until it thickens, season as desired, and serve as an extra sauce.
- Use just a rub: If you forgot to leave time to marinate, try this steak rub for an amazing steak!
There are two parts! For the best tender steak first cut your meat against the grain then marinate it with an acid. The lime juice is the acid in this steak fajita marinade and helps break down any tough muscle fibers in the meat.
A marinade always contains liquid and some sort of acid, in this case, citrus. This helps break down the fibers in the meat making it extremely tender and flavoring it at the same time!
There are two sides to this answer! Cutting your steak before marinating while it does allow the marinade to fully penetrate the meat for flavor at the same time because your meat is now thinner it will shrink a bit more while grilling and may not get as good of sear if you were to leave it whole.
Really the decision is up to you!
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Steak Fajita Marinade
- Place 1 pound steak in bowl. You can leave it whole or slice into strips (against the grain).
- Combine the olive oil, lime juice, fajita seasoning and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk until combined.
- Pour marinate over the steak and toss to combine. Cover the bowl and place the steak in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 60 minutes. Best when marinated for 4 hours+.
- Grill or cook to desired internal temperature.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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