These sheet pan steak fajitas are full of flavor, easy to throw together on a busy weeknight, but fun enough to bust out for a Saturday night fiesta too!
Ever remember being in a restaurant (you know the one – bottomless chips, catchy rib jingle) and watching a waiter deftly serpentine between tables with a sizzling platter of fajitas perched on his tray? Yeah, I remember that.
I remember always wishing I had been the one who ordered the fajitas so that the Ooh’s and Ahh’s would be centered around my table. But I never did – probably because fajitas don’t come with fries, also because said restaurant has IRRESISTIBLE chicken tenders, but that’s a different story for a different day.
Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas
But that doesn’t mean I don’t love me some fajita madness. I mean, they’re basically DIY tacos, but with the most excellent addition of sauteed peppers and onions. What’s not to love about that? And to add to the love fest, let’s make it a one pan affair that you can have on the table in roughly 30 minutes. Sounds like a fiesta to me!
Well first of all, why not? But seriously, this is really more about method and less about particular ingredients. So feel free to sub in a protein of your choice. But if you do promise me it won’t be chicken breast. It’s just too lean to make the cut here. Chicken thighs are the way to go if you’re thinking poultry. Also, if you go the shrimp route, be aware that the cooking time will be a couple minutes less than for steak.
What makes fajitas different than tacos? Well as far as I can tell (and I’m by no means a Mexican food expert) it centers around the cooked veggie portion of the recipe. Instead of some finely diced raw onions or perhaps a few shavings of crisp radish, you’ve got a jumble of peppers and onions cooked to just shy of droopy, and with a good amount of color on them. This, my friends, is what makes a fajita a fajita. Of course you can use whatever veggies speak to you, but you’d be veering pretty far off the path at that point. TL:DR – peppers and onions FTW.
Steak Fajita Seasoning
This seasoning is pretty straight forward – some salt, some sugar, some flavor. The exact make up includes warm spices like cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika. There’s also some onion, garlic, and oregano to bring a bit of savory flavor to the party. And for heat, there’s cayenne – which of course can be dialed up or down as you see fit. Riffing on this is highly encouraged, just remember, it should always be assertive, because bland fajitas are so not a thing.
Sheet pan cooking
Ok, so sheet pan dinners are kind of a trendy thing recently, but besides being of the moment they are also incredibly easy, efficient, and involve way less clean up than a lot of traditional meal set ups. The appeal of fewer dishes to wash is strong and I am here. for. it.
This recipe is designed to be as easy as possible – meaning you throw everything on the sheet pan and pop the whole mess under the broiler. If I had to tweak this even a little, itty bit though, I might toss the veggies in to broil for a few minutes solo, before adding the seasoned steak.
Why? Well you’ll notice that the peppers and onions will leach out a bit of liquid as they cook. The intense heat of the broiler will evaporate some of it, but because the baking sheet is a bit on the crowded side (because more steak = more better) it means that some of this excess liquid will remain. I don’t mind this personally, as I think it lends to a juicier fajita eating experience. But if you’re not a fan, feel free to let the peppers and onions cook for a bit on their own before throwing the steak into the mix.
Tips for using your broiler
If you’re a little unsure about the whole broiler situation you are not alone. Many home cooks experience trepidation when approaching a broiler. But fear not, because the broiler is really just an upside down grill, and if you follow a couple of general rules you’ll learn to love the secret little raging inferno inside your oven too.
- Figure out where your broiler is. Most modern ovens have the broiler element at the very top of the oven. You put your food under it and it radiates heat (or sometimes legit flames) down onto your food. Other ovens (mine included) have the bottom drawer set up where you place your food inside a literal drawer in the bottom of your oven and again the heating element rains down from above. I personally prefer the first option, as it’s easier to navigate and control. But if you have the second you can still totally make this recipe.
- Adjust how far your food is from the flame. Because broilers don’t have very sophisticated temperature controls (usually just high and low settings) the only way to control how fast your food cooks is to move it further or closer to the heat source. In a top broiler situation this just means adjusting the top rack in your oven accordingly. If you have a bottom drawer set up this can be mimicked by propping the pan up on another pan or letting it rest on the very bottom of the drawer.
- Preheat your broiler for a bit. This is a step I feel like most people skip, mostly because the heating element usually fires itself up pretty quickly. But think about it, the rest of the oven is still relatively cold, which is bound to have an effect on how quickly and evenly your food cooks.
- DON’T WALK AWAY. Even the most seasoned home cooks (and I’m willing to bet a number of professionals too) have been drawn away by the siren song of text messages, wandering thoughts, internet nonsense, or actual human interaction when they should have been vigilantly monitoring their broilers. Think of the broiler as a self-centered, only child. It needs your constant attention, because left to its own devices, it will surely act out – in this case on your dinner. So even if someone is watching the FUNNIEST video on YouTube in the next room, have some chill and keep an eye on that broiler.
All the things you ever wanted on a taco totally belongs in a fajita. This includes, but is not limited to, avocado, salsa, cheese, jalapeno, pickled onions, diced onions, hot sauce, lettuce, tomato, or if you’re not me, cilantro.
The one sure thing though is that you’ve got to have flour tortillas. Not sure why, honestly. It’s just the way I’ve always had them. If this is a bit of bummer I get it. Flour tortillas can be utter garbage sometimes. But if you seek out good ones (like these) you will be pleasantly surprised. And if you’re feeling really inspired you could always make your own. But be warned, once you do you may be ruined for all other flour tortillas, like ever.
So now that you know all about broiling up a sheet pan full of steak and veggies you’re totally ready to invite your crew over for an impromptu Friday fiesta. And if you need some goodies to help round out the menu check out this charred corn and jalapeno queso dip for noshing before the main event, or these incredible peanut butter brownies to hit the sweet spot at the end of the night!
Happy (fajita) Friday!
Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas
Sheet pan steak fajitas are a weeknight meal you can actually look forward to making! Juicy steak, colorful veggies, and a super flavorful spice blend all come together on one sheet pan to make dinner easy and fun.
- Prep Time: 15 Minutes
- Cook Time: 15 Minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 Servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: Mexican
1 1/2 T kosher salt
2 T brown sugar
1 T chili powder
1/2 T ground cumin
1/2 T garlic powder
1/2 T onion powder
1/2 T dried oregano
1/2 T smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 lbs flank or skirt steak, sliced into 1/2 inch strips
2 T oil
12 6-inch flour tortillas, warmed
Garnishes: grated cheese, avocado, salsa, sour cream, etc.
Preheat your broiler and set the rack about 6 inches below the heating element.
In a small bowl combine salt, brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
On a sheet pan, drizzle sliced steak and veggies with oil. Sprinkle over spice mix and toss to combine. Spread everything into one even layer and broil for 10-12 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking, until steak is medium rare and veggies start to take on a little color.
Serve on warm, flour tortillas with all the fajita fixins you desire!
You can use whatever steak you like, but make sure whatever cut you choose isn’t too lean to avoid dry fajitas.
Don’t be surprised if the veggies leach out some amount of liquid. I personally don’t mind it, as it makes for a juicy and flavorful fajita, but if you want you can give them a head start in the broiler by five minutes and then add the steak and continue to cook. This should evaporate most of the excess liquid.
The spice blend also makes an excellent taco seasoning.
Keywords: sheet pan fajitas, steak fajitas, one pan meal, weeknight dinner, easy mexican food