Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

These easy sheet pan chicken fajitas are packed with smoky, zesty flavors and are so, so simple to make! A perfect weeknight (or any night) meal!

Sheet pan loaded with bell peppers and chicken strips for easy sheet pan chicken fajitas.

The September craziness has begun, and I’m already wondering: when will I ever sleep again? And also, what’s for dinner?

If you’re feeling those same vibes, let’s hold virtual hands in solidarity of not giving up. No, no. We’ve got this. As promised in this post from last week, I have  many quick and easy weeknight meals coming your way this fall, and these easy sheet pan chicken fajitas are first in the lineup.

Wow, they’re good. And so easy. And so, so fast.

Three easy sheet pan chicken fajitas on white board topped with sour cream and guacamole. 

Fast vs make-aheadable

There is a debate going on in my head at all times (yes, I need to get a life) about whether dinner should be super quick…or super make-aheadable. There is a time and a place for each, I think. These easy sheet pan chicken fajitas are definitely in the fast category.

On those days when there’s no way to make it work to get dinner prepped/made ahead but there is 30-35 minutes available closer to eating time, these sheet pan fajitas are your friend. Of course, you could make the whole recipe ahead of time and reheat as needed. Which I guess means just about any recipe could actually be make-aheadable? And why am I even still belaboring the fast vs make-headable point?? You guys are smart enough to figure things like that out. 

Moving on. 

These sheet pan fajitas are as simple as cutting chicken and veggies into strips, seasoning with a delightful mix of smoky, zesty flavors, and tossing on sheet pans to cook for a quick minute. 

Sheet pan loaded with bell peppers and chicken strips for easy sheet pan chicken fajitas.

chicken breasts vs chicken thighs and other things

You’ll see from the recipe that:

a) I prefer using chicken breast meat vs chicken thigh meat for this recipe. I use chicken thighs occasionally (like, for this amazing grilled Hawaiian chicken recipe). But mostly I use chicken breasts because I always have them on hand, and also, chicken thighs gross me out a little bit. Sorry. I feel as though I’m confessing a hidden, tragic flaw since “experts” around the globe praise chicken thighs as the only chicken meat to even consider. But listen, we’re all friends, and it is what it is. I end up trimming so much off the chicken thighs when I use them that it isn’t really cost effective for me to use them. Also, gag reflex. Clearly I have issues that need addressed.

b) Because chicken breast meat cooks a lot faster, I separate the chicken and veggies on two separate sheet pans. Unless you cut the chicken breasts into super thick pieces (which doesn’t make super great sense for a fajita recipe), the veggies are going to need more time than the chicken. However, if you do love and abide by the Use Chicken Thighs Only Rule, you could probably get away with combining the chicken and veggies on the same sheet pan. Just don’t overcrowd. 

Ok, now that I’ve way overtalked a should-be easy sheet pan chicken fajitas recipe, all you need to do is add it to your weekly menu plan! You won’t be sorry! That chicken is to-die for delicious.  

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Five Years Ago: Peanut Butter Granola
Six Years Ago: Big Fat Greek Tacos
Seven Years Ago: Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins
Eight Years Ago: Over-the-Top Andes Mint Cupcakes

Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (see note for using chicken thighs)
  • 1 large yellow, white or red onion
  • 2 bell peppers, any color
  • 2 tablespoons oil, divided (you'll use half for the chicken, half for the veggies)
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (can sub apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use low-sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional but so very delicious)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use coarse, kosher salt)
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • Tortillas
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, tomatoes, etc.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place oven racks in upper and lower positions (you'll use both racks). If you have convection setting, preheat to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut chicken into 1/4-inch strips and place in medium bowl. Cut onion in half, peel off the skin, and cut each half into 1/4-inch half moon strips. Place onion in a separate bowl. Cut the bell peppers into 1/4-inch strips and add to the bowl with the onions.
  3. Place the baking sheets in the oven, one on each rack, to preheat for 5-6 minutes.
  4. While the baking sheets preheat, add the following to the bowl with the chicken: 1 tablespoon oil, 2-3 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper. Toss to combine.
  5. To the bowl with the onions/peppers, add 1 tablespoon oil (more or less) and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
  6. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and quickly (but carefully) dump the chicken on one sheet pan and the veggies on the other pan. Spread both chicken and veggies into a single layer. Return the pans to the oven. If using a standard oven (non-convection), put the pan with the chicken on the bottom rack and the veggies on the top rack.
  7. Cook the chicken for 6-7 minutes until tender and cooked through. Remove from the oven and continue cooking the veggies 5-6 minutes longer until crisp-tender (add time if you want the veggies even softer).
  8. I like to dump the pan of hot, cooked veggies onto the sheet pan with the chicken and toss to combine. Squeeze the juice of a lime across the top; toss lightly. Serve the chicken and veggies in tortillas (or on a salad!) piled high with toppings of your choice.

Notes

The key to this recipe: cooking the chicken and veggies on separate sheet pans. Not only does this help not overcrowd the sheet pan, but because the chicken cooks faster than the veggies, it ensures all the ingredients get their proper amount of time in the oven. Other key: the liquid smoke. It adds such delicious flavor. If you don't have it, try adding a bit of smoked paprika.

For extra flavor: consider adding the same amount of seasonings to the onions/peppers that you add to the chicken (you'll still want to add the amount called for in the recipe to the chicken...just double and add the second half to the veggies).

Preheating the baking sheets: this helps the chicken and veggies sizzle when they hit the pan AND it helps prevent sticking. Speaking of baking sheets, if you are using a dark, nonstick baking sheet, you might want to decrease the oven temperature as those types of pans will cook the ingredients faster than the light-colored baking sheets.

Chicken breasts vs chicken thighs: I use chicken breasts 99% of the time because I always have them on hand and chicken thighs gross me out just a leeetle bit. However, it is true that chicken thighs are indisputably more tender and flavorful; you can definitely use them in this recipe. They'll take several more minutes to cook than chicken breast meat (in fact, you could probably get away with putting the chicken strips on the same pan as the veggies), so keep an eye on that.

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (used this favorite fajita recipe as inspiration)