Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas with peppers and onions is a super quick, easy meal that the whole family loves. No worries if you don't have a pressure cooker - stovetop instructions are included.
This Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas recipe is an easy crowd-pleaser that can be made in just 30 minutes. And if you don't have an Instant Pot - no problem. I included stovetop directions that are just as quick and simple. (If you're looking for more reasons to make the leap to buying a pressure cooker, check out my favorite chicken stew and the applesauce recipe that my family devours every single time).
The chicken is seasoned with a homemade fajita seasoning, which includes ingredients that you probably already have in your spice rack. Beyond that, all you need is chicken, peppers and onions, a splash of chicken broth and whatever toppings you like to serve with fajitas (more on that in a moment).
WHAT YOU NEED FOR THESE INSTANT POT CHICKEN FAJITAS:
These are the main components for this recipe (including affiliate links)…
- Spice mixture: Make a double or triple batch of this spice mixture and keep it on hand for fajitas or tacos. This homemade fajita seasoning is a mixture of ground cumin, chili powder, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and kosher salt. All of those items are easy to find at most grocery stores. Alternatively, they can be purchased online.
- Chicken breasts: I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them into thin strips. If you prefer, you could use a combination of chicken breasts and skinless chicken thighs, or even thighs exclusively, or chicken tenders.
- Vegetables: I love the pop of color (and array of vitamins) that bell peppers offer, so I like to use a combination of red, orange and/or yellow peppers. It's fine to use just red bell pepper if that's what you have one hand. For the onion, either a regular yellow onion or a sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla varieties, will work.
- Chicken broth: This is needed for the Instant Pot method because you need some liquid to cook without burning.
- Equipment: I use a 6-quart Instant Pot, but there is also an 8-quart version available. If making this recipe on the stovetop, any large nonstick skillet will do. For me, that the Everyday Pan that I use almost every single day. It's living up to its name!
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
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How to make Instant Pot fajitas:
Pressure cooking is a surefire way to be rewarded with juicy, tender chicken breast strips. In this recipe, cook the chicken for a few minutes, then add the vegetables for additional cook time.
- Place the chicken strips in one bowl and the veggies in a separate bowl. Sprinkle each with some of the fajita seasoning and toss to coat.
- Pour some chicken broth in the Instant Pot, arrange the chicken on top and close the lid. Close the steam valve on top and set the chicken to cook on HIGH pressure for 4 minutes. On some Instant Pots, the button says “MANUAL” (then you set to high pressure) and others say “PRESSURE COOK”. Read the manual that came with your appliance for further instructions.
- After the cook time expires, let the pressure release naturally for several minutes, then use quick release.
- Here’s where you have to be a little speedy. The idea is to open the Instant Pot for the shortest time so that very little heat escapes. The more heat that you keep in, the less time it will take to come to pressure again.
- Arrange the vegetables over the chicken, close the lid and lock the valve into the sealing position again. Cook for another minute on HIGH pressure and quick release the pressure. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken and veggies to a serving dish.
- Serve it all up with the toppings of your choice!
How do I serve chicken fajitas?
This is where you can tailor things to your liking. I like to serve chicken fajitas and the vegetables in corn tortillas, but small flour tortillas would work, too. lternatively, serve the fajita mixture and toppings over rice or cauliflower rice for a low-carb option.
I have a few "musts" for fajitas toppings: guacamole or avocado slices, salsa (such as Roasted Tomatillo Salsa) or pico de gallo and queso fresco.
Other options are sour cream; a faux crema (like the chili lime yogurt in this taco recipe); a simple slaw seasoned with lime juice, salt and cumin; and shredded cheese, such as Pepper Jack or Cheddar cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions:
If you want to know how many calories are in chicken fajitas, be assured that this is a really healthy meal when just looking at the chicken, peppers and onions. In this recipe, a serving that includes 1 cup of chicken and ½ cup of peppers and onions rings in a 238 calories.
Where things can go south with any types of fajitas, tacos or burritos is when you start piling on the toppings. Use things like sour cream and cheese judiciously. Guacamole is a "must" for me. While it's higher in fat, the fats in avocado are considered to be healthier. Plus, you can't beat the flavor.
Of course! Just make sure you read labels, as store-bought seasonings tend to have higher sodium counts and filler ingredients (think artificial colors, flavors and preservatives). As I mentioned above, I like to make a large batch of the homemade seasoning mixture so I can make fajitas at a moment's notice.
Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas (+ stovetop directions)
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 13/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
- 2 large red bell peppers cut into strips
- 1 large orange or yellow bell pepper cut into strips
- ½ yellow onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup chicken broth
- Corn or small flour tortillas
- Queso fresco or grated Pepper Jack cheese
- Sour cream
- Minced cilantro
- In a small bowl, stir together cumin, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and salt.
- Place the chicken strips in one bowl and the bell pepper and onion slices in another bowl. Sprinkle two-thirds of the spice mixture over the chicken and toss to coat. Sprinkle the remaining spice mixture over the peppers and onions, and toss to coat. (If cooking on the stovetop, divide the onions and peppers.)
In the Instant Pot:
- Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the Instant Pot. Arrange the chicken in the pot.
- Close the lid and the steam vent of the Instant Pot. Set to Manual mode on High pressure for 4 minutes. The Instant Pot will take 8 to 9 minutes to come to pressure.
- Once the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then manual release the rest.
- Arrange the peppers and onions on top of the chicken and quickly close the lid of the Instant Pot again. The more heat that you keep in, the less time it will take to come to pressure again.
- Close the lid and the steam vent. Set to Manual mode on High pressure for 1 minute. Quick release the pressure.
- Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a platter. Drizzle some of the liquid from the Instant Pot over the chicken. Discard the remaining liquid.
On the stovetop:
- Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil** in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is just cooked through, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl or plate.
- Serve with tortillas, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro and salsa.
- Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in the skillet. Add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender (but not overcooked) and the onions are starting to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Serve with tortillas, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro and/or salsa.
This post was first published on October 7, 2019. Helpful tips and other text were updated on October 9, 2021.
Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.