Easy Skillet Steak Fajitas (Low Carb and Whole30)
Tender, thinly sliced steak and crisp bell peppers and onions are coated in a bold Steak Fajita Marinade to create these Easy Skillet Steak Fajitas. This one-pot meal is perfect for those eating low carb, paleo or gluten free. Only 287 calories per serving!
Long time readers know we’re HUGE fans of Mexican Recipes, being born and raised in San Diego. I’ve already shared my favorite Carne Asada Recipe with you (for Carne Asada Tacos) as well as Pork Chili Verde and Flank Steak Tacos.
Next up is naturally my go-to Easy Skillet Steak Fajitas recipe. If you like easy fajita recipes, make sure to checkout our Easy Skillet Chicken Fajitas Recipe.
While we usually make steak fajitas on the grill, since the low daytime weather here rarely dips below 60 degrees, we know that’s not the case for most of you, so adapted our Grilled Steak Fajitas recipe for the indoors. If you’re heading outside, this recipe also works for an outdoor grill. Just shave a minute or two off the cook time.
This Mexican Fajitas recipe is extremely versatile so satisfy’s a lot of different diet requirements. Tuck the steak and peppers into a homemade flour tortilla to keep things traditional, serve them alongside Mexican rice or Slow Cooker Refried Beans for an “entree” style plate or stuff them into a lettuce wrap before topping it off with guacamole and salsa. Low carb peeps can serve them along this Creamy Avocado and Tomato salad.
What Type of Steak Is Best For Fajitas
You’ve got four great options. I personally use flank steak, since I like the mild beef flavor, but all four are the best steak for fajitas. Skirt steak and flank steak are the traditional options.
Flank Steak Fajitas– Very mild beef flavor and a lean cut.
Skirt Steak Fajitas– A bit stronger beef flavor than flank steak. It’s also the leanest option so a bit tougher than the other options. As such you’ll want to aim for a medium-rare to medium final temp.
Flat Iron Steak – Not common, but still a great option. Has good marbling making it more flavorful and tender than the flank steak and skirt steak.
Sirloin Steak Fajitas – Nice beef flavor and marbling. It’s thicker than the other options, so you’ll have very tender thicker slices.
Steak Fajita Marinade
Our steak fajita marinade recipe is short and sweet. All the traditional flavors you expect to see in a traditional Mexican fajitas recipe: olive or avocado oil, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cilantro, salt and pepper
How Do You Tenderize Steak Fajita Meat?
As with most marinades, the key is to let the steak marinate for a minimum of 2 hours, if time permits. Marinating the steak allows the flavors to infuse and harmonize and also tenderizes the meat. If we don’t have a full two hours to marinate the meat, we sprinkle on a bit of McCormick’s Meat Tenderizer 5 minutes before cooking to speed along the process.
How To Cook Steak Fajitas
Not including the recommended marinating time, these steak fajitas are ready in under 30 minutes.
Step 1 – Whisk together the marinade and cover the steak. Marinade in the refrigerator for two hours, if time permits.
Step 2 – Season the steak with salt and pepper before placing in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat for 5.5 – 7 minutes per side, flipping halfway through. Remove the meat from the skillet and tent with foil to rest.
Step 3 – Add the vegetables to the skillet and cook for about 6-7 minutes, until soft.
Step 4 – Slice the steak and serve alongside the vegetables and toppings.
Mexican Fajita Cooking Time:
Cooking times will vary slightly, depending on the cut and thickness of the steak. Use a meat thermometer (the ThermaPen is my favorite brand!) to check the temperature while cooking.
Here’s a guideline for Flank Steak measuring 1” thick.
Rare: 5.5 – 6 minutes per side (remove at 120)
Medium Rare: 6 – 6.5 minutes per side (remove at 130 degrees)
Medium: 6.5-7 minutes per side (remove at 140)
Medium Well: 7-7.5 minutes per side (remove at 150)
Remember you must let your steak rest (covered with foil) for 7-8 minutes to re-distribute the juices and continue cooking an extra 5 degrees to get to your desired final temp.
How Do You Cut Flank Steak For Fajitas?
Always cut across the grain, no matter what cut of beef you go with. You’ll also want a sharp knife to slice them as thin as possible to avoid chewy meat. Some recipe call for slicing the beef before cooking, but I’m not a fan of this technique. All the good juice runs out while cooking and it won’t be as tender.
Steak Fajita Calories
Our steak fajita recipe calculates to only 287 per serving!! This does not include any toppings you may add, however.
Easy Skillet Steak Fajitas
- 2 Lbs Flank, Skirt, Sirloin or Flat Iron Steak (*Note 1)
- 1/4 Cup Olive or Avocado Oil
- 2 Tbsp Orange Juice
- 2 Tbsp Lime Juice
- 1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
- 2 tsp Chili Powder
- 2 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro
- Coarse Sea Salt, To Taste (*Note 2)
- Black Pepper, To Taste
- 2 Tbsp Olive or Avocado Oil, Divided
- 3 Large Bell Peppers, Cut Into Thin Strips
- 2 Large White Onions, Sliced
- Salt, To Taste
- Add the oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika and cilantro to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Place the steak into a large bowl or large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the steak. If using a Ziploc bag, massage the bag to ensure the marinade covers the entire surface of the steak. If using a bowl, toss the steak to evenly coat.
- Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, if time permits.
- Right before cooking, remove the steak and transfer to a large cutting board. Pat dry with paper towels. Season liberally with the salt and pepper.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large cast iron skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the steak to the skillet and cook for 5.5-7.5 minutes per side, flipping halfway through. (*Note 3) Reference the cooking temp chart in the post if you're unsure of the final temp you're aiming for.
- Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. Remove the steak when it's 5 degrees under what your desired final temp is. Place the steak on a large cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest for 7-8 minutes before slicing.
- While the steak is resting, add 1 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and swirl to coat. Add the onions, peppers and salt, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approx. 6-7 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
- Remove the foil from steak and slice against the grain into thin strips. Serve alongside the cooked vegetables and any other toppings you prefer. Enjoy immediately!
- Rare: 5.5 - 6 minutes per side (remove at 120)
- Medium Rare: 6 - 6.5 minutes per side (remove at 130 degrees)
- Medium: 6.5-7 minutes per side (remove at 140)
- Medium Well: 7-7.5 minutes per side (remove at 150)